Broken Xbox One Controller Leads to Questionable Customer Service

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Published by 6 years ago , last updated 1 year ago

Posted on January 17, 2014, Ron Whitaker Broken Xbox One Controller Leads to Questionable Customer Service

There’s nothing quite like new technology. The thrill of opening that box, of hooking up that new gadget, of trying it out for the first time – we all know that feeling.

That’s the feeling that Mark Patience (@GrayHairedGam3r on Twitter) was looking for when he cracked open his Xbox One Day One Forza 5 Edition back on Dec. 16, 2013. Patience had received the console from Amazon UK on Dec. 6, and decided he should open the box up and make sure everything was in order for Christmas Day, as he knew he and his family (specifically, his three kids) would be itching to play.

Upon opening the box, he wrote in his blog, he found what you see in the picture above — a controller missing both rear side panels. Patience says he immediately contacted Amazon, only to find out that they couldn’t replace his Day One controller, simply because they didn’t have any replacements to send. The retailer did offer him a small refund, and encouraged him to follow up with Microsoft support.

That’s where things got … weird.

First, Patience told Game Front in an interview, the Microsoft rep he talked with told him that MS would not ship out a replacement until they received Patience’s faulty one. With only six shipping days left for Christmas, the odds of receiving the controller in time for the holidays were just about zero. This was met with some consternation from Patience, particularly since Microsoft was expediting returns “for early users with issues” with broken consoles, shipping them a “new Xbox One via UPS within three working days,” according to a report from Eurogamer. MS sent these consoles without requiring the return of the broken one first, but instead allowed purchasers to return the faulty unit in the box the replacement arrived in, at Microsoft’s expense.

Unable to be connected to a Microsoft supervisor, Patience says he told MS that he didn’t accept the resolution, and took to Twitter. Contacting Microsoft’s support accounts, @xboxsupport and @xboxsupport2, he reiterated the problem, only to be met with the same solution. Then, the MS rep told Patience that he could simply buy another controller, and then return it as non-working when his replacement arrived.

@grayhairedgam3r Sorry that you feel that way. You can purchase another controller, to have while yours is away. ^PS

— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport2) December 16, 2013

@grayhairedgam3r You won't need a Day One controller to fill in while you ship yours away, and you can return it when your's gets back ^PS

— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport2) December 16, 2013

@grayhairedgam3r You can tell return it and say it didn't work. Keep the receipt. ^PS

— Xbox Support (@XboxSupport2) December 16, 2013

Patience says that despite three days of escalating complaints, Twitters messages and emails, Microsoft wouldn’t be moved on this. He says he had to purchase another controller (£ 45 / $73.92) so that he and his kids could enjoy the Xbox One over the holidays. Not only that, Xbox UK wouldn’t send a box or shipping label for the broken controller, says Patience, meaning he had to spend an additional £ 10 ($16.43) on shipping just to return it to Microsoft.

Patience says he finally received his replacement controller from Microsoft on Saturday, Jan. 11. Once he confirmed it was working, he contacted MS to try and tie up his outstanding issues, like his shipping costs and the investment he’d had to make into a replacement controller. Microsoft’s reply was to offer him two months of Xbox Live Gold, a service he says he rarely uses anyway. After he told the rep he was speaking to it wasn’t an acceptable resolution, the rep referred the situation to a supervisor. Later that day, Patience received an email from the supervising team offering him one month of Xbox Live, instead of two. He says he refused that offer as well, and is currently awaiting a resolution.

Microsoft didn’t respond to Game Front’s numerous attempts to contact the company about this story.

While the fact that Patience received what essentially amounted to a half-built controller is bad, it’s not even what’s most troubling about Microsoft’s customer service in relation to Patience’s issue. The issue isn’t even that Microsoft might have had the means to handle this request, as is shown by their willingness to ship replacement consoles in an expedited fashion, but for some reason chose not to send a controller to Patience.

While neither of those casts particularly favorable light on Microsoft’s support department, the bigger issue is the support rep’s suggestion to commit return fraud as means of dealing with Microsoft’s unfinished controller and slow support shipping.

Return fraud is a term coined by the retail industry that describes the practice of returning an item dishonestly. For example, you might return an item to Wal-Mart that bought at Best Buy, or you might claim something doesn’t work when it really does. In many cases, people will do this with big ticket items like video cameras. While an attorney we consulted told us that it’s not illegal, it is still a practice that retailers estimated would cost them $3.4 billion this holiday season. Retailers deal with things like return fraud and other losses in stores by increasing prices for everyone else.

It’s stories like these that make us wonder just how bad Microsoft’s customer service really is. For every positive thing you hear, like the company expediting shipping for broken consoles, there are situations like the one detailed here. As the competition among console manufacturers heats up, doing things like sending customers to commit return fraud, something that is, at best, ethically questionable, is not a reasonable way for Microsoft to handle customer service.

If you’ve had any interaction, either positive or negative, with Xbox Customer Support, please tell us about your experience in the comments.

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