Saturday is the day my wife works, and Daddy gets to take care of Samantha. As that’s gone on awhile now, I’ve gotten better at it, and I find true enjoyment at spending time with my daughter, and watching her grow up right in front of me. Still, I do enjoy nap time. :) So today I made myself some lunch and sat down to play a couple of hands of Uno on Xbox Live before I had to get to some chores, and what do I see? The Red Ring of Death on the front of my Xbox 360. Ugh.
Everything I’ve read about this says that it’s bad. If you see it, forget it, your system is dead. So I hop on Google, do a search for that, and find a decent article on TeamXbox.com about the ring of death. They offered a few suggestions, as some of the flashing light “codes” indicate something stupid, like loose wires. None of that worked, so I rather dejectedly called Xbox support. After wading through a really dumb computer front end (that tried to act like a person), I finally got a customer service agent. I think I liked the dumb computer voice first.
I knew I was in trouble right away, as I started the phone call with “Red Ring of Death time”, to which I got the response of “Excuse me? What is that?” Like an Xbox Customer Service rep has never heard that term before. This is not going to be good at all. It was obvious Mr. Agent was reading off a script. Now that I can deal with, even if I don’t like it when I get it. But to make matters worse, this guy was acting like he was the host of a local morning talk show. You know the kind, all hyped up on java. Anyway, anytime anything even remotely negative came out of his mouth, he’d follow it up with – DON’T WORRY! Excuse me? What kind of nonsense is this? I work at a games company, I bet you I’d probably spent more time playing my 360 than he did. It was seriously annoying, but given I needed my 360 fixed, I stuck with it for awhile. To make matters worse, this guy had a very thick foreign accent, and spoke way too fast. It was difficult to understand him in the first place. Then he gave me some twaddle about my address on file being in India. Nevermind he had the street address, city, and zip code right. The state said India for some reason. Oh boy – my mind was instantly transported to this cartoon about tech support people which makes me laugh every time.
The guy eventually said that I qualified for a warranty repair (which he later said was an out of warranty repair), and told me it would cost $129 to repair my 360. BUT DON’T WORRY – We’ll pay for the shipping. You cheap bastards, you should pay for the repair too! I had a 2005 model 360, one of the first made (the manufacture date on the back said Sep 2005). So I had just about enough of his happy “Don’t Worry” crap, and said “Excuse me? $129 to repair this? I was told that you guys were fixing all 2005 model 360’s for free – what’s this $129 charge”? I deviated from script, so I think he didn’t quite know how to respond – I didn’t swear at him, but I was obviously sounding agitated. He repeated the line, said something about offering me a case number, which at this point I was seriously mad, and probably wasn’t properly listening to him. I got one more “Don’t worry”, and down went the receiver. Jackass. I don’t want to hear this “Don’t worry” garbage. I almost said “Would you stop sayign that, and just talk to me?” I didn’t, it probably wouldn’t have helped anything anyway. I mostly hung up because I couldn’t take it anymore, but I also decided I should get off the line before I said something which would cause him to hang up on me, and probably enter it into my records as “pain in the ass customer”.
The kicker is that my warranty expired just about 30 days ago. Lovely. Additionally, the repair center is in Texas, so I would have been charged sales tax on that $129 repair fee.
So I cooled off for awhile, and when Lynn came home from work we talked about it a bit. Told her all of what happened above, and she actually brought up the concept of getting a totally new one, when I said that the one I’d get back would be a refurbished model. I hate refurbs, you never know what problem is hidden underneath there. Yeah, they “fixed it”, but something happened to that unit to cause it to need to be refurbished. Never like that, feels like I’m buying a used car. I originally bought a Core system 360, because I was impatient, and didn’t want to wait until I could find a full system. I got mine on January 1, 2006, and full 360 systems were hard to find then. So I have all the extra stuff (hard drive, headphone, wireless controller, remote, etc) that you would need to upgrade a core system into a full system already. We figure that the difference between “repairing” my current 360, and getting a used/refurb model is about $150. That $150 would buy me a new unit, with a more recent manufacture date (one would expect, given the supply problems 13 months ago), as well as a new full warranty, and some piece of mind. Yeah, I probably could save a few bucks, but we talked about it, and decided this is the way to go.
So tonight I ordered a new Xbox 360 Core system, it’ll get here Wednesday, ordered from Amazon.com, and as I belong to their Prime program, I get free two day shipping. No tax either, which is nice. But I’m a) annoyed that I have to even go through this at all, and b) for the doofus I got on the customer support line. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!
The only real positive to this is that the original system which is now a brick was one I never paid for in the first place – it was a Christmas present from my company back in Christmas 2005. So I’m not “double paying”. I might have to look into an extended warranty, need to see how much Microsoft charges for that. Oh, and I know the 360 Hard Drive is still working, so I won’t lose all my save games and downloads and things like that. That is good.
UPDATE Mon Feb 5: I was seriously contemplating recreating the copier scene from Office Space with my dead 360 unit. When I mentioned that to a co-worker up here at my office, I was told to go look at Ebay, so I looked there for broken Xbox 360, and wow! Found out people are getting in the neighborhood of $100 for dead, non functional 360 units. That rather stunned me, and I decided to go that route, so tonight when I get home from work, I will list my dead 360 on Ebay, and use that money against the credit card bill for buying a new 360 core. That makes this a little more palatable. I’m still not happy about all this, but given the money for the repair is a wash, and then add this $100 to the mix, and then I’m probably paying in the neighborhood of $60 to receive a totally new unit, as opposed to a refurbished one.