Retailers are claiming that Microsoft has had to handle a failure rate of over 30% with their Xbox 360 console. More than 100 consumers have written to SmartHouse complaining of either poor service from Microsoft or total failure of their gaming console. One consumer was even given back a refurbished unit in exchange for their original Xbox console
Several months ago SmartHouse raised the issue of potential problems with the Xbox 360 after several readers wrote to us complaining of persistent failures. Even one of our testing Xbox 360 systems that we use to review software failed and had to be returned to Microsoft for repair. Other consumers have complained of sending off their Xbox for repair only to get a different re furbished unit back.
During the past few weeks SmartHouse has received email after email from Xbox 360 owners complaining of problems. Ironically a lot of the problems seem to appear after 12 months of use.
Steve & Jo Kitcher wrote" Just to let you know that after 13 months, just outside of warranty, I have the "rings of death". Next step for me is to find out repair cost and contemplating going to PS3"
Ron Harris wrote "I have had my Xbox 360 exactly one year and now I have got the ring of death and it won't even boot up".
Andrew & Kathryn Smith of Sydney claim to have had a torrid time with Microsoft over the failure of their Xbox 360.
In an email to Smarthouse they wrote" My Xbox 360 suffered a hardware failure so I contacted the XBOX Support Centre (located in India) and was advised to send it back to the repair centre located in Regents Park (NSW). 2 weeks later what I thought was my XBOX 360 was sent to me with a letter stating "....We have repaired YOUR Xbox video game system per the terms of the warranty and are returning the system to you...."Upon opening the package I found that it was in fact not my Xbox 360 as it was dirty and the serial number was not the same as the one I sent to them!
I called the support number to query this and after being put on hold for some time the consultant advised me that the console I received was a "refurbished" Xbox and I was then asked if I was having problems with the console? .
I said no however questioned why my console wasn't returned to me and why I was sent a second hand box instead. The consultant then said "Sir if you have any problem with this console then to quote the reference number and call them back. I advised that I wasn't satisfied with this as I don't know the history of the replacement box and would be taking this further.
I called the Department of Fair Trading to enquire as to whether the practice was allowed, and I was advised that it was not and I was entitled to one of the following :
1. My Xbox repaired and returned,
2. A new replacement box or
3. My money refunded if unsatisfied wit the service/repair
when I called Microsoft back I talked to a "supervisor" who informed me that regardless of what I thought he was of the opinion that they had in fact done the right thing.
However he would consult with his colleagues and call me back. I also advised the supervisor that his opinion had no bearing on my rights as a consumer in Australia.
The call-back hasn't happened yet.
I also asked how I would go about receiving a refund as I was unhappy with the service and receiving a second hand replacement console and was advised I would need to go back to where I bought it from.
I then called the store I purchased the console from and was advised that to receive a full refund I would need to obtain a return authorisation number from Microsoft.
When I then called Microsoft to obtain the Return authorisation number I was told they would not provide me one as this was only available after 30 days of purchase.... Buyers Beware I will be contacting Department of Fair Trading to pursue this further.
According to Microsoft there is no problem with the Xbox 360 despite Smarthouse receiving over 100 emails of complaint. They say "There is not a single root cause or systemic issue with any Xbox 360 console but we continue to look at ways to make improvements to our products and services.
"Microsoft takes its customers' feedback very seriously and we are doing everything in our power to address concerns brought to our attention," the spokesperson said.
www.current.com.au wrote recently According to an EB Games store manager, who wished to remain anonymous, failure rates for the Xbox 360 have dropped in recent times but still outweigh hardware failures for competing consoles.
"We are definitely getting faulty hardware returns of the Xbox 360, but no-where near as much as we used to when it first came out," he said.
"On initial launch, it was close to 30 per cent of our [Xbox 360s] were coming back faulty".
A Sydney retailer said "Out the Nintendo Wii, the PS3 and the Xbox 360 the Microsoft product is the only one that we have had constant problems with. In fact when we sell the Xbox 360 we tell customers to contact Microsoft if they "Ever have a problem".
"At one stage we were getting calls everyday however this has slowed down. The failure rate must be well over 30% which when you look at a PC or iPod the failure rate is less than 2%.