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Old 01-05-2007, 04:00 PM
Jason Dunn
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Default My Experience With Zune Support

I had my first experience with Zune tech support on Tuesday, and overall it was a pretty good experience - here's what the techs had to say about each of my devices.

The Dusty White Zune: After we discussed the dust, and he saw a photo of it online at this site, the tech first suggested that I return the Zune to the retail store that I purchased it from. He said there was a two to three week wait on getting it repaired, and that returning it was easier. Not wanting to reveal I was in Canada just yet, I said that I had purchased the Zunes on November 14th, so it was unlikely that any store would take back a product two months old and exchange them. The tech insisted that many stores would. That's when I broke the news that I was in Canada and there was no place to return it to. He then agreed that shipping it back for repair was about the only option.

The Wonky Black Zune: I explained the problem, and the tech was quite surprised at the behaviour I was seeing. He suggested that it might be a software problem, so he had me do a hard reset, wiping out the content and restoring it to the 1.0 firmware (I think that's what was restored at any rate). I was dubious that would work, but it couldn't hurt to try. After the hard reset, he had me connect it to the Zune desktop software and re-flash it with the 1.2 firmware. The entire process was fast and easy, but at the end of it the problem still remained. He said I'd need to ship it back for repair/replacement.

During the phone call the line went dead, I think from their end. I had given the first tech my number, but he hadn't given me a case number or anything similar. I waited about five minutes for him to call me back, but he didn't (they probably can't call outside the USA) so I phoned back. I talked to a second tech, and he was able to look up my account and case number. He said I was in their database three times - and quoted me a very old address - so I knew they were looking at Xbox Live account data. We managed to find the correct account, and he added call notes to it.

Here's how they normally deal with defective Zunes: they send the customer a box with a pre-paid courier coupon, the customer puts the Zune in the box, calls the courier for pickup, and off goes the Zune at no cost to the customer. The Zune is then repaired or replaced, and the customer gets it back. This is how Compaq dealt with their Pocket PCs a few years ago, and I was really impressed by the whole experience. The bad news for me being in Canada is that they won't allow me to ship my two defective Zunes directly to them. The tech said they'll only accept the Zunes if they're processed via their system. So here's how it would need to go down:
  1. I'd ship my Zunes to someone in the USA
  2. Zune tech support would ship that someone the courier shipping boxes
  3. That someone would send back my Zunes
  4. The Zune techs would repair/replace my Zunes (2-3 weeks)
  5. The Zune techs would ship back the Zunes to that someone in the USA
  6. That someone in the USA would ship the Zunes back to me
As you can imagine, that's a pretty ugly scenario all around - I imagine it would take at least 30 to 45 days to finish. To his credit, the Zune tech I spoke to tried to think of a better solution for me: he suggested that a friend of mine in the USA goes to a local store, buys two new Zunes, I ship him my defective Zunes, then he ships the two good Zunes to me and returns the two defective Zunes to the store for a refund. Somewhat ethically dubious to be sure - does anyone work in retail know if the store is hit for any costs when something like that happens, or do the defective Zunes just get punted back to Microsoft and RMA'd at no cost to the store? I'd rather not have to go that route, but I might not have much of a choice. I knew buying a product not supported or sold in Canada was a bit of a risk, but I never would have bet that I'd have two defective units in two months.

All in all I'd say that the Zune tech support was quite good - almost no wait time, polite and smart techs. They weren't able to help me out much, but it's not their fault Microsoft hasn't launched the Zune in Canada yet. I've tried calling in a favour with someone on the Microsoft Zune team directly, and I haven't heard back in two days, so I'm leaning toward taking the Zunes with me to Las Vegas when I leave tonight and trying the old retail swap there. Not ideal, but better than being Zune-less for a month and a half. Community, what do you think?
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