Guitar Hero For Wii Owners Are Furiously Angry At Having To Mail Their Discs To Activision

We’ve been getting a lot of emails lately about Activision and their requirement that people who purchased their defective game send it back and wait a month in order to receive a replacement.

Some examples:

I got a mailer from Activision and they said to send in your original gameand wait 3-4 weeks for a replacement DVD. I called the 800 number and got nowhere. I was told there was no other option. I offered to let them bill my credit card in case I never sent the DVD back.

It seems silly that I just spent $100 bucks to play one fun game, and I have to stop playing for a full month.

I just find it ridiculous that we have been forced to wait so long, with at least some of us even without any communication from the company to inform us of the correct process, and now we also will be forced to wait once again because we have to mail our own discs back in first before they will even send the replacement ones out. Something tells me this might stretch into 4 months without a resolution to this issue.

So, basically, because Activision decided to ship a faulty game (and the rumor mill says that they didknow it was faulty, but wanted to get the game out while Guitar Hero craze was still taking place), they are now going to take my game back for a full month.

In a nutshell, I paid $79.95 for a defective game, and now Activision is going to keep my game for a month while they amble around replacing it. I have other games that I play on Wii, but my sister only plays GH3, so she’ll be gameless (and Wii less) for a while.

I realize their desire to make sure people actually have the game, but a 3 week turnaround time is pretty mind-boggling.

This issue has been going on for months. We first reported it on November 15, 2007. Feel free to add your experience with Guitar Hero for Wii in the comments.

Guitar Hero® III Wii Replacement Disc Registration Website [Activision]

PREVIOUSLY: Guitar Hero III For Wii Is Mono?
Activision Acknowledges Guitar Hero III Wii Sound Issue, Will Offer Replacement Discs
Activision Accidentally Introduces 860 Customers To Each Other


Edit Your Comment

  1. rachmanut says:

    I went to Activision’s website and submitted the claim when I first heard the pre-orders for replacement were live, in late January, I believe. They are supposed to email me when it’s my time to send in the disc, and as of yesterday my status on their website is “still processing.” If it takes this long for them to tell me to send in my disc, I’m going to think very hard about whether I want to wait who knows how long for them to send the replacement.

  2. rrrebo says:

    Ditto here. “Still processing.” I actually messaged my wife to tell her to hold off on ordering it the day I found out about the sound problem. Alas, it had already shipped. It’s still unopened in the shipping carton, waiting for a replacement packet.

  3. Shappie says:

    They still must be having some sort of problem making the game. Their own store on their own website doesn’t list GH3 for the Wii. I have been hoping to buy one for awhile now, but It makes me want to buy a cheap used PS2 and get the game.

  4. firefoxx66 says:

    Maybe a stupid question, but are all Wii GH3 disks affected, or only those from the first release. In other words: is it safe to buy it now, or should one wait awhile longer?

  5. UpsetPanda says:

    @firefoxx66: I had heard that the new discs would start shipping in late January, after the rush. May be true, may not be.

  6. SpenceMan01 says:

    If you’re really PO’ed about the situation, go here and file for a full return. You get $132 back and for me, even after shipping, I’ll have made a profit. Vote with your $$$, folks, and get them back.

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

    WTF is the company going to do with the defective discs? It’s not like they are worth much (unless you punt them off on an unsuspecting eBayer). They should just send the replacements, run on the honor system…but I’m sure they wont.

    A music game…in mono…it blows my mind.

  8. letoofdune says:

    Is there any way to tell if the game on the shelf of a retailer will be in mono or stereo?

    I’m looking to pick up the game, but I don’t want to have to play the send-back tango with Activision. Are the corrected discs out on the shelf, or should I still wait a bit longer before I rock out with my Wii out?

  9. Bladefist says:

    @letoofdune: lol rock out w/ my wii out. I love it.

  10. puffmagic says:

    God forbid we go a month without our free replacement video games. Let’s get the Red Cross in here to help these poor souls and maybe start some advocate group to bring light to horrid injustices leveled at these innocent gamers! Tell Amnesty International to stop bothering with those starving, war-torn, oppressed foreigners and help out the people who really matter; those who have to play another video game while they wait for their other video game to be replaced for free!


  11. UpsetPanda says:

    @AlteredBeast: Don’t know, but I bet they’re doing it to prevent people from selling them…it seems bizarre why anyone would buy guitar hero without the guitar, but since it can be played with the wii controller, I guess that $80 sticker price is too much for some people. The discs themselves are functional, it’s just that if people are going to sell them illegally, the people who buy them probably won’t care that a) it’s illegal and b) it’s in mono.

  12. stacye says:

    @AlteredBeast: It will probably go into the same landfill as E.T.

  13. Optimistic Prime says:

    It does seem reasonable to require the disc, like if you were returning a defective toaster to Target. You wouldn’t walk in and say “my toaster’s busted, but it’s at home” and expect a replacement. That said, they should do like EA and allow a CC charge until the old one comes back. Also, the disc wouldn’t prevent you from playing, so it would be passed off to some unsuspecting EB employee.

  14. ptkdude says:

    @Optimistic Prime: I disagree here. Apple has replaced a couple of batteries for me over the years, and they always send the replacement to me before I return the defective battery. They do take my credit card number in case I don’t return the defective one.

  15. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    I havent sent mine in yet. I figure I’ll send it in when I get bored with it. However, since the problem was found last fall, I am surprised it was stilla problem when I got mine last week.

  16. Xerloq says:

    @puffmagic: You mean ‘fully functional’ and not free. GH3 users paid for a game with stereo sound – not monaural. If you bought a laptop that was advertised as having surround sound, and it came with only one speaker, would you consider the replacement a “free laptop?’ I don’t think so. All they’re asking for is an advanced exchange. They could easily take a credit card, ship the new game and then charge if the end-user didn’t return the game.

    I think I’m going for a refund.

  17. dachuckyb says:

    Most companies that I have dealt with send the replacement product first and expect you to send the defective product back. Dell and Micron have sent me replacement parts for my laptop and took my credit card number and provided me with prepaid shipping.

  18. parad0x360 says:

    they should have done it like this…which is how EA did it with rockband issues.

    you give them a CC# and they hold the funds, they send you a disk which also comes with a mailer so you can send the old disk back. The receive the DEFECTIVE disk and they release your money.

    Activision screwed up and honestly they should have issued a full recall. They have just dropped the ball again on the same issue. Im glad I dont buy many of their games…which is easy since 90% of them are licensed crap.

  19. parad0x360 says:

    @puffmagic: how would you like to be sold a known defective product that they kept on the market for months and didnt really tell anyone? Then when you can finally get a new one they say…nope you have to wait another month for the thing you have already been waiting 4+ months for? After of course they already have your money

  20. chutch says:

    As a person that loves playing games – and has found himself being slowly lured into buying the GH games – this is a major turn off for me. These customers were sold a faulty product. For all the times I’ve dealt with equally faulty customer service, I’m usually offered two options for exchanging something. 1) send it in and then wait for the company to send something back. 2) place a hold charge on a credit card and get an exchange immediately.

    It’s not so much an issue of Activision knowing about this fault ahead of time or not. To me, it’s an issue of a company treating it’s customers horribly. When you ship a product that is faulty by nature – work with customers to give them the best options to repair the problem.

    While I would ship my disc back for the replacement, I would also be highly upset if it took a day over 4 weeks to get back to me. $5 or $80.00 – it’s still time without a product you paid money for.

  21. Kevin says:

    I agree with the above commenter; distance makes the heart grow fonder. I imagine that when I get the stereo disc from Activision that I’ll have a renaissance romance with the game once again.

    It’ll be like Christmas in April or July or whenever I actually get the game.

  22. dasunst3r says:

    I don’t own Guitar Hero, but Activision needs a cue from other companies in their industry. The procedure goes like this:
    1. Ask for the customer’s credit card.
    2. Ship them the replacement game and a pre-paid mailer for the old game. Just to make sure people don’t mix up the copies, the good one can be shrink-wrapped green.
    3. Customer ships defective copy back using pre-paid mailer.
    4. If the customer doesn’t ship the disc back, company charges for the price of a new copy.

  23. jfischer says:

    So, let me get this straight…

    People are unhappy because they can’t pretend to play the guitar.

    These people paid more for this video game than they would have paid for a decent student-grade acoustic guitar with real strings.

    So, rather than simply playing air guitar to the radio or a CD, they need a special DVD that feeds what must be very fragile egos with artificial applause and scores?

    And to make matters worse, they are complaining about a temporary interruption in their supply of artifical applause and scores.

    If this game existed 40 years ago, would any of Jimi Hendrix, Duane Allman, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ry Cooder, Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin, Keith Richards, Kirk Hammett, Kurt Cobain, Jerry Garcia Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana, Johnny Ramone, or George Benson have ever learned to play the guitar at all?

  24. s35flyer says:

    JFISHER, you crack me up. “they are mad because they cant pretend to play the guitar”. That just says it all, how absurd we have become. laufin….

  25. Bix says:

    Presumably this is to keep people from selling their mono copy used.

    That said, they should do what EA did as a compromise.

  26. Shevek says:


    Not another one of those. At this point, that argument is so tired, it is its own joke.


    No, this is not an emergency. Everyone knows that. This is just a case where consumers were sold a bad product and then given a bad replacement program several months after the fact. Activision has never even fully acknowledged that they shipped a faulty product, no doubt assuming (rightly) that most of their buyers will never know they bought something faulty.

    I did decide to bite the bullet and send mine for a replacement (even the refund takes 3-4 weeks), but this thread brings that bad feeling back to the pit of my stomach. As a customer, I feel cheated, and rightly so.

  27. m4nea says:

    I don’t see what the big fucking deal is…
    A week for the disc to get to Activision in the mail;
    A week for them to manufacture an extra copy of the most popular game of the year WHILE trying to quell external demand at the same time;
    A week shipping to get it back…
    Seems pretty standard…suck it up; at least they are replacing the discs.

  28. humphrmi says:

    Dear Activision,

    I’m not going to buy your stupid game, because you’re handling the faulty game disc issue like douchebags.

    Lost Potential Customer

  29. youbastid says:

    Allow me to play the world’s smallest violin for these crybabies. People can band together and cry foul over stupid bullshit like this, but a war? Nah.

  30. Streyeder says:

    And here I was thinking that registering my games and controllers on Nintendo’s website was actually worth a damn. Oops! Fooled me!

    I’m holding off sending it in, since I have till August.


  31. bkpatt says:

    Demand is not an argument around the disc’s, they could produce billions in record time, thieving record companies do it all the time. The demand is around the guitar, which is why you STILL cannot buy just an additional guitar.

    So, like most people who wanted the multiplayer experience, I found another deal on a whole additional set. So, I have an extra game copy as well. I’ve registered twice for game replacements, will send one in to get replaced, and when that one comes back I’ll send the other one in. Problem solved for me.

    I still think it sucks, and Activision is fumbling in the 4th quarter of the Superbowl of a tie game. Not a smart move Activision, whoever made the final call on this move should be introduced to the Mr. Trump finger… YOU’RE FIRED!

  32. Streyeder says:

    @youbastid: So, what? We’re not supposed to care about anything else BUT the war? This is THE CONSUMERIST, a CONSUMER website where we complain about CONSUMER issues. Ugh… I guess no one here cares about AIDS, cancer, or the poor either.

  33. HykCraft says:

    Wah wah… buy a real console.

  34. mjsager says:


    i’m looking for an answer on this question myself.

  35. NiGHTSSTUDiO says:


    Wow, what an ignorant post. What defines a real console?

  36. Kryndis says:

    I’m seriously considering purchasing another copy while mine is in the shop and then simply returning it as defective once the new game is shipped to me. It hurts the retailer a little, but ultimately they just return it to the manufacturer who then has to deal with a game and controller that must be refurbished before it can be sold again.

    Besides, an annoyed retailer knocking at the manufacturer’s door about the defective merchandise they were sold might not be such a bad thing.

  37. mike says:

    @AlteredBeast: I would think it’s not really to keep, but to make sure you actually bought a disk.

  38. Aphex242 says:

    When I had to return my Rock Band guitar, not only did they cross-ship it, but because of delays, they gave me a free game (skate., which is damn good). EA being better than Activision? Man how times change.

  39. jermscentral says:

    I just sent mine in yesterday. I got the return envelope in the mail about 2 weeks ago and finally bit the bullet. Bye bye, GH3! I loved you while I had you! Maybe I should’ve made a backup copy of the disc so I could still play it during its absence. Either way, here’s hoping that they send the replacement!

  40. AlexTNOA says:

    Is there a reason Activision can’t send the replacement copies to retailers, and provide a process for them to replace the disc onsite, instead of having consumers use the slogging process of sending them in? Since Activision is at fault, shouldn’t they cover the expense of shipping and make the process more convenient for consumers?

  41. ProjectGSX says:

    I have been without GH3 for the last month due to my Wii failing. I finally got it back from getting repaired to find out that I get to send the GH3 disc off for another month. Very, very lame.

  42. UnicornMaster says:

    It’s definitely just a way to discourage consumers from replacing their discs, knowing that no one wants to be without it for a month and by the time it comes back, there will be a better game to play. They are trying to keep their costs down by making it as difficult as possible. If you could just go into a store and exchange it, that’s a ton of landfill they have to deal with.

  43. Brothernod says:

    It’s really disapointing for a company that made as much money as they did on this game to do such a limpdick attempt at doing right by their customers and fixing their mistake, especially when it’s rumored that they knew in advance.

    Consumerist, don’t you have any advice for the millions of people getting shafted by this?

    It’s absurd.

  44. boreddusty says:

    @SpenceMan01: Thanks for the link. I think I might take the refund. I’m starting to lose interest in the game anyway.

  45. jimconsumer says:

    @youbastid: People can band together and cry foul over stupid bullshit like this, but a war? Nah.

    We don’t need to cry foul over the war. You liberal peacenics have that all taken care of.

  46. mariospants says:

    That’s nothing. I LOVE the Metroid Prime series and when I finally got mine (pre-ordered) on launch day it turned out to be defective. Of course, they were sold out and I was told to return it to the manufacturer anyway. I sent it back to Nintendo and 3 WEEKS LATER they — sent me back my original disk. Resubmitted and 2 weeks later I finally got my disk. My taste for the game has soured greatly as a result.

  47. Android8675 says:

    Two Words, well 4 words in 2 parts… XBox 360 and Rock Band! (or replace Xbox 360 with PlayStation 3, but more people online on XBox)

    Anything goes wrong with your stuff, EA sends you a replacement in 2-3 days, no questions asked. Game disc, guitar, drum set, microphone. You have to put up a credit card as a hold to make sure you send back the defective one, but the postage/handling is paid for, and to top it all off, Rock Band is so much more fun with a group, and not nearly as insane-o hard as Guitar Hero 3.

    Sorry if all ya got was a Wii, you’re out of the Rock Band family, but maybe EA will convince Harmonix to make a Wii version of Rock Band 2.

    EA has won me over with their service on this game alone.

  48. Optimistic Prime says:

    @jfischer: The underlying issue here isn’t people wanting to pretend something, it’s that they paid good money to pretend to do something and were sold something that was broken. It’s reasonable to have something work in the way it was intended if you buy it new. Besides, I’ve known plenty of people who buy real guitars and pretend to know how to play, but can’t play for shit.

  49. JRock says:

    I checked the status of my replacement this afternoon, and it currently says:

    “Your premium item was mailed on 12-Feb-2008. Please allow at least 15 days for delivery.”

    That means I should get it in a few days, if I’m to believe the website. That’s not bad, it’d only be about a two week turnaround, altogether. I’m looking forward to getting it back and playing so that I can have people on the Internet tell me that I should go learn to play a real guitar again.

  50. phat59 says:

    I send in my game disc in the mailer in early February. Two weeks later I got an email saying that my claim had been denied, saying “Unfortunately, we were unable to honor your request for the following reason: We did not receive an original Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock for Wii game disc with your request. The original game disc is required.”
    I am 100% sure I mailed it in. I’ve got a receipt for it’s purchase and an empty game case/manual. I called the rebateStatus company 4 times and finally they forwarded it to Activision themselves. They got back to me this morning (3/7) and said “to double-check my house for the game”!!! My head’s going to explode, this is so ridiculous. I don’t know what else to do. Better Business Bureau?

  51. SauceSpot says:

    i’m in the same boat as you phat59, im 100% sure i put the disc in the envelope and sent it off. Got an email today saying they can’t honour my request because they didn’t get my disc.

  52. keeper1616 says:

    I got a postcard today stating they didn’t get the disk either. I’m glad I’m not the only one to have this problem. Has anyone had this issue resolved? I’ve opened a support ticket with activision but I’m not holding my breath.

  53. ClaudioProculus says:


    I got a postcard stating they didn’t get the disk either.

    I opened a ticket at Activision. I scanned and attached my Guitar Hero bill
    to the ticket.

    They replied me that they’ll send a new disc. I have to wait 15 days.

    I’ll never send a software like that. We learn from our errors…

    Luc M