Friendly Email To Steve Ballmer Results In New XBOX 360

Reader “AlteredBeast” writes:

Dear Consumerist(s)…

I was a frustrated Xbox 360 owner. Long story short, I had 6 Xbox 360 since launch that needed to be replaced, 4 of them due to poor quality control with the refurbished units (only 2 fell victim to the overheating issue). I had already purchased an extended warranty, beyond the extended one Microsoft provided. On the 6th repair, I was insisting on getting a new, not-refurb, unit. I escalated the call as high as I could, to where I was given a special phone number and extension for a case worker of sorts.

I was told that if I had called a few days sooner (closer to when I received the 6th unit), I could have gotten a new unit…but it was too late. He also insisted he was as high as I could go, and there was no flexibility. I thought what I was requesting was fair, and was getting very frustrated.

Around the time I received the box in which to send back my busted 360, The Consumerist posted the email addresses for Microsoft execs, including Bill Gates. I typed up my case, clicked send, and crossed my fingers. Just two days later I received a call from a rep who was perfectly willing to replace my 360 with a new unit! The turn over time was fast, and so far my 360 has worked flawlessly! Granted, it wasn’t in a brand new retail box, so I will never know if it is truly new, but it had no scuffs like my refurbs did, and smelt like a new item. So I just wanted to than you guys, and if you are ever at the Jersey shore, come on over for a BBQ and some Xbox 360 gaming!


Mmm, BBQ! You know the path to our hearts.


RELATED: Contact Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer


Edit Your Comment

  1. Cowboys_fan says:

    I’m glad they finally came through and gave you a working model…for now…It sucks it took the 6th exchange to get some real action from them. Another reason to not give my money to microcrash.

  2. says:

    “Refurbished” does not mean “Repackaged and fingers crossed that customer will not have the same problem” — what terrible service. While it’s good you finally got a working model, you shouldn’t have to go through such a hassle to get it.

  3. ptrix says:

    Was it the same component failing over and over again in each new console, or a different part failing each time?

    Not that it realy matters – either situation would speak volumes about Mi¢ro$oft’s so-called “quality control” and their general attitude towards its customers.

    Personally, I’d avoid the company completely after the 3rd consecuitive defective unit. Cannabalize whatever you can (DVD drive, hard drive, etc?), sell off the games, and get a Wii. The only way to get them to improve is to speak their language, and put your hard-earned money towards a product and corporation that is more deserving of it.

    Just my opinion. Yours may differ.

  4. randomizer9 says:

    I wonder how high the failure rate is on Xbox 360s…

    I figured “it won’t happen to me” when I bought my 360 last December. Things have gone without a hitch since then, but over half of my 360-owning friends have gotten the Ring of Death. The majority of them purchased their 360s after I did, so now I’m getting nervous.

  5. jeffeb3 says:

    four comments with negative M$ comments. I think that I should at least say good job Microsoft for fixing the problem and not just deleting the email.

  6. zannadu says:

    I just bought a new 360 today (was waiting for the price drop/am trying to ignore rumors of improved systems coming out soon). My fingers are crossed. It’s good to finally hear an XBOX nightmare that at least turned out okay in the end.

    It was hard to plunk down that much money on a system with so many problems (not to mention the odd lack of wifi) when I have a wonderful Wii at home, but alas… sometimes we just want to waste money on new toys.

    BTW, it took over 30 minutes to purchase an advertised XBOX bundle at Circuit City *eyeroll*

  7. stopNgoBeau says:

    @jeffeb3: I can say the same thing. I had an issue with MS tech support that just wasn’t getting done. An email to Mr. Gates and I had a resolution in 36 hours. I think any big company will have its issues, but when they get as bad as 6 bad XBox’s, its nice to see that the executives pay attention.

  8. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Just for clarification…the first two units had the Ring of Death, the following ones had various physical damage, which is why I pushed so hard for a non-refurb unit. Some people treat their stuff like crap, and while I have had good experiences with refurbs before, it appears that Microsoft were processing then at a rate they couldn’t keep up with.

    I hope the new, cooler running consoles help restore public faith, as the 360 has some great games and features. Actually, considering all the negative press about these problems, they are doing pretty damn good.

  9. Geekybiker says:

    Trouble was the refurbs were units with known issues that were given inadequate quick fixes. This got them running again long enough to pass tests, but since the flaws were never corrected, the problems just returned. Fortunately this sort of issue should be past MS now. They are adding additional cooling to repaired units, and shipping smaller chips very soon.

  10. Falconfire says:

    @randomizer9: its estimated at almost 45% of all Xbox 360’s have failed

  11. frankieman70 says:

    I got mine at launch and has now been replaced twice and one time it was DOA and that sucked. Now it has been problem free.

  12. Televiper says:

    It sounds like MS fell short on the test and verification side. I can understand a small organization falling short on the thermal, but a large organization like Microsoft? Yah, they’re handling it pretty well. But, it’s disconcerting that they have this kind of trouble in the first place, and that it took as long as it did to solve it.

  13. rioja951 - Why, oh why must I be assigned to the vehicle maintenance when my specialty is demolitions? says:

    There are good and bad sides here. First with the bad; the fact that there is such a high failure ratio is awful, specially to a big corporation.
    The good is that they are handling this extremely well, and give MOST of their customers a good service.

    Since my warranty has already expired, i just took the liberty to transform my 360 to a liquid thermal exchange unit. Sure, no support or anything for it but, who gives a damn. Its working and i dont even approach my PCs heat level.

  14. Optimistic Prime says:

    GeekyBiker has it right, they’re good enough to pass muster, but may not be 100%. The biggest problems with refurbishing anything is that the person fixing it does not know the history of said item. It’s like taking your dead car to a mechanic and telling him to fix it. Sure he can get it to start, but without knowing what happened before it died/ finding the root cause of the problem, it will happen again.

    Another way to look at it is taking an aspirin when you’re ill. You feel better, but you really needed an antibiotic to cure you. Refurbished generally means fix the symptom, not the problem.

  15. bdgbill says:

    I am waiting for these reliability problems to be resolved before buying a 360. I can’t be the only one in this situation.

    I am far too lazy to deal with hauling a game system down to the post office once, never mind six times.

    My original Xbox has sometimes gone several months without being switched off. Sounds like this would be a very bad idea with the 360.

  16. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    @bdgbill: Your Xbox went SEVERAL MONTHS without being switched off?? Was it modded to be one of those all-in-one entertainment hub units?

    The annoying part of this return/repair process is the ammount of time that I’ve been w/o a working 360. I buy a game, then can’t play it, it collects dust…then when I get my console back, there is a different, newer game I end up playing. Also, it is the center of my home theater, so when it is out of commission, so is my projector setup.

    Also, I have accepted the fact for the next few years, paying for an extended warranty for my 360 is just the smart thing to do. Which is crazy to me, as I almost never purchase an extended warranty on anything, and NEVER for a video game console! I still have 2 Dreamcasts that I beat the hell out of, and they are running strong.

  17. postchanger says:

    I’ve had a PS3 for 7 months and haven’t had a single problem with it. :/

  18. @postchanger: Personally, I don’t get how people are so willing to go balls-to-the-wall for a console that has a 33%+ reported failure rate as opposed to a console with a less than 1% reported failure rate, which they’re willing to bash to hell… Fanboys amuse me.