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CodexNecro's avatar

Is it fair to pay for a broken device if you didn't break it?

Asked by CodexNecro (211points) July 28th, 2009

To add a little backstory: I’ve been a loyal Microsoft customer since I got my first xbox, I’ve had ps3 and I just wasn’t impressed with it. I now own a 360 and a zune which are pretty much my prized possessions. Recently, I had to have my 360 repaired for the second time (RROD, obviously) and this time I had to pay to ship it as they no longer pay. I found this to be unbelievable.

Now, in the past few days my zune has been on the fritz. It started freezing and resetting itself, now it won’t add music as it seems to have convinced itself that its full. I found out this is a common problem and, like the ring of death on the 360, is a fatal design flaw and it must be replaced. I called tech support and was told that, since my warranty has run out, it will cost $160 to replace it.

So I ask you, the collective, is this fair?
Why should we, the consumers, have to pay for a badly designed product?

Also, just to throw this out there, if I don’t win my fight with microsoft and get my zune replaced for free, I’m probably going to get an ipod.

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12 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

It sucks that you are encountering this, but do realize something: while you’ve paid once, you have the choice to no longer pay anymore for this badly designed product.

You do this by not giving Microsoft your business anymore, and using a different brand of mp3 player. Screw that $160 replacement fee, that’s pretty much an iPod right there, so go give Apple your money. This is the only way you can communicate with businesses as large and nonchalant as Microsoft, as they work for shareholders who care most about profit. If you want, you could call up customer support and tell them you are dissatisfied with their policy and thus going to buy Apple products in the future, but I doubt if this will accomplish anything beyond being therapeutic (still, that’s a good enough reason for me).

Is it fair? Legally yes (until they get sued in a big class action thing, as this usually goes), businesswise it’s sketchy but obviously Microsoft has chosen to follow the approach of releasing shoddy hardware when they know it has significant faults, versus improving and releasing a solid model later on (they’ve admitted to doing this, in causing the RROD fiasco). Now we see they’ve done the same with the Zune. I would use this knowledge and no longer support Microsoft products…. oh wait, I’ve been doing that for pretty much my entire life :)

I think them not paying for the shipping costs is bad customer service, and ultimately causes more damage to their brand than they regain in saving money. Now that I know this is the case, my opinion of the PS3 has gone up a bit, and mine of Microsoft has gone down yet again.

I personally would recommend any version of iPod as I have always been impressed with their quality. I use an iPod Touch and it is my media center, I appreciate it very much. There are other brands if you are not an Apple fan, lots of third party brands and devices which play music and movies (Samsung, Sony… just go look in your electronic shop).

On a more general note, the Microsoft that Bill Gates made and ran is no longer the Microsoft that exists today. All I see them doing nowadays is playing catchup (IE) and releasing products the market has no need for (Vista, even Windows 7). They are no longer the bringers of innovation that they once were. Indie companies as well as bigger ones are taking the innovation lead. As our computing needs change, I can easily see a future world without Microsoft, as surprising as that may be.

whatthefluther's avatar

Unintentional design flaws suck. Known built in failure and obsolescence should be a crime.

CodexNecro's avatar

I didn’t go into much detail in my initial post because I wanted to avoid a wall of text, but I have had two ipods and they never had any of the problems my zune has had. I don’t know why companies like M$ think people like us will continue giving them business if they keep royally screwing us. I do believe they screwed up with the RROD issue, but I find the 360 to be the superior console in this generation, I feel similar about the Wii but I think its in a slightly different bracket and I can respect that. Actually, I love Wii.

dynamicduo's avatar

I agree. The 360 is my favorite console so far this gen, mostly due to Rock Band. The Wii is fun and I do love it, but really only for group games, it’s not really a competitor to the 360/PS3 in my mind. I’ve been casually wanting a PS3 but I can live without it for sure.

Microsoft makes a lot of money off of dumb people. Sounds harsh, but it’s true. Their “new” search engine, Bing, has taken over market share from Yahoo and maybe a bit from Google, and the ad clickthrough rate is double that of Google; in my experience tech heads use Google and never click on ads, and older/uncomputer-savvy folk are the ones who use MS or Yahoo and click on ads.

They thought they could continue shitting out OSes version after version and people would buy them with no qualms. That’s what had worked for all versions of Windows before. But then they scaled back Vista’s promised feature so much, rewrote things that didn’t need to be rewritten, have caused tons of devices to simply not work with the system, etc. People looked at this offering and thought, why? Then they decided no, Windows XP works fine for me, I’ll stick with it (or were told by tech friends that Vista was not worth it). That was a major major blow for them. They were not expecting that at all. They make tons of money from enterprise agreements, and when huge businesses didn’t see the value in upgrading to Vista and stayed with XP, they lost TONS of money. So they changed their approach in doing Windows 7, made it more open, provided betas to gain lots of coverage, etc. I’m not sure if that will work or not. I’m sticking with XP, it’s all I need right now.

The reason I mention this long story is that this is their company mentality. They assumed people would buy their products with the big MS stamp on it, but people realized that the company is different sans Bill Gates, the innovation is gone. They assumed people would love their Zune when really people love to hate it! They assumed they were the center of computing, then the Linux Netbook-Webapp market came around, which completely bypasses Microsoft’s niches. Their assumptive behaviour will likely be their downfall, once the Enterprises realize they can work with free software and abandon the multimillion dollar contracts for Office and Windows.

Quagmire's avatar

You’re going to have to keep writing, each time going higher and higher in the company’s table of organization. I had a similar problem with my SONY laptop and it took a full YEAR until they agreed to give me a brand new unit. BUT I GOT IT.

Make a decision as to how much work the free replacement is to you. Even if you DO get an iPod, I’d keep working on it.

CodexNecro's avatar

The first time I had my xbox fixed, they assured me it would work fine from that point on, the same goes for the first time my zune was replaced. By the second time my xbox needed to be fixed, I was mad. Real mad. I honestly feel like they’re allowing this to happen just for laughs.

I had heard that the elite had a much smaller failure rate, so when I added up the cost of my xbox (I bought it when it had just come out for a little over $400) with the cost of the three or so headsets I have that broke completely on their own, my play and charge kit that hasn’t worked since I bought it, and the two controllers that malfunctioned and though “well, why don’t they just give me an elite? I’ve pretty much paid for it”. I asked them this and ended up on the phone with a manager who refused to honor my request (maybe it really can’t be done, I can understand this). The problem was he wouldn’t give me anyone higher up, he said he was the highest one there. I told him there had to be people between him and bill gates and he still refused to find someone for me. I asked him, “so, are you bill gates?” and he replied “yes, sir.”

I promise you this really happened.

MrItty's avatar

The warranty is the period for which they will cover repairs to a product. If they only offer a warranty for one year, that’s a pretty big clue that they expect a product to not last more than a year. That should be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to buy a product.

Quagmire's avatar

@CodexNecro, I believe you. In the SONY story I mention above, the telephone people refused to give me the higher up names. I had to research them out myself over the net. Do the same.

Wanna do something to bite them? Find out the head of a DIFFERENT division within the company and write to THAT person, saying how you’re not getting satisfaction from the OTHER division. That may get cooperation from the Zune people.

Things breaking by themselves is part of the life expectancy of the device and there’s nothing you can do. Your USE of the device is what broke it, no different then if you wore out your pants.

Where I think you have a shot is the fact that you are SURE it’s because of a KNOWN design flaw.

Also, if that’s the case, do some searching and see if there is a class action suit against the company because of it, and maybe get on board.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Wow lot’s of problems on the xbox360. That’s good to know.

CodexNecro's avatar

While I understand what’s been said here, I think an electronic device should outlive my pants.

I had to struggle with the guy, but I got his name, reference number, and the number for a corporate office. He assured me that no one there would be able to help me, but I think its worth a try.

M$ has never been known for their excellent customer support, but I don’t remember their reps being so ignorant and apathetic. On top of that, and I don’t mean to come off as racist, they have no grasp of the english language whatsoever. It seemed to me like the only words he knew in english were “sorry, unfortunately,” and “policy”.

ShanEnri's avatar

Not fair, but what can you do about it!?

CodexNecro's avatar

I was given the number to the legal department which I called just a few minutes ago and was redirected back to zune support. After badgering the woman I spoke to, I was given three more numbers which I haven’t tested yet. I was also given an address to write the legal dept. If anyone is having the same problem as me and doesn’t want to put up with tech support, I’ll be happy to share this information.

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