The Customer Service Results Are In: How Did Frito Lay and Sony Do?

Do you remember how I was mad at Cheetos and gave Sony a free pass? Well, you can officially reverse my stance on both of those. While I don’t think I was wrong at the time working with what information I had, the responses by both parties could not have been more opposite! This follow-up post details the results of my impromptu customer service experiences at both Frito Lay/Cheetos and Sony.

Boy, was I wrong about Sony!

Good Lord, has Sony failed miserably. I was perfectly accepting of a free service outage when I thought that was the only major problem, but shortly after my post was published Sony revealed the minor, insignificant, little detail that its millions of users’ credit card numbers and personal information were likely compromised. Oh, that’s no big deal, it’s just a…WAIT, WHAT?!?! It took you over a week to tell people this? My personal information has been at some hacker’s disposal for all that time and you couldn’t be bothered to tell your users?

Sony responded by giving people 30 free days of its PlayStation Plus service. However, people who already had the service (but now haven’t been able to use it for weeks) didn’t really get much out of that deal, now did they? The public’s fire and pitchforks predictably came out, so Sony (probably begrudgingly) will now offer its users one year free of identity theft protection. That’s nice, but it’s only necessary because of their incompetence in the first place.

Now, let’s contrast that with Frito Lay’s customer service.

You’ll recall I was not pleased about the large clump in my Cheetos bag. If nothing else, I bought a bag of Cheetos with almost no Cheetos in it – a valid complaint. Other than a cumbersome form to report the quality issue, the Frito Lay experience could not have gone smoother. They responded in a short amount of time – a hallmark of great customer service – and they were courteous, addressed all of my concerns, and reassured me that they would resolve the issue.

They explained that the clump was a coagulation of oil and cheese powder that should not have made it though their quality control processes. They thanked me and said that it’s because of me that they can improve the quality of their product. Even if that was a load of BS, it was nice to hear. To make up for the mistake, Frito Lay sent me an apology letter with 3 enclosed coupons for LARGE bags of Frito Lay products. I’ll end up with probably 20 times the amount of Cheetos I lost, which more than makes up for the mistake! Plus, the coupons look like Willy Wonka tickets – all shiny and distractingly fun to look at. You can’t top that!

With Sony, you see a company that slowly fixes problems, jeopardizes users’ personal information, and doesn’t really do any more than the bare minimum for its customers. With Frito Lay, you see a company that responds quickly, shows a genuine concern for the problem at hand, and preemptively offers above and beyond what was expected. Sure, I’m just one person to Frito Lay and Sony and each of them undoubtedly has millions of customers to consider, but the difference in attitude is apparent!

In many cases, it’s not okay to just fix the problem; you need to do a little extra to account for frustration as well. Frito Lay gets that. Sony, apparently, does not.

Have you had positive or negative experiences with customer service in the past? What did they do to correct the problem (if applicable)?


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  1. Jana Quinn

    Wow, Frito Lay’s response impressed the heck out of me! Not only did they personally speak with you and acted quickly, but they also compensated you above and beyond your investment (for emotional pain, I’m sure).

    The best part of their response, I think, was actually explaining what the hell that crazy little clump was. They showed that they understood what had happened and weren’t just sending you some Willy Wonka coupons as an automatic response to make you stop whining.

    • JPorretto

      Ding ding ding! Some one get this girl a cookie! She understands what good customer service is all about!

      Your alright Jana, your alright… (I think I teed that one up sufficiently for you)

  2. Jill Tooley

    Sony really dropped the ball on this one. I always hear stories about credit card numbers and personal information getting compromised, but ideally the company at fault should take action a lot quicker than this. The network outage is a bummer, but that issue alone wouldn’t have been this big of a deal to gamers. It’s their lack of concern with personal data that makes this problem so touchy!

    Frito Lay seems to understand that it’s crucial to take care of customers no matter what, and that’s a huge plus. They didn’t have to say anything to you at all and they could have easily ignored your complaint, but instead they took the time to make it right. I’m impressed!

    Enjoy the fruits (or, in this case, the cheeses) of your labor! 😉

    • JPorretto

      The best part is I get ANY 3 free Frito Lay Products. Don’t be surprised if you see me at my desk with bag of Cheetos, Cool Ranch Doritos, and Pretzels all at once (Drooool….).

      That’d be like Sony offering money off a 3d TV instead of just literally $4 worth of a monthly PSN+ service that I already missed almost 3 weeks of.

      WOW! I just realized I got more for a clump of cheese than for having my financial information compromised! Yay!

  3. Amanda Sneed

    Nice follow up post Jeff! And way to go Frito Lay–I’m also impressed with your response! Sony is too huge of a company to fall so short with something so critical to protect. Bad news Bears.

    Jana–agreed! I am so glad they explained that clump–thank goodness it wasn’t an owl pellet…although that would have made for a more interesting dissection. 😉

    • JPorretto

      Shhweet!! Thanks Amanda! I too think that an owl pellet would have been a better story.

  4. Bret Bonnet

    Where is a picture of these so called fabled golden Frito-Lay tickets?!?! 🙂

  5. Joseph Giorgi

    The Sony brand (or at least their gaming division) will be hurting for quite some time because of the way they handled their little fiasco. And you’re absolutely right: they brought it on themselves through inept communication and poor compensation. It’s a shame, really.

    On the other hand, I still can’t believe how amazingly awesome Frito-Lay was at handling your complaint. They went above and beyond in every way, and you even have “golden tickets” to prove it!

    By the way, I would totally hang on to at least one of those Wonka-style tickets if I were you. In fact, I’d frame it!

  6. Karen

    we recently tried cheetos PUFFCORN. It was the best thing since sliced bread and my husband and I could actually eat it, now we cannot find it anywhere and we would like to know if you stopped making it or what. Thank you

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