Nintendo Replaces Soused DS Lite Free Of Charge

“While moving to our new house last week a friend who was helping us accidentally spilt beer on my son’s DS lite and it stopped working. I knew that his DS was still under warranty, but I also knew that I would not cover physical damage caused by neglect. After checking Nintendo’s website, and confirming that spilling liquid on it would not be covered and that I would have to pay for the repair.”

Well if you have a child (mine is 4) you know having a portable gaming system can make things like Doctor visits and trips to the DMV a lot less fidgety, so I called up Nintendo with Visa in hand ready to shell out at least 80 or 90 dollars. After being on hold for all of 20 seconds a very nice gentleman answered, and asked why I was calling. I explained that my son’s DS would not power on and before I could go any further he asked me to provide me with the serial number and after looking up my information (I register all my Nintendo products online) he told me that they would be sending me a replacement DS and all I had to do was ship the old one back to them, they even provided a shipping label. Already happy beyond belief I was even more surprised when they sent it 2 day UPS air!!!! GO NINTENDO! I have had returned my Xbox 360 7 times for repair and never received treatment anywhere near that nice.

Nintendo went out of its way to keep reader Mike happy. Sure, Nintendo could have claimed that the sloshed Nintendo was abused and neglected – but rather than prate about rules and warranties, Nintendo treated their customer with compassion and empathy. That is how you earn loyalty.

(Photo: mightynine)

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  1. Phildawg says:

    Honestly… It doesn’t seem like Nintendo went out of it’s way… They don’t know the damage was done by abuse, they just know it doesn’t power on.

    More than likely this is just an employee who is more concerned about handling call volume than getting specifics on problems and possible warranty violations.

    I think Nintendo is probably a great company, but what just happened was a no questions asked warranty exchange. Don’t expect that to EVER be the rule when it comes to these type items. Just consider it lucky.

  2. vr4z06gt says:

    i agree

  3. it’s definitely nice of them, and i have had great experience with them in the past, but i can only imagine this will go sour as soon as every retard tries to do this with their ds that they left out in the street or whatever. nintendo’s got more money than god now, so i’m sure that played a part in the snappy replacement.

  4. MystiMel says:

    Yeah, I once got my DS dampened by water and called and told them about it and they said it’d cost some money to repair it… I tried to turn it on but the screen was all messed up and scrolling and it wouldn’t hold the basic memory of my name and the time and date… I waited a while longer and after the water fully dried it was just fine, no problem whatsoever. Great product, I could have totally screwed it up by turning it on while it was damp, but it was okay and recovered perfectly. Go nintendo!

  5. sonichghog says:

    Hey. At leats it was not killed by dust. I bet if it was dust they would say no. Or was that Sony….

  6. adehus says:

    Sony, you’re no Nintendo!

  7. ExtraCelestial says:

    oh darn someone else got to the ps3 dust joke before i did

  8. Fry says:

    @Phildawg: Nintendo did what it always does: They stood behind their product. I don’t think a company like Nintendo has employees that worry about call volume. As a long-time fan of them, I can safely say that what this employee did is normal behaviour across the whole company, not just the one employee.

  9. DashTheHand says:

    Seems moderately dishonest. An untrained or lazy CSR not asking the common questions off the sheet that would have made this categorically denied.

  10. sonichghog says:

    When My Wii broke, I sent it in. In less than 2 weeks from the time it broke, I got a working one back.

    The repair report said they could not find the problem with the unit, so they just sent me another one.

    Nintendo support is first class.

  11. XTC46 says:

    not out of their way, just a lazy CSR and a not totally honest consumer.

    Im glad it got taken care of, but had you said “I spilled beer on my DS lite and now its broken” they wouldn’t have done the repair, but becasue you let them assume the DS just stopped working, they took care of it for you.

  12. XTC46 says:

    I forgot to add, its things like this that cause crappy customer service. The company will eventually get hit with so many out of warranty replacements, they will force their CSRs to ask the pain in the ass scripted questions to make sure they aren’t replacing out of warranty things. We expect companies to be honest with us, but then we aren’t with them. Seems hypocritical.

    and please don’t give me that crap about standing behind their product. Electronics aren’t made to have beer spilled on them, that is pure neglect and no one can expect a company to “stand behind their product” if the customer refuses to take care of their stuff.

  13. sonichghog says:

    This is not out of what Nintendo normally does. My Friend’s son dropped his DS and the sreen was messed up. Nintendo still fixed if under warranty, and they did know it was dropped.

    Its not bad CS, its just what they do.

  14. sonichghog says:

    But everyone here would probably agree, that if Nintendo did not do this under warranty, they would not really be bad for it.

  15. redkamel says:

    yeah consumer you f’d up, this is totally dishonest on your (for outright LYING) and Nintendos part (for doing something not legally obligated to). I can’t believe a giant corporation focused on gaming and fun would still have the heart to replace a childs gaming machines when it is literally rolling in dough and enjoys number one selling consoles across the board. That is beyond my belief that they might do that. I should just start a blog called “the businessist” where people can post good and bad things a company has done and people can be told how it is all their fault no matter what (it usually is).

  16. redkamel says:

    @xtc46: I agree, its not companies trying to gyp consumers or just not caring, its actually providing customer service when not obligated to that does lead to crappy customer service and a lower bottom line (since this man will probably continue to buy xboxes, but no more Nintendo equipment).

  17. SaraAB87 says:

    Nintendo has done this for other people before too, they are often known to replace things out of warranty and for other reasons. They probably also want good PR during the busy holiday shopping season. They replaced my DS Lite too even though I had a really weird problem with it (obviously not caused by a fault of my own as I take care of all my stuff), they didn’t even question it just sent a replacement. Not to mention they sent it for repair to the closest repair center, only about 3 hours away from my house so the turnaround time was very short, not even 2 weeks. I have heard of people getting back faulty replacements but mine was perfect.

  18. mabus says:

    one of my kids knocked my Wii off the top of a projection tv. Nintendo replaced it under warranty, no questions asked and they even reset the warranty period for another year.

    Despite their reputation as a “kiddie game” company, as a consumer electronics manufacturer, they certainly know how to take care of their customers well.

    the big N certainly deserves a big thumbs up here at the Consumerist.

  19. uricmu says:

    @Phildawg: I’m not so sure. I think Nintendo are starting to go the (original) Apple way of building a good customer base. Look at how they gave out all those “wii gloves” for free, even though they were not legally liable for any broken TVs.

  20. jamar0303 says:

    @redkamel: But other people will go with Nintendo over the rest when they hear this. I expect no less from Nintendo, to be honest, same as I expect from any other console company (which is why I only bought a PSP once- an import).

  21. spinachdip says:

    @xtc46: Yes, you hit the nail right on the head!

    Deceptive customers are the reason why most American companies have decided to take a dumper on customer service and shortened the obsolence cycle to an absolute minimum. And it has nothing to do with pressure from shareholders and retailers to squeeze the crap out of the margins and lower prices and costs at all cost, even if it means saying to hell with customer satisfaction and brand value. No no, it’s those evil customers who lie to them, pouring beer on their toys en masse and demanding new machines.

  22. I have had returned my Xbox 360 7 times for repair and never received treatment anywhere near that nice.

    And yet you keep buying one. I’d have gone to Wii or PS3 by this point if my console kept failing.

  23. @Papa Midnight: Sentence correction, “And yet you keep buying one” should read “And yet you still cling onto one”.

  24. diggtatorship says:

    With all the people saying this this is just luck and what-not, I had to put my two cents in. I was one of the .03% of gamecube customers who got a faulty unit at launch time. It worked for about a week and then wouldn’t read discs. I called nintendo on a tuesday, took my system to the local service center on wednesday and on thursday I had a new system sitting on my doorstep. No questions asked, no red tape, just unbelievably fast service.

  25. Shadowfire says:

    Nintendo has a pretty solid reputation for handling hardware problems within (and often outside of) the warranty period. I remember reading stories of people whose GBA systems went through car windows during accidents and the systems either still working, or Nintendo replacing systems that had broken. When Gamecubes had problems with power supplies failing (not as common as PS2 DREs, but still out there), Nintendo took care of them.

    I mean, say what you will about them, Nintendo supports their customers and their products. :^:

  26. PingPongDarts says:

    Whatever your thoughts are regarding the ethics of the consumer mentioned in this article, Nintendo has a very long track record of superb customer service. In the last two years I have come across at least two dozen or so articles praising Nintendo’s treatment of their customers and I have no doubt that reports like these go back even further as I once had to return my old SNES for repairs way back in the day (they ended up sending me a new one instead of replacing a few minor parts that would have been much cheaper).

    Now it is possible that the CSR in this article was “lazy” or “new” as some people have suggested, but if you had walked into one of their branch headquarters with the same problem and told the front desk (as many have), you would have probably received the same treatment–if not better, so I’m inclined to say that this is just how their customer service works.

  27. Tobot says:

    Sadly, when the hinge on my daughter’s DS froze and she cracked the corner housing the indicator light off when she tried to open it, I was told that was not covered by the warranty. The caller did knock 25 dollars off of the fee and the price was a lot better than buying a new one. It went smoothly and I feel that it was a positive experience.

  28. mexicantvdinner says:

    The key thing is that the liquid damage wasn’t mentioned. If it had been, then the options would’ve changed (but while there would be a cost, it still would’ve been less than buying a new one).

    The problem with power issues is that they can be both warranty or non-warranty, and that’s why the CSR gave the benefit of the doubt and set things up the way they did.

    In the end, while Nintendo will eat the repair fee, the guy will have a DS faster and obviously reacted positively to the experience, so odds are that they go out on Black Friday and purchase a few Nintendo games to make up the difference (leaving it all a wash).

  29. Akamaru says:

    Folks, this is not out of the ordinary for Nintendo customer service. They seem to be more focused on happy customers than pinching pennies over warranty costs.

    That said, I think it was VERY dishonest of that individual to have Nintendo replace the DS, which was damaged due to USER NEGLIGENCE.

    It’s people like this who give validity to the common business practice of absolutely horribly customer service. The run around, the scripted phone calls, and the RMA process are all an attempt to weed out people like this.

    When the pleasant customer service gravy train runs to a hault, we’ll know who to blame.

  30. glich says:

    Nintendo has always been great about in and out or warranty support (I had to use out of warranty once on a game boy that got baked). Not to mention with the exception of the original NES and the N64 they are build like tanks. They are stories about original gameboys that looked like they had been though WW3 and still worked (One they dried out) and of me and my friends we have seen many PS3 and 360s croak but no DS’s, gamecubes or WII’s

  31. sonichghog says:

    @Akamaru: They may have replaced it even if he said he spilled something on it.

    From my Friends experience, they replaced a broken unit under warranty that HE SAID that was dropped.

    Its not just Price that is selling the Wii, CS goes a long way.

  32. gamabunta says:

    @Phildawg: “They don’t know the damage was done by abuse, they just know it doesn’t power on.”

    Agreed.

  33. CuriousO says:

    They’ll probably send him a bill once they find out it was soaked in booze.

  34. Torabo says:

    Based from what was said, one of the following could be true:

    1. Nintendo would replace an NDS that wouldn’t power on for any reason (As much as I’d like to believe this, I find it unlikely)
    2. The CS rep was in a really good mood that day
    3. Someone high up at nintendo saw the smear campaign on sony’s cs on FOX, and decided that they don’t want to go on the news for something like that anytime soon so issued an order allowing replacements for almost any reason for the time being.
    (Not sure about the timing, as the article did not actually specify when this occured)
    4. Nintendo is rolling in cash, and the actual failure rate of their hardware is extremely low (less powerful, older tech -> more reliable hardware) so they can afford replacements for almost any reason unless people start abusing this. They also like good rep before holidays. (Also keep in mind the price of the Nintendo hardware is above cost, where as MS and Sony’s hardware were being sold below cost, when you pay more than what something costs… well, you should get better service to begin with)
    5. Any other possible reason that I may have missed.

    Personally I’m leaning towards number 3 or number 4 right now, not sure which as I don’t know the actual timing. But calling Sony out on this is just ridiculous. Nintendo went out of its way. Sony did not. This does not mean Sony has bad CS, it just means Nintendo has really good CS.

  35. bufftbone says:

    Now, if Nintendo would only ship out some more Wii systems………

  36. Phildawg says:

    @uricmu: The best defense is a good offense. By Nintendo giving out the gloves, they avoided the inevitable lawsuits and accusations of them not doing anything. It’s an excellent move and was almost certainly approved and supported by their lawyers.

  37. Phildawg says:

    SWEET! Best way to get a DS Lite? Buy a broken one on eBay for 20 bucks and do this! WOW! I bet you could make a lot of money off this by doing it a lot of reselling them!!!!!!

    /sarcasm off

    A company that doesn’t enforce their warranty terms consistently could run into a lot of legal issues. When you make to many exemptions, you can invalidate your ability on the non-exemptions.

  38. SaraAB87 says:

    That won’t work, you have to have a valid serial number on the unit and the unit still has to be under warranty to qualify for warranty repair. Also if the clerk didn’t scan your system’s serial number at the POS when you were buying the system you may be required to provide a reciept that you actually purchased the system. Broken DS’s go for a lot more on ebay though..

    I don’t think Nintendo warrants systems that were purchased “used”, and they can tell by the serial number… although with their customer service, they might do it!

  39. Christopher says:

    I agree that this may be a case of the CSR not knowing that the unit was water damaged, but I would like to say that I think Nintendo has fantastic customer support.

    I got a DS Lite on the day it came out. After opening it and using it for the first time, I noticed that the upper screen had a single always-lit RED pixel. I called the retailer I bought it from, and they said they wouldn’t exchange something with only one bad pixel. I then called Nintendo, and after explaining the problem, the CSR simply asked “Does it negatively affect your game playing experience?” to which I responded “Yeah, kinda.” He then, without further questioning, issued a replacement for me, and I got a new one within a week.

    This may not seem like much, but when you consider the fact that most manufacturers require a minimum of 3 bad pixels to issue a replacement, Nintendo’s service was top notch.

  40. rich815 says:

    >>>>before I could go any further he asked me to provide me with the serial number and after looking up my information….

    Your credit card will be charged for the new one when they get the old one back and see what caused the problem.

  41. BigNutty says:

    And that’s how you sell more games. A company that makes a common sense decision is rare these days.

  42. EtherealStrife says:

    False pretense, people. Should this really be on consumerist?

  43. Roddly says:

    consumerist…really now.

  44. jamar0303 says:

    @rich815: When he didn’t even provide a CC number? How? Do they just pull one out of someone’s rear?

  45. algormortis says:

    me to rep: “So I messed up my DS lite, (serial number), my name is (algormortis.) I need a non-warranty repair, it’s my fault,I dropped the thing in water.”
    rep: “Ooh, that stinks, (algormortis.) I can certainly take it in as a repair as it’s under warannty by about 20 days still. I see you’re near Seattle. Do you know where our repair center is or would it be more convenient to mail it in?”
    me, incredulous: “I dropped it in water.”
    rep: “It’s under warranty, ma’am.”
    me: “Okkkay. So, uh, you’re saying that you’ll replace a DS Lite that i damaged out of my own stupidity?”
    rep: “Eh, we all drop things in water. So you know where the repair depot is, right? We’re here 9-5 monday to saturday and if you for some odd reason have any problems my name is Ken (lastname), and this is my (email) and my (extension.)”

    Hour and a half later, my DS is replaced with a smile by a nice gentleman who apologized that the experience took “so long” (20 minutes!!!) to complete.

    Damn skippy i wrote a love letter about that experience…names and all.

  46. brettt says:

    when ds first came out, i had dead pixels. i called and they sent a new one overnight, just told me to send the old one in the box included. I did not like the replacement, the bottom screen was fuzzier. They let me exchange again the second day. They said they were incredibly sorry and embarrassed that they had given me 2 defective units, so instead of sending me another from the warehouse, Nintendo of America would open the box in their corporate office to check for any problems with dead pixels or a fuzzy screen, and then send it personally from there. Since it was the first few days of the system’s sale, the opened box did not concern me, because no used units existed yet.

    A+ customer service. This company is following the consumerist’s basic tenant: the benefits of good customer service should outweigh the price of supplying this service; the few people who abuse their kind exchange policy is nothing compared to the good reputation it earns them.

    Besides all this, even if you broke your system on purpose with a sledgehammer, they would probably rather give you another for free just so you would have a system, since they make all their money on games, and the system is a prerequisite for buying the games. Unless, of course, they thought you might break it again…

  47. superbureaucrat says:

    This reminds me of apple’s service. Once, I tried running ipod linux on my 1st gen nano which was under warranty. It stopped working, yet apple replaced my nano brand new!

  48. coraspartan says:

    Awesome! I am glad to hear Nintendo has such great customer service. I am buying my son a DS for Christmas, and it’s good to know that if somethings happens to it during the warranty period it will be promptly replaced.

  49. KathrynwithaY loves Joan Collins says:

    Why does a four year-old have a DS in the first place? I’m surprised s/he didn’t destroy it on their own…

  50. woodenturkey says:

    ALERT!!
    Ok this is about me; I am the one who submitted this to the Consumerist, so let me explain. For all of you who are crying foul about it being water damage and seeming dishonest. THEY NEVER ASKED OR SEEM TO CARE! After they asked me my information and saw how many Nintendo products I have owned over the years they just seemed to value my loyalty. I was never trying to be dishonest. And about my 4 year old having a DS, well sone of our children are not hyper active morons. He can power on the 360,Xbox,or Wii, turn on the surround sound put the TV on the correct channel.If you treat you kid like a dumbass, they will be dumbasses. He understands the value of his toys and treats them with respect.

  51. Grant Beery says:

    I have always been treated with nothing but respect from Nintendo. They are the only company that I enjoy getting email, snail mail, and other communication from. They are the only company that I do not dread calling.

    Every time I’ve had an issue with a product, from broken DS’s to just needing a new wrist strap for my Wii, Nintendo is really amazing in getting the issue fixed very quickly. I get surveys sent to my house every time I call or even for the random game I buy and register, and I fill them out every single time. Lately they’ve been sending me free swag for giving my opinion…

  52. Fry says:

    @woodenturkey: Well said about dumbass kids. Couldn’t agree more.

  53. Bunklung says:

    Well over 15 years ago I had a similar and very positive experience with Nintendo. My friend accidentally smashed the screen on his Gameboy. I knew that Nintendo would fix the screen for a certain cost after warranty (my first Gameboy broke in-warranty; I later sold this one). Since my friend had no interest in paying for the screen to get fixed, he gave it to me.

    I called up Nintendo to start the repair process. I gave them the serial number. To my surprise, and I guess their’s too, he said, “Wow, that is a real old gameboy. We’ll fix it for free”

    So, well over 15 years ago Nintendo still had top notch service. It’s all paying for itself now. Nintendo has never been more popular. I wish them all the best.

  54. Iskandr says:

    I must say Nintendo has some of the best customer support ever. I called to get my Wii repaired after I noticed graphical artifacts. It was my own damn fault for placing it under a huge LCD, but they replaced it anyways. The whole conversation took 5 to 10 minutes at most. In that little time the service rep was able to ask all the questions needed and set up for a prepaid label to be sent out so I could ship it back to them.

  55. woodenturkey says:

    @redkamel:

    I love how I am being called a liar; I was never given a chance to mention anything to them about the spill. They just asked for my name and my registration information.
    With my 360 I felt like I was in the Spanish inquisition. Were you doing this? Were you doing that? Where was it stored? Was it in a vented area? Did you do the proper 360 power up dance when booting the console during a full moon? I love my 360 but I am on my 7th, and every time they act like I broke it. Nintendo could have given me the ninth degree, but did not. They could have come back and charged my Credit Card (I had to provide them incase I failed to return the broken one) after reviewing the DS, but they didn’t. God it seems like some of you are corporate trolls trying to piss on the consumer of a company with excellent support,

  56. Woofer00 says:

    The most important thing to note isn’t that the CSR replaced it without knowing the reason, but that the CSR never ASKED for it. In my experience w/Nintendo, they aren’t concerned so much with how damage occurred, as much as that it did occur such that their product isn’t functional anymore. Sure, the outcome may have been different if the OP stated the reason to being with, but the fact is that the CSR didn’t do what CSR’s at all companies do: Follow up with “Why doesn’t it power on anymore?” or “Have you caused any damage to the unit.” Nintendo builds better customer base with this kind of service, and earns more because of it than it loses due to quick replacements.

  57. Kimli says:

    We’ve had excellent service from the Nintendo depot in Richmond, BC. My husband dropped his DS in the toilet but was able to dry it out and use it for another two or three months – until one day, it just wouldn’t turn on. We tried a number of DIY fixits, but in the end just went to the Depot to try for a fix. We explained what happened, they said “okay”, then reached into a drawer and handed us a new one. The whole thing took about 5 minutes, and I got to admire the spiffy life-sized Link statue in the lobby. I love Nintendo. Their customer service is awesome, and they keep sending me free gifts because I register my games on their website.

  58. xredgambit says:

    Consumer has an accident.
    Calls company ready to pay.
    Company replaces for free.

    In here Consumer is a lying cheating bastard. Company is completly stupid and somehow I am to blame.
    Consumerist are you so jaded you can’t say Wow that is great customer service. Good job.
    You have to say, CSR was lazy. CSR wasn’t on his period. CSR just didn’t care about his job and was too busy writing his suicide note to really care why the DS was broken.
    Did your daddy hug you enough, or too much? Really what is your problem?

  59. Protector says:

    From the consumer end, it’s good customer service.

    If I’m a Nintendo stockholder, I’m furious because this is a dangerous precedent that can easily be taken advantage of.

    That being said, I’m in the market for a DS Lite so I’m going to dump a can of bud on my regular DS. ;)

  60. woodenturkey says:

    @xredgambit:

    lol your life is sad

  61. redkamel says:

    I just checked this thread to see what happened:My apologies to woodenturkey, I was trying to be sarcastic (honestly). Apparently I need to work on my internet sarcasm skills, which will henceforth be marked with a “sarcasm off” until I can acceptable break the limits of the written format. :-)

    I had a nintendo, it worked fine and still does. (in fact, most of it does, including my NES until about 6 mos ago). Unfortunately my xbox 360 broke within a month and I returned to Costco and kept all the money since I was bored with the thing.

  62. WheelDawg says:

    That’s a good story, but if it works for others… hope yo don’t have a special edition DS. I plan on picking up that DS with the TriForce on it Friday.

    How much would you bet if I tried to repeat this story that I would get another TriForce DS in return? :/

  63. rich815 says:

    BY JAMAR0303 AT 11/19/07 04:26 AM

    @rich815: When he didn’t even provide a CC number? How? Do they just pull one out of someone’s rear?

    Because that’s how these things work. They take a CC number to ensure you’ll send the old one back. I did it with my son’s DS Lite, and Epson does warranty returns that way too. Maybe I’m wrong in this case as I do not see where the original poster said he did NOT give them a CC number.