Reader Zach’s Xbox 360 just suffered its second Red Ring of Death. He dutifully called up Microsoft customer support to get a shipping box to mail his Xbox in for repairs, and instead was told he’d need to find his own box and ship it himself.
My Xbox red-ringed for the second time this weekend. Which is almost a relief after hearing how bad my disc drive was sounding, but not so much after hearing the new policy. I was told that Xbox no longer ships out a box to you and you must find a box to ship it out in. Yeah I guess its not a big deal, but I think it gives them another thing to hold over your head; “We are sorry, Sir, but you didn’t back it well enough and it appears the damage was due to shipping, we cannot help you.”
This might not seem like a big problem-it’s just a box, right? Yes, but the problem that Zach had, the Red Ring of Death, is such a notorious failure in the Xbox 360 that Microsoft extended its warranty three years for RROD repairs. It’s enough of an inconvenience that Zach’s console broke from a design flaw and will be inoperable for several weeks; now he needs to track down a box and packing supplies for it?
Perhaps more importantly, as Zach notes, by making customers use their own packing materials, Microsoft is (depending on your level of cynicism) exposing its customers to further damage on their consoles or giving itself an irrefutable reason to deny a repair. The boxes that electronics companies use for repairs are uniform, sturdy things. In our experience, we’ve had anti-static wrap, form-fitting foam padding, and a solid box. That would probably cost about $20 for a customer to purchase; instead, he’ll probably stuff a box full of crumpled newspaper and hope that his broken Xbox doesn’t break any more in transit.