Nintendo doesn’t seem to like fixing Joy-Cons for free (pic: Nintendo)
A reader documents Nintendo’s attitude to fixing broken hardware and how it compares to Microsoft’s much more consumer-friendly approach.
I was lucky enough to get an Xbox Series X on pre-order and it arrived day one, but I was unfortunate in that it had a manufacturing fault. I believe the fan’s bearing was at fault, everyone can judge for themselves from the video. Either way it meant that on the morning of 11th November, after possessing the console for less than a day and only using it for a couple hours, I had to get it sorted out.
Ordinarily I’d just send it back to the retailer, but that would obviously result in a refund given current stock levels, leaving me Xbox-less for the foreseeable future. So I found myself at Microsoft’s website. It took no more than a minute or two to click on my device, register its warranty and book it for repair, it was surprisingly easy considering the ‘Compo Face’ stories in the tabloids. That afternoon UPS whisked it off to Microsoft Germany.
It was due back on the 23rd but every day between then and the 26th UPS would send me a text informing me there had been a delay and I would get it the next day… If I wasn’t already working from home, aside from being frustrating, UPS would have cost me three days holiday at less than a days’ notice every time. I’m not impressed with UPS at all but it’s now back and it’s a new-for-old (new?) replacement.
In contrast, my ongoing experience with Nintendo is woeful. I sent a Joy-Con off to them for an in-warranty repair owing to Joy-Con drift and was badly burnt by the experience. Nintendo claimed that in addition to the Joy-Con drift on the pair of Joy-Cons I sent in one had a cracked case that meant they wouldn’t be able to reassemble it after opening it up without a replacement case.
Plus, the other Joy-Con’s pairing LED strip was damaged – convenient. I cannot remember the exact amount but this resulted in them billing me approximately £50 for the repair, for issues I was certain didn’t exist when I sent my Joy-Con to Nintendo.
Given the hassle, and the ultimate cost of an in-warranty repair being close to the cost of just buying a new Joy-Con I have just bought new Joy-Cons ever since, slowly turning my man drawer into a Joy-Con’s graveyard over the past three years, with five defective Joy-Cons now in it.
Recently though, my daughter’s Pokémon: Let’s Go console’s Eevee Joy-Con started to drift. Given how precious it is to them, I submitted it for an in-warranty repair on the 2nd November. Given my prior experience I filmed it in-hand such that I had an accurate capture of its condition the moment before despatch to them.
On the 21st, almost three weeks later, they emailed me a quote to repair costed at £29.33. This was one again due to an alleged crack in the housing. I responded immediately to customer support as I knew there was no crack preventing replacement of the stick this time, sending them my video as evidence. However, I received an ‘Awaiting Payment’ email from them on 27th November, implying they hadn’t read my response, so I decided to call their customer support team.
The call basically consisted of the Nintendo Customer Support member informing me that while they had listed a ‘cracked housing’ on the quote it was actually because of the scuff on the housing by the ‘L’ button that is visible at 11 seconds in my video.
What’s more, they informed me that because it had been scuffed my warranty was void. I pointed out to them that an analogy to that would be buying a new car and driving it a few miles before suffering steering failure. Then taking the car back to the dealer for repair only to be told that, as I had a acquired a chip on the bonnet’s paintwork, my warranty on the car was void.
I was then informed in a very matter of fact way that the warranty is void because of the damage. To me the scuff is day-to-day cosmetic wear, it seems much more like Nintendo is just exploiting something trivial to eliminate cost and make profit.
To say I felt cheated out of the product warranty is being polite and not what I want to say. They tricked me out of my money the first time, making me question myself about my Joy-Con’s condition. This time I had evidence of the Joy-Con’s condition and they had to backtrack on their claims the case was cracked and unserviceable, reaffirming my belief I was tricked the first time around, but they still held me to ransom all the same.
If any of our staff treated any of our customers that way they’d rightfully get a disciplinary. Nintendo though, in my opinion, they have made the abhorrent practice of evading warranty repairs their policy and they should be ashamed of themselves for it.
By reader Antony
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
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