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.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan
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