Hardware optimize

Microsoft extends XBOX 360 warranty... just in time


Last week, Microsoft announced that they are taking a $1 billion charge in order to extend the warranty on all XBOX 360 consoles. Seemed like a nice thing to do considering all of the problems. Of course, I wasn't very concerned with the announcement because I had already been through my own XBOX 360 replacement hell (having had 2 XBOX 360s die in the first year).

This morning, I suddenly began to care a lot more about the new extended warranty program.

As I was drinking my morning coffee and checking RSS feeds, I read that MSFT and Red Octane released 3 new downloadable tracks for "Guitar Hero II." After slinging my coffee cup and laptop aside, I ran downstairs, paid my $6.25 and downloaded the new tracks. I figured I could squeeze in a few songs before heading into the office.

After working through 3/4 of "You've Got Another Thing Coming" by Judas Priest, the console completely froze up. I had to power the console down and restart. During the boot screen, the console froze again. After cycling the power one more time, I got back into Guitar Hero II and the rocking commenced... until about 1/3 of the way through the song. The console froze again. After cycling the power, I got the dreaded 3 red lights on the front of the console.

I immediately got on the phone and called 1-800-4-My-XBOX. That's when I encountered the super-chipper automated assistant Max who was thrilled to be helping me with my problem. Unfortunately after about 3 minutes of saying (and repeating) the voice prompts and removing the 360's hard drive, Max realized that he couldn't help me with my problem. He told me to say "Agent" in order to connect with a customer service rep. After saying "Agent," Max informed me that I would need to call back during normal business hours (I called at 8:35 am EST and the call center opens at 9 am EST). Nice! Guess Max didn't think to mention that a little bit earlier in the call?

After waiting for the call center to open, I finally got a hold of customer service. Because I was calling about my third failed console, they said they were going to escalate my issue. Other than waiting while the rep, who was very polite, spoke to her manager for a second, it was just like the other calls I made to them.

The rep ran through the basic questions to make sure I was using the console in the proper way and then said that I was eligible for a free repair. Because this would be my fourth console in less than 2 years, I asked if there wasn't some sort of upgrade that I could get, to an Elite perhaps, to prevent from having to call them back in 8 months and get another console.

What the rep said next, if true, is pretty amazing. She told me that, while inconvenient now, getting my console repaired was actually better than getting a new console from the store. She claims that MSFT has figured out the problem with the 360 and the repair they do now makes it like "a 2007 model" console. Couldn't believe she was saying that; however, I wouldn't spend a penny on an XBOX 360 right now just on the off-chance that it is true (and given the fact that I will on my 4th one). After thinking my problem was solved, I got more interesting (and upsetting) news. Instead of getting the pre-paid shipping box overnighted to me and then getting my repaired console in 10 business days (as they did on the other two repairs), I was told that the shipping box would arrive in 3-5 business days and that my console would be gone for... 4 to 6 weeks!!! I couldn't believe it. I even asked her if she meant days (since my issue was "escalated"). Unfortunately, she did say "weeks." She also added that they have been flooded with dead consoles since the announcement on July 5th of the new warranty program.

So, I'll be spending more time playing the Wii for the next 4-6 weeks. I will also be considering picking up "Guitar Hero III" for the Wii this fall instead of for the XBOX 360.

[UPDATE: 8/7/2007] Turn around time ended up being around 27 days. More details here.

Anyone else have XBOX 360 repair horror stories to share? Post them as a comment.
22 comments
xbox_techsupport
xbox_techsupport

first question:::how many hours do you play with the xbox? it's normal that you will really have to wait for the repair because the service center people need to check on the hardware for them to know the root cause of the issue that you're having.I have an xbox 360 pro as well but i havent experienced anything crappy. I'm from the Philippines and the weather here is not good - it's hell hot. but I never had issues with it. I dont plug third party accessories.it has never been modified (and i wont even dare to do so). I'd rather buy original gamediscs. I only play xbox for 4 hours max. and my box is intetionally for playing, not for media center, facebook, or netflix. :)

bw67
bw67

Keep track of your warranties with www.warrantyelephant.com this is the best warranty reminder service our there -It has saved my hide more than once

new_hampster
new_hampster

My 13 year-old son has been through the drill 3 times. The first failure was 2 weeks after the original warranty expired, and before MS extended the warranty. He had the 3 rings, and they wanted to charge $120 for repair. I did my homework and knew this was a design problem, and called to help my stressed-out son. In "good faith", MS offered to split the repair cost with me. I celebrated a small victory. Little did I know just how small it was. 2 weeks to get the box, and 3 weeks for repair. Shortly after we got it back, MS cried uncle and announced the new warranty plan. We got our $60 back a few weeks later. About 3 months passed, and the CD drive failed. Now the unit was under warranty, but the process was the same - get the box, send it back, and wait. Another 5 weeks lost. The day the unit arrived, my son set it up, and started Call of Duty. It quickly locked up. He rebooted it, and the 3 rings appeared. Our 3rd XBOX had lasted approximately 5 minutes. This suggests that not all the units in Microsoft's repair depot have been, uh, repaired. I can picture XBOX systems piled to the ceiling, not unlike that scene in Indiana Jones when the Arc is stored away in a government warehouse. I can hear the dialog when a screaming 13 year old calls, "hey, just ship him anything to get him to shut up". Another 5 weeks later, which included his entire Christmas vacation from school, we have our 4th XBOX. Our fingers are crossed, as that appears to be the only preventive action available. We have now learned to save the box in anticipation. I wonder how long it will take to get the shipping label... Microsoft is a software company. Many would argue they are far from perfecting that science. I would add the argument that MS has -0- business being a hardware company. Extended warranties are no substitute for proper design and testing, which is a foreign concept to Microsoft. After all, we can't just wait for a service pack.

jhilgeman2
jhilgeman2

1. That sucks that XBox 360 consoles die. 2. I had to laugh at the bolded statement, "my console would be gone for ... 4 to 6 weeks!!!" I'd feel the same way if my laptop got taken away, but that's because I have all my work, music, scheduling, email, web access, etc all on it. The XBox 360 is just a gaming console, man (unless you've modded it into a normal-like computer). Is 4 to 6 weeks without XBox 360 that horrible? What's worse is that you even have a Wii as a backup. Most people can't even afford a single Wii or XBox 360. Stop whining. Go outside for a while and play basketball or soccer for a change.

rdavis
rdavis

RE: Microsoft Installs first ever Taste Control Obviously what is going on here is a deliberate policy to erradicate the use of rubbish old rock Cd's and air guitar enthusiasts. Having been rumbled on what must be congratulated as a an excellent start on erradicating the use of plainly rubbish media, Microsoft are having to remove the illegal component before the issue comes to light

pboley1
pboley1

I bought mine on the initial release date and it died about 4 wks ago now. The best thing I did was get the 2 yr warranty from Best Buy. It froze while streaming music, rebooted it and the picture went in and out. Started it again the next morning and it worked fine EXCEPT it wouldn't recognize any games. Worked fine huh? NOT. I took it to Best Buy and they plugged it up and immediately got the ring of death. Popped right up, switched it out no problem. I went back when they got some elites in and swapped it and paid the difference. Easiest way to get an elite. And now I feel better about keeping my XBOX 360.

laman
laman

Consider the release day of the 1st XBox 360, extending the warranty to 3 years from the day of purchase is simply not enough when M$ knows that there are some hardware fault in it. The extension should be of 5 years or 3 years from today. And all existing 360 users should be allowed to replace their even if it is not faulty at this moment.

hcdupreez
hcdupreez

well well well seen this type of behavior before. It's all power related, well or at least the symptoms point to a device that starts up in a stable state. There is a small thing called a WDT (watch dog timer) that is integrated in to the processors these days. Chip silicon gets made smaller and smaller and that do change the characteristics of the so called analog part of the silicon. With external WDT's there are ones with longer delays on start up that would be a good idea to use, because that will let things start up in a stable state. Good luck XBoxers

rich_kepenach
rich_kepenach

I just got my 360 back. I think the shipping of the empty box took longer, it was out about 2 weeks. I am hoping its the last time I need this service. I only buy Japanese cars because of the problems I have had with American cars. Maybe its time for a PS3.

Vanderlay
Vanderlay

Mine died on Friday. Saturday they told me 4 - 6 weeks and I didn't know what to say. I asked to upgrade to a new model and they said no but I could take it to GameSpot and they might do it. Very sad. Any scoop on what the actual "design flaw" is that is causing them this major headache?

devGuy
devGuy

Amazing coincidence. My son told me that HIS Xbox 360 died yesterday morning as well! We're also waiting for the box to arrive...

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Well from Press anouncements here this seems to be a very common problem. Apparently 40% of the 360 are failing but M$ is blaming their suppliers for this fault and not accepting any of the responsibility for making a less than perfect product. Seems that M$ can do no wrong and the companies who supply M$ with the parts can do nothing right. Just sounds like more of the M$ same old same old stories to me. Col

Don Ticulate
Don Ticulate

I have had a 360 for a couple of years and to date nothing has functioned incorrectly. Perhaps this is luck I do not know. What I do not want to find out that is when I return home tonight my 360 will be giving me the Evil Eye!

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I have almost purchased an Xbox 360 several times over the past year and a half. I have an original Xbox and some games that my son and I enjoy on it, but haven't been too excited about any 360 games. However, I have been interested in using the 360 as a digital media box, but I held off buying one because of the heat/fan/loudness issues and the horror stories of people sending them back. Now, I'm definitely going to steer clear of 360 altogether. My son and I play Nintendo GameCube much more than Xbox anyway (and we're still trying to find a Wii). I'm going to go in a different direction for my digital media box -- probably a HTPC.

sMoRTy71
sMoRTy71

I was commenting more on the how backed up their repair facilities must be if they are saying 4-6 weeks. My 2 earlier repairs were back in a week to 10 days. I do enjoy playing the XBOX 360, though, so 4-6 weeks is an inconvenience. If the Wii had any decent games besides Wii Sports, it wouldn't be so bad. BTW, gaming is a late night activity for me, so it has no impact on my outdoor activities, Dad. :)

Adrian W
Adrian W

Wow, I already posted but I hadn't read everyone's posts yet. Actually I'm not intending to, but this one caught my eye. That's actually a brilliant idea, to be honest. I would love to keep my hard drive, but replacing the system in it's entirety would be really nice. You know, like as a security measure. Even though I had only got mine at Christmas, but before June 16th (15th being my birthday, the day I got Xbox Live) I hadn't played the system too much. Ha, I so wished Microsoft read forums like this, and just happened to read your post. Ah well, we can dream. P.S. Don't you think MS would be a little too cheap to do things like that though?

sMoRTy71
sMoRTy71

No need to go off the deep end and get a PS3. I would rather have 4 more XBOX 360s replaced than suffer that fate.

EriccS
EriccS

What I read indicated that Microsoft was saying it was a hardware design fault (their own) rather than problems from suppliers. (Note that I have not read the actual announcement from MS, but rather industry responses.) I could most certainly be wrong about that though; MS taking full responsibility for the fault strikes me as... out of character.

Adrian W
Adrian W

Actually, I have an Xbox 360, and it works fine. No heating issues really, as long as you keep it vented and in an open place (not in front of a wall..), no loudness and no "fan" issues (what's that about??). You could just use Xbox as a media centre, from Xbox Live, and I do that, actually. You could always use the family content if you don't want your son to actually play the games online, but. It's a good investment, trust me, and the games are ridiculously fun. Just try the sports games, but if you're son is younger go with the Wii, as you said you were trying to find. Xbox is more for older kids, like ages 14 and over. Wii has Wii Sports, Zelda, Mario, etc. so. Also, the recall for Xbox's was awhile ago, actually, probably over a 6 months ago now? Well, have fun with whatever you decide.

Pringles86
Pringles86

If you don't use Xbox Live, you can mod your original Xbox, and put Xbox Media Center (XBMC) on it. This thing will play any sort of media files on it. You can also put in a larger hard drive to store as much as you want. I have a 300 GB HDD in mine, I have also ripped many games, DVDs, and CDs to it so you don't risk damaging the original discs. I never really bothered with the 360, I don't have much time to play games anymore :( I don't think any of my friends have had problems with theirs though.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

And here M$ is claiming that it's inferior products that where supplied to them that are causing the problems. But then again a little under 2 years ago M$ gave me a WiFi Mouse & Keyboard and I've had this replaced 3 times since I was originally given it and currently looks like I need another one as A,E and I all in lower Case don't work 100% of the time on the Keyboard and the Wheel on the Mouse is always tight first thing of the day for some reason. While M$ keeps replacing these units free I'll keep sending them back but the only thing different to the way that these originally came is that I use rechargeable batteries and not the conventional Batteries that came with the Mouse & Keyboard. I'll see if the place that I saw the report on has a copy of the M$ Press release or their own spin on it and post back if they do. Col

jasonhiner
jasonhiner

I know a few people who have done that and are really happy with it. Maybe I'll just go that route and get a big hard disk to stuff in there. Thanks for refreshing my memory about that option. Jason