GameStop Fixing, And Reselling, Red-Ringed Xbox 360s

GameStop Fixing, And Reselling, Red-Ringed Xbox 360s

GameStop's R&D team may have found a way to fix Xbox 360's with the Red Ring of Death, then resold as refurbished units.

The Red Ring of Death was one of the most frustrating issues faced by Xbox 360 owners, and a disappointingly common one at that. It occurred whenever a connection between the chip and motherboard failed, causing red lights around the power button and (usually) bricking the entire console. Depending on which console model you picked up, there was a very strong chance these lights meant your system needed to be replaced. But according to a report from Bloomberg Businessweek, GameStop developed a method to temporarily fix red ringed Xbox 360s since 2009. What's more, the report claims GameStop was turning around and reselling the systems as refurbished devices.

The information is a minor detail within a larger story about GameStop operations. When discussing GameStop's refurbishment center, it's revealed that R&D technicians realized they could repair a red ringed Xbox 360 by heating the top of the device while cooling it from below. Doing so restores the connection to the motherboard, and can be carried out by a laborer working at about $10 an hour.

If accurate, that means GameStop was in a prime position when reselling consoles that were originally considered to be beyond help. While GameStop's policy as of 2012 was to not accept trade-ins of Red-Ringed systems, there are ancetodal reports that local storefronts accepted the units for $85 store credit.

The real question is how effective GameStop's fix is. Most homebrew fixes to repair a Red Ring error, if they work at all, are usually temporary and only last for months at best. Since the repair method Bloomberg describes doesn't require part replacements, this sounds like it wouldn't last much longer either. On the bright side, standard warranties for refurbished systems can be extended for up to a year with a little extra cash.

Source: Bloomberg Businessweek, via Ars Technica

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I'm sorry but this just seems like a bad idea and personally I would never buy a used console that had that problem even if it's "Fixed and Refurbished"

In fact this makes me trust GameStop even less and is part of why I never will buy a used console unless they are extremely rare.

Gamestop does a lot of shifty practices. I'm still waiting for some sort of lawsuit.

Last I heard, they were artificially restricting supplies of certain Amiibos to create false scarcity so they can sell marked-up "used" versions later on.
http://nintendonews.com/2014/12/rumor-shulk-amiibo-gamestop/

This is not new or even 'controlled' information. I was once a SM for Gamestop and this information was always freely available to me and my customers. Even Microsoft have addressed reports that upwards of 90% of the 360's manufactured before 2009 'red ringed' right off the assembly line, and had to be refurbished before being sold as new.

As far as the effectiveness of the fix...just no...don't even shop at Gamestop.

Trishbot:
Gamestop does a lot of shifty practices. I'm still waiting for some sort of lawsuit.

Last I heard, they were artificially restricting supplies of certain Amiibos to create false scarcity so they can sell marked-up "used" versions later on.
http://nintendonews.com/2014/12/rumor-shulk-amiibo-gamestop/

If that's the case then Toy's R Us, Walmart, and Best Buy are also guilty of this with their amiibos.

As for the topic at hand, I'm frankly surprised this is news to people Gamestop has been refurbishing and reselling products for a long time now. Not just consoles but game disks in general.

So essentially they're baking the chips like I used to do with old Nvidia cards.

It's only ever a temporary fix, the solder is still cheap, the chipset still can't cope with the heat of use, it'll just break again.

OF course buying a 360Slim solves the problem entirely, that's actually a pretty nice piece of hardware.

Explains why I returned two of the damn things. They failed while still under warranty though, so I'm not sure that Gamestop didn't get the short end of the stick...

Sounds like they bought a warehouse full of dead ones at a steal and saw dollar signs. Interesting.

Oh look, Gamestop wants to get a quick return on that reflow equipment investment they probably just made. Like fix-the-spade said, the solder is cheap. Specifically, they used a cheap lead free solder, that developed cracks under the heat of normal 360 operation, to get past some environmental laws, when they should have used a better solder alloy.

Trishbot:
Gamestop does a lot of shifty practices. I'm still waiting for some sort of lawsuit.

Last I heard, they were artificially restricting supplies of certain Amiibos to create false scarcity so they can sell marked-up "used" versions later on.
http://nintendonews.com/2014/12/rumor-shulk-amiibo-gamestop/

In a thread from a couple days ago, Neuronium pointed out how Gamestop bundled the already sold out Majora's Mask 3D Limited Edition with a game guide in an "Ultimate Limited Edition". The price of which was the same as buying both separately. So, they made extra money by forcing buyers to purchase a guide on top of the rare edition of the game. They are not to be trusted.

They even you want to extend their warranty on a system to a full for extra cash. That's that crap big box stores of all types do to rake in extra dough. Consumer agencies warn not to pay into most of those, because they're either not honored when you actually need them or the price is too much.

FalloutJack:
Sounds like they bought a warehouse full of dead ones at a steal and saw dollar signs. Interesting.

Along with them possibly stockpiling RRoD trade-ins "unofficially," they probably did get a massive load of them. I doubt they will tell a customer buying one of these why it was refurbished.

Hairless Mammoth:
Snip

Like any buyer wouldn't know. I don't see a problem here.

Could they be reballing the CPU?

FalloutJack:

Hairless Mammoth:
Snip

Like any buyer wouldn't know. I don't see a problem here.

Some less informed relative, buying for a family member, or gamer, who somehow missed/forgot the RRoD issue, probably wouldn't know. GS's policy might be to not even give sales staff any evidence, like cryptic item codes, of what happened to the system, but a nice associate might warn customers about to buy a refurbed 360. (Though, that could be the noose for their job, knowing today's retail ideology.)

Hairless Mammoth:

FalloutJack:

Hairless Mammoth:
Snip

Like any buyer wouldn't know. I don't see a problem here.

Some less informed relative, buying for a family member, or gamer, who somehow missed/forgot the RRoD issue, probably wouldn't know. GS's policy might be to not even give sales staff any evidence, like cryptic item codes, of what happened to the system, but a nice associate might warn customers about to buy a refurbed 360. (Though, that could be the noose for their job, knowing today's retail ideology.)

Maybe, maybe not. Other people's experiences with Gamestop have been less positive than mine. Leads me to the conclusion that it's more the specific employees than the stores themselves.

So if they sell a fixed red ring and it functions just the same as any other how this this bad?

If the console breaks again can the consumer return it for a repair/replacement free of charge? If so, this is fine.

I'd rather see these machines being fixed than end up in landfills.

Abomination:
So if they sell a fixed red ring and it functions just the same as any other how this this bad?

They work better, if Gamestop is removing the gimmicky, poorly designed x-clamps from the boxes, not just re-pasting the GPU and re-clamping it. Friends in college financed their schooling by buying up RRoD 360s, fixing then reselling them. Was easy to do, picked one up for $40 from a pawn shop and fixed it myself. there was no short supply of them either RRoD is what the 360 excelled at.

Strelok:

Abomination:
So if they sell a fixed red ring and it functions just the same as any other how this this bad?

They work better, if Gamestop is removing the gimmicky, poorly designed x-clamps from the boxes, not just re-pasting the GPU and re-clamping it. Friends in college financed their schooling by buying up RRoD 360s, fixing then reselling them. Was easy to do, picked one up for $40 from a pawn shop and fixed it myself. there was no short supply of them either RRoD is what the 360 excelled at.

No no, you don't understand.

This is Gamestop.

Anything they do is bad. Anything. No exceptions.

Donations to homeless shelters? They're pro-poverty.

But on a serious note, if you do this to an Xbox does it void any support from Microsoft? "You fixed our product? How DARE you!"

Abomination:

Strelok:

Abomination:
So if they sell a fixed red ring and it functions just the same as any other how this this bad?

They work better, if Gamestop is removing the gimmicky, poorly designed x-clamps from the boxes, not just re-pasting the GPU and re-clamping it. Friends in college financed their schooling by buying up RRoD 360s, fixing then reselling them. Was easy to do, picked one up for $40 from a pawn shop and fixed it myself. there was no short supply of them either RRoD is what the 360 excelled at.

No no, you don't understand.

This is Gamestop.

Anything they do is bad. Anything. No exceptions.

Donations to homeless shelters? They're pro-poverty.

But on a serious note, if you do this to an Xbox does it void any support from Microsoft? "You fixed our product? How DARE you!"

Nah, I wouldn't go that far. I just wouldn't trust anything used from GameStop (or EBGames in my case) because they are trying to maximize profit over everything else. My example is Mass Effect 2, I had an employee loudly calling me an "idiot" in the store because I wanted to buy the game new for I knew it was part of "Project $10" and they were only selling it for $5 less then a new copy. He was being obnoxious enough that several customers walked out with me.

Quite frankly, I'm not surprised. Granted, something like this probably won't happen again (for consoles anyway, we have to make sure they can turn on and navigate the system's menu fine before we'll accept the trade), but it's just a drop in the huge bucket of crap the company pulls as a whole.

Shit, new consoles aren't safe either; I've seen my manager use a stack of XBone bundles as a step stool. And you're forced to try to get as many people as possible to buy the GPG (the magical insurance for your game that the cashier tries to get you to buy for $3) as possible, even if it's for a game you know the store will never provide a replacement for (most Wii games for example).

Abomination:

But on a serious note, if you do this to an Xbox does it void any support from Microsoft? "You fixed our product? How DARE you!"

Never saw any that were still in warranty at pawn shops, kijiji, craig's list etc. Warranty would probably go back to Microsoft, were they would often just re-paste the GPU and re-clamp it to the board, so eventually they would end up for sale by the owner.

Arron Blok:
This is not new or even 'controlled' information. I was once a SM for Gamestop and this information was always freely available to me and my customers. Even Microsoft have addressed reports that upwards of 90% of the 360's manufactured before 2009 'red ringed' right off the assembly line, and had to be refurbished before being sold as new.

That's what I figured, and why I frankly can't fault GameStop this time; if you bought a first-gen Xbox 360, the defective design meant that a red ring was all but inevitable if you ran it long enough. New or refurbished, it didn't matter, and Microsoft's own refurbished units probably had just as cheap of a fix. If you're going to buy a defective unit either way, you might as well get it for a few bucks cheaper. The only "ethical" thing to do in this situation would have been to just refuse to sell Xbox 360s at all, and good luck making that work out for ya when all the other retailers keep carrying them.

Somewhere out there in a Gamestop warehouse there is a guy stripping down and reflowing xbox360 boards in a scrappy old oven... for 10$ a piece apparently. For 10 years now. Mmmm solder fumes!

Because I really don't believe they properly replaced the defective solder. That's the problem with these in case anyone is wondering, its a lead-free solder that breaks when heated and cooled often. Dumb, but not so dumb Apple didn't fall for it too with their macbooks.

Funnily enough, fixing up borked xbox360s was a fairly common thing in Poland. For most people there it was the only way to own a state of the art console, and some jail-breaking later they could get whatever game they liked running for next to nothing.

a guy i know have repair two xbox360 by baking it in the oven, so the trick was knowned. but reselling them as refurbish... not sure it's even legal...

Sanunes:

Abomination:

Strelok:

They work better, if Gamestop is removing the gimmicky, poorly designed x-clamps from the boxes, not just re-pasting the GPU and re-clamping it. Friends in college financed their schooling by buying up RRoD 360s, fixing then reselling them. Was easy to do, picked one up for $40 from a pawn shop and fixed it myself. there was no short supply of them either RRoD is what the 360 excelled at.

No no, you don't understand.

This is Gamestop.

Anything they do is bad. Anything. No exceptions.

Donations to homeless shelters? They're pro-poverty.

But on a serious note, if you do this to an Xbox does it void any support from Microsoft? "You fixed our product? How DARE you!"

Nah, I wouldn't go that far. I just wouldn't trust anything used from GameStop (or EBGames in my case) because they are trying to maximize profit over everything else. My example is Mass Effect 2, I had an employee loudly calling me an "idiot" in the store because I wanted to buy the game new for I knew it was part of "Project $10" and they were only selling it for $5 less then a new copy. He was being obnoxious enough that several customers walked out with me.

Good lord, that's a special kind of ridiculous.

OT: If the fix held for a decent amount of time, I wouldn't be too steamed.

Groenteman:

Because I really don't believe they properly replaced the defective solder. That's the problem with these in case anyone is wondering, its a lead-free solder that breaks when heated and cooled often. Dumb, but not so dumb Apple didn't fall for it too with their macbooks.

Not sure where you got that, the issue was the awful x-clamps and poorly designed ventilation of the 360. The system would over heat and melt the solder the x-clamps being to tight would pull the GPU off the motherboard causing the E-74 error. The fix was to re-paste the GPU and replace the x-clamps with bolts and washers, some would re-solder the connections to the motherboard or a less reliable fix was just wrap a towel around the Xbox causing it to overheat and melt the solder again then try and fix it hoping the solders were re-connected. Solder quality had little to do with the RRoD, poor design and Microsoft's refusal to admit error or that there was ever a real problem was the cause.

I'm not seeing the controversy here? They are refurbing and repairing the product to return it to factory functionality and selling it as refurbed. The fact that the ultimate problem stems from a manufacturers design flaw, and will eventually occur in every unit regardless of whether or not GameStop returns it is on the manufacturer and the knowledgable consumer. All GameStop is doing is resetting the failure clock back to factory state. They are selling the product as exactly what it is. I don't see anything particularly shaky here?

cathou:
a guy i know have repair two xbox360 by baking it in the oven, so the trick was knowned. but reselling them as refurbish... not sure it's even legal...

What do you think "refurbished" means? Any refurbished electronics you buy will be something that failed somewhere along the line and was repaired or reprocessed to return it to factory operational condition.

faefrost:

cathou:
a guy i know have repair two xbox360 by baking it in the oven, so the trick was knowned. but reselling them as refurbish... not sure it's even legal...

What do you think "refurbished" means? Any refurbished electronics you buy will be something that failed somewhere along the line and was repaired or reprocessed to return it to factory operational condition.

but refurbish usually mean that it have been refited by the manufacturer not the vendor...

cathou:

faefrost:

cathou:
a guy i know have repair two xbox360 by baking it in the oven, so the trick was knowned. but reselling them as refurbish... not sure it's even legal...

What do you think "refurbished" means? Any refurbished electronics you buy will be something that failed somewhere along the line and was repaired or reprocessed to return it to factory operational condition.

but refurbish usually mean that it have been refited by the manufacturer not the vendor...

Actually that's "factory refurbished" which implies it went back for re-production etc. in most cases anything labeled "refurbished" is handled by a third party not the actual factory. The refurb outfit buys up the defective product, refurbs it, then sells it off via a clearance vendor of some sort. Sometimes in partnership with the original manufacturer, sometimes not. If you have ever seen adds for companies like Overstock.com, they will often clearence out such refurbished merchandise.

And the key thing is not so much who did the repair, but what warranties and guaranties are being offered? In the case of GameStop the key question is how long did the fix last? What was the mean time before failure on a repaired console? How did it compare with the mtf on a factory new one? (Which honestly it would hard to be worse than.)

Story:

As for the topic at hand, I'm frankly surprised this is news to people Gamestop has been refurbishing and reselling products for a long time now. Not just consoles but game disks in general.

The thing in question isn't the refurbishing of products but the fact that they are reselling a product considered to be permanently damaged.
Eletronics stores at least replace the damaged components when refurbishing their products. Gamestop was just an inch above of using spit and ductape and that doesn't give strong guaranties of stable operationality.

cathou:
but refurbish usually mean that it have been refited by the manufacturer not the vendor...

refurbished means "i made it work again" and nothing more. if you want new parts you buy new stuff. refurbished is a gamble that some people are willing to take. personally, i never would. people are awful at handing electronics. the fact that so many people manage to break their smartphone screens that there are even ads and specific services for replacing that is proof enough to NEVER buy a used phone. same theory applies to other electronics.

Arron Blok:
This is not new or even 'controlled' information. I was once a SM for Gamestop and this information was always freely available to me and my customers. Even Microsoft have addressed reports that upwards of 90% of the 360's manufactured before 2009 'red ringed' right off the assembly line, and had to be refurbished before being sold as new.

As far as the effectiveness of the fix...just no...don't even shop at Gamestop.

It's a fairly significant question. If what they did actually fixed the problem then that's fine and well. If it just set the clock back then they left the bill on the backs of the insurance policy and Microsoft in addition to the $50 it cost the client. We're talking about major settlement here if that's the case.

 

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