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Are Canadian Customers Second Class Citizens?

When I was living in Europe I would always look with a little bit of envy at North America: all the latest tech stuff was distributed first in America and the pricing seemed to be more competitive. I had high expectations when I moved to Canada. Expectations disappointed. The last one is SONY’s Z. According to SONY’s news release when it was announced at CES 2010, some models feature a 1920×1080 13″1 display. Neat. Made a note to self and waited patiently for the spring launch.

Spring has come, and SONY launched the Z, both in the US and Canada. The following screenshots were all taken March 15, 2010 during a frustrating shopping tour on SONY’s websites.

On SONY’s US website:

The ready-to-ship Signature Collection model is a whopping 4500$ (stop kidding us with the .99 thing) is the only one with the coveted 1920×1080 display.

In Canada, only the customizable Z model is available:

And when trying to customize it, big disappointments follow:

No 1920×1080 display available. Nowhere. To be fair, also US customers have a limited choice: it’s either the goodies-bloated Signature Edition or no 1920×1080 (see custom US model options below). But at least US customers have that choice. Not that it is a good choice: to get the coveted display you must also buy a Blu-Ray writer, Windows 7 Ultimate, 8GB RAM, and half terabyte of SSD (with the scant information available you can only hope it is not one of  these).

Still, US customers get better treatment than Canadians, even if it is no secret that machines for the US and Canadian markets all ship from the same warehouse. Look at their customization options below: If a Canadian customers wants 4GB RAM, he must fill the two available slots with 2x2GB. The later upward path to 8GB? throw away the 2x2GB and buy 2x4GB new. The US customer gets 1x4GB module, so that he has one free slot for the later upgrade to 8GB. Isn’t that unfair? Where is consumer choice?

To be fair to SONY, in the few years I’ve lived in Canada I’ve seen this practice at almost all notebook makers. When I bought my HP nc6120, I had it shipped to a US address because the 1450×1050 high resolution display was not available to Canadian customers. The global village is not there yet.

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