Although we received an indication in March that Microsoft was phasing out its Xbox 360 return policy of sending customers padded boxes with prepaid return envelopes, gaming blog Joystiq confirmed that Microsoft quietly made it official in late May.
As of May 26 the policy was discontinued “in an effort to expedite the repair process.” Customers will have the option of receiving an e-label to slap on the box they ship their bricked consoles in, but the days of the “coffin” are now over. A Microsoft spokesperson tell us, “Customers can now ship their consoles themselves using an e-label provided by Microsoft and do not need to wait for an empty box to be shipped to them.”
Why, how thoughtful of you, Microsoft! We’re sure the move is all about customer convenience and has nothing to do with passing costs on to victimized customers who keep on having to return their breakdown-prone consoles to you for another breakdown-prone refurb.
On the plus side, I’ve never met an Xbox 360 owner who hasn’t had his machine give up the ghost at least once on him — I’m currently on my sixth 360 — and most everyone has so little faith that their console will last that they’ve kept at the ready the box the console was shipped back to them.