Monday, November 10, 2008

warning for refurbished 360s

Unless some disaster strikes, today UPS should deliver my "repaired" 360 (replaced it with a refurbished console). Not a bad turnaround time, in my opinion.

But there has been a interesting twist in this, my second, 360 replacement experience: I can see who owned this refurbished console before me... along with his address, phone number, and email address.

At least, that's who I'm guessing the person is. Microsoft has been revamping the Xbox site in preparation for the November XBL update, the NXE. Presumably as a result, I was unable to check my console's repair status online through most of last week. That's fine. But as of Friday, my Console Management page shows a new console with some stranger's personal information in all of the fields when I click on "Request a Repair" (which I happened to check due to some random impulse).

I had to reiterate this a few times to the Microsoft reps I spoke with over the phone, because they apparently cannot see the problem at their end. We verified that we were seeing the same serial number next to the console name and icon, but Microsoft apparently can't see this stranger's information tied with my replacement console.

I have emailed the stranger (using the address on my account) to notify him of the mistake. Honestly, I don't consider address, phone number, and email address to be very sensitive information. It's not hard for that information to be found by someone on the internet. I don't have the guy's password, credit card information, or anything truly dangerous like that. But I figure he should still know.

I can only guess that this mistake represents a glitch in the site update. How common or uncommon this problem is, I have no idea. But I recommend clicking on "Request a Repair" on your own account to see if some stranger's information is there (don't worry, requesting a repair is more than a one-click process, so you won't start a replacement process by accident).

I don't blame Microsoft for the apparent lack of interest of the reps I spoke with. That's a mistake of individual employees, not of the company. But the company obviously does have an obligation to find the root of this problem, especially if it's widespread. If they can't see the problem from their end, then they're still obligated to find out why I'm seeing it.

I've received my replacement console from UPS. There's a letter included which explains that this is a replacement console. Also, the guy whose information I was shown has told me that his own console broke down a couple weeks ago.

So I'm all but certain now of what happened. This guy's broken console was repaired, then given to me as a replacement for my own broken console. When Microsoft registered his old console to me, they failed to purge his personal information from their records associated with the serial number.

In other words, it's quite possible this has happened to someone else, but I have no idea if its a systematic failure or a fluke.


  1. My 360 news is, I should be receiving it tomorrow - I just hope I never have to experience a warranty return(I know the odds are not in my favour).

    I'll check the 'request a repair' option from here on the UK side of things, once I am set up & let you know the outcome.

  2. My 360 died about this time last year, the dreaded RROD of course. I was so entrenched with MMO's that I didn't bother replacing it for several months but once I did, Microsoft's Xbox dept. did a great job of explaining what I needed to do, very quickly sent me the box to send it in and it was replaced in under 2 weeks. I just hope this one doesn't RROD too.

    If it does, though, I hear the latest circuitry has the heat/warping under control so if I have to replace it again, the third unit should be the final.


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