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Waaaaaaaaaitta minute... this is not my Xbox 360!

Letter informing me that this is a different Xbox 360 and that I get a free Xbox Live card, sans the card
After two weeks of waiting, I have an Xbox 360 again... except that this one wasn't mine to begin with

About two weeks ago, my Xbox 360 gave me the evil eye in the form of the Red Ring of Death. Just days later, Microsoft quickly dispatched me an empty box to transport the dead console to an outsourced ‘repair’ facility.

Unlike Brandon’s experience, however, I did not receive an email when my console was received nor did I get any update when the replacement would be sent out. I phoned customer service after a week of waiting, and they verified that Teleplan in Vaughn, ON had received my console, but was apparently backed up.

Out of curiosity, I asked the rep if he had any idea if the recent changes in Xbox 360 warranty policy applied to Canada as well. In particular, I was interested to know if I would be getting my original console back or a refurb. Interestingly, the rep told me that Canada is the only country where its under-warranty customers get new consoles as replacements instead of refurbs. From the commentsposted by readers from my last story, we know that this is not the case.

A week after the call, a package showed up at my door. It was an Xbox 360 alright, but it wasn’t mine – it was a refurb. I can’t say that I’m unhappy with the refurb, as it actually works and I can get back to Xbox Live gaming again, though I would rather have MY console back for a couple of reasons. One, all the Xbox Live Arcade games are now unplayable unless they are accessed through my specific account – a minor moan but it definitely takes a little usability away from my original experience. And two, this refurb has a bit of a noisy fan, sounding a little bit like my PC case fan just a few months before it died completely. For reference, the console I sent in was manufactured April 28, 2006 and the one I received in return is newer, from August 8, 2006. Both consoles have the Samsung drive.

I understand that in certain circumstances, an Xbox 360 may be so far beyond help that there may be no other alternative than to replace it, and if new consoles were used as replacements instead of refurbs, then the landfills would all too quickly get full with mountains of Red Ringed consoles.

I’m quite thankful that my console was still under warranty. When I bought my Xbox 360, I did so knowing full well that it came with only a 90-day warranty, and I also decided to take my chances without the in-store warranty ($90 for another year on-top of Microsoft’s factory warranty). If it weren’t for Microsoft coming to their senses and revising the 90-day warranty to a year, I would have been SOL.

My stance on extended warranties still hasn’t changed, though in the case of the fragile Xbox 360, I am considering the Microsoft offer of $24 (or $26 CAD) per year of extended coverage. I have until the end of my existing warranty to think about it, but I almost view an extended warranty as part of the Xbox 360 experience. Xbox Live Gold is a necessary $60 a year to enjoy the console to the fullest, and now in my books, another $24 is required as Xbox Insurance.

At least for all my troubles, Microsoft decided to give me a one-month free extension card for Xbox Live... except they forgot to include the card inside the box. Sigh.

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I finally got my unit back this week also
By OxBow on 4/26/2007 9:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
After a month of fussing with MS, I finally got my console back this week from McAllen, TX. It's my original unit, for which I'm somewhat thankful. I haven't had a chance to check it out yet to see if it works, since after a month without, I forgot where I stored the accesories (that power brick is big, you'd think it would be hard to misplace).

I thought they had forgotten the Xbox Live card also, it wasn't with the rest of the papers. Check your box, in mine the card slipped under one of the flaps of the box.

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 10:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
Glad you got your console back. Looks like you really deserved at least that free month of XBL.

I just had a Hotel Dusk 215 moment of searching the cardboard box, but unfortunately, I didn't find any such card. Sad panda. :(

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By Quiksel on 4/26/2007 11:35:13 AM , Rating: 2
Hey Marcus,

So what are you going to do about it? Honestly, I'm hoping to God you call them back with the complaint that the guy told you the wrong thing, your new fan is noisy as hell, and you didn't get your card in the box after getting your hopes up.

Seems like an incredibly bad customer service experience, and you best do something about to at least give them the chance to make it right.

As far as I am concerned, it sounds like you're getting screwed. So best take it up with em. :)

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By OxBow on 4/26/2007 11:45:22 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry that you couldn't find the card in your box.

I'd consider it a business expense to call them up and ask about it. Your blog should justify the use of your time and coverage, however the process turns out.

Good luck

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 5:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
I rang them up and the rep didn't seem that aware of the fact that they often give out free months of Live membership with the refurb/repair boxes, but didn't give me any hassle about it. Instead, he put me on hold to go talk to a supervisor, and after that I was instructed to FAX in my letter stating that I am entitled to a that Live card.

There's a bit of a runaround here, and I'd probably be mildly annoyed if I didn't have a fax machine in my home.

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By johnsonx on 4/26/2007 5:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
Hey Marcus, how come you don't have one of them new DT logos by your name? Are you not the REAL Marcus Yam?

RE: I finally got my unit back this week also
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 5:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for the reminder, apparently the DT sticker had fallen off my lapel.

Now I just need to find that red Swingline stapler around here to nail it back on.

By KristopherKubicki on 4/26/2007 5:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
amg. Doppleganger!

Extending the warranty?
By exanimas on 4/26/2007 7:12:36 AM , Rating: 2
I am considering the Microsoft offer of $24 (or $26 CAD) per year of extended coverage.

I'm pretty new to 360s since I just got mine about 3 weeks ago, so pardon the stupid question, but are you saying that you can pay $24 have Microsoft extend the warranty by a year for as many as you'll pay for? If so, how would I go about doing this for mine? Thanks for any reply.

RE: Extending the warranty?
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 8:35:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure if it's as many years as you'll pay for, though they did offer me either a one or two year extension, giving you at least a three year warranty total.

It's hard to say at this point what Microsoft will do for those who want a longer than three year warranty, considering only now are people heading past their first year with the console.

It still sucks that you pretty much have to buy a warranty, but at least it's cheaper than the ones from retailers.

RE: Extending the warranty?
By Marcus Yam on 4/27/2007 8:03:04 AM , Rating: 2
I just read through the extended warranty documentation and it looks like Microsoft will cover you for as long as you are willing to pay for the warranty. I think that the max amount that you can purchase at once is two years, but you can extend it even further once that time is up.

RE: Extending the warranty?
By exanimas on 4/27/2007 6:20:06 PM , Rating: 2
Ah I see, that's interesting. So how do I go about extending it? I may add another year or 2 onto it. $50 to protect my $400 investment is nothing.

RE: Extending the warranty?
By Marcus Yam on 4/28/2007 2:43:17 AM , Rating: 2
If your console is still under warranty, you just call 1-800-MYXBOX up and say you want to give into their ransom demands.

RE: Extending the warranty?
By jadedeath on 4/29/2007 11:30:51 AM , Rating: 3
50 bucks, plus your Live membership, that's why Microsoft is making money.

Might as well have an add-on on the system that tells you to bend over in front of it and pull your pants down before you start playing.


RE: Extending the warranty?
By exanimas on 5/15/2007 1:57:09 AM , Rating: 1
Even though this topic is getting dated, you are correct. I just recently went out and purchased a 13 month (12 + 1 "bonus") live membership, an additional wireless controller, and Gears of War. All together I spent about $128, and if I didn't have my employee discount, it would've been more like $160+. Now with all this controversy over the RRoD, I may just have (along with about 10 million others) already bent over for Microsoft by spending so much money.

afraid to even play 360
By vitul on 4/26/2007 11:27:28 PM , Rating: 2
all these red rings of death really have me not even wanting to use my xbox360. people knock on the ps3 all the time but really red ring of deaths shouldnt even be part of the warrenty of a year it should just be a simple recall for the lifetime of the 360.

there bad design of the 360 which is causing this to keep happening or to happen in the first place shouldnt be the customers problem, nor should it be the customers dollar. if you bought a car and for as many stories as you hear about the 360 applied to cars and all that car did was overheat they would be fixing it for free even if the recall happened 3 years after the car was on the market.

I will say this if my 360 gets a red ring of death outside my warrenty (summer) then i will buy a ps3 and never buy a microsoft console again.

RE: afraid to even play 360
By MonkeyPaw on 4/27/2007 10:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
While you are right to be concerned about the questionable build quality of the 360, there's no real guarantee about the PS3's long term reliability either. It hasn't been out long enough to know how solid the early builds are. The 360 had early production issues and it appears that the early units are failing, but guess what? The PS3 had early production issues too. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about Blu-Ray drive failures in the future. It's just the nature of early production electronics.

Unfortunately, my 360 is starting to RROD. It's unusual, since I will start a game (Prey) and it will lock up in 5-10 minutes. Restarting the console is a gamble. It might RROD, it might get halfway through the intro screen and lock, or it might just start up just fine. If I go back into the game, I might have more problems, or it may just keep on playing. The strangest thing is that once the machine gets going for a while (30min), I can then play indefinitely without any more problems. However, the next time I cold start the machine, it's crash-city all over again.

Funniest part? The RROD problems started exactly 367 days after my original purchase date. Before that, it had never crashed once! Considering the cost of the console when I bought it, I opted for MS's $49 3-year warranty, so I'm still protected. I'm not sure when I'll call MS, either. I'm tempted to see if I can play the system until it won't startup anymore. I want my 360 to be displaying its bad behavior when I return it, so the techs can clearly see that it is broken. Like with car repairs, I fear that when I return my 360, it will act like nothing is wrong and nothing will get fixed. :|

RE: afraid to even play 360
By Marcus Yam on 4/28/2007 2:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
Is that $49 for a 2 year extension for a 3 year total warranty... or something else?

RE: afraid to even play 360
By MonkeyPaw on 4/28/2007 11:07:28 AM , Rating: 2
When I bought the unit, it came with an offer from MS to extend the warranty to 3 years for $49USD. I sent it in, and they sent back my warranty info. The warranty covers everything inside the console, and even promises to replace the unit with whatever is equal or better, it necessary. (It would be cool to get an elite for a replacement, but I seriously doubt that this will happen) This warranty expires in November of 2008.

Interestingly, I called the XBOX hotline yesterday and tried their recommended fix of unplugging the unit and removing the drive, then put it back together again. Since I've done this, it has worked without issue. Of course it has just been a day, but I played a considerable amount yesterday.

RE: afraid to even play 360
By Marcus Yam on 4/28/2007 2:42:14 AM , Rating: 2
If the console is still under warranty, then what's there to fear about playing the crap out of it?

XBL Points recovery
By Alpha4 on 4/26/2007 1:50:50 PM , Rating: 4
'Ey Marcus. Since you got a replacement unit you can actually call in and request a Points reimbursement. The system logs the time & date of every MS points transaction, so 360 support can easily cross-reference the transaction dates and amounts with the documented date of your console replacement and re-issue the points accordingly.

What would go down is the agent you speak with will have to forward your request to a Tier 2 agent (Supervisor) and they would require 5-10 business days after which you might receive a call by the Tier 2 agent with a new code to redeem or a message telling you to call 4-my-xbox. If u don't hear back just call in a week and they'll probably have your code. It seldom takes 10 working days to actually process.

Don't forget to keep your SR #'s ;). I suggest writing them down in those useless "comments" section of one of your game manuals.

RE: XBL Points recovery
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 5:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
You seem a bit familiar with these matters. :P Speaking from personal experience?

Yeah, I'm aware that they'll reimburse your points, and that's probably something I would do if I ever get annoyed with this XBLA/account flaw. For now, I may just leave it since I haven't purchased that many XBLA games and no else really plays the console other than me.

RE: XBL Points recovery
By Alpha4 on 4/30/2007 6:15:48 PM , Rating: 2
I used to work for Xbox 360 support actually :S. Please don't hold that against me though. I did quit after all. Last September to be exact. Regarding the points, you might as well hit up the reimbursement and save them for other content.

By Enoch2001 on 4/26/2007 7:00:19 AM , Rating: 2
I had the same thing happen to me just a month ago (in the US though). Are you sure that it's refurbished and not a new unit? I was told that the refurbished units would have a "refurbished" sticker on the bottom (mine did not) and it would state that it was refurbished in the letter (both yours and mine read "replacement unit"). Just curious...

My trouble began when my DVD-ROM started acting weird - wouldn't open, wouldn't stay closed, etc. They fixed my first unit, but sent it back with deactivated wireless. When I sent it to them the second time, I got the "replacement" unit.


RE: Hmmm...
By Marcus Yam on 4/26/2007 10:04:42 AM , Rating: 2
Hmm, no way to tell for sure if it's a new one or refurb, though mine has a sticker on top of the serial number on the back, perhaps indicating that it's not an original unit.

Also, the IR receiver on the front has a few scratches on it along with a few patches of dirtiness on the console. Hard to describe, but that console arrived with that 'not so fresh feeling.'

RE: Hmmm...
By MrTeal on 4/26/2007 5:50:36 PM , Rating: 2
You would think if it was manufactured 8 months ago it would have to be refurbished.

If not, MS sure has alot of stock in the channel.

Man this can get expensive...
By sxr7171 on 4/26/2007 12:11:15 PM , Rating: 3
The 360 IMHO is just as expensive in the long run as the PS3, but I think it is a better gaming machine anyway. The PS3 with it's outrageous price immediately announces it's expensiveness, while the 360 seems to cost the same but in a piecemeal fashion.

By the time you get an HDMI equipped console you are at $480 (assuming you have the HDTV needed to fully enjoy a next-gen console, you want HDMI), then add a play and charge kit, then add XBox live subscription, then add wireless adapter if you need that you are easily at $600+ all of a sudden. On top of this you will be paying for shipping on the 360 at least once during your ownership it seems. Every single one of my friends has needed to ship out at least one 360 (some had to ship out 2). Yes, it is a better gaming machine IMHO than the PS3 but it is no cheaper. So whether you want a 360 or PS3 you will be out $600 one way or another, which brings me to my real point: consoles are just really expensive these days in general and better warranty and service are expected.

RE: Man this can get expensive...
By jadedeath on 4/29/2007 11:44:39 AM , Rating: 1
opinions are like assholes, everyone has one.

So, by your own admission, {of guilt} the 360 essentially ends up being just as expensive as PS3?

Then why side with the 360? At least PS3 tells you up front "yeah this is expensive, but hey, here we are" while MS tries to screw you with hidden costs and expensive add-ons. Plus, wouldn't you want to play a game that takes you a little more than 3 days to finish top-to-bottom?


Credit card?
By Zoomer on 4/27/2007 6:26:57 PM , Rating: 2
If you charged it to a credit card, or amex, a lot of cards have free warranty extensions. Mine has up to a year after the manufacturer warranty expires.

You can check to see if that's applicable. :)

By masa77 on 4/30/2007 12:15:55 PM , Rating: 2
After I received the red ring of fire myself, I returned my console for repair. Like Marcus I was shipped a replacement console, not the original. Two weeks later that console died and again I was shipped a replacement. A week into use of the third console the fan began to fail, much like a PC fan does, resulting in a lot of noise. It took me 30 plus minutes of arguing with some moronic tech and the returns manager to finally get them to issue a replacement. Apparently they are all clueless as to what a defective fan is. The returns manager was insistent on telling me that my hoover like vaccuum cleaner exhaust fan was normal.

I decided to get myself an extended warranty after all of that headache just in case. Can't say dealing with Microsoft was one of the more pleasant experiences I've had.

The Canadian returns manager is a complete imbecil.

By Learn2play007 on 5/16/2007 12:58:57 AM , Rating: 2
I am active military and I have a canadian fiancee who lives 35 minutes from the US Washington Border. Spring update and all of a sudden none of the downloadable content works. "This content is not available in your region". My fiancee brought this for me. It has lived at her house forever and now micro$oft forces me to take a fancier looking mod/update that HAXORS all of my attempted downloadables. No help from microsoft on this either. Licensing yadda yadda Rights. FTC where are you. I want a full refund since my Wii is my primary gaming sytem and this 360 box is now completely useless to me conveinently 5 months after I bought. Im so tired of this. When I first bought it I couldn't buy points until I called in. Then all was fine until this stupid update SPRUNG into my box. They might tell you to make a new Player ID in the region you are in ie Canada or Japan. DONT WASTE YOUR TIME! Canadian player ID's have a total of approx 10 downloads combined games and videos. Maybe it has to do with the CRTC that everything needs to be english/french in canada, I have no idea. I have a feeling everywhere else is much worse after all Canada is N.America last time I checked. I will place this on as many sites as I can as long as I am ticked off. Nice one hollywood. Screw your troops when they most likely have nothing else to do for some much needed relaxation behind enemy lines.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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