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Editorial: European Xbox Customer Support

We all know it can happen, one day you turn on your Xbox 360 and it gives you the so called ‘Ring of Death’. The TV gives a nice looking error and all you can do is turn of your 360 and try it again. If the ring keeps glowing red, you have a problem, the manual of your 360 doesn’t give a lot of information besides checking the cables. Actually there’s not much you can do about it. Then the moment is there, you make the call to the Xbox Support… Read on to learn of Xboxic crew member etalien’s long and painful struggle to get his beloved gaming machine repaired.

Don't PanicAs with most companies you first get a computer on the line, after a few choices you get a real person on the line almost immediately (most of the time). You tell your problem, you tell them who you are, and they send you an email with the data of the repair shipment, usually done by UPS. For Europe, the repair center is in Germany, UPS delivers fast, so your 360 should be there in 1 or 2 days at most.

At first they had enough new 360’s in Germany, when you sent your 360 you got a new one immediately, I sent my first in and got back a new one 2 days later! Unfortunately the repair center ran out of both new and refurbished 360’s, so now you’re almost sure to be getting your own 360 back and pray that it’s repaired. If you ask the rep on the line how long it’s going to take, they always say it takes a maximum of 8 to 10 working days, and since the repair center has trouble keeping up you can count on 2 weeks without your lovely 360. It can be a pain.

But what if the 8 to 10 days have passed, and you still haven’t heard anything from them? You keep calling and calling but nothing happens, they say they can’t do anything about it, except sending emails. I’ve discovered the repair center does not frequently answer those emails, sometimes taking as long as two weeks! They also claim to have a language problem between the repair center in Germany and the call center which is located in London, with the Germans not understanding the problems their English colleagues enter into the database! And those people are repairing our 360’s?

Anyway, if something goes wrong in the process, you’re screwed. I’ve called the support guys so many times for my second repair, each time explaining my problems again when you get someone else on the line. And they have 140 people working there, so you bet you won’t ever be getting the same person on the line twice! After 3 weeks they still hadn’t heard anything of all those emails they sent, so I finally convinced someone and he was going to sent me a brand new one. Two days later, I had to call them again since they sent me my 360 but without the Hard Drive and Power Adapter, which they had specifically asked to send along with the console. Since a power brick is quite vital for the 360’s operation I still couldn’t use it.

At first they said it was my own fault, they didn’t believe me and I had to buy new ones myself. For the bargain price of 180 euro, they would send me a new Power Adapter and a brand new Hard Drive! They sent a mail to the repair center again, with the usual response time of around 2 weeks. The next week, I managed to speak with the manager, who said he was going to send them for free to me. This time it took 5 days before I got the package at home, and again they forgot to send a part, I only received a Power Adapter. Well, at least the machine was partially usable again.

So after 5 weeks of waiting and calling every day, my problem still wasn’t completely resolved. It turns out that they are working on the problems with the two centers working separately, and are fully aware of the problems some customers experience. They now have a translator working in Germany to translate the English emails, and hopefully to translate this article…

Do note when reading all of this that this is not a common story. We’ve heard many reports of people being helped out perfectly within 2 to 3 working days, and that is as it should be. This story however illustrates that there are still some things to work out before they’ll be getting any awards.

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17 comments on 'Editorial: European Xbox Customer Support'

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In my first call I was told to absolutely not send in my power adapter. In my second call, when I had received “the coffin” I was to send my xbox back in, I made another call to the support, just to make sure which things I should send in? Did I really have to send in the harddrive as well? Yes I did. And the power adapter as well.

wait a minute. When I called before, I was told to absolutely not send in the power adapter. Now this guy said I SHOULD? Oh, yes I was correct after all, I shouldn’t send in my power adapter. A close one I might say.

Another problem with the european customer support, is that they won’t acknowledge solutions provided by the US support, even when they add notes in the work log of the service requests!

A very interesting, yet depressing, thread is this one entitled “Cant play full versions of Arcade Games”

It addresses the fact that the content downloaded from the marketplace, and especially the games, are connected to both the gamertag and the console id. The US support have provided a workaround, which is for the customer to create another silveraccount, and then get a code with the points spent, so one can connect the arcade game to the new console. (just downloading it again with your own id is not sufficient, as some in the support might to think.)

The european support ignores this though and tell us to “live with it, it’s in the EULA”.

So if it breaks and you get a refurb or new one you have to repurchase all Marketplace content? That’s pure evil, I always thought they were only linked to gamertag.

They ARE, but to your console as well. The idea is that you’re supposed to be able to login to a friends machine with tyour gamertag and play the full version. If you log out, and your friend hasn’t bought the game, he’ll only see the trial version.

The result is that you will be able to play the games only if you are online with your gamertag. You will not be able to play them offline.

Aha I understand, thanks for clarification :)

NP :-) So as an example; if your friend/sister/brother logs in on your new console, they won’t be able to play, unless they buy the game too, or login with YOUR gamertag.

Thought it’d be only a matter of time before this rant ;)

Personally they were very helpful to me and delivery was quick (although if they’re refurbing consoles now then that’s a pain). I took the extra careful step of buying a second 360 hard drive and switching my hard drives before I sent mine for repair, in case they tried any funny reformatting.

I did get one odd moment on the phone though when the guy I was speaking to was distracted by something, then when he came back to me he’d forgotten who he was talking to and started talking to me in German :D - kudos for having bilingual people on the phones anyway.

I had to wait over one month untill I got a working Xbox 360 system. Meanwhile they told me that I could call back when I had a working system for a compensation. So I called and I could choose PDZ, Kameo or PGR3. I had PGR3 already so I chose Kameo. They said it would arrive in about 10 days.
3 weeks later I still had no game, but then 2 days later I got mail from the Xbox support with a token in. It was worth 70 euros, so I could go to Media Markt to buy the game. One week later I received another token worth 60 euros. So I got 130 euros from Xbox support, I was pretty lucky I think, but I love my Xbox 360 more than ever.

Thank you MS!

Why telling them again and again the same thing? You got an ticket-id (ref) with your first incident, they can track your problem with it.

Thank God I’ve had no red lights yet but the occasional freeze and XBL problems (which were either unimportant or easily fixed over the phone). Don’t try getting help through e-mail though, you get a form letter.

Comment by adc on 2006-04-12 14:12:37 | Reply

i think different people get different experiences which can be argued as right or wrong or realistic or not given the size of the operation here. i personally have had 4 replacement xbox 360s, each a refurb i think, bu the turn-around on each has always been within 10 days. for every complaint there’s someone who got a good experience, you can’t have it all all the time.

Comment by Tom on 2006-04-12 17:48:56 | Reply

I sent my first one in on 1-4-06 and got it back on 2-19-06.. Yup 45 days , it was stolen by DHL coming back too me from the Texas repair center on 1-13-06 .. I called atleast once a day everyday usually twice and always talking too a supervisor cause tier 1 cant do anything about a missing/stolen 360 .. I was constantly lied too about everything just too get me off the phone , twice I was told it was shipping and was given tracking #’s , both times it was a free game which I couldnt play. During that time of waiting I was fortunate enough too buy a 2nd console which I just sent back on 4-3-06 and its out for delivery back too me right now..

Basically its the same over here in the US if not worse.. Their is a 200+ page forum post on which shows easily how the customer is the only one that suffers.

To be fair, the fact that they allow it on does mean that they’re not trying to hide the problems. And even then, never forget that it’s the troubled minority that complains. From the reports I’ve heard the majority of people that have needed support had no problems at all and we’re helped quickly. It’s the ones that suffer that scream for justice hardest. And rightfully, don’t mistake me on that! I’m just pointing out that the loudness of complaints is never an indication for the size of the problem.

Comment by Tom on 2006-04-12 22:18:51 | Reply

But in the same boat , how many ppl with troubled xbox’s even know about ” official forums ” so they can complain? its prolly a small amount and of them how many think its worth their time too even post it? Maybe 25%?

Run into a real issue and you will see how very very quickly they drop the ball.

But in the same boat , how many ppl with troubled xbox’s even know about ” official forums ” so they can complain?

A very valid question. But, if I run into a problem with a product I’ve just purchased, first thing I do is enter the product name in Google. I dare you check the first hit when you enter “Xbox 360″ ;)

Comment by Tom on 2006-04-12 17:49:18 | Reply

The link for hte forum post , sorry for double posting.

So don’t send your xbox360’s HDD and adaptor


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