Puerto Ricans Can Buy XBox But Can’t Get One Repaired

What is it with companies that sell warrantied products in countries or territories where they don’t have customer service repair facilities?

That’s what reader Jorge M. is asking after facing another broken XBox game console. Jorge’s brother lives in Puerto Rico and his XBox has broken twice over the last five years. Not really surprising — we know people who have gone through five PS2s in the products lifetime, that console being imbued with a manufactory flimsiness that makes the XBox look like a Singer workhorse.

The problem? To get the XBox repaired, Jorge’s brother needs to send it to an XBox repair center. They’ll ship him the box. But despite the fact that Microsoft sells the XBox in Puerto Rico and even offer a warranty there, they won’t ship to Puerto Rico.

Frustrating. Jorge’s email is after the jump.

How about Microsoft? Now I’m no Microsoft hater, but sometimes they really deserve it:

When the Xbox came out about 5 years ago my younger brother got one for Christmas (he lives in Puerto Rico, but since PR is part of the U.S. it came out there at the same time). It worked for about a month, and then like many of the early ones crapped out with the flashing red light and the error message on the screen. He called me in Boston and asked me what to do; I told him to call Microsoft because it had to be under warranty. Microsoft said they’d send out a box and repair it under warranty at no charge. So far so good, right?

Here’s the rub: they couldn’t send the box to Puerto Rico. They asked him if he knew someone in the states that they could send the box to. So of course he gave them my info. So they sent me the empty box. My brother sent me the Xbox from PR. I sent the Xbox to Microsoft. They repaired it and sent it back to me. I sent the repaired Xbox back to my brother. Total shipping cost to repair a brand new Xbox under warranty: about $40. But it beats a $300 paperweight, right?

So the other day my brother calls me again. Now the Xbox is giving him the “dirty disc” error. He calls Microsoft again. For some reason the CSR tells him to erase every file on the hard disk. When that of course doesn’t work, they tell him it’s a bad DVD drive. Since it’s now out of warranty, the repair will cost about $60 including shipping. My brother gives them his address and credit card. A couple of days later Microsoft calls my brother: “I see that you live in PR. We can’t send the empty box there. Do you have any friends or family in the states?”

I thought I’d cut them some slack when the Xbox first came out, but at this point it’s preposterous. If we do the box shuffle again it’ll come out to close to $100, which is probably more than what an Xbox costs on eBay. Isn’t Microsoft legally obligated to support a product wherever it’s sold legitimately? What if my brother buys a $400 X360 and it melts within a month – is he SOL as well?

Short answer, Jorge? Yes, he jolly well is, unless any one of our commenters know anything? Got any advice for Jorge and his XBoxless brother, guys?

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