Andy Phifer, like many of us, faced a glowing red ring on his nonfunctional Xbox 360. Facing an RRoD warranty technicality, he sent Microsoft $US100 to make necessary repairs. Things didn't go so well. Here's his story:
I'm sure you get stories like this all the time, and I'm sure the news is old (Xbox 360s break, they suck, haha), but this isn't so much a story about an Xbox being broken as it is a story about Xbox support failing to repair and identify the problem after a few months and three repairs. I can't get anyone at Microsoft to even apologise for them messing up over and over time and time again, so I thought I'd take to the internet to see if anyone wants to write about a true Xbox Support horror story. I'm 25 years old, work in a professional office building as a newspaper designer, am married, have a son and am not very dumb.
Xbox got four red lights back in July. My Xbox is still under warranty, but warranty doesn't cover four red lights. I happily send them $US100. [Ed note: 4 red lights is code for a missing AV cable, but can be caused by other issues. 3 red lights is the famous RRoD and is covered by the warranty.]
Four weeks after putting in the repair order, the Xbox was sent back fixed. It is now August. It took four weeks for the repair to complete in part because of shipping problems, including five boxes being delivered to my door and two instances of undeliverable addresses. Really, the repair only took a week. Getting the correct box to my house took three weeks.
Three weeks after I got it back, on August 27, I got three red lights about ten minutes away from beating Shadow Complex with 100% items found.
About 2 weeks after repair was ordered, Xbox was returned to me – three red lights remained. About 2 weeks after repair was ordered, Xbox was returned to me – three red lights remained. About 2 weeks after repair was ordered, Xbox was returned to me – three red lights remained. (that's not a typo. I sent it in three times, and it was sent back still broken three times)
It is now October. I took to Twitter to rage about Microsoft and a friend asked me if I checked the lights on the power supply. No person at any point in this repair process going all the way back to July has ever asked me or told me or hinted about or mentioned the light on the power supply indicating the power supply might be faulty. I checked it, and the power supply was orange. I'd bet the very first time I got the three red lights, this might've been the problem. Why no one in the process, after the Xbox came back to me "unrepaired," asked me to check the power supply I do not know.
After much convincing, a new power supply was ordered sent to me by Microsoft. It arrived after a week. The male power supply didn't fit into my female Xbox port. Apparently, Xbox has used a few different kinds of power supplies over the years.
Today, October 7, the new power supply has been ordered and might arrive in 2-3 weeks (they have to process the request, 7 days they say, and then ship it, 5 days. Add weekends off and time to deliver, and it'll be 2-3 weeks).
So after all that, I've been able to play my 360 for about three weeks total since July... Am I at fault? Maybe 1% of this is my fault – I could've looked online for more reasons the three red lights might happen, at which point I would've found out about the power supply problem… but still, that's no excuse, because it isn't my friends job to fix my console, it is Microsoft's job, and they have failed.
Andy Phifer Houston, Texas
I don't think anyone can blame Andy for not self-diagnosing his Xbox issue. Anyone who's dealt with any sort of technical support before knows that nothing gets the operator riled up more than a valid self-diagnosis. These calls are heavily scripted to cater to the lowest common denominator.
But when that script clearly can't diagnose a common problem (more than once) and the customer is punished for months because of it, I mean, come on. Given Microsoft's apparent fundamental troubleshooting flaws at work in this story, we have a tough time believing that there's only one "Andy" out there. [Image]