Smoking Xbox One Only the Start of Dad's Microsoft Woes

ABC News Fixer has a "buyer beware" over popular gaming consoles' fine print.

August 3, 2016, 5:09 PM

THE ABC NEWS FIXER — -- Dear ABC News Fixer: I had a problem with our Xbox One, which I bought last year around the holidays. It started smoking after we had used it only four days. I called Microsoft and they said they would send a box so I could ship the console to be repaired. The box took a week to arrive. I shipped it to them.

They informed me they fixed it, but then -- 18 days later -- I received an email saying the console was lost in transit.

I called and they shipped me a refurbished Xbox One, which was annoying enough, but it also was missing the power cord. The item was only four days old. Please help.

- Michael DeLong, Mickleton, N.J.

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Dear Michael: You told the ABC News Fixer you immediately unplugged the machine when the kids saw smoke coming out of it. Yikes. It turns out you’re not the only person complaining of the same problem. On an Xbox users’ forum online, we saw a few other consumers describing their Xbox Ones overheating and smoking. An Xbox spokeswoman told us they are aware of other complaints of this happening last year, but they were "limited and not widespread" and the company has worked with consumers on an individual basis to resolve their issues.

All you really wanted was for your kids to be able to play on a functioning game console. We took your problem to Microsoft’s PR folks to see what could be done, and they promised to look into it. The company ended up sending you a working Xbox One -- though still refurbished -- and gave you three free months of Xbox Live.

We wanted to fight for a new machine rather than a refurbished one, but you said you decided to keep the refurbished console (we suppose the kids were eager to get back to playing).

As for what went wrong in your case, Microsoft declined to give us any more info on your specific situation, saying only that “we are committed to ensuring all customers have a positive experience with their Xbox One console and diligently work with customers on an individual basis to ensure their issues are resolved appropriately. We value our customers’ feedback and are dedicated to making sure the Xbox platform is the best place to play games.”

A “buyer beware” caution from The Fixer: In reviewing your standard warranty information, we noticed that if an Xbox One malfunctions, Microsoft gets to choose whether to repair it, replace it or refund your money. As a replacement, the company can give you a new or refurbished unit – their choice.

The warranty agreement also has a binding arbitration clause, which bars consumers from entering into a class action lawsuit. If a consumer has a problem, they must sue individually in small claims court or engage in arbitration. This is becoming increasingly common with consumer products, even though many people don’t realize it’s in the warranty terms.

- The ABC News Fixer

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