This post is primarily intended to bring visibility to an issue I believe needs to be resolved before any more consumers get screwed out of their money.
Here's the history: I purchased an Xbox 360 Elite in January of 2009. It was pretty awesome. I had hoped that by this most recent installment of the Xbox console, the hardware problems that have been plaguing owners of xbox systems would have faded away. For the most part, I was not disappointed. My Xbox 360 Elite console worked very well for two and a half years. In May of 2011, I experienced the dreaded Red Ring of Death... my heart stopped. It was my first Xbox and I had no idea what to expect... did my data disappear? Was I still in the warrantee? Surely I'd have to shell out the money for a brand new Xbox. Nope! Little did I know that Microsoft extended the warranty for Red Ring of Death issues to 3 years, since it had become such a common problem and was the source of so much negative publicity. Luckily, I was covered. I sent my Xbox in, it came back three weeks later repaired and ready to go! They even included a free month of Xbox Live to make up for the time I couldn't play my console.
Friends of mine had told me about their Red Ring of Death issues and how their consoles got Red Rings again pretty soon after getting repaired. So I decided I'd avoid that issue and went out to the store to buy myself a brand new Xbox 360 Slim. After all, they advertised it as whisper quiet in their press releases and it was Kinect ready, should I ever want to buy one of those. So I shelled out the $300 USD for the new console, hooked it up, and watched some Netflix. Couldn't be happier with my experience.
...until 6 days later when the ethernet port stopped working. At this point, I was a little frustrated. I take meticulous care of my consoles and couldn't believe that I had purchased a console with hardware that stopped working after only 6 days. It was still within the return period, so I whisked it back to Best Buy and requested they replace it for me. They did- no problems. A bit annoying to have to give up an hour and a half to get there, but whatever- I had a new console in hand and didn't have to pay a dime.
.... until 28 days later when the new power supply started making the worst sounds when the console starts up..... Now I was pretty frustrated. Here I was on my 3rd xbox in two months and there was ANOTHER hardware issue. I mean, these noises were AWFUL. Not only were they distracting, but I'm sure given time, they'd prove to be the symptom of some issue that destroys the console. Who knows? Maybe the sound is indication that it's improperly converting the power from the outlet? I'd rather not risk losing all my data or melting a disc, so I figured "better to get it fixed!"
I was beyond the return period, so I couldn't bring it back to Best Buy. I called up 1-800-4-MYXBOX. I had had a pleasant experience before, and I figured it would be smooth sailing this time too. After all, I only had it for a month before it stopped working properly, so I figured there'd be no issues getting it resolved. Wrong. I phoned Microsoft and told them the problem. They said "No problem, we'll get that replaced for you, sir."
Wait for it..... "You just need to pay for shipping to send it to us and we'll send you out a new one once we get it, free of charge." To which I responded, "Wait, I have to pay for shipping to replace a defective piece of hardware that's only a month old? How is that free of charge?" The woman I spoke with agreed to connect me to a supervisor so I could talk to them about the issue. Dante and I talked about it and I informed him that I didn't believe I should have to pay a dime to replace a month old defective product. If it were a year old, I'd say ok. But I just bought it, and it's already not working properly. The issue was only compounded by the fact that this was my third xbox in 2 months with serious hardware issues. Dante informed me that he doesn't have any power to override the policy and provide me with a free shipping label. I believed that was the case, but asked if he could forward my call to someone who does have the authority to override it. He tried to tell me there was no such person in all of Microsoft that had that ability.
"No one? In all of Microsoft?" I said. "There's not a single person with that kind of authority? What about Bill Gates? I'm sure he could do it if he were so inclined. If that's the case, then clearly there is SOMEONE. I'm just asking to be forwarded to whoever is in charge of your department so I can discuss the issue with them." Anyway, long conversation later - he told me he would leave a message for the individual above him and I could expect a call back to talk about this with them. "When should I expect the call?" I asked. "24 to 48 hours," he said.
.... two weeks later. No phone call. Not even so much as a follow-up call from Dante or someone from his staff. I called 1-800-4-MYXBOX again. This time I spoke to a new supervisor. She put me on hold for a little while as she attempted to figure out what the issue was and how it might be resolved. I assume she was speaking to her superior. She came back and told me there was nothing she could do and that she's sorry no one got back in touch with me. I explained to her that, according to the warranty that came with my Xbox 360 S, I believed my consumer rights were being violated. The language of the warranty is thus:
"4. Microsoft's Responsibility
a) After you return your Xbox 360 S or Accessory to Microsoft, Microsoft will inspect it.
b) If Microsoft determines that the Xbox 360 S or Accessory malfunctioned during the Warranty Period under Normal Use Conditions, Microsoft will (at its option) repair or replace it, or refund the purchase price to You. Repair may use new or refurbished parts. Replacement may be with a new or refurbished unit."
I'd go on, but there's no point. Bottom line is that there is no language in the warranty whatsoever that claims the consumer is responsible for covering the shipping costs to get a defective item replaced. I explained this to Julia, the supervisor during the second call, and told her that under Massachusetts General Laws (and most state laws, for that matter), there are Express Warranties (which I just transcribed) and Implied Warranties, which apply to every product sold anywhere ever. Implied Warranty laws basically say, in the simplest terms "If you buy toaster, it should toast. If you buy a TV, it should display a picture." Basically, if you buy something, it should do what it's supposed to do, whether explicitly outlined or not.
In this press release, (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2010/jun10/06-14e3umbrellapr.mspx) Microsoft claims that the newly designed Xbox 360 S console provides a "whisper-quiet" experience so not to disturb the tension of games or movies. In my opinion, given that it was implied that the console and its components should operate in a "whisper-quiet" manner, the console is not performing as it should and the defective power supply should be replaced at no cost to the consumer.
It is my belief that forcing the consumer to pay for shipping in order to replace a defective product (ESPECIALLY one well within the warranty period) is a violation of my consumer rights. Despite the fact that I would not have to pay for the item, having to pay shipping in order to replace it is, in fact, a cost. It is a cost that I don't believe I should have to pay considering I spent 300 dollars one month prior purchasing the unit.
Microsoft is *** consumers first by manufacturing the world's most notoriously defective hardware and second by charging consumers ANY amount of money to replace them. I understand these forums are intended for people who need answers, but this post is intended to create results. I demand results. Years ago when the first Xbox 360 users complained about CONSTANT Red Ring of Death issues, Microsoft caved. They extended their warranty to 3 years and offered free shipping, free repair/replacement, and a free month of xbox live. If you feel that Microsoft is violating your consumer rights by maintaining a policy that requires the consumer to pay ANYTHING to replace a defective item, respond to this post and let's turn up the pressure.