Monday, May 4, 2009

Wiipairs Follow Up

Okay, so disregard my previous praise for Nintendo customer service.

As you surely already know, my wife is much smarter than I am, and she didn't understand why we had to PAY to have the Wii Balance Board fixed since it's less than a year old.

So I looked up the Wii Balance Board user manual (click for PDF file) to read what the warranty said. On page 12, it says...
Nintendo of America Inc. ("Nintendo") warrants to the original purchaser that the hardware product shall be free from defects in material and workmanship for twelve (12) months from the date of purchase. If a defect covered by this warranty occurs during this warranty period, Nintendo will repair or replace the defective hardware product or component, free of charge."
I said to myself, "Self, how long have we really had the Wii Balance Board? I think your Lovely Wife is right and it has been less than a year." I checked my blog, and sure enough, LW bought it on 22 May 2008. So we were absolutely within the 12 month warranty on the hardware and should not have to pay for the repairs, right???

I called Nintendo customer service back to point out the error. The customer service representative claimed that the Wii Balance Board is an "accessory" not "hardware," and the warranty on page 12 goes on to state...
Nintendo warrants to the original purchaser that the product (games and accessories) shall be free from defects in material and workmanship for a period of three (3) months from the date of purchase..."
I threw the BS flag on that.

This is the user manual for THE WII BALANCE BOARD. What other HARDWARE came with the WII BALANCE BOARD???



Saying that the Wii Balance Board falls under the accessory clause of the Wii Balance Board User Manual is like saying the Will Balance Board is an accessory to itself. Where's the beef I mean, hardware?

An accessory to the Wii Balance Board would be the silicone cover or the rechargable battery pack my wife bought for it. If Nintendo didn't want to give a 12 month warranty with the balance board itself, then they shouldn't have printed that in the HARDWARE section of the manual for the BALANCE BOARD.

The customer service rep said that it is a standard warranty blurb they print in all their manuals and the intent was the 12 month "hardware" warranty was on the Wii CONSOLE. I said then they should WRITE that in the warranty because I consider the balance board to be "hardware," especially when this is the Wii Balance Board Manual I'm reading, not a a Wii Console manual.

When I spoke with the customer service rep's supervisor, the supervisor pointed out a sentence on page 1 of the user manual, "Please carefully and completely read the Wii™ Operations Manual - System Setup before using this accessory." (emphasis mine) and declared therefore it is clearly an accessory. He stood his ground based on that sentence on page 1 and insisted the Balance Board is obviously an accessory and therefore only has a 3 month warranty.

I don't think I'm totally crazy here folks. It just doesn't pass the "average Joe" / common sense test in my mind.

In fact, I challenge Nintendo to do a study of random people on the street.

I challenge Nintento to walk up to a hundred random people on the street, hand them the Wii Balance Board User Manual, and ask them, "How long is the warranty on the Wii Balance Board?" I bet MOST if not all of them will flip to the warranty on page 12, read it, and say, "It's hardware, so the warranty is for 12 months." (Oh, and no fair asking 100 "random" people on the Nintendo campus or at a law school where they nitpick stupid stuff like this.)

For a single data point, I approached one of my coworkers in the office this afternoon. I handed him a print out of the manual. Without telling him why I was asking, I asked him how long he thought the warranty was good for on the Wii Balance Board. He flipped through to the warranty section, he read it, and he said, "it says the hardware is covered for 12 months."

What do you think? Am I crazy?

Yes, yes, I said myself up above that this is nitpicky stupid stuff. That's why I stopped arguing with the guy on the phone - I wasn't getting anywhere with him. It feels good to vent though.


Navy Blue Cougar said...

That's not being nitpicky. You are absolutely right. There is no reason for them to include that blurb in the manual for the balance board if it doesn't apply to the balance board. Sounds kind of deceptive to me. I think you ought to lodge a complaint with the BBB. That kind of stuff drives me nuts.

The Silver Fox said...

That's like a car dealer saying "But it says right in the sales brochure that tires, headlights, and the steering wheel are options!" Jerks.

Loping Squid said...

I feel your pain man...I would have sad it was hardware too.