Independent Repair Center Refuses Xbox 360

International reports continue to paint a dire portrait of Xbox 360 reliability, with a UK repair center refusing dead units, one user on his twelfth machine, and Microsoft allegedly outsourcing UK repair to Prague.

68
International reports continue to paint a dire portrait of Xbox 360 reliability, with an independent UK repair center refusing dead Xbox 360 units, one user showing evidence of being on his twelfth machine, and Microsoft allegedly outsourcing UK repair to Prague.

(Not) Taking Care of Business
Northumberland, England-based video game console repair center Micromart (NE) Ltd. has announced its refusal to accept faulty Xbox 360s suffering from screen freezing issues or displaying what it calls the "dreaded" three red ring quadrant lights. "This problem is endemic on the Xbox 360 console," reads the company's statement, "and the volume has made this repair non-viable." The company continues to support more minor Xbox 360 faults.

Micromart is not affiliated with Microsoft, and offers repair service for a variety of video game consoles either via mail or through a physical drop-off location. The company states that users whose consoles are inoperative or freezing should deal with Microsoft directly.

When contacted by Shacknews, a Micromart representative reiterated the "exceptionally high volume of this fault," which he claimed "has been identified as a fundamental motherboard problem." The representative declined to speculate on the overall failure rate of Xbox 360 consoles beyond a general relative assessment of the problem. "The level we experience is unusually high and information on the many website forums seem to suggest it is far more widespread than our own information," stated the rep.

Recent reports also suggest that Microsoft's own UK repair centers are becoming overwhelmed with repair requests. According to claims sent by Xbox 360 owner Lee Sherman to the online arm of Xbox 360 Gamer Magazine, Microsoft's Havant repair center has begun sending some of its units to the Czech Republic repair center in Prague, while claiming to owners that the repairs are being carried out domestically. Sherman, whose console has been out for repair for some three weeks, allegedly tracked down the Prague center through directory enquiry service.

When he confronted the Havant location with his findings, he was apparently told that Havant sees approximately 1,500 to 2,500 defective console per day, which are then rerouted to Prague. At the time, Microsoft had not commented on the matter.

If At First You Don't Succeed...
This week, Shacknews was contacted by Xbox 360 owner Justin Lowe, who has churned through eleven faulty machines and is currently running his twelfth. His story was reported in detail by 1UP, which has mirrored a call made by Lowe to a Microsoft support representative confirming his unusually high number of defective units.

According to Lowe, defective units are frequently replaced by refurbished consoles rather than newly manufactured consoles, which may go some length to explain why it some Xbox 360 owners seem to astonishingly unlucky with their personal console track records.

This would help in explaining the long saga of "Silent Wolf," a regular Shacknews reader who has had seven Xbox 360s replaced despite claiming to keep all of his consoles in pristine condition. "I am extremely cautious with everything I own. I'm one of those nerds that keeps the finger prints off his games," he wrote when his seventh machine died. "In two differnt [sic] houses, my shit keeps breaking, and this is only with normal use."

Both Lowe and Silent Wolf claim to still enjoy their consoles, despite the many trials and tribulations that have come along with them.

Turning Down the Heat
Earlier this month, reports surfaced that Microsoft may be adding an additional heat sink to the Xbox 360's GPU in the hopes of diminishing the machine's failure rate. Microsoft has declined to comment on the veracity of these claims, which are supported by photographic evidence.

Microsoft has taken a notoriously guarded attitude in response to accusations of endemically faulty hardware. "Y'know, things break," commented Microsoft's Peter Moore in May. "I'm not going to comment on individual failure rates because I'm shipping in 36 countries and it's a complex business." Moore called failure rates for the console a "moving target." In the past, Microsoft has claimed a 3% failure rate for the console and has stated it is within acceptable limits for consumer electronics.

Speaking to Shacknews later that month, Microsoft's Shane Kim said regarding Xbox 360 reliability, "That is definitely an area we're definitely focused on, just like we're focused on cost reduction, just like we're focused on Xbox Live updates every six months."

In an infamously unrevealing interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Xbox 360 hardware head Todd Holmdahl refused to directly answer any questions regarding the machine's reliability problems.

Shacknews has contacted Microsoft regarding these matters, but had not received a response at the time this story was published.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    June 28, 2007 12:41 PM

    MS better do something quick or it's class action time. Which is not nearly as cool as bullet time.

    • reply
      June 28, 2007 12:43 PM

      I'm really quite surprised there hasn't been a class action lawsuit against Microsoft already.

      • reply
        June 28, 2007 1:29 PM

        For what? I thought you could only sue for faulty products if they either:

        a) didn't work as advertised (clearly the 360 does _work_ as advertised)
        b) broke and the company refused to repair them (Microsoft certainly is standing behind the product).

        So, what exactly do you sue them for? Not having good enough QA standards?

        If that was the case every company in china would be getting sued out of business.

        • reply
          June 28, 2007 2:20 PM

          You can't sue a company in china that easily though. Although I'm not a lawyer or anything.

      • reply
        June 28, 2007 3:48 PM

        I would think that some game developers might be pissed if people are not buying the console because of the problem and thus not buying games. perhaps

      • reply
        June 30, 2007 8:27 AM

        fanboys/apologists.

        you wouldn't see this phenomenon in any other segment of society.

        I mean who the hell would protect a mega company like ms when they are clearly f'ing people?

        only fanboys

    • reply
      June 28, 2007 12:43 PM

      Sadly it is even less cool to combine the two.

      • reply
        June 28, 2007 1:08 PM

        I don't know, I imagine a lawyer diving off a table at a judge, and the camera panning around the lawyer in mid-air.

    • reply
      June 28, 2007 2:18 PM

      They extended thier warranty, they supposdely now switched how they handle repairs and are trying to actually fix the consoles instead of just sending you a refurb, and they do it all at their expense(as they should) if your console is under warranty. I think they are handling the problem pretty well.

      • reply
        June 28, 2007 2:21 PM

        They didn't extend warranty for UK launch 360s though only US and they did take some stick from that from watchdog groups because of that. Not that it made any difference, but with stories like this you never know.

    • reply
      June 28, 2007 2:56 PM

      I wonder if lemon laws will start to apply.

      • reply
        June 28, 2007 2:58 PM

        I think there should just be a generic mandatory 1 year warranty on all consumer electronics devices like this.

        • reply
          June 28, 2007 4:01 PM

          Some states have this; WA has that stores must have a warranty that is in addition to anything by the manufacture, non-overlapping.

    • reply
      June 28, 2007 8:05 PM

      bullet time is pretty cool.

Hello, Meet Lola