Microsoft Falsely Accuses Me Of Modding Broken Xbox, Wants $100 To Fix It

Zach’s Xbox 360 opted to play for Miami rather than Cleveland, but what he expected to be a routine repair has turned into a standoff. He says Microsoft accuses him of modding his console despite Zach’s contention that the unit, which he says is clean, shows no physical signs of being modded.

He writes:

On June 22nd I sent my Xbox 360 to the Microsoft repair center in [redacted], Texas. It was experiencing a single flashing red light and an e74 error code. After nearly 3 weeks of getting the run around from out-sourced Microsoft support, I am in utter awe. They claim my console has been internally modified, even though the warranty sticker is still intact and the opening points on the console are undamaged. Additionally they refuse to tell me what the internal modification is, or disclose how they diagnosed such a modification. They want $100 to repair the console.

Obviously, I have never modified the console, or even opened it for that matter. I am 16, and would like to know what my options are to get a working console back; and if any Consumerist readers have experienced such problems with their Xbox 360, and how they dealt with such problems.

The “I am 16” thing is the weakest point of Zach’s argument for innocence, because everyone knows kids that age are old enough to do sick and twisted things to home electronics.

Assuming Zach is on the level, though, what do you think he should do to continue his fight?


Edit Your Comment

  1. hewhoroams says:

    Just keep asking for proof and escalate whenever possible. If they’ve already got the xbox on hand, it’s a pretty lop sided situation.

  2. FunkDoctor says:

    Did Zach buy the console in a store, or did he get it second hand? MS banned a bunch of modded consoles last year, and a lot of them ended up on eBay and other used outlets. He could have one of those.

  3. temporaryscars says:

    Way to shoehorn that current event in there!

  4. crsebestyen says:

    Small Claims ? They should be providing contractually agreed service for a non function product you paid for. If they can’t show in court that it is modified as claimed they are trying to defraud this kid.

  5. ShruggingGalt says:

    Write a letter to MS central Xbox support….

  6. Blackadar says:

    Something in me says that the poster isn’t on the level. Pointing out that “the warranty sticker is still intact and the opening points on the console are undamaged” before even mentioning that the console hasn’t been modified suggests a defensive, excuse-driven position. The tone and the wording of the post just doesn’t ring true to me.

    Anecdotally, I got the same error about a year ago and had no problem getting it repaired.

    • Noir says:

      I think it’s more related to him being 16 and freaked out about losing his xbox than being a liar who wants a free repair.

      As others said, ask for proof, escalate and talk with your parents/legal tutors to explore other solutions.

    • Blackadar says:

      Oh, and one other thing…most people who don’t mod their console wouldn’t know what to look for to identify a modded console. So when the OP points out that the “opening points on the console are undamaged”, is it common to damage them when trying to mod the console? And how would someone know to point that out unless they’ve been exposed to some kind of information regarding modding a console? Seems rather fishy…

      • keen314 says:

        That’s what I noticed too. I seriously doubt he didn’t mod his 360.

        • tsukiotoshi says:

          I haven’t modded my Xbox but I know exactly how Xbox can tell if I tampered with the unit or not.

        • Paddlacus says:

          I don’t have an xbox, but last night I helped a buddy open his up to try to fix the dvd drive. We watched a 4 minute video and got started. I now know that there probably WILL be physical evidence aside from the sticker that will be obvious to someone checking if it’s been opened. Surely it’s possible a 16 year old kid helped his friend or watched the same video.

          Also, stating that he’s 16 isn’t necessarily an ‘argument for innocence’, but couldn’t it just be an ‘I don’t have a lot of experience dealing with companies like this’? I certainly didn’t when I was 16.

          If he HAS modded it, no advice the consumerist can offer will help him and he’s wasting his time by asking.

      • mergatroy6 says:

        This is a 16 year old kid. I’m sure he is capable of googling “how does MS know if an Xbox was modded”.

        Knowing the things MS looks for doesn’t necessarily mean he tried to circumvent them.

        • trujunglist says:

          how would he know at that point since he doesn’t have the xbox?

          • BStu78 says:

            THIS is why this is a valid point of concern. He’s stating it as a fact. So either he googled “how does Microsoft know if a console is modded” BEFORE he returned it to them, which is odd, or Microsoft conveyed this information while not explaining their conclusion. Which is also odd. At the least, it merits further explanation from the OP.

          • coren says:

            The same way I know mine isn’t? Cuz I didn’t open it

          • Jerkface says:

            I would have looked into repairing the device myself before sending it off for god knows how long to even find out whether they would service it under warranty.

      • SoDev says:

        Your wrong and are not a detective.

      • regis-s says:

        By your argument you must have modded at least one xBox since you’re such an expert on it.

      • Sumtron5000 says:

        I have an XBox, and I have never modded it. I know exactly what to look for to see if an XBox has been modded or not. Wanna know why? Because I have the internet, I like Xboxes, and I don’t live under a rock. A know a lot of people who know about modding who have never touched their consoles. Why are you guys assuming he’s lying?

      • Twonkey says:

        Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, the dude went on the internet and researched the circumstances under which Microsoft might accuse someone of modding their console, and found that removing the sticker and damaging the opening points would be considered by Microsoft to be grounds for voiding a user’s warranty? His knowledge shouldn’t be suspect, because none of us know how he came about it.

        Seriously folks, chill with the whole “Guilty until proven innocent” bullshit already.

    • DieBretter says:

      I’m in the same boat as you. I’ve taken them apart and had no idea that they actually had opening points. Further, I remember when I was around that age with my PS2. It had a warranty void if removed sticker also, but, there was something that you could put in there that “fill” in the void part so it didn’t look like it was removed.

      I’m of the impression that he opened it, though he didn’t mod it.

    • RadarOReally has got the Post-Vacation Blues says:

      I don’t know. For some reason, I believe him. And I usually don’t in these situations. I say give the kid the benefit of the doubt and tell him what you think he should do if he didn’t truly open it. I think I’d try an EECB, but only after escalating as far as I could go with the support people.

    • SoDev says:

      This is common knowledge in the days of modding and self repair on high failure rate electronics. I just repaired my PS3 ylod by using a youtube vid. It was out of warranty so I didn’t care about the sticker.

      Everyone knows that once that sticker is tampered with you are done. It’s a key point in his defense. You cannot open it without messing up the sticker. He’s 16, not a freaking lawyer.

      You guys just sound old and/or clueless.

      • trujunglist says:

        you can buy warranty stickers on ebay, punk. now get the fuck off my lawn.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I can remove the void sticker on a Linksys router with an old DE razor blade. I don’t think Linksys even though someone would have access to those when making the sticker.

      • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

        I can remove the void sticker on a Linksys router with an old DE razor blade. I don’t think Linksys even though someone would have access to those when making the sticker.

      • IMADV8 says:

        Both the old and new designs of the 360 warranty stickers can be removed without leaving a mark using a hair drier and a razor. If you screw up, you can buy a new one on eBay for a few dollars.

        The “opening points” are most likely the clips on the back that must be pushed in to detach the top and bottom halves of the housing. Only a complete moron would have issues opening them without leaving marks. I use a small flathead screwdriver with no problems.

        It’s possible MS found evidence inside the console. They could have discoverd a modified firmware on the ODD, or found cut and bridged traces on the 360 or ODD motherboard, depending on the type of mod done. We have no way of knowing this. The OP may not even be aware of it, if he bought the console used.

        The E74 error is normally caused by the same issue as the 3RLoD. It’s extremely unlikely that any modification caused the problem.

    • brianary says:

      What a freakin’ lynch mob this place has become. Guilty until proven innocent is un-American, folks. Maybe Gawker needs to launch for people to defend those poor, defenseless corporations.

      If I’d been accused of modding, I’d certainly do a forum search to see what that was about, which would undoubtedly include details about opening the XBox.

      Of course, why anyone would want to do business with a company that’s so twitchy about this stuff when they can’t seem to build a machine that works anyway is beyond me.

      • Chaosium says:

        “Guilty until proven innocent is un-American, folks”

        That’s a childishly simplistic view. While if everything the kid says is true as per the email, he *is* innocent, the court of law is not the court of public opinion.

        If there’s shadiness involved (which, again, there does not need to be in this case) there is nothing un-American about expressing this suspicion.

        • brianary says:

          Speaking of naïveté: The notion that public opinion is hermetically sealed from the law.

      • UnbelieverDjak says:

        Agreed. If you take the worst case scenario, that he did in fact mod the unit, so what? Shouldn’t they still have to prove it?

    • MrBeetle says:

      I Agree… Why would you pay attention to the “opening ports” or warranty sticker, unless you purposefully tried not to damage them in the first place?

      I’m guessing that he modded and got caught, with a slight chance that he bought an ebay unit.

      • regis-s says:

        Why would you pay attention to the opening ports and warranty sticker?

        Probably because the first thing someone is going to ask you is: ” Was it ever opened?”

        • BStu78 says:

          I would say “I never opened it”. Not “the opening points on the console are undamaged”. Why would you know that as a fact. You can know YOU didn’t open it, but that doesn’t mean you know the opening points are undamaged. Maybe he has a valid explanation, but I’d like to hear before we rush to the side of another kid trying to scam a repair from a console maker.

          • harrier666 says:

            People like you and I wouldn’t say they are undamaged, but a 16 year old is likely much more savvy about these things. Not to mention, we don’t know that he hasn’t modded OTHER 360s, just not this one. He writes better than most 16 year olds, so it is safe to assume he is intelligent and can therefore form complete sentences.It doesn’t really matter where he gleaned the knowledge of modding and the damage it causes, if he took in a regular xbox that was unmodded and they wouldn’t fixit, there is a problem and he is likely being accused because he is young.

          • lupinthethird says:

            i just learned to fix my own stuff

    • runswithscissors says:

      Welcome to the new Consumerist, where consumers are guilty until proven innocent.

      Oh, and if this poor kid HADN’T told us the sticker was intact, we’d all have jumped all over him for “not even checking the sticker before sending it off” or “he didn’t mention the sticker, prolly broke the seal LOLZ”.

      NO WIN for the OP.

      • zandar says:

        I hear you. personally i find nothing unbelievable about the OP’s story. It would be easy for anyone to research modding techniques, whether they knew someone who did it personally or not: duh, it’s called the Internet.

        Just add this incident to the overwhelming case against every buying one of these lemons.

    • mxjohnson says:

      And of course the MS fanboyz leap to the defense of their cultish leader.

    • farker says:

      Maybe this kid knows other people who DID open their Xboxes and mod them…so he was pointing out what he didn’t do?

      • gopena says:

        For the record, I own an xbox, and even though I would never mod it (WAY too much at risk, esp wehn you’re a college student and a $200 expense on a new xbox is a stretch) I still know that there is a warranty sticker behind the faceplate, and if you were going to open it, there’s opening points that need to be pushed in the side vents. now, does this make me a modder? hell no. I hate people who mod games to gain an upper hand online. but it’s the same principle of having, say, a secret plot to rob a bank. you might figure out how to do it, but would you follow through with it? no. but would you use it as an anecdote? maybe! so don’t jump all over the op just because he knows his stuff

        *The more you knoooowwww!*

    • TerpBE says:

      I agree that he sounds suspicious. It reminds me of a tenant my dad used to have. They called up one time and said, “The kitchen cabinet fell off the wall…but we weren’t hanging on it or anything!”

      “…the warranty sticker is still intact and the opening points on the console are undamaged. Additionally they refuse to tell me what the internal modification is, or disclose how they diagnosed such a modification.”

      That does sound like he’s trying to find out what he can do to prevent being caught next time. Like “Ok, I didn’t break the sticker, didn’t damage the opening points…why won’t they tell me what I overlooked?”

      • sykl0ps says:

        If my cell phone needed to be sent in for repair I would check under the battery to see if that moisture dot had turned colors before sending it off since I know they’d just say “oh, it got wet too bad, void warranty”. It doesn’t mean I dumped it in the toilet. If they then told me it was indeed wet and then came to consumerist for advice, I’d give that information in my post. Then everyone would tell me I wet it on purpose because I know of that color change dot under my battery.

  7. agl25 says:

    Sounds like Microsoft has left him with only one good option: go find an actual modder on Craigslist to fix the console. Apparently, Zach’s honesty (and intact warranty sticker) aren’t worth anything to Microsoft, and there are plenty of modders on Craigslist that can fix it for a lot less than $100.

  8. Norvy says:

    So they’ll be happy to repair the modified console for $100? Something sounds fishy here.

    • mobiuschic42 says:

      This. Don’t they usually just say, “you voided the warranty, you’re a pirate, you lose out. You’ll be lucky if we give it back to you” if it’s modded?

      • KeithIrwin says:

        Modifying a console might be against Microsoft’s policies, but it isn’t against the law to make changes to something you own. So if they were to keep his console, in that case, that would be theft.

  9. goodpete says:

    Small claims court? Can’t they handle matters of warranty?

    • PerpetualStudent says:

      If the case was opened, the warranty is voided.

      If it did go to small claims, it would just be the kid saying he didn’t open it and MS saying he did based on what ever evidence they have. The kid would have to prove he didn’t open it and it was unopened when Microsoft got it. Hard.

      Anecdotally – my two former roommates had issues with their xbox consoles but had no trouble with the company other than having to wait.

      • Dalsnsetters says:

        Exactly how does one prove a negative?

      • dorianh49 says:

        I don’t think you can prove a negative. Most likely, MS would have to prove that he opened it, not them.

      • PerpetualStudent says:

        @Dorianh49 and DalsnSetters

        That’s the point I was trying to make in the initial comment. It would be quite hard, if even possible, to do so after the fact. If the kid takes it to small claims, as the plaintiff he has the burden of proof to show that MS wronged him – that the console he sent still met the terms of the warranty and that MS is trying to escape their obligation.

        MS has the console and the licensed technician that did the assessment. They can attest that this is how the xbox came to them. It will just be their word against the kid’s, and since the kid has the burden of proof and can’t prove it, MS will win.

        If the kid wants an xbox – pay the 100$ to get it fixed and he should have it back in a few weeks. Small claims will take much longer than that and cost more in time, etc.

        All of this is speculative since no one knows what the actual modification is. It doesn’t have to be a hardware modification – a software modification would leave the xbox unopened and still void the warranty.

  10. PerpetualStudent says:

    Did he buy it new from a retailer or through craiglist, ebay, etc?

    • bhr says:

      that would be my question. Same with Gamestop or any other used dealers.

      Heck he could have bought a returned one that unluckily was tampered with then returned.

  11. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Congrats to the 16 yr old for finding Consumerist so soon in life.

    • Cynicist says:

      I’m 16, and i read the Consumerist regularly. Thanks to this site, I got an $80 credit from FiOS with an EECB when they screwed up our Triple Play Bill. Then again, most of my friends don’t even follow the news, much less read a site like this.

    • kujospam says:


  12. c!tizen says:

    Well, it’s obvious to everyone here that being 16 and observant immediately pegs you as the thieving little bastard lair that all 16 year olds are, so I say you just throw a temper tantrum until your parents buy you the new Xbox 360 with the 250GB HDD and kinect.

    On a serious note, just keep calling Xbox support till you get some solid answers. If all else fails then have them ship the console back to you and take pictures of the warranty sticker and “opening points.” Then send them into the Consumerist and forward the post as an EECB to the Xbox lords and sit back and let this site do what it does best.

    On another side note, if I see the next post read “XBOX sent me back a modded XBOX to avoid warranty support” I’m going to retract the sarcastic overtone in my first paragraph and repost it in all seriousness.

    • c!tizen says:

      P.S. a quick youtube search shows how a hair drier and a knife can remove that pesky sticker without breaking it so you may just be SOL.

  13. Sertorius says:

    I agree with the earlier comment that this sentence seems awfully well-informed for an innocent Xbox user: “They claim my console has been internally modified, even though the warranty sticker is still intact and the opening points on the console are undamaged.”

    However, if the OP is on the level, the best solution is to sue in small claims court if your state’s filing fee is reasonable (where I live, it’s $85).

    Sue for breach of contract, and maybe tresspass on chattel and/or conversion depending on the facts. If you sent the console to these people on Microsoft’s advice or instructions, sue Microsoft and the repair place both.

    One other wrinkle, unless the OP’s state has very unusual laws, or the OP is an emancipated minor, he’s too young to bring as lawuit. Parents will have to do it for him.

    • Twonkey says:

      I’m amused by how dense so many of you appear to be. That the guy knows what he does about modifications means nothing. It’s information he could have looked up after Microsoft accused him of modifying his console, for all we know. However, many of you have taken it as an admission of guilt, and that conclusion not only goes against the spirit of the site, but is baseless and presumptuous besides.

      Get a clue, people.

  14. rtwigg says:

    Sue either Microsoft or the retailer in small claims court for violation of the Magnuson-Moss
    Warranty Act. If you want to learn about what that is… Google

    • PerpetualStudent says:

      He’ll have to prove he did not open/mod the xbox and that MS repair center received an unopened/unmoded xbox.

      He can call bullshit, but if they have evidence the xbox was modified or opened, the warranty is voided.

      He should try escalating and having it re-examined. If that doesn’t work, just pay the $100 and get a working xbox back. Its quicker and easier, and probably cheaper in both cost and time than doing the small claims route.

  15. BStu78 says:

    Did they say “Your console is modded even though the warranty sticker is still intact and the opening points are undamaged”? Because that sounds odd for them to say while not telling you why they determined it was modded.

    Its even odder for you to say unsolicited. Because while I might now that a warranty sticker is unbroken when returning my XBox (which I’ve done), I wouldn’t know anything about the opening points being damaged. Offering that unsolicited is something one would do if they thought they covered their tracks.

    Besides all of that, how did you come to own your XBox. Was it used? Maybe the warranty was voided by the previous owner. Be glad its not a dead XBox as a result.

    Also, the “3 weeks of runaround” is disingenuous. If you sent the XBox back on June 22, it could easily take a week to receive it. When I needed to do a warranty repair with Microsoft I was frankly impressed with their level of communication and the speed of the repair which took only a day after receipt. They notified me immediately of when they got the XBox, too, so you should know when they actually had the machine in hand. The whole process took exactly two weeks. You can hardly blame them for not having information on your console before receiving it. Its hasn’t even been three weeks since you sent them the XBox. I imagine its been about a week and a half since they got it to today. Half of the time you complained about. And that’s assuming you immediately contacted Consumerist. I imagine you had an answer from Microsoft within at least 5 business days of them receiving the console.

  16. trujunglist says:

    the fact that you pointed out that the opening points + warranty sticker are intact, but mention that MS is also completely silent as to what the modification is, means that you modded your 360, bought a new warranty sticker, and tried to get by on some BS. MS did NOT say to you “oh, the warranty sticker is intact and the opening points are undamaged, but it’s still modded.” nope, you were prepared with your excuse.

    :price is right fail music:

  17. What’s your problem, Kazanski? says:

    He’s covering his tracks. TMI for a simple problem.

    On the afterthought that I’m incorrect about his modding, then follow the instructions on this site for reaching executive customer service..

  18. Mike says:

    I am on my seventh Xbox 360. (Yes, I really am, but I only paid for one, they have fixed all the others.) Good luck kid.

    The last time I returned one though I was not happy about it. I contacted Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. If I recall, the conversation went something like this (I’m paraphrasing of course):

    XBOX Owner: Hello, I wish to register a complaint.

    XBOX Owner: Hello, Miss?

    Steve Ballmer: What do you mean “miss”?

    XBOX Owner: I’m sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!

    Steve Ballmer: We’re closin’ for lunch.

    XBOX Owner: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this XBOX 360 that I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.

    Steve Ballmer: Oh yes, the, uh, the 360 Pro…What’s,uh…What’s wrong with it?

    XBOX Owner: I’ll tell you what’s wrong with it, my lad. It’s dead, that’s what’s wrong with it!

    Steve Ballmer: No, no, ‘e’s uh,…he’s cooling off.

    XBOX Owner: Look, matey, I know a dead XBOX 360 when I see one, and I’m looking at one right now.

    Steve Ballmer: No no he’s not dead, he’s, he’s restin’! Remarkable console, the 360, ain’t it? Beautiful graphics.

    XBOX Owner: The graphics don’t enter into it. It’s stone dead.

    Steve Ballmer: No no no no, no, no! It’s updating!

    XBOX Owner: All right then, if he’s restin’, I’ll wake him up! (pressing the power button) Hello, XBOX 360! I’ve got a new Halo spinoff for you…

    (Steve Ballmer hit the XBOX)
    Steve Ballmer: There, it turned on!

    XBOX Owner: No, it didn’t, that was you hitting the XBOX!

    Steve Ballmer: I never!!

    XBOX Owner: Yes, you did!

    Steve Ballmer: I never, never did anything…

    XBOX Owner: (yelling and hitting the cage repeatedly) HELLO XBOX!!!!! Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! It’s time to get our $60 a year worth for XBOX live to frag some n00bs!

    (Takes XBOX 360 presses the power button and three red lights flash.)

    XBOX Owner: Now that’s what I call a dead XBOX 360.

    Steve Ballmer: No, no…..No, it’s stunned!

    XBOX Owner: STUNNED?!?

    Steve Ballmer: Yeah! You stunned him, just as he was wakin’ up! You just need to press control+alt+delete, works for our other stuff!

    XBOX Owner: Um…now look…now look, mate, I’ve definitely had enough of this. That XBOX 360 is definitely deceased, and when I purchased it not half an hour ago, you assured me that its total lack of power was due to it bein’ tired and shagged out following a prolonged fragging session.

    Steve Ballmer: Well, it’s ahh, ah…probably pining for the Master Chief.

    XBOX Owner: PININING for the Master Chief?!?!?!? What kind of talk is that? Look, why did it stop working the moment I got it home?

    Steve Ballmer: The 360 prefers flashing red! Remarkable console. Lovely graphics!

    XBOX Owner: Look, I took the liberty of examining that XBOX 360 when I got it home, and I discovered the only reason that the video card was even working was because it had been glued there with Elmer’s glue.

    Steve Ballmer: Well, o’course it was glued there! If I hadn’t glued it, the video card is so powerful it would have jumped out of the case! VOOM! Feeweeweewee! Pwwwnnnnzzzz!

    XBOX Owner: “VOOM”?!? Mate, this XBOX wouldn’t “voom” if you put four million volts through it! It’s bleedin’ demised!

    Steve Ballmer: No no! It’s pining!

    XBOX Owner: It’s not pining! Its passed on! This XBOX 360 is no more! It has ceased to be! It has expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s DOA! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn’t hand glued the video card into it, it would be in a landfill! Its processes are now history! It kicked the bucket, it powered off, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ LAN Party invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-XBOX 360!!

    Steve Ballmer: Well, I’d better replace it, then. (he takes a quick peek behind the counter) Sorry squire, I’ve had a look ’round the back of the shop, and uh, we’re right out of XBOX 360s.

    XBOX Owner: I see. I see, I get the picture.

    Steve Ballmer: I got a ZUNE.

    XBOX Owner: Pray, does it play Halo?

    Steve Ballmer: Nnnnot really, no.


    Steve Ballmer: N-no, I guess not. (gets ashamed, looks at his feet)

    XBOX Owner: Well.

    Steve Ballmer : Listen, I’ll tell you what, tell you what, if you go to my brother’s shop in Bellevue, he’ll replace your XBOX for you.

    XBOX Owner : Bellevue, eh?

    Steve Ballmer : Yeah.

    XBOX Owner : All right.

  19. Smashville says:

    How would he know the warranty stickers and opening points were intact if he didn’t have the 360? I HAVE my 360 and I don’t know if mine are intact.

    • Pax says:

      Perhaps he was savvy enough to take photographs of the console from all angles, before sending it off into someone else’s custody?

      In this day and age of digital cameras and digital video recording … that’s not really much of a stretch.

      *I* took photos of *MY* Elite unit, before sending it off for repairs, when the RRoD bit me.

    • coren says:

      The same way I do: I haven’t opened them (and if they are opened, then MS must have done it)

  20. wingnut says:

    OK, I officially quit this site.

    Google Reader – > Unsubscribe

    Between this and the lady @ Whole Foods…I’m obviously on another planet because I’d give these people a shot to prove their case.

  21. bigd738778 says:

    Understand people MS knows software and they do it well. If MS says the console is modded then the console is modded no matter the denial of the customer and that is no joke. A console does not need a physical modification to be considered modded, he could have done anykind of software mod to the console that would also be a violation of the terms of use but my feeling and Ms feeling is that there was some foul play involved in his console.

  22. Beeker26 says:

    OK, for all the people calling BS on the OP, saying he must have modified his console, why on Earth would you mod your console and then send it back for warranty repair??? If you’re smart enough to mod it and understand what you’re doing you’re smart enough to know they’re gonna figure it out when they open the thing up.

    Just because he knows about the warranty sticker and opening points doesn’t mean he opened his up. Maybe he has a friend that did. Knowledge != guilt. Damn, who pissed on all your cornflakes this morning? Geez…

    • trujunglist says:

      because it’s also fairly common knowledge that some people have had success doing this. need proof? slickdeals gamer’s lounge

      • singfoom says:


        Stop it. This is consumerist, not corporatist. Please give the consumer in this situation the benefit of the doubt in this situation. Since I’ve had my own little fight with BB and turned here for help, 80% of people thought I was a scammer. Innocent until proven guilty….sheesh

        • BStu78 says:

          I know some people jump down consumers over anything, but there are concrete discrepancies in the story this time. This site has no credibility if the consumer is always right. There are valid questions to as Zach to clarify. Why does his know the opening points are undamaged? Why the snarky remark about outsourced phone help? Did that create a difficulty? If so, how so? You can’t just imply something. And his time frame is exaggerated. He claims 3 weeks of run-around when it couldn’t possibly be more than a week and a half. Now, we may all tell tall tales, but it validly calls into question his credibility on other points.

          If every consumer is a righteous victim and every corporation an evil villian, this site becomes a cartoon. There is some annoying “blame the consumer” nonsense here, but that shouldn’t inspire us to white wash everything fishy or unjustified from consumers.

          • singfoom says:

            That’s fine, but at least give the consumer a bit of a break. I find that people are quick to seize on very small discrepancies and that those blow up from something that the OP didn’t explain well into, “Well, he’s obviously a scammer, look a discrepancy X”

            I think that happens a lot here and it’s unfortunate….

          • Beeker26 says:

            “Why does his know the opening points are undamaged?”

            Cause he never opened the console. I’ve never opened mine and can tell you unequivocally, without even looking, that my opening points are undamaged.

            “Why the snarky remark about outsourced phone help?”

            Cause if the unit is at the repair facility in Texas why is he talking to some dude in India who can’t possibly have even come close to working on, or even seeing his console? The only info they’re gonna have is whatever the guy in Texas put into the system, which in this case is nothing.

            “He claims 3 weeks of run-around when it couldn’t possibly be more than a week and a half.”

            And you base this assumption on what? Why exactly could it not be nearly 3 weeks like he claims? Care to elaborate?

            • BStu78 says:

              Not having opened the console is different from stating for a fact that the opening points aren’t damaged. VERY different. The former is a natural response while the later is oddly specific.

              If speaking to someone in India was a problem, he should lay out why. He shouldn’t just complain that he had to speak with someone who had a funny name.

              As to why it wasn’t three weeks, he sent the console on June 22. It hasn’t BEEN three weeks since June 22. That’s a simple matter of fact. Its been 2 1/2 weeks since he says he shipped the item. Microsoft wouldn’t even have gotten it for nearly a week based on my experience, so they can hardly have been giving him the run-around during that period. He rounded up the time frame rather considerably.

              OP is welcome to address the concerns being raised. He may have valid explanations. But bottom line, its never a bad idea to be skeptical about something some guy says online. Especially when he is obviously stretching the truth in some respects.

              • Beeker26 says:

                So you’re calling him a liar because he took 18 days and called it “nearly 3 weeks”? Cause, well, um, 18 days IS nearly three weeks. Or are you calling him a liar because he didn’t discount shipping and processing time after sending in his console? So maybe he’s only been getting a runaround for for nearly 2 weeks. Ok, yeah, I see how that makes it soooo much different.

                I’m not saying you shouldn’t question people, but you guys have clearly branded him guilty without any shred of evidence, simply because you don’t like the way he phrased his sentences. He statement is only 2 paragraphs. Would you have preferred a detailed dissertation?

              • coren says:

                And if the customer service rep or whoever said “the opening ports are damaged” then that’s a specific complaint which he should be responding to – and as for the outsourcing, that was obvious to me – unless the people who work on consoles do it in some other country, why am I talking to someone in another country? It’s one thing if it’s Dell and they’re doing Dell support – it’s another when they’re telling me things that someone thousands of miles away put in a computer.

              • Sumtron5000 says:

                I think we’re aruging semantics here. I would state that the opening points on my Xbox aren’t damaged. The reason why I would state that because I have never opened my Xbox.

  23. DanRydell says:

    “Assuming Zach is on the level, though, what do you think he should do to continue his fight?”

    Claim to be 13? Or 35?

  24. MrsLopsided says:

    Xbox is a failure prone piece of crapware aimed at an under-aged ethics-challenged target market with Tim Taylor tendencies. It’s a recipe for charges and counter-charges and Microsoft has adopted a guilty until proven innocent approach to problem solving. The OP will likely have to pay the $100 to get it fixed.

    • Pax says:

      That’s funny. I’m thirty-nine, spend my Luxuries budget very frugally, and am disinclined to open my Xbox for any reason, even AFTER the warranty runs out. I’ve suffered only one failure, which was promptly and more than satisfactorily dealt with by Microsoft, under warranty and at no cost to myself.

      Could you perhaps have put forth any MORE insulting a stereotype??

    • shufflemoomin says:

      Doesn’t it ever get cold or lonely under that bridge?

  25. common_sense84 says:

    The one thing missing from his argument is if he is the original owner or not.

    If he bought it used, then he is screwed.

    Is he the original owner? Without that information, nothing can be said in this case. Microsoft could be right if he bought it used.

    • Red Cat Linux says:

      If he bought it used, then the only thing that changes in this scenario is whether or not Zach is being honest. It is still not getting fixed under warranty.

      Either way, unless Microsoft’s version of Geek Squad has somebody else’s console on the bench that they are claiming is his, it’s just a modded Xbox. How it got modded is not something Microsoft is going to be concerned about.

  26. Red Cat Linux says:

    I’m fairly sure that the company that banned what was reportedly a million consoles from their online service due to modded hardware, without so much as a hint as to what the tip-off was, is unlikely to tell Zach what tripped the shennanigan meter about his console.

    They have indicated last year when the bannings were going on that to tell people what they found would be helping them work around the very security that detects the mods.

    I don’t get the feeling Zach is on the up and up. That’s just me however, and not because I had already been inside my computer replacing parts at that age.

    Annnd not because YouTube is full of videos explaining how to remove the tamper evident seals on your Xbox completely undamaged so you can mod it. I’m just sayin’.

  27. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    The question was, “Assuming Zach is on the level, though, what do you think he should do to continue his fight?”

    I can’t believe that people are judging him as being a liar. I work with teenagers every day and they can be pretty savvy. I can honestly say, if someone accused me of having modded something I did not mod, I would look up on the internet what they are looking for in a modded console so I could prove them wrong. This is the information age and young people use information. There is zero indication that he is lying. Microsoft refuses to even give him any answers. My guess is that they know they are working with a kid, so they think they can push him around. It is a pretty common tactic among adults.

    If I were him, I would get a parent involved. Adults can often get things done better.

  28. djkrztoff says:

    When I was given the runaround on Xbox #3 (or was it #4, I don’t remember), I had to get the better business bureau involved. It may take a while for them to acknowledge your claim, but when they do you’ll be speaking with an american support specialist at microsoft who you will find is 1000% more helpful and will be personally assigned to your case.

  29. Munchtime says:

    I’m going to assume the OP is on the level… there’s no need for the ageist remark, sarcastic or not. If he did something wrong and MS has found him on it, he’s out of luck. I hope he doesn’t play games online, as it’s my understanding that a modded console will be permanently banned from Xbox Live. If they are saying it’s modded, he’ll end up paying 100 bucks for a system he’ll never be able to use on the Live service. I don’t know how he can disprove what they’re claiming, and I don’t think they just call a console modded without good reason. I wish him luck.

    • Twonkey says:

      This is a company that banned a bunch of unmodded consoles during the last wave of bans, so I’m willing to believe that, yeah, they’d probably blow smoke up his ass if doing so would let them syphon another hundred bucks out of him.

  30. tape says:

    they’re not honoring their warranty? small claims court.

  31. coren says:

    “I am 16” isn’t the weakest point of Zach’s argument for innocence. Because it’s not part of it. He’s saying “Hey, I’m 16 and I don’t know what to do, what are my options?”. I guess Phil was born a fully formed adult who never needed help from others.

  32. JonBoy470 says:

    I too am put off by the anti-kid, anti-geek bias in this thread. The savvy demonstrated by this kid in describing the intact-ness of the taper-evident seals on his XBox is a function of his knowing how to use google, and quite possibly having friends with modded XBox’es. This kid is probably the one who fixes all the family/friend computer problems that stem from not having a clue about technology.

    • BStu78 says:

      I’m sure he can Google now. But he doesn’t have the console in front of him any more. So he can’t state as a fact his ultra-specific statement. So, either he’s bluffing and just guessing it wasn’t tampered with, which is also called lying; or Microsoft told him what didn’t give away his modding but not what did, which would be weird; or knew how to make sure his console didn’t appear to be modded before he returned it to Microsoft, which is suspicious. It might still be valid, but OP has to explain this and other oddities from his complaint before I can consider dismissing my skepticism. I’m not saying he’s a liar. He might be telling the truth. I’m just saying I’m skeptical of his claims for good reason given his exaggerations and peculiar remarks.

      • Twonkey says:

        Um, as the owner of the console, I’m pretty sure that the kid ought to be in a position to know whether or not he’s ever tampered with the warranty sticker or opened it up to tinker around inside it. As for knowing that Microsoft looks for those things, well, that’s the power of Google at work, my friend. I know that if I were accused of modding my own 360 by Microsoft, I’d probably hit Google too. Not only to see what recourses are available to get the situation rectified and my warranty honored, but to find out just why Microsoft might accuse me of having done it in the first place.

        I don’t know why you folks have interpreted his post to mean that something fishy is going on, when as myself and a few others have illustrated, that’s not the only way to interpret what we know. I think it says more about you folks and the declining quality of this site that you automatically jump to the conclusion that he just has to be lying, and that the site’s staff lets presumptuous bullshit like that stand unchallenged.

  33. Anticitizen says:

    I, too, am calling BS on this.

    My 360 Pro died, and it was purchased from GameStop. The warranty sticker was broken (Microsoft stated this) and it couldn’t be serviced. They told me that they would not service any console that has been modified, or has had the warranty sticker broken.

    But offering $100 to service a “modified” console sounds a bit off.

  34. shufflemoomin says:

    Unless I’m very much mistaken, the warranty sticker is under the outer plastic casing of a 360. How does he know it was intact and how does he even know there’s one under there? I smell a tiny whiff of bullshit here. My take on it is that he, like a lot of 16-year-olds, thought he was L33T enough to make it look like it hadn’t been opened and fool MS and is throwing a tantrum that they’re smarter than him. I’m sure they could easily prove it’s been modded. That’s the major problem with the Consumerist. We usually only get the consumers point of view and have to take what they say on face value. Why don’t you contact the companies and ask for their stance on the issue?

  35. Darwin says:

    This guy sure doesn’t pass the sniff test, but here goes:
    Contact the RMA department and provide proof of purchase information and stress your position that the console is stock. Let them know that you are writing management informing them about your situation. Write MS executives a hard copy letter explaining the details. Provide your proof of purchase info,a description of the error and all information in your “run around” with the RMA attempt. Have an adult proofread and edit your letter before sending it off. Be prepared to wait a long while for any progress on the matter. If you’re legit, good luck! If not, shame on you!!

  36. water00boy says:


    1) I play massive amounts of Xbox 360 Halo3, and am embarressingly older than the complainant in question. It is my experiance that there is a tidal wave of modified activities via Xbox, both hardware and software, and there is a (very, very microscopic) chance this person’s console was modified via download without his complicity. HOWEVER, what is far, far more likely- he modded the case, or modded other elements (like the hand held controller) whose modification is now registered in the console, and he’s trying the old fall back “I don’t know nothin’ ” defense.
    2) I have teenagers. They are essentially sociopathic and will lie in any situation where they think they will not be discovered. Fortunately, God has also made them very short sighted if not rather stupid, and they usually trip over their own protestations of innocence (please see above).

    I vote death by hanging

  37. Cytricks says:

    This is very strange…If it states that Microsoft wants $100 to repair a opened 360 is true then you have them there. Microsoft will not on the record, officially repair a opened 360. Once the 360 has been opened they will not touch it, officially. I do say officially because I know some people that have opened their 360 and gotten a repair. If you have a record of them saying it is modded and they want you to pay for it, question them!! They would not be able to argue about it.

  38. Hardwired says:

    The XBox 360 is Microsofts biggest joke this side of Windows ME and the Kin mobile phone. This company is falling apart. Windows 7/Server/Office is all that’s keeping them afloat at this point.

    • MSUHitman says:

      Umm you do realize XBox Live and the various add-ons, tv shows, movies, and music videos for sale on Live made Microsoft $1.2 billion last year, right?

  39. outinthedark says:

    First off why is the city Mesquite redacted? That’s where the repair center is and everyone has to send their console there.

    Secondly…it’s a flashed console, no need to open the console and why I knew the choice of words “physically modified” before the break this would come up. Not a chance this could have ever been unnoticed if he bought it used unless he never went online. The console would have been banned from XBL.

    Trust me there are people dumb enough to send in softmodded consoles. I just read the other day a story where a guy tried to get his Wii repaired with the Homebrew channel still installed.

    The OP is a joke.

    • Twonkey says:

      All that it took was a quick seconds-long Google search to find out that, as of yet, there is no way to flash your 360 console without first opening the thing up.

      Who’s the joke now? Oh right, that would be you.

      If you’re going to act like a smug prick, make sure that you’ve got all your ducks in a row first. Otherwise…well, you just look like an idiot on top of being a smug prick.

  40. MSUHitman says:

    Contact @xboxsupport on Twitter, they’re actually in America. Or you can email to see if Major Nelson will escalate for you.

  41. xjeyne says:

    I work in a position to hear complaints from 360 owners often, and from this experience I know that Microsoft will not touch a modified system. They won’t even charge you $100 to fix it. They just won’t touch it, period. This is what makes me go “hmm” toward Microsoft.

    Personally, I’d kick it up the ladder.