XBOX360 Consumer Pwns Microsoft Using Level 34 American Express Powers

Remember Richard? Microsoft and numerous commenters mocked him for trying to get his XBOX360 fixed under warranty repair because he had a random tech pry open the box, thus voiding the warranty.

A Microsoft tech on the phone even said to Richard, “”Is there anything else I can help you with… and by the way I am laughing at you.”

While it’s indisputable that he shouldn’t have cracked open the case, it looks like Richard has the last laugh:

Thanks to the people who posted comments to my story I have been able to get a refund from my AMEX card. They did extend Microsofts 1 year warranty by another year. I was able to get a full refund of the original purchase price, thanks to American Express.

I guess Jose did me a favor by ticking me off enough to seek you and your readers help.

Thank you to You and your readers… oh and Jose… I am thanking at you right now.

Credit card extended warranty, for the win. Check to see if your issuer offers it on items purchased with the credit card. — BEN POPKEN

Xbox360 Tells Customer “I Am Laughing At You” And Hangs Up
American Express Extended Warranty Protection Buys You A New Laptop
(Photo: avlxyz)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Gamerleet0374 says:

    Yeah, I used American Express which extended my warranty an extra year. When it stopped reading my disc, AE just sent me a $427 check to replace it.

  2. marcus_ivo says:


  3. charman says:

    Visa is doing the same thing for my xbox 360, although I seem to have more work to do in order to get it. Infact today I just got a letter from Visa today with instructions; amoung their requests were the orginal receipt, my monthly statement with the purchase on it, a letter from an authorized tech stating it can’t be repaired. Now keep in mind I got my 360 on launch day, Nov 22, 2005. Luckily I am a pack rat and keep everything.

  4. DONNYchiban says:

    ha ha ha, i hate microsoft.

  5. Spartan1308™ says:

    I’m glad he got his money back, but MS didn’t get PWND. It sounds like AMEX is getting PWND. They’re paying the refund. I hope you don’t think they get that money back from MS.

  6. strider_mt2k says:

    I’m glad to be proven wrong!

    Kudos on the justice!

  7. Buran says:

    @Spartan1308: Sure they do. They get their money back and a nice chargeback fee on top of that for their failure to stand by their goods.

  8. jeffj-nj says:

    Yeah, fwiw, coming from me, who doesn’t work for AmEx, I’m pretty sure they do, in fact, get that money back from Microsoft. I had a purchased refunded once (long story) (but it’s a pretty good one) (maybe another day) and the woman on the phone told me that’s how it worked.

    Still, no one got “pwned” by anyone, because that isn’t a word, and quite frankly I’m more than just a little of seeing it. It was funny for, like, a day.

  9. nequam says:

    “pwnd” just got pwnd by jeffj-nj.

  10. Spartan1308™ says:

    @Buran: Where do you get that? MS doesn’t get anything charged back. A store that sold the system to him may have chosen to accept an agreement w/AMEX whereby they could be the victim in the end, but I doubt it. MS has a specific warranty, and they don’t have to follow any other warranty unless the government forces it upon them. Please explain how MS would end up paying for this guy’s 360 as they have no agreement w/AMEX. They made their sale when the retailer bought the item.

  11. venomus says:

    im sure he neglected to mention that he voided the warrenty to his AMEX card rep.

  12. OneFreeMan says:

    @Spartan1308: That’s just how credit card companies work. Do you honestly think they’re just giving money away for free? You don’t deal with many credit card companies regularly, do you?

    It’s no different than a situation where a retailer fails to deliver an item that’s purchased online. If you call your credit card company and they refund the purchase, they aren’t just giving you free money — they’re agreeing to take back the money you gave to the retailer since the transaction was invalid.

  13. Spartan1308™ says:

    @OneFreeMan: They aren’t getting it from the manufacturer b/c they don’t have an agreement w/the manufacturer. Like I said they might get it from the retailer, but they aren’t getting it from the manufacturer.

  14. Spartan1308™ says:

    @OneFreeMan: I really would like to know for sure how this works from someone at a credit card company, but I’m fairly certain it is a risk that the credit card company takes upon themselves.

  15. mathew says:

    I think it’s funny that all the people who get screwed by Microsoft go out and buy another Xbox.

    Actually, no, it’s kinda sad.

  16. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    I’m glad he got his money back. And if the thing is out of its pathetic 90-day warranty and M$ won’t fix it anyway, what’s the big deal about opening it up? Like that’s going to break it even more? Or maybe let the evil spirits or magic elves out?

    Everyone seems to be making the assumption he took it apart, smashed it with a hammer, and then put it back together. You know, it IS possible to take something apart and not damage it, and the fact that it crapped out after the pathetic original 90 day warranty seems to me to be a good enough reason for AMEX to replace it.

    Screw you, Microsoft, and Huzzah to AMEX.

  17. Televiper says:


    The purpose of “void warranty seal” is to keep people honest. If you return something to the manufacturer and the seal hasn’t been tampered with they assume responsibility. If the seal has been tampered with it because their choice with no responsibility of siding with the customer. It isn’t always obvious that something has failed because someone was poking their fingers around inside. When it is obvious it can be difficult and time consuming to make a case that fends off the liability. This is especially important when you have people trying to modify these systems. It’s the manufacturers covering their own asses.

    BTW, if he breaks it even more, or causes damage with electro-static discharge it makes it exponentially more expensive to repair. Assuming, their not just inserting a new mobo.

  18. Danj3ris says:

    There are a number of small arguments here. Whether AMEX gets their money back from microsoft or not, whether or not the customer mentioned that he took the 360 to a non-microsoft tech first when he called AMEX.

    But the one thing we can all agree upon I hope, is that for Jose to say “I’m laughing at you” to a customer that paid money and was trying to get what he paid for (a non-defective product), makes Jose an asshole.

    Jose should lose his job. Microsoft need not employ assholes like Jose, who bring negative publicity to a corporation through his asinine actions.

    Yes I know I’ve mentioned “ass” quite a few times, but I’m really trying to hammer this point home.

  19. mantari says:

    Someone failed their saving throw versus company policy? Glad he’s level 34.

  20. endless says:

    You laugh at customers after they have left, not to their faces.

    That tech is incredibly stupid.

  21. krunk4ever says:

    @Spartan1308: exactly what I wanted to say. this is just a credit card service and has nothing to do with microsoft. jose may be laughing, but at who? *shrug*

  22. kahnvex says:

    Here is how it works from someone in the credit card industry… since somebody said they wanted to know.

    Whenever you have a Visa, Mastercard, Amex, or Discover card, there is a benefits package that comes with the card. This is a different type of service than the chargeback/dispute resolution type of transaction.

    Example: Chargeback – you buy something, it shows up broken/doesn’t show up/you have an issue with the purchase, and the merchant will not honor a return, or refuse to give you all your money etc. Ad infinitum.

    That’s a chargeback.

    This situation is where you buy something, and as a benefit package provided by the cards license (Visa, MC, AmEx Disco.) they say “We’ll give you an extra added warranty on top of your original manufacturers warranty. Usually it’s one year.

    This service is paid for by the licensee of the card. I.E. whoever pays for the right to issue cards with the Visa/MC/AmEx/Disco name on them.

    Example, you have a Citibank Mastercard. You call up the MC benefits hotline and say, I bought something, here is my proof, I’d like to register my product under your warranty extension program.

    They register the info, and after you original manuf.warranty is up, any issues you have you report to them. They verify the issue, and send you either a refund or a place to go get your item fixed.

    Other services include 90 days lost/stolen/broken coverage usually up to $500.

    Secondary Rental Car insurance

    Travel reimbursement and AD&D insurance

    And lots of other stuff. The nicer your card (Platinum, signature, worldcard, etc) the nicer your benefits package.

    MC Worldcards, in my experience, have the best additional benefits that I’ve ever seen. In closing, nobody got pwnd, pwned, owned or shafted. Nobody won, except the consumer (for once, in the end at least) AmEx simply picked up the Customer Service ball when MS fumbled.


  23. krunk4ever says:

    above meant to save: richard may be laughing, but at who? *shrugs*

    for all those that think they are actually charging back microsoft, please keep this in mind:

    * warranty service differs from charge backs
    * most charges have to initialize a dispute within 60-90 days.
    * even if they’re charging back, microsoft doesn’t directly sell xbox 360, it’d be the retailer you purchased at. but given the above, this is a moot point.

    most credit card warranties double the existing warranty upto 1 year. in the event that you do file a claim and when proven legit, the credit card company pays out of their own pocket, since this is a service they are providing to you.

    finally, if all this is a charge back, then why aren’t all credit cards offering warranty service since it doesn’t really cost them anything if what everyone is saying is true, that all they do is charge back the retailer. it would also mean i should be able to file a charge back a year after i purchased something, which isn’t the case given the 60-90 day rule.

  24. agent2600 says:

    wow, you cheated the system, so proud of you. you don’t deserve a refund, they say you can’t open it to get priates from hacking the systems and then when they screw it up, ask for a refund, thats bull. if you chose to open it, you made a choice, to void your warrenty. Microsoft did nothing wrong, you did, this isn’t a victory for anyone, it’s just you, cheating the damn system.

  25. Tycane says:

    C, that is why i record every conversation i have with a callcenter (ericcson k800i comes with that function). I worked for four years in a callcenter,(actually also in the same compagny xbox 360 holland is set), and the beauty is, the phone gives a short beep every 10 seconds. So they know they are recorded. (or atleast that there is something up)

    Granted without me telling them they are recorded before the convo starts, it wouldn’t hold up in court. But A, i can always post it on a site like this. and B. they usually tend to believe its a test call from their compagny to c how they function. So they become VERY friendly and helpfull, fearing for their job and all.

    Trust me. if you have an erricson phone. I would definatly suggest it.

  26. arachnophilia says:

    it’s just not as satisfying knowing amex paid for it, and not microsoft.

  27. Gyulus says:

    @krunk4ever Who said: above meant to save: richard may be laughing, but at who? *shrugs*

    1st: Never said “Laughing”

    2nd: Microsoft should have repaired the problem during the first service call (the one where they recommended having someone look at it because it wasn’t under warranty… which was later proven to be false. The Xbox was under a blanket replacement policy at the time because it was a launch day system.)

    Read the whole article, it details the timeline.

    Had Microsoft done their job, the Xbox would never have been opened in the first place.

  28. Spare_Change says:

    If you area going to laugh at the consumer, do it AFTER they hang up.
    Once, a warranty manager laughed at me (when I said I go lemon law on a VW) that I had more than 12K miles on it. Not only did VWoA buy back the “lemon”, but they were interested in getting more information on the specification of whom laughed, what he said, date, and other “we’ll take care of this” junk.
    The customer is always right (whether you agree or not).

  29. Hawk07 says:

    A couple of people have mentioned MS 90 day warranty on the xbox.

    I don’t own one, but I remember reading a couple of months back that all 360’s were retrofitted with a 1 yr. warranty from date of sale and free shipping to MS.

  30. zibby says:

    Amex is great. They got my laptop taken care of after a little problem came up and I didn’t even register it ahead of time.

    Personally I think the dude in question shouldn’t have opened up the xBox, but hey as long as teh zOMG big bad corporation11!1! got screwed, GG I guess.

  31. ancientsociety says:

    Well congratulations on cheating the system!

    You shouldn’t have rec’d a refund because you broke the VOID WARRANTY seal. End of story. There’s reason those are there.

    And whether AMEX or M$ “pays” for your “refund”, the rest of us are going to have to pay for it (with increased fees or price, respectively).

  32. enm4r says:

    @Spare_Change: No, customers can be quite wrong. In this case, a voided warranty makes him *gasp* wrong.

    I’m all for stickin it to the man, but if you blatantly choose to break the rules, don’t expect to come back crying when you don’t get your way. I’m glad he got his money back, because as a launch 360 owner I fear each time I turn it on that I’ll get the red rings, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was wrong.

  33. Indecision says:

    @Spare_Change: “but they were interested in getting more information on the specification of whom laughed…”

    This is off-topic, but it’s a pet peeve of mine. “Whom” is completely unnecessary in informal conversation, and can largely be ignored in formal conversation as well. In most situations, the word is about as useful as “yonder” or “wherefore.”

    So, if you’re going to use it, please at least use it correctly. Use “who” when referring to the subject of the sentence, and “whom” when referring to the object. An easy way to determine which one to use is this: use “who” when you could substitute “he” or “she”. Use “whom” when you could substitute “him” or “her”.

    Who is going to the store? He is going to the store.

    To whom am I speaking? I am speaking to him.

    Or in your case, who laughed? He laughed.

    Thank you.

  34. shoegazer says:

    So aforementioned Xbox warranty was voided, whomsoever voided it must perforce be in the wrong, wherefore the praise lavished upon yonder Richard?

  35. Buran says:

    @Spartan1308: The point was, no, Amex isn’t out the money. They do get it back in a chargeback fee from the people who sold the box. You could always have looked up for yourself how chargeback fees work…

    And I’m on this guy’s side. He tried to do the right thing and got nothing but excuses and rudeness that amounted to “it’s broken, and we won’t fix it for you even though we’re supposed to, AND we’ll treat you like dirt” — he SHOULD have gotten his money back.

    If the store wants its money back, it will now have to fight with the manufacturer. And I would be highly amused if the store gets laughed at and hung up on, too.

    Don’t sell junk.

  36. Buran says:

    @ancientsociety: Uh, he was told to have it looked at, then was denied help because he did as he was told.

    He’s not the one who cheated the system. So now it’s OK to cheat people and then keep their money?

    Nope. This kind of BS is what chargebacks are for.

  37. jeffislouie says:

    First of all, Microsoft should have recalled all the units that had the issue – putting out a product THEY KNOW will fail is not good business and probably in violation of consumer protection laws, but hey – whatever.
    My 360 bricked too recently. I called MS and they told me that my unit was under warranty and offered to send me a shipping box and promised a 2-4 week turnaround.
    I bought mine on ebay. The guy who had it before me cracked open the case and the stickers were gone. MS told me they wouldn’t touch it, period. Open cases are considered ‘tampered with’ and they wont repair it. end of story.
    So I went on-line an it turns out they use a cold soldering with crap thermal paste and something called an ‘x-brace’.
    Turns out, the x brace is too stiff. When the unit heats up (and boy does it) the motherboard warps a bit. The x brace is too stiff to move with the board and the GPU loses contact with the board, rendering the box useless.
    I contacted a local repair shop and it was repaired over a weekend for $53. My guy removed the x brace and attached the gpu with nuts and bolts, then removed the crappy (and cheap) thermal paste and put of arctic silver paste, then put it all back together again.
    So far, the machine is working perfectly.
    So for those of you with similar problems, I recommend finding a local gaming shop that fixes 360’s. Read up on the internet about how to fix the issue, then ask the tech at the shop what they are going to do. If it matches up, it’s worth the $50 or so….
    I think we all agree that MS put out a shoddy product, but for those of us who can’t get them to fix it- at least there are options.

  38. queenarach says:

    Note: Also works with hefty IPOD replacement price tags..
    Drop kicked it, and called AMEX with comp. one year warranty addition.

  39. LintMan says:

    All these people shouting “He voided the warranty! Its all his fault!!!!!” are missing a very very big point:

    HIS WARRANTY WAS *ALREADY* EXPIRED. How is that different than “void”? Either way, he’s not covered by the warranty.

    Voiding an expired warranty is meaningless. Why should it matter? MS was going to make him pay for repairs anyway, so why should an expired or void warranty matter? *He’s* the one paying for the repair of their highly breakdown-prone system; they’re not doing him any big favor by fixing it at his cost.

    What he found out MS was offering was free shipping on all repairs, including *non-warranty* ones. Why were they doing this? Becuase they’re so gosh darn caring? No, it’s because the damn things break so often! Again, why should his warranty matter if he’s trying to get a non-warranty repair? It shouldn’t, unless they just want to be jerks about it.

    And as far as him having scammed AmEx because of the “voided warranty” – even if he didn’t tell them, why would it matter? He didn’t do so until after the the original warranty was expired and the item was already broken, and did so in an attempt to fix the issue. AmEx isn’t going to send the thing back to MS for repairs, so why would they care? Credit card extended warranties are more like insurance than like a mfg warranty.

    Put it this way: If he had called up AmEx right when it broke, told them he could either have them directly credit him for a new system under their extended warranty, or he could, at his own expense, first have a local repair guy try to fix it (but thus voiding the already-expired original warranty), which choice would you think AmEx would prefer?

  40. Spartan1308™ says:

    @Buran: I searched for info on google, but you’re wrong from what I understand at this point. Read the comments above. MS is not a retailer.

    kahnvex said:

    “This situation is where you buy something, and as a benefit package provided by the cards license (Visa, MC, AmEx Disco.) they say “We’ll give you an extra added warranty on top of your original manufacturers warranty. Usually it’s one year.

    This service is paid for by the licensee of the card. I.E. whoever pays for the right to issue cards with the Visa/MC/AmEx/Disco name on them.

    Example, you have a Citibank Mastercard. You call up the MC benefits hotline and say, I bought something, here is my proof, I’d like to register my product under your warranty extension program.”

    This would be a warranty situation, not a charge back. It is a benefit they offer for using their card to purchase items. They make money on fees from both the cardholder and retailers. They want you to spend lots of money w/their card so they can be paid the maximum amount in fees from both retailers and cardholders.

    This warranty is just a way to get people to use their card. The vast majority of the time people will never use the warranty, so it’s just a good way to get people to use the card. The bank that issued the AMEX card pays. MS doesn’t care.

  41. fastm3driver says:

    I’ve had 2 xbox’s break since last March. The first came back refurbished with one of those security stickers askew, and the second one had the plastic mismatched so it was screwed together with out lining up the two half’s.
    Just saying.

  42. agent2600 says:

    @LintMan: so you are saying that if i have a 3 year old PS2 that breaks sony owes me another one too? get out of here

  43. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    @Televiper: I understand why the unit has a tamper-seal. My point was that if he was told that the warranty was already over, then he’s got nothing to lose by opening the unit. If Microsoft told me “Nope, sorry, your warranty is up, we’re going to charge you an arm and a leg to fix it now,” then I’d open it too and see if I could find a problem, since it’s going to cost me to get it fixed now, seal or no seal.

    Now the second part of this depends on whether or not Microsoft’s repair policy dictates that they simply won’t repair anything with a broken seal, even after it’s out of the warranty period. Most companies I know will repair something outside of warranty, regardless of whether it’s been tampered with, because you’re paying for the cost of repair, and if they suspect the motherboard has latent damage, they’ll just quote you for a brand new one, or make the repair estimate so high that any normal person would just give up and buy another one.

    Manufacturers policies may vary, and maybe Microsoft’s attitude is “We won’t repair anything that’s been opened by a third party” or “We’ll fix it, charge you, but since you broke the seal, we won’t stand by our repairs because you could have caused latent ESD damage.” I don’t know in this case what the specifics of their repair policies are, and obviously it varies by manufacturer. Reading about some of the other experiences people have had, it sounds like they just won’t touch it, period, if the seal has been broken. In that case, yes, he screwed himself over, and if the fine print states that Microsoft simply won’t fix anything that’s had the seal broken (warranty or no warranty), then he’s screwed.

    This whole thing got overly complicated because after his 90-day warranty was up, Microsoft changed its policy and changed the warranty over to a year. In that case, yes, he’s screwed, because even though his warranty expired, they wouldn’t go with the retro warranty because he’d voided the tamper seal. In that case, yes, they would have denied the retroactive warranty on the unit, and rightfully so.

    As far as getting a refund from AMEX, that’s a grey area too, because AMEX extended the warranty to a year, so technically, by opening the box, he’s probably voided the extension that AMEX put on the unit. I’m sure in the AMEX fine print there’s a stipulation that you must follow the original manufacturer’s guidelines and whatnot, so in that case, AMEX had every right to deny the claim. Whether he just didn’t tell them or whether they were just trying to keep a customer happy, I don’t know.

    In the end, I’m still happy he got his refund, because it sounds like the unit was a piece of crap. Having been burned on 3 televisions (One died at 87 days…another died after 6 months, and my present one is also having problems), I’m sick of manufacturers making such junk that it only lasts the length of the warranty and then you’re stuck with a big expensive piece of junk.

    And no, I didn’t open any of the TV’s up, nor do I intend to! Even though I’m an electronic technician, I keep my grubby mitts out of anything that’s under warranty or has a tamper seal.

  44. kahnvex says:

    Spartan’s got it. Some of the rest of you don’t/can’t/won’t read, apparently :

    Anyhow, nobody is really -out- the money, it’s a cost of doing business. Mastercard tells the bank “You want to offer Mastercards? You pay a licensing fee to put the MC name on your card”

    The benefit package is there so you’ll use one card over another, it doesn’t have anything to do with the bank that runs the card.

    As someone else stated, so few people are aware of this service that it’s not like it’s costing anyone a crapton of money in any regard.

    A chargeback is when the bank takes money away from a merchant for not holding up their end of the bargain in some way.

  45. LintMan says:

    agent2600 wrote: “@LintMan: so you are saying that if i have a 3 year old PS2 that breaks sony owes me another one too? get out of here”

    Huh? Did you read anything at all of what I wrote? I said nothing at all like that. My points were:
    1) “voiding” an already-expired warranty is an oxymoron. MS is being an ass to refuse to provide *non-warranty* for-pay repairs because of it.
    2) The extended warranty provider (AmEx) is unlikely to care if he “voided” his already-expired manufacturers warranty. You earlier suggested he was somehow scamming them by concealing that info, and I sincerely doubt they’d care and provided a scenario where they might even prefer it.

    But to respond directly to your question: Sony wouldn’t owe you anything if your ps2 broke after 3 years. If you had an extended warranty from some source that actually lasted out to 3 years, then *that extended warranty provider* owes you a replacement or repair. That extended warranty provider might be AmEx or it might be Best Buy, but it’s unlikely to be Sony.

  46. agent2600 says:

    ok, sorry you win, i was under the impression that that customer disputed the payment, not that it was AMEX’s extended warrenty service. this article was misleading from the get go

  47. Karunamon says:

    Wait, what?

    You went and got your warranty invalidated by having some random tech crack open the box instead of talking directly to MS, like you should have done from the beginning.

    Besides, even if he had found the problem, there would have been nothing he could do about it. MS wouldn’t have sent him the parts.

    That said, i think the crappy treatment you got from the jackhole on the line at microsoft more than entitles you to a new system.

  48. G-Dog says:

    As Wombat from the CAG podcast said, the 360 plays great games but is made out of paper mache and springs.

  49. HJK says:

    I agree with the comments of being an oxymoron to void an out of warranty unit for breaking a warranty void sticker and MS is not an ass — they are thieves- no one will repair the XBOX 360 , adn what does $140 for out of warranty repairs mean? Sticker says “warranty void if broken” how does that apply to out of warranty?- You are so wanting to defend a pack of thieves you fail to understand your own native language. We too have gotten the shaft in this manner, and shipped the unti after creating and paying the $140 for the service ticket , only to wait for over 2 weeks to get it back with a note (form no less), stating refused to repair due to tampering ( son opened case) though ti was stated before the ticket was created on the phone and that it was under warranty- The stickeer is just a loophole for MS to not support its junk and keep anyone else from fixing them at teh same time– the gullible sheep of this country will then thik that immoral MS has actied in good faith and shell over another $400 to buy a new one (which too will inevitably fail just outside of warranty – How long how long–lol – will it take before more people see Billy’s gang for what they really are – a pack of thieves- even in Windows – they change some eye candy, then resell the package back to the same consumers who had fed all the bug data back to MS to fix IT’S flaws. Repairs that they should have been responsible for in the first place, but do nto hesitiate to sell them back as a new version of Windows- then add to that their belief that if your motherboard dies – you need to buy a new license for your present , but no longer operating version of windows. As we all know if you buy a hammer to hang a mirror , you can now no longer use it to – say – nail down a shingle- for the hammers if left to MS – say so in their EULA- You will have to go back to the manufacturer and buy a new license if you plan to hammer roofing nails and again if it is to repair siding. Can anyone out there not see how they have been ripping off the consumer and continue to do so???