Red Ring of Death Fiasco Brings Class Action Lawsuit Against Microsoft

VentureBeat and other sources are reporting that Microsoft has been targeted by a class action lawsuit over the notorious Red Ring of Death hardware failure which plagued the Xbox 360.

From the VB story:

The suit was filed in Sacramento County Superior Court. In an interview, attorney Keith Cable confirmed that he filed the lawsuit on Sept. 19. He said he is getting a lot of reaction from people who want to join the lawsuit.

The suit alleges that an excessive number of Xbox 360 consoles have failed and that Microsoft concealed the excessive failure rate of its Xbox 360 consoles so that it could get into the market ahead of Sony and Nintendo.

GP: Class action lawsuits are sometimes cheesy, but it’s hard to generate much sympathy for MS on this one. It seems like everyone has a 360 RROD story – or several. I’ve had three go bad on me. In fact, the most recent victim just returned from the 360 hospital in Texas…

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  1. selfstatic says:

    You do realize that it clearly states in the manual what the rings mean. There are 4 quadrants that represent something wrong with a part of the system. If you read the manual you would have saw the ring and knowon not to put a disc in it and called ms technical support for a free replacement and you keep your old hard drive so you do not loose any information.

  2. lashonda says:

    I am a very angry mother I bought my 7yr old son this x-box 360 for his birthday in December and this red ring keep popping up with this one game (Arcade). My son did not have the game at this time for more than 3 days. So as a mother I thought maybe it was the disk So I went out an purchased Juice and Grand Theft Auto 4 for him and my 16yr old son to play  My son put the disk in and it made a weird sound and my son took the disk out and behold there was a problem it made these strange marks around the disk and I went back to the store and the sales person said that he could not give me another one because the game was moved, I said how could you move the game if the game never started and its laying down, he told me that even if someone is walk or run in the house if could damage the disk I said that this is bull shit.  So now when my sons mothers ask me about this game I tell them not to purchase this game its a piece of shit. I would like to have my game and my disk replace or either my money back…

  3. Flamespeak says:

    You mean the site that lists not one number of actual units, but insteads list the percentage of problems with the defective units they actually have?

    Give me some figures, man, some actual figures.


  4. Aliasalpha says:

    I got a red ring of death once, I swore I’d never eat Habanero’s again until the next day (I really need that rimshot sound effect here).


    When my 360 died, I went through 2 calls to MS, got someone in Australia both times and got the console back with a free month of live gold in half the time they estimated for repair. I’m not sure if I’ve been lucky, if my problem was really easy to fix or if aussies are just better at customer service but I was pretty impressed with the experience. Sure the month of gold is basically worthless to them since its their own internal product and only really a way of subsidising their server running costs but it was something they didn’t have to do and the console has been solid as a rock since I got it back.

    It’s shat from a great height over every other tech support/warranty job I’ve ever had to endure.

  5. NovaBlack says:

    see i dont get all this MS love saying


    ‘ oh but they extended their warranty to 3 years and fix for free etc etc’ like MS are saints doing a big favour…

    Think about it… they are a business, they wouldnt offer something like that unless they HAD to. Thats the point. Had they not offered it, somebody would have gone to court to get a replacement. And im sorry but if MS turned up saying ‘yeah we have like a 20 – 30% failure rate on our (at launch) £300 games consoles, but we arent gonna replace em after 12 months’ they would have been laughed out of court so hard.

    In the uk we have the sale of goods act, stating that a product should be fit for the purpose it was sold, and last a reasonable amount of time. Recently a court upheld a consumers action against a manufacturer to replace his laptop after

    5 YEARS

    The court stated that a consumer can expect it last a reasonable amount of time and form something like a laptop, to expect it to last 5 years was reasonable.


    SO just shows in the UK ANYONE can force MS to replace it by filing a civil suit, and it wouldnt cost much.

    This way, by offering a 3 year extended warranty,  they avoid the bad publicity, avoid exposing facts and figures about the true extent of the rushed launch, and failure rates.

    Think about it ppl! They are a business!. Dont pretend like they are saints for offering something for a defective product, that you would expect in ANYTHING else you bought.




  6. NovaBlack says:

    um … what?


    your PS3 not being able to read Blue Ray discs WOULD be a huge problem..


    but thats the point, there hasnt been a 20 -30% failuire rate of ps3s failing to read Blu Ray discs.


    If ps3s become easily posessed by demons, grew a mouth and ATE  blu ray discs,  would be a problem. It doesnt mean jack if it is a made up problem, or one which lies within the normal realms of acceptable failure rate though.

  7. NovaBlack says:

    um … what?


    your PS3 not being able to read Blue Ray discs WOULD be a huge problem..


    but thats the point, there hasnt been a 20 -30% failuire rate of ps3s failing to read Blu Ray discs.


    If ps3s become easily posessed by demons, grew a mouth and ATE  blu ray discs,  would be a problem. It doesnt mean jack if it is a made up problem, or one which lies within the normal realms of acceptable failure rate though.

  8. NovaBlack says:


    ANY other product, despite replacement warranties, would have been smashed hard or ordered to stop production of the units. Why should MS get a free pass on this?



    nicely said flamespeak!



    i mean although im p****d about littleBigPlanet being recalled WORLDWIDE, just because of some arabic LYRICS, i gotta say, though, it does show that a company CAN recall a product and fix it if it needs to.

  9. Kincyr says:

    chances are, it’s the DVD playback that has the estimated 50% failure rate. A friend of mine had a PS2 and when it got injured, so to speak, it couldn’t play DVD movies afterwards. I bought a used PS2 at a GameStop and they told me it couldn’t play DVD movies (I was okay with that, as I already had like, 5+ DVD players in my household (including PCs and TV/DVD combos) at the time)

    岩「…Ace beats Jack」

  10. Flamespeak says:

    I call BS to your "PS2 has a 50% failure rate" comment.  provide a credible source with your statistic.

    If I sell you any product that breaks and stops working and then give you another product that breaks and stops working over and over again, how is that fair?

    When is someone intitled to a refund, if not when sold a defective product?

  11. Dark Sovereign says:

    There is no right to a refund. Microsoft has offered to fix or replace 360’s that break due to a seriuos manufacturer’s defect. They didn’t even have to do that. The PS2, after all, is estimated to have a 50% failure rate, whereas the 360’s rate is 33%

  12. Flamespeak says:

    Two words:


    People get tired of a console failing them and want their money back to stop supporting the console. MS says ‘No, but have another console with the same defect rate."

    People are not satisfied with their purchases and have no option of actually getting their money back for a faulty product and are forced instead to deal with another product that stands just as high a chance of failing them.

  13. Flamespeak says:

    "Plus, how can the RRoD be worse than your PS3 not being able to read Blue Ray discs? (Which, as we all should know, is what every PS3 game is)"

    What are you talking about? Not been a problem in any report.

    The only big problem that PS3 has had was arriving later than the 360 (which should have waited a year) and being over priced at the gate (even though to get the same set-up for the 360, you have to pay more).

    Last I checked the PS3 has less than a 1% failure rate.

  14. Flamespeak says:

    One could argue that they haven’t actually fixed their problem and just did a tactic to get people to stop bitching so hard about it.

    "It’s not like they were selling dull scalpels to brain surgeons…"….think about that for a moment.

    ANY other product, despite replacement warranties, would have been smashed hard or ordered to stop production of the units. Why should MS get a free pass on this? Because gamers don’t matter as much? It’s just a gaming machine? If we are to take this kind of attitude with products, who cares about anything else that is done soley for entertainment purposes having a horrible defect rating?

  15. Eville1 says:

    At most Microsoft does the XBOX (and 360) And computer hardware peripherals. That is the extent of their hardware electronics. Sony has a far FAR greater lead experience wise.

  16. Dark Sovereign says:

    There’s no legitimate basis for this lawsuit. Microsoft has already agreed to fix the consoles for free, after all.

  17. barra_sadei says:

    The answer’s actually deviously simple. Sony and Microsoft are business powerhouses, producing various kinds of electronics. In that structure, the two are very similar, except that Sony relies more than 40% on its video game branch alone (the info’s probably outdated, just to warn you… maybe a year or two old). Nintendo, on the otherhand, is very small when compared to Sony and MS. They don’t have many factories to produce their systems. The demand was much greater than what they could produce.


    Now, if you want that Wii,you need to play smart or pay. You can try eBay for one, or you cango around to your local game stores and ask when they get shipments. Call every day and ask (this is how I got my Wii). You’llget lucky. Also, avoid major holidays (such as Christmas). There’s a shortage for a month or two after Christmas…

    As for the Class Action Lawsuit, I think it’s bull. My first gen 360 lasted over three years (failed one day when I popped in GH3). I filed an online report, they sent me the box, I sent it out, and… It took longer than they said, but I got a month of Xbox Live and a fixed 360. It’s not like my PS2 that broke and we had to pay for it to get fixed (where they only replaced the laser lense, so if the problem wasn’t with the lense, then you would’ve spent the money for no result). MS made a mistake, but they took an appropriate course of action. Plus, how can the RRoD be worse than your PS3 not being able to read Blue Ray discs? (Which, as we all should know, is what every PS3 game is)

  18. ezbiker555 says:

    Its funny how nintendo still doesn’t ahve enough consoles out, even though all my freinds have one. I must have real bad timing.

  19. DeepThorn says:

    A defective peice of technology they were taking a loss in selling.  Wii pushed it’s console out before it was ready too, it was suppose to have the 1:1 movement right off the bat, but they had to get it out fast since the other 2 were going to be out…  I don’t know as much about PS3 though, I will admit…  I am sure the is something though.

  20. BretzE says:

    I would hope the point of this lawsuit is not for the money or for noteriety, but to punish MS for their reckless behavoir.  They should not have shoved a defective piece of equipment out the door, simply to get a bigger piece of the market.  The problem with tactics like this is, it hurts everyone.  The consumers get burned and have to ship their systems off to Texas, the developers get burned because it turns people off from buying the system (plenty of people have bought PS3 instead of 360 due to RRoD and hardware issues) and finally it hurts the console maker by digging into their profits, negative PR associated with the brand and lawsuits.

    Defending a company for selling you sub-standard equipment is asinine, as it shows one is loyal to a brand (fanboyish mentality) instead of showing common sense.  Ask yourselves this, if you bought any other piece of electronics and it broke, through no fault of your own, within a year, would you be pissed or would you say "ehh, as long as it’s under warranty it’s ok"?

    By suing MS it puts them and other console makers on notice that consumers won’t stand idly by while they try to snow us with defective and shoddy equipment.  If the verdict/settlement is high enough, perhaps it will give them pause before releasing their next console before it is ready.  If that happens, than regardless of your stake in the lawsuit, we all win.

  21. DeepThorn says:

    …this console is a failure for microsoft.  The games are great, but console quality is horrid, as well as their India tech support.

    Tech. "Hi, mu nam s St-heev, hu ma I hulp yuo."

    Cust. "Sir, I can’t tell what you are saying, can you transfer me to someone with less of an accent."

    Tech. "Yes sir, thank you, come again."

    30 minutes later…

    Adviser. "Hello, how may I help you?"

    Cust. "Yeah, I couldn’t understand that last guy, so this is my problem…."

    Adviser. "Oh okay, I am going to transfer you to our hardware tech support."

    Cust. "As long as I can understand what they are saying…"

    Adviser. "Yes, they are in New York. Please hold…"

    10 minutes later…

    Tech. "Hi, mu nam s St-heev, hu ma I hulp yuo."

    Cust. "Wait a second, where are you?"

    Tech. "Chik-a-go, burn an rised."

    Cust. "So how is the weather in India?"

    Tech. "Var neice."

    Cust. "Good to know, here in Chicago we are having an ice storm."

    and so on….


    I am okay with foreign tech support, no big deal at all, but when I have to pause and thing for longer than a second to figure out what they are saying, or have to have them repeat themselves more than twice…  This is why I own OSs, games, and other software but download and install them illegally.  Illegal support on forums are easier to deal with than tech support of many big companies.

    I don’t want to sue them for it though, I rather just bitch about it, and live with it.  At least they are employing someone…  better than people from American that don’t even know what they are talking about tech support wise, cough Comcast. 

    tech: Oh, unplug the power cord and plug it back in… 

    cust: tried that.

    tech: Then dance through a hula hoop and sing I am a little tea cup.

    cust: How is that going to help?

    tech: I don’t know what I am doing to be honest.  I will schedule someone to come out.

    1 week later…

    repair guy: some idiot unplugged your cable when installing someone else’s

    cust:  that is the 4th time that has happened to me

    repair guy: i put a sticker on it so they wont do it again

    cust: thats what the last 2 guys said

    repair guy: you want some free channels?

    cust: why not…

  22. Dragunov765 says:

    There’s a difference between poor Quality Assurance and Design Flaw.  Their QC’s test a random sampling at the factory for function.  Maybe one in 10,000 gets stress tested (or whatever their procedure is).  Considering what it takes for the RROD to occur, it’s unlikely that they would have encountered enough occurances in-house to warrant a recall.

    Yes, they dragged their heels extending the warranty, but they eventually ponied up with free repair and replacement; even going so far as to reimburse the lost month of XBox Live to members who subscribed.  If you took advantage of the repair program you lost nothing.

    In this case, however, there has to have been a legitimate monetary loss on the part of the people who purchased a faulty console.  This isn’t like a corporate laptop that explodes inside a board meeting because of a faulty battery.  It’s a gaming console.

    As Microsoft has already taken an over $1Billion loss on the repair and replacement, whereas the purchaser is normally recieving an entirely new or refurbished unit for free, I’m having trouble finding the basis for this lawsuit.

    The only people eligible for this would be the ones who originally paid for the repairs through Microsoft (a $124 fee+shipping) and haven’t yet been reimbursed.  I’m sure there is a legitimate group of people who fall into this category, but it is far smaller than the number of people who will take advantage of it.

    I had the RROD once and I just got hit with Error 74.  In both cases, they repaired my console with no questions asked.  "Here’s your box, send it in, here’s your refurbished console."  In the meantime, I had hundreds of hours of family fun using the console for its intended purpose…gaming.  It’s not like they were selling dull scalpels to brain surgeons…

  23. GrimCW says:

    "GP: Class action lawsuits are sometimes cheesy, but it’s hard to generate much sympathy for MS on this one. It seems like everyone has a 360 RROD story – or several."

    heh not true not true! i have YET to get an RRoD! lucky me eh? nah my stories dif, the DVD drive died (and i think its doing the same thing again, it sometimes needs to be beaten just to open the drive) and they tried to give me some bullox that my warranty expired 3 months BEFORE i bought the console! it was a BRAND NEW never opened box… so umm…. what? lol after a few arguements they found out it was a "mix up in the computer with the serial code" and gave me my warranty :p

    anywho, i thought someone already sued M$ about this, just before they extended the warranty to 3 years?

  24. acidburn101123 says:

    by the way bro they are not replacing them ALL for free. the most common problem with the Xbox which is the E74 error message is not covered by MS. this is manufacturers error of the GPU which MS will be more than happy to fix for a small fee of $410 dollars not including shipping and handling. their produc is a piece of crap and i hope they are FORCED to reimburse everyone with a rrod. the xbox may have come out first but the PS3 is the much superior system

  25. CyberSkull says:

    I’m afraid you are slightly mistaken. Microsoft is only fixing the worst cases. Those of us with other issues that render our 360s useless are forced to pay at least $99 for a repair. I had a complete failure of the audio/video system in mine, but since it didn’t meet the narrow criteria of the free repair I had to pay for it.

  26. Skyler says:

    Sure Microsoft has some crappy QC on their xbox’s, but at least they are replacing/fixing them for free. That act in of itself makes me think that Microsoft isn’t the bad guy (or at least not worthy of a class action lawsuit). If Microsoft were making people buy new consoles, then I’d say suit their pants off.

    “When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities” ~ David Hume

  27. Flamespeak says:


    Not to be a douche or anything, but, it is more than a handful.

    Apparently the defect number is somewhere between 20-30%.

    20-30% of ~20 million consoles sold is somewhere between four and five million.

    that is at least 4,000,000 people that have had defective units.  Hardly a figure that should be ignored.

  28. Kojiro says:

    A class action suit here is a waste of time.  As stated above, lining some lawyer’s pockets and doing nothing for a handful of bitter customers who feel like they need to "get back" at MS even after they held up their warranty and fixed it for them, then extended the warranty on top of that. 



  29. Bennett Beeny says:

    Yeah.  The only problem with that attitude is that it suits the agendas of the kinds of folks who pour so much pollutants into the Aberjona and Mystic river basin that it poisons wells for decades.  If you lived near Woburn Massachusetts, as I and my family do (or if you’d tasted the water there before they closed down the wells) you’d probably have a different attitude.

  30. Vake Xeacons says:

    I don’t think there’s any integrity to lawsuits. Sue anyone for anything and probably win or at least get a settlement. The only difference between "Justice" and "Revenge" is that with the former, the law gets involved. 

    But MS deserves a lot more than just a lawsuit. Bankruptcy would be suitable. Having a bug like this is understandable, considering the rush of the 360 launch. But it’s been almost 3 years; not only have they not fixed the bug in manufacturing, but "repaired" 360s still have a tendency to RROD. Thrice, eh GP? They’re treating Vista’s the same way. The first step to solving a problem is admitting there IS a problem. MS is still in denial.

    P.S. I’m currently boycotting MS until they pull their heads out of their butts.

  31. Eville1 says:

    Think about the average payout. The lawyer gets millions and the consumer gets ten bucks. I don’t care if you feel good or bad for MS or the consumer, it’s still asinine. It’s meant to punish the corporation (ok, that’s fine.) But all it does is line the lawyers pockets and nothing gets fixed. Microsoft has already learned from this, trust me.


    And the funny thing? I’ve had my 1st gen XBOX for a few years now and not once has a single red light of any kind shown up.

  32. Father Time says:

    Hey man I live in California. And considering the extent of the problem a class action suit would’ve been filed eventually even without the need for California.


    "What for you bury me in the cold cold ground?" – Tasmanian devil

  33. deathvanquished says:

    I hate California.  It is practically the only state where you can sue somebody that hasn’t caused you any loss.  Murderers get away in California, but watch out corporate fat cats!

  34. Zen says:

    I play my 360 and Wii more than just about any of my other home systems.  There may not be as many exclusives, but that is true for just about any system except for the Wii (since they are either a: good games, b: crap games with waggle, c: Flash game ports).  On top of that, Sony is loosing one exclusive after another as time goes on.  Some people call foul, but I still view it as more people that can enjoy someones idea.  What the heck is wrong with that? My PS3 has been sitting there for Blu-Ray, but will see more play with LBP and a few other games soon, as will my 360 and Wii later this year.  Plenty to go around 🙂

  35. Eville1 says:

    I don’t think they deserve either to be honest. I’m one of those people who "wasted his money" on a 360 and I have an ever growing library of games that I enjoy a lot. I didn’t buy it for exclusives (of which there aren’t that may these days anyway and will be even less and less as time goes on.) I bought it for the Live infrastructure and the library of games already out. And in that capacity the xbox 360 has served me well.


    No offense, you sound like you a.) Hate all video games period or b.) Are knee deep in Sony’s ass cheeks. Just an observation there.

  36. Keith K says:

    That may be the case, but I’d call those people dumb. I wouldnt spend a penny on such a piece of crap. I didnt buy the thing. I merely acquired it at the cost of an equally worthless Wii. I made a dollar profit when all was said and done.

    To me, the money had already been wasted, not invested. The ability to play the very few Xbox exclusives that interest me was of more benefit than playing nothing at all (read: Nintendo Wii).

    People who wasted their money on the system are the same people now taking the creator of that system to court. They deserve restitution, but not my sympathy.

  37. Icehawk says:

    ……….. I paid over $400 USD for the thing, to toss another $100 on top of that feels rather insulting.  Especially when you consider the prices are dropped across the board.  Still I suppose it is a thing to consider. 

  38. WarOtter says:

    Well you won’t find me in this lawsuit. I own a 360 and love it. It just recently had a non RRoD issue so I paid the repair fee ($99.95) and sent it in. Within a week and a half, MS sent me a BRAND NEW console (mfr date of 8-21-2008). So I got the newest hardware, with quieter drive and better internals for only a benny. Not to mention the complimentary 1 month Live card.

    So far they’ve always done right by me, and I’ve been happy with it. Yes I’ve had the RRoD issue before but that too was resolved satisfactorily. Just because everyone else may be grabbing their own slice of the pie doesn’t mean I have to as well.

    Speaking of pie… I’m gettin a hankerin for some pumpkin pie… mmmmmmmmmmm……..



    You see, I believe in the noble, aristocratic art of doing absolutely nothing. And one day, I hope to be in a position to do even less!

  39. Icehawk says:

    Hmm a lawsuit…. sueing over the RROD.  Ok fine with that.  Curious though what this lawyer (or more to the point those that are joining the suit) hopes to gain.  Free 360s for all?  Free repairs?  Oh wait they are already doing that. 

    Well mostly.

    I do find it annoying that while MS did extend their warranty to cover for the RROD they will not cover anything else.  The console can die but if it is not the RRoD then MS will not cover it.  Your are SoL.  

    Please, it is common knowledge (which means it is opinion) that they shoved their console through to get an edge on the market.  Rushing something as complex as a gaming console is not wise.  Should they be held responsible?  I think so.  But to sue them over the RRoD which they have already attempted to address seems frivlous when other problems abound. 

    I have one the original 360s.  Got it in 12/05.  I have yet to see the RRoD but then again I did not much use the thing about fairly resently.  Blue Dragon, Eternal Sonita, LO, Mass Effect and currently Tales of Vesperia.  I have noticed that it is having more and more trouble reading the disks and at one point would not even open the dvd drawer.  Those things however will likely never be addressed unless the thing does the terminal dump.  Bah.  Save your RRoD suit and do something useful.   


  40. GTCv Deimos says:

    If I have to talk with Microsoft Customer Service one more time, I swear I’m gonna kick a puppy.

  41. Matriculated says:

    Of course it didn’t work. But that doesn’t mean that’s what MS were TRYING to do.


    If MS hadn’t offered to fix RRoD for free this lawsuit would of started 2 years ago.

  42. Eville1 says:

    Some people don’t have the amount of money  you might have. Something that costs so much might be an investment for them. Their QA isn’t all that bad, they honestly should tighten up their leads more than their testers. It’s the leads that aren’t submitting proper paperwork or ignoring things.


    But you didn’t hear it from me. 😀

  43. Keith K says:

    I genuinely hope this class action suit has a serious impact on Microsoft’s terrible QA.. though it will only have a miniscule impact on their bottom line and likely no impact on their attitude in the least.

    Luckily for me, my 360 is RRoD proof, perhaps the only one in existence. I find if you never turn the useless thing on, they’ll never Red Ring. Or at least you’ll never notice it Red Ring, which is pretty much the same thing. If it ever does Red Ring on me, I’ll likely just throw it in the trash. It’s not worth a minutes trouble for me. Its certainly not worth the anguish of trying to get a coffin and so on…

  44. Eville1 says:

    *taps microphone.* ok, paying attention? Yeah, see the article you’re commenting on? I’d say your assumption is wrong because it didn’t work. If they were trying to avoid a lawsuit they would include a signature form or capture it by voice over the phone saying. "If we replaced it for free then you agree not to include yourself in a class action lawsuit."

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