Micromart, a UK-based specialist, has begun refusing to service Xbox 360 systems that display the dreaded Red Ring of Death.
A notice posted in the company's website reads, "Micromart has now withdrawn from offering a Repair Service for the dreaded 3 Red Lights fault. This problem is endemic on the XBox 360 console and the volume has made this repair non-viable. Other repairs to the XBox 360 are still being supported."
"We were seeing about 30 a week before we pulled the plug on the service," said Micromart's Jeff Croft. "We saw it over a period of several months, and it was just getting worse. It began towards the end of last year. Once the twelve-month warranty finished then we started to see more and more machines being sent in to be looked at."
Croft said Micromart halted the repair service after discovering problems with the motherboard that left the units uneconomical to repair, and that the company wasn't comfortable with the end result of its repair efforts. "The work we had done to the console led us to believe that basically it was a fault with the motherboard and not something that could be resolved easily," he said. "And it wasn't going to go away."
"We're not taking that thing on board, we won't repair them," he continued. "We originally did some work with it but it's labor-intensive and it isn't really feasible for us to undertake. We would probably end up charging £100 for a repair and we still wouldn't be happy with the end result." Croft said the company had written to Microsoft describing the problem, but had not yet received a reply.
"Rather than lead customers up the garden path we'd walk away from it and tell them to go directly to Microsoft because they have the facility to replace the motherboard," he said. "If Microsoft has updated the motherboard for the new consoles that it's producing then presumably they've improved the existing model."
Microsoft has been the subject of considerable criticism recently for what appears to be an abnormally-high failure rate of the Xbox 360 console. When questioned last week, Microsoft's Todd Holmdahl was evasive regarding the system's return rate, saying only that the "vast majority" of customers are happy while refusing to offer concrete numbers, but anecdotal evidence pointing toward an inherent flaw in the hardware continues to accumulate.