16 January 2014

I'll Be Back in a Jiffy

Recently I feel like I'm taking swipes at Microsoft for things that have gone wrong with my Xbox One controllers, both on forums and on twitter. The fact is, things have gone wrong, but worse than that Microsoft have failed to meet my expectations in providing a good customer service. I'm not asking for much; maybe they could not charge me to return a brand new faulty controller and possibly at least try to get it back to me before four weeks. A bit of rigorous testing of the controller to weed out faults might also have helped my situation but never mind!

I have blogged about my experience so far with faulty Xbox One controllers so if you've had an issue or wonder what all the fuss is about have a look here.

If the previous blog entry was taking a swipe then I'm afraid today's is sticking the boot in as once again Microsoft's service has been a let down.

It began when my wife called to tell me a package had arrived at home and she was certain it was the return of my Day One edition (broken) controller. I questioned how she knew it was the controller to which she responded she could tell the shape through the envelope.

The e-n-v-e-l-o-p-e?

As it turns out the controllers (which aren't particularly cheap and/or limited edition models) are being sent back in thin and flimsy barely padded envelopes. I was genuinely surprised that a) it was sent back like that and b) it actually survived the journey!

Let me quote Microsoft's own return instructions as emailed to me:

"Step 1: Obtain a sturdy shipping box and bubble wrap, newspaper, or other recyclable material for packaging the device. Do not use clothing."

So Microsoft see fit that you use a well padded box to send the controller when it's already broken but are fine to return it in a Jiffy bag once it's fixed. Am I the only one who thinks this is crazy? Not only was I surprised that the controller survived the return trip in the envelope from mainland Europe but how can they not follow some of their own advice?

Not good enough Microsoft, not good enough.

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7 January 2014

Is There a Problem With The Xbox One Controller?

On 22nd November 2013 I took delivery of a brand new Xbox One Day One Edition. Buying a new console is not something I’ve either been able or wanted to do in the past so it was pretty nice feeling when it finally arrived. Also, as EA and Microsoft decided to allow Day One purchasers to download a free copy of FIFA 14 I had something to play on my new console, a game I actually like and might have purchased anyway.

First impressions were good and once I’d got to grips with the new dashboard, Kinect voice controls and downloaded my free game I was away and playing. Unfortunately the good feeling didn’t last too long. Within an hour or two of FIFA I started to notice that the analogue sticks on the controller – more so the left one – just didn’t feel right. Was it a grind, a pop, a click? I wasn’t sure but then this was a new, albeit similar shape and feel controller to the Xbox 360, so I couldn’t rule out the possibility of it just being, well, different.

I continued to play FIFA (interspersed with a bit of Battlefield 4) over the following days but could not get away from thinking that the controller’s left analogue stick just was not right and feeling that the grind/pop/click was getting worse. And then during a game I noticed for the first time the stick seemed to jam in place, causing my player to continue running in the direction of travel, before popping back to its central position. This would primarily happen in the 6 o’clock to 3 o’clock positions, or for the Street Fighter fans, the Hadouken.

Deciding something wasn’t right I contacted Xbox Support who agreed to replace the controller. There was the small issue of having to pay the postage to return the faulty controller which I could not quite understand. How is it that I have to pay to return a faulty item of no more than two months old?

Knowing a little of UK consumer rights (Sale of Goods Act 1979) I contacted the Microsoft Store where the Xbox was bought from who after some polite debating agreed that it’s their responsibility to sort out the issue. They also agreed it’s for them to pay the return postage costs but the downside is I would have to send back the entire package, Xbox and all, as the controller is part of a bundled boxed product. Not ideal then.

In fairness to the store they gave me a £20-off voucher to apologise and assisted me in arranging a return to the service centre. I promptly paid the shipping and sent the controller and used the £20 wisely towards another standard i.e. not Day One controller for a not unreasonable £24.99.

Luckily the new controller arrived before Christmas so I could play FIFA over the holidays. Brilliant! Or so I thought, as after a few hours of some frantic FIFA action the left analogue stick started to grind/pop/click. “It can’t just be me” I thought so I started searching the Internet and to my (lack of) surprise others are having the same issue and it would seem particularly when playing FIFA and Madden sports games. After a call to the Microsoft Store the new controller is also being returned but as an individually bought product at least it will be going back to the store and I won’t be paying the postage!

Reading others’ experience and thinking about my own I can only surmise that there is a weak point in the construction of the pad that the nature of the movement of the sticks when playing sports (fast movements, pressure, flicks, etc.) is exploiting. People have reported hearing rattles from inside the controller hinting at a broken part and one Xbox Forum user has suggested /seen the part at fault although his YouTube video link has been removed.

As of the 7th of January I am awaiting delivery of both my Day One and Standard controllers whilst having returned a total of two. Maybe I have been unlucky and the two I get back will be fine. Call me a cynic but I doubt it. In the meantime Microsoft; sort out the postage costs. It’s completely unfair to make your customers pay to return faulty products for repair on the basis it’s only the ‘accessory’, especially if the fault keeps occurring.


An Xbox One user has posted a video on You Tube showing the cause of the failure:

Some Supporting Forum Links:

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