The Red Ring Of Death Affects A Very Occasional Xbox Player

Here’s the thing with warranties: they’re limited not by how many hours you’ve used an item, but by how long you’ve owned it. Usually, this works in our favor as consumers, but not in Nathan’s case. He writes that his little-used Xbox 360 has failed after three years, presenting the dreaded Red Ring of Death. He wonders: since this is the same problem that more frequent Xbox users see after less time has elapsed, why can’t Microsoft offer him a repair even though his warranty has expired?

Several years ago I purchased an Xbox 360 on something on a whim. There were only 1 or 2 games I really wanted for it, so it went though periods of non use for much of the time I have owned it. All total, over just more than 3 years, I have had the console turned on for just a couple of hundred hours. I figure the average Xbox 360 gamer racks that up in a few months. As such, my console had been going strong until this week. I turned it on to settle down for a movie on Netflix (I actually used my Xbox 360 for Netflix more than playing games.), but 5 minutes into the movie my console freezes up and and a green checker pattern covers my screen. After power cycling my Xbox, I am presented with the Red Ring of Death. I called Microsoft support right away to see what could be done. They told me my warranty had expired just in August and as such, would not offer a no-charge repair. I was told to try contacting Microsoft directly (implying I was not even calling Microsoft support), and they might be able to help me. Taking this advice I sent an email the very next day, trying to get a hold of someone who would help me. This morning I received standard boiler plate response that was almost word-for-word what the phone support person told me, with no offer to have someone evaluate my situation.

I feel like I have been shut down at every turn. I made a point of telling them the console was rather underused, but to no avail. My argument is this; this is a known issue that has a large percentage of older Xbox 360s. If I had used the console more regularly and used it to play games, the console would clearly have failed well within the warranty. I have taken meticulous care of my Xbox 360, even blowing the fans out with a can of air every few months. I had hoped these steps would be enough, but clearly it was not. I feel like I am being penalized for taking care of my things. I turn to you as a last resort. No one seems to want to help me at Microsoft.

Unfortunately, no one at Microsoft is really obligated to help you. Unless the item was purchased at Costco or with certain credit cards, extending the warranty, the only real choices are to pay for the repair or give up the Xbox dream.

If he has a reference number for his device, Nathan can try calling Tier 3 escalations at Microsoft. However, you need a repair to have a repair reference number, so that probably won’t help, either.