My son's Nintendo DSi XL stopped reading games last week. He takes excellent care of his DS so I was surprised that we were having issues with it. So I called tech support. I was informed that my warranty was still good and I could send it in to be repaired. The only way the repair would not be covered is if the issue was due to physical damage, like a liquid being spilled on or in it. I knew that something like that never happened, so I sent it in expecting to fall under the warranty.
This morning I received an email from Nintendo to let me know the status of my repair had been updated. I was pretty shocked to see this:
"Our repair technician has evaluated your system and determined that the cause of the problem is not covered by our warranty because it was not caused by a manufacturer's defect. Our technicians found that the game slot connector pins are bent, broken, or misaligned. This damage is the cause of the problem with your system."
Wait, what? First of all, which is it? Is the pin bent, broke or misaligned? Apparently they cannot be that specific. Once they were open, I called up Nintendo customer service again to see if I could get some clarification on this. I asked how in the world could my seven year old have damaged a pin inside the game card slot? The representative from Nintendo said he couldn't be sure, but that usually it is caused by a game card being forced in the wrong way or being shoved in too hard. I can assure you that my son did not do that because I supervise all my kids when they play video games. I explained as much to the representative - oh well for me though.
Does Nintendo really make such low quality products that they can't even last a year? My son takes excellent care of his DS system and all of the games. When they are not in use, they are neatly put away in his carrying case. I don't for a minute believe that this issue was due to "physical damage" caused by the user. I searched around on the Nintendo technical support forums and found other threads where people were having the same issue. So it seems like it is pretty common to me and therefor a manufacturing defect. The systems should be made better so that pins cannot break so easily.
So how much is this little pin (or perhaps several pins) going to set me back you ask? Well just the repair alone is $80. Once you add in shipping and tax, the total is $95. Oh but they try convincing me this is a good deal because it is 53% cheaper then buying a new system for $170. Well currently, Target and K-Mart both have the DSi XL on sale for $130 - so really not so much of a great deal then. I don't have the money just laying around, and I am beyond angry and disappointed that I have to repair such a young system. But my son is a good kid who works hard at school and doesn't deserve to lose his gaming system just because it is made poorly. So now I have to decide if I want to pay $80 to fix a used system or pay $130 for a completely new system. A K-Mart gift card I have will bring my out of pocket expense for a new one down to $80. With shipping and tax it is about 50 cents cheaper to get the new one rather than fix the old one.
So yes, I am disappointed. And angry. This is a win-win situation for Nintendo because one way or the other, they are getting $95 of my money. And I can't help but feeling like they are taking advantage of me and countless others. What happened to making quality products that would last for years?