Monday, June 30, 2008

The Unofficial Xbox Support/Service Centre Canadian FAQ

I've been frequenting the official Xbox Forums over the last while, specifically the Canadian General Forum, and one thing I noticed was the surge of threads dealing with the same basic Support and Service issues over and over.

To that end, I've created this basic FAQ to hopefully help a few people out.

Disclaimer: This FAQ is unofficial and has not been approved by Microsoft. All the questions and answers are as up-to-date as the writer can make them, and all official policies and procedures are subject to change without notice.

Comments, suggestions, and updates are more than welcome.

1) Q: How can I get in touch with Xbox Support?

A: You can reach them by calling 1-800-4MY-XBOX, or by going to their official Support site here. There's also a very handy trouble shooting tool for three flashing red lights here and for screen freezing here.

If you speak French, I recommend selecting the French option when you call, as you're guaranteed to speak with someone from Quebec. If you take the English option, you'll likely end up speaking with someone overseas who, unfortunately, may be difficult to understand.

2) Q: I'm having an issue with my Xbox 360. How do I know if it's covered under warranty?

A: The Xbox 360 has a 1 year general warranty, and a 3 year general hardware failure (three flashing red lights and E74) warranty. Full warranty details can be found here.

If you purchased your Xbox 360 console used, it is not covered by the warranty; the warranty applies to the original purchaser of the retail product only.

3) Q: How does the repair process work in Canada?

A: After contacting Xbox Support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX, you will be able to create a service order with them. Alternatively you can place a service order via the official Support web site and its Repair Agent here, however I hear it tends to have issues with Postal Codes, leaving you with little option but to call (though you're certainly welcome to try the online method). When you do call, follow the instructions of the automated agent until you get to speak to a customer service representative.

You will be emailed a UPS label in approximately 24 hours and can ship your console via a box that you provide and once you drop off or have your defective console picked up by UPS, you will receive your replacement Xbox 360 console in approximately 10 to 15 business days.

To the best of my knowledge, there is only one Service Centre in Canada, located in Toronto, Ontario. Shipping times can vary based on your distance from Toronto.

4) Q: What's a business day?

A: Business days are work days, typically Monday to Friday, excluding holidays such as Canada Day, Labour Day, etc. Weekends are not considered business days.

5) Q: I've waited for over 10 to 15 business days respectively, and I haven't received my Xbox 360 replacement console!

A: Shipping times are approximate and there are several factors that can delay (or speed up) service. If at the end of your 10 to 15 business days you have not yet received your replacement Xbox 360 console, call Xbox Support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX to inquire on the status. You can also check the status via the Repair Agent here, and once you have a UPS or Purolator Tracking number, you can track the package via UPS' site here, or Purolator's site here.

It's important not to let your service order go stale. If Xbox Support has not gotten things to you in the specified time frame, follow up!

6) Q: Do they really send us refurbished consoles? I thought it was brand new.

A: Originally for the Xbox 360 Pro, Arcade, and Core consoles, the policy in Canada was that Xbox Support would replace your defective unit with a refurbished console, however there have now been many reports with people receiving brand new, factory sealed Xbox 360 consoles manufactured in June or July 2008.

Whether you will receive a new console or a refurbished console seems to be completely random and at the discretion of Xbox Support. Keep your fingers crossed.

I am not certain on the process for Xbox 360 Elite, Xbox 360 Resident Evil 5 Special Edition Consoles, or Xbox 360 Halo 3 Special Edition Consoles, though I've heard Xbox 360 Elite consoles are often replaced with refurbished units.

7) Q: I've heard that refurbished Xbox 360 consoles are prone to breaking quickly. Is this true?

A: It is certainly possible that your refurbished Xbox 360 console will break on you, just as your new Xbox 360 console did. Unfortunately, the Xbox 360 is well documented for having a host of hardware issues, so there is no "perfect" or "problem free" unit.

Once you receive your replacement console, make sure to test every function and port that you can to ensure the entire console is working correctly. If you do find something wrong, you'll likely need to re-contact Xbox Support.

8) Q: What kind of a warranty does a refurbished Xbox 360 console have?

A: Full details here.

9) Q: What are the repair costs they mention for post-warranty service?

A: You'll need to contact Xbox Support to find out the current cost. I've heard anything from $110.00 to $150.00, and I've also heard the cost will be cheaper if you place your service order online. For the latest official information, Xbox Support is your best bet at 1-800-4MY-XBOX.

10) Q: What is the real hardware failure rate of the Xbox 360 console?

A: Official statistics have never been released to my knowledge. The unofficial number is anywhere between 16% to 33%. Suffice it to say, it was high enough for Microsoft to extend the original 3 month warranty to 1 year, and to add the 3 year general hardware failure warranty (three flashing red lights and E74).

11) Q: I've heard that the newer Xbox 360 consoles are fixed and never break. Is this true?

A: Every Xbox 360 console, like any other piece of hardware, has the potential to fail. The rumour is that newly manufactured consoles have a lower chance for hardware failure, but this has not been officially proven.

12) Q: I've decided to purchase a brand new console instead of going through Xbox Support. Is there anything I should know?

A: Your existing HDD can be moved to any other Xbox 360 console. This makes purchasing an Xbox 360 Arcade the cheapest new console alternative. If you intend to use your downloaded content Offline, you'll need to transfer the licenses of that content. Details can be found here.

13) Q: If I do go through Xbox Support, do I need to transfer my content licenses?

A: No, Xbox Support will do this for you. This process can take up to 30 days. It's also a good idea to call Xbox Support after you receive your replacement console to make sure the ball is rolling, as they often seem to "forget" otherwise.

14) Q: Xbox Support has lost my order/they're taking forever/I hate them.

A: Like most customer service centres, Xbox Support can make mistakes. If you are having issues, ask to speak to a manager and make sure you have your reference number handy. Remember to be polite. The person you are speaking to is a human being. They did not break your Xbox 360, and they likely are not the person who lost your order or messed things up. Treat people like how you want to be treated.

15) Q: I went through management and I'm still not getting any results. This service is horrible and I want results.

A: If you've exhausted all options of officially going through Xbox Support, you may wish to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Many customers, including myself, have had success sorting out Support horrors this way.

16) Q: What kind of compensation will Xbox Support give me for my trouble?

A: Xbox Support will send everyone a complimentary Xbox LIVE 1 month Gold Membership card with their replacement console. If you do not receive your card, please call Xbox Support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX.

17) Q: I'm very angry at Mircrosoft and I want more than a simple 1 month of Xbox LIVE Gold!

A: Call Xbox Support at 1-800-4MY-XBOX and ask to speak to a manager. Make sure you have your reference number handy. Explain the situation to him/her, and see if you can get anything else. Some customers have gotten free games and accessories as additional compensation, but keep in mind these "extras" are at the discretion of Xbox Support, and tend to only be given out in extreme cases.

18) Q: I hate Microsoft. I hate the Xbox 360. I hate you.

A: Thanks. Now I feel all warm and fuzzy inside. The Xbox 360 has lots of hardware issues that are well documented, and they have a very good warranty to support this. Unfortunately, they are far from perfect and most of us have had issues with Xbox Support and many of us are on multiple refurbished consoles. There is nothing we can do but go through the official process and leave feedback with the Service reps, hoping the quality of service will be improved.

Please do not post hateful comments in this post or attack other posters simply because they like the Xbox 360 and/or are trying to help you. You will not gain any sympathy this way, and you will likely have your posts deleted.

If you're that angry with Microsoft and Xbox, I suggest you sell you're Xbox 360 and go here.

19) Q: I bought an extended warranty from a retailer, and my Xbox 360 has died. What do I do?

A: Since this is a private agreement between yourself and the retailer, you will need to first go through them before contacting Xbox Support. Please refer to the details of your private retail warranty.

20) Q: I don't want to ever see the three flashing red lights again. What can I do?

A: While hardware issues will happen to many of us no matter what we do, the best precautions are to simply treat the console correctly.

Make sure your Xbox 360 is in a well ventilated area and do not move the console while it is powered on and a disc is in the tray. Follow the operation instructions found in your manual for the best results.

You can view my own set-up as an example here.

Also, do not attempt to open up your Xbox 360 console or tamper with it in any other way unless directly advised by an Xbox Support customer service representative. Doing so otherwise will void your warranty.

I hope this little FAQ helps a few people out. If you have any additional questions I may have missed, or have constructive information to add, please feel free to comment and I'll do what I can to address them.

Updated: Sun. May. 30, 2010

1 comment:

TomeOne said...

I'm glad the repair centre appears to be in Toronto. I may get my console back sooner than I thought (I live an hour away from Toronto.)

Thanks for the FAQ.