Print 33 comment(s) - last by Trisped.. on Sep 25 at 2:21 PM

Red ring of death -- Image courtesy XBOXIC
Microsoft to offer free repairs for XBOX 360s manufactured before January 1; checks to be mailed to customers who have already paid

Well here's a bit of good news for XBOX 360 customers who've seen their console go up in smoke within the past year. For customers whose XBOX 360 console was manufactured before 01/01/2006, you are now eligible to receive free repairs should your console need attention. Customers who have already paid for repairs will receive checks in the mail within 5-8 weeks to cover their costs.

Confirmation of Microsoft's change of heart was first reported on the official XBOX Forum. A number of forums posters have confirmed the news and say that Microsoft is due to make an official announcement today with all details.

For those of you who have an XBOX 360 manufactured after January 1, I give you my condolences. This news comes just a day after Microsoft announced the Japanese due date for its XBOX 360 HD DVD drive and that it would add 1080p support to the XBOX 360 via an upcoming software update.

Update 9/22/06: Here's an official statement from Microsoft concerning XBOX 360 repairs:

As part of our standard and ongoing process of analyzing repair data, we recently noticed a higher than usual number of units coming in for repair. Upon further investigation, it was further discovered that the bulk of the units were isolated to a group that was part of the initial manufacturing run of the console. Returns for repair are coming in for a variety reasons and it's a higher rate than we are satisfied with. We've made the decision to comp repairs for consoles manufactured before January 1, 2006, and provide refunds to the small group of customers who have already paid for repairs.

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Too little too late?
By Scorpion on 9/21/2006 2:47:26 PM , Rating: 1
Geez, why did they wait so long to make this decision? Seems the harm has already been done, and now it's a little too late to try to make up for it. And why just the Jan. 1st cutoff? Were there not models with problems made after that?

RE: Too little too late?
By therealnickdanger on 9/21/2006 2:53:01 PM , Rating: 5
There may have been units made before that which were not sold until later or did not exhibit problems until some time after the cutoff date. They have taken the time to identify the problem and I'm sure they are well aware as to when they solved it in the production line. Props to Microsoft for even giving a poop. I'd still like to see Sony fix two of my old PS2s...

RE: Too little too late?
By Goty on 9/21/2006 3:43:17 PM , Rating: 3
It's a little different when it's a massive defect across a large number of console, not just a few that die out of random circumstances.

RE: Too little too late?
By KristopherKubicki on 9/21/2006 3:54:47 PM , Rating: 2
About a month ago my console's ethernet port died :( I tried to open the 360 up (ehem... well I am sure some of you know about that) but couldn't find anything wrong. Oh well, unfortunately I am not covered by this program I think.

RE: Too little too late?
By Locutus465 on 9/22/2006 12:53:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure, many playstation 2 owners I know are now on their 3rd console... that's pretty bad.

RE: Too little too late?
By oTAL on 9/22/2006 7:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
PS2s deaths are pretty massive. They are mostly due to excessive use, but they are still too high... laser lens gatting scratched was an extremelly common problem...

RE: Too little too late?
By Trisped on 9/25/2006 2:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
It is too little too late. Most people with problems have already chucked the things and went for something else. It is like the Sony camcorder I bought. A lot of the CCDs went bad, so their was a law suit. The result, if you paid to have it fix they would reimburs you. What about all the people that didn't have money to fix the problem in the first place. They are just left out in the cold with nothing. The company wins big because they don't have to do good testing before they ship, and it doesn't cost much to repair the few problems they say they will cover. They look like the good guys, when the customers are still stuck with the bill!

This is GREAT news! Can we give MS some credit?
By RedBeard on 9/21/2006 3:42:23 PM , Rating: 3
Can we at least appluad MicroSoft for stepping up to the plate? They didn't have to do this, but they have chosen to go the extra mile.

I don't own a xbox 360 (not yet) but I do remember my Playstation 2 and it's dodgy DVD drive. ;(

Everone likes to pile on Microsoft and sometimes rightfully so, but at least acknowledge when they do something good.

By robber98 on 9/21/2006 3:58:55 PM , Rating: 3
Yes, they didn't have to do this if:

1. Didn't rush for releasing 360 when it's not ready
2. Better quality assurance

By FightingChance on 9/21/2006 4:11:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, this is admission that standards were relaxed to produce more units to get more marketshare, regardless of their quality. I fear we will see the same thing with PS3's.

RE: This is GREAT news! Can we give MS some credit?
By Arkham1 on 9/21/2006 4:26:36 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed, and people should stop harping about the small percentage of PS2s that were legitimately screwed up. Mine was fixed for free and back in my hands in 5 days, shipping paid, 2 years after I got it. New drive, new head, new gears, everything. If you called and told them, you got it fixed. If you didn't, you were left crying in your smokey, dusty basement that probably caused the damage to begin with.

By Chillin1248 on 9/21/2006 6:50:42 PM , Rating: 3
My PS2 which I still use till this day as my main DVD player had a interesting problem crop up. One day all the games decided to stop working, yet the regular movie DVD playback worked fine. I called up to get it fixed and the Sony tech was most helpful and did appreciate the warranty and give me instructions, unfortunately I never had a chance to follow up on them due to time constraints. This was a first-gen PS2, otherwise it works flawlessly to this day and I am most pleased with it.


How did DT find out so quickly?
By Alpha4 on 9/21/2006 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 3
I work @ Xbox 360 Customer support and I only heard about this policy change two days ago. I was even considering leaking the info myself. ;)

On another note, certain consoles manufactured between january & march had an additional 90 days added to the manufacturer's warranty to make it a total of 180 days coverage, so 360 owners who purchased between those dates aren't totally out of luck.

By the way, Service Contract prices are as follow:
$29.95 / 1 year & $59.90 / 2 years

RE: How did DT find out so quickly?
By Draco on 9/21/2006 6:18:09 PM , Rating: 3
90 day warranty on such a product is seriously a crock. That should be illegal. In fact, I think it is illegal to have a warranty that short in other countries, like the UK.

RE: How did DT find out so quickly?
By Alpha4 on 9/21/2006 6:50:43 PM , Rating: 2
Our policies do comply with regional laws, so if your regional government dictates that all manufacturers offer a year warranty on their products than you're entitled to a that.

RE: How did DT find out so quickly?
By oTAL on 9/22/2006 7:30:49 AM , Rating: 1
Hooray for the EU that actually cares about protecting consumers from corporations.... In Europe most products have a minimum warranty of 2 years! ;)

By Manticorez on 9/22/2006 4:17:02 PM , Rating: 2
Well that is true in my state but it took a lot to get Microsoft to acknowledge it. I showed the Customer Reps the actual statutes. But that wasn't good enough instead you have to write and request a review by Microsoft's legal department. I am sure that is a simple process. Anyway I called my State AG's office and told them my story and about the others I have found onlne with the same problems. They told me not to bother writing MS legal they, would be quite happy to take up my cause. Their feeling was that Microsoft shouldn't be charging customers for the repairs under our state law.

Well I just got off the phone with XBOX and it looks like mine is gonna get fixed after all. So I guess I can call my state AG office and tell them to forget it. Too bad Microsoft put a lot of good customers through a lot of aggrevation before this got done. Very poor customer service and policy. No way to build loyalty in a market you are not the leader in.

By robber98 on 9/22/2006 1:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well... 90 days warranty suck, but I believe that's legal in US as long as the all info printed clearly. However, providing only 90 days warranty gives the customer a clue what kind of quality of the hardware they should expect.

how do we find our production date?
By SLEEPER5555 on 9/21/2006 2:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Is it on the console?

By klingon on 9/21/2006 3:30:50 PM , Rating: 2
The production date is on the back of the box i suppose.

By sc3252 on 9/21/2006 3:31:12 PM , Rating: 2
there is probably a serial number on the bottom of the console tells when it was made.

How are the current models?
By Draco on 9/21/2006 3:23:31 PM , Rating: 2
Are the more recently manufactured units more reliable?

RE: How are the current models?
By CitizenKain on 9/21/2006 5:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Probably not. I purchased mine almost 3 months ago, and it hasn't worked since 9/1. That was after I had sent in for a replacement powerbrick after the first one died. I certainly am glad that I'm paying XboxLive and I can't use it.

How about games that can't be used because of 360
By hstewarth on 9/21/06, Rating: 0
By chrisg22 on 9/21/2006 9:06:02 PM , Rating: 2
if you 360 isn't set up vertical or horizontal, how DO you have the 360 set up? don't understand why anyone would have it set up at an angle

By dice1111 on 9/22/2006 9:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
Could have built his own shelving without a level.

"Dammit Jim, I'm a geek, not a carpenter!"

No Problems with mine
By limestallc on 9/21/2006 11:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
I bought my 360 on the first day and have had no problems at all, and the same can be said for the friends of mine that also got 360's.

RE: No Problems with mine
By Salman on 9/22/2006 1:06:30 AM , Rating: 2
it's to counter Sony's sudden price cuts in Japan, from $499 to $430 and to get in users' good books...

By MonkeyPaw on 9/21/2006 4:52:12 PM , Rating: 3
I see this a bit like a product recall. Rather than recalling all the products, MS is just offering a free repair on the defective ones. It makes them look generous, and all the while, they save money that a total recall would have set them back. I guess they just expect some early manufacturing defects, but nothing serious.

RE: Pseudo-recall?
By Spivonious on 9/21/06, Rating: 0
Wait for it...
By ajfink on 9/21/2006 4:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, the newer ones tend to have fewer problems. The same goes for nearly any tech product, save for when actual hardware changes are made. Bugs and kinks are worked out, etc.

I suggest waiting for the integrated HD-DVD models. Also, the processor's manufacturing process will be shrunk to 65nm soon, if I recall correctly, which will result in less heat and power usage.

By 4AnandBlondes on 9/22/2006 12:01:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, that's right...I will soon have my 4th Xbox 360 since launch. That's less than a year folks. I'd say there is a problem. I believe I was sent an entire new unit each time too. It's not sitting in a confined space or on the carpet. I even bought the Nyko Intercooler after the last one died. It helped make it last 6 months instead of 2 months like the first 2 did. Thankfully Microsoft has been very helpful each time and I haven't paid a dime for it. I just really hope this is the last time I have to send it in. I love the thing, but this is ridiculous. I bought Dead Rising and it's just sitting here calling my name in it's zombie-like voice.

By Trugentleman02 on 9/22/2006 4:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
It's nice to know that they are accepting responsibility. I will probably send in my xbox 360. My 360 doesn't have any major problems, but it does show the dirty disk problem way more than I would like even though my disks have no scratches. And because that shows up more often than not on a loading or saving screen, it corrupts my saved data which I have to delete. So, it's way annoying when you're trying to unlock an achievement that takes a long time to unlock.

"We can't expect users to use common sense. That would eliminate the need for all sorts of legislation, committees, oversight and lawyers." -- Christopher Jennings
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