Some owners of Sony Vaio laptops are finding that the Sony empire, troubled by financial mismanagement and technical incompatibility, has taken out its troubles on users expecting warranty service. Sony Vaios have a bad performance record. Now warranties are dishonored, avoided, or subject to insurmountable inconvenience. The once-proud San Diego Sony service center seems to be wracking up a record of dissatisfaction among more and more users. The main problem it seems is Sony's policy of using a service subcontractor in Indiana to handle all initial calls for help. That subcontractor has every incentive to reduce service calls and to not honor on-site repair and replacement provisions. Only after a problem escalates to an actual Sony service center, such as the one in San Diego, do competent help professionals take over. In one case, a Florida woman was told by the Indiana subcontractor that when the alphabet letters faded from her keyboard, it was not a legitimate basis for complaint under the warranty. Eventually, when she got to an actual Sony help desk, the keyboard was replaced. That woman ultimately ditched her Vaio and replaced it with a laptop that included an actual manufacturer-controlled help desk.