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Thursday, September 18, 2008

The (Surprisingly Good) Xbox 360 Console Replacement Process (UPDATED)

After all my worries about the length of time it might take to get my Xbox 360 back from Microsoft, I can now rest easy. While I don't have my console back home and safe just yet, there is a new console on its way to my place via Purolator Air. I doubt there's any way that I'd have my console back by this evening; however, tomorrow night is looking pretty good.

For those of you worried about buying an Xbox 360 due to faulty hardware (though not really a concern with newer models), check out my 360 service timeline after the jump.

  • October 2006: Purchase my new Xbox 360 Pro Console from Wal-Mart.

  • December 2006: I actually start using my Xbox 360 (my first son was born in October 2006). This is also the first time that I learn that many Xbox 360 owners are complaining about the RROD. I register my 360 console with Microsoft.

  • May 2007: I experience intermittent bouts of the E74 hard drive error. Nothing serious. The problem seems to resolve itself.

  • August 2008: My first sighting of the dreaded RROD. In my case, it turned out to be a Red Ring of Impending Doom. My console continues to work after I unplug all cables and plug everything back in.

  • September 3, 2008: I finish playing Half-Life 2: Episode 1. I'm happy and my Xbox 360 seems pretty happy too!

  • September 4, 2008: I race home after work eager to download some XBLA games like Braid, Puzzle Quest, and Poker Smash. RROD! Nothing seems to work this time. My beloved 360 console is pronounced dead at 9:15 PM.

  • September 4, 2008: I call Microsoft's 1-800-4MY-XBOX support line and speak with an automated agent. The agent guides me through various scenarios and techniques to bring my Xbox 360 back to life. Nothing works.

  • September 4, 2008: I visit Microsoft's Registration, Warranty and Repair Service for Devices site (https://service.xbox.com/servicehome.aspx) and learn that my Xbox 360 is considered "Out of Warranty". Thankfully, Microsoft extended my warranty to 3 years in Fall 2007! I'm provided with another toll-free number that puts me in touch with a Microsoft customer support representative. After a few minutes, I'm told that a UPS shipping label will be sent via e-mail. I'm also told that my Xbox 360 console will be replaced (as opposed to repaired) in 2-3 weeks.

  • September 5, 2008: I check my e-mail in the early afternoon and find that I've received my UPS shipping label from Microsoft. I print off two copies of the UPS shipping label. I unplug my Xbox 360, remove all attached cables, the network adapter, and the hard drive. I take my bare-bones Xbox 360 and the printed labels to my nearest UPS store.

  • September 5, 2008: At the UPS store, I tell the clerk that I'd like to ship my Xbox 360 console. She pulls out a box that should fit my Xbox 360 perfectly: I was their second Xbox 360 customer that day. I give both shipping labels to the clerk and ask that one label be placed inside the box with my console. Why? The shipping label had my service reference number on it and the Microsoft rep instructed me to place a copy of my number in with my shipped console. Although the shipping was prepaid by Microsoft, I end up spending $13 for the UPS box, a UPS packaging fee, and tax.

  • September 8, 2008: I check the UPS site and find that my Xbox 360 console has arrived at the service depot in Toronto, Canada.

  • September 9, 2008: I check Microsoft's repair status site (https://service.xbox.com/servicehome.aspx) and find that Microsoft is still "Waiting for device at service center". Damn.

  • September 10, 2008: No change.

  • September 13, 2008: No change?! Come on Microsoft! You guys got my console 5 days ago!

  • September 15, 2008: Still no change. I contemplate buying a new Xbox 360 console so that I can play Star Wars: The Force Unleashed when it comes out.

  • September 16, 2008: I'm spending some time looking at BestBuy's prices for Xbox Live Arcade consoles ($199) and at the repair status of my Xbox 360 console. At around 3:00 PM, my console's repair status changes to "Device received at service center". Nice! I decide to hold off on buying a new Xbox 360 console.

  • September 17, 2008: I decide to check my Xbox 360 repair status again. Who knows? Maybe it's been shipped back to me? Lo and behold, my console's repair status is now set to "Device shipped to customer". It was sent via Purolator Air.

  • September 18, 2008: At 9:30 AM this morning, my new Xbox 360 console arrived at my house. I will celebrate my new console with some Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and a cold beer later this evening!
All told, the console replacement process was extremely smooth and completely painless. I'm sure that my new console will work very well since it will likely be one of the newer models. I'll let everyone know tomorrow!

I hope that my experience with Microsoft's Xbox 360 support and service will allow people to make a worry-free purchase of a great gaming console. I can't think of many companies that offer better support than Microsoft. They took an intimidating and frustrating process and turned it into something mildly annoying. I'll update this post once I've received my new Xbox 360 and given it a test run!

Have a good one!


Joey Baker said...

My xbox 360 has been replaced with a premium system but I received an email on 24/10/08 and I haven't got my 360 back from Frankfurt ye, btw I live in England, that is why it is in Frankfurt