HackMii

Notes from inside your Wii

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warranty

April 23rd, 2009 by bushing · 73 Comments

I’ve been asked whether installing the Homebrew Channel (or Twilight Hack or whatever) will void the warranty on a Wii. I’ve generally said something like “Technically, yes, but I doubt they will enforce that.” This seemed reasonable, given some of the anecdotes I’ve heard — stories of people ruining their drives with a soldering iron and still getting free repair work done under warranty, etc. I’ve also said that if a Wii is bricked (and won’t boot), then they have no way of actually checking to see what is installed on the Wii — and I still believe that to be true, at least most of the time.

I’ll be the first to admit that was wrong, given some recent evidence:

warranty letter

My German’s pretty bad, but I see “…. Softwarehack … EUR 210″. That seems awfully excessive, given that the price of a new Wii is EUR 250, no?

I would write this off as an isolated incident — maybe someone installed some truly awful warezloading hack. However, I was sent the following email through an anonymous remailer last month, and it would seem to support the invoice above:

From: (deleted)
Date: 2009/02/11
Subject: Handling of modified Wii

Dear Sirs,

please be informed about the following change, it is effective from start of Februay on. Sory for my late notice as I have been sick. This change is confirmed by NOE President.

Whenever you get a console for Repairs and find a Homebrew channel or any other not official Nintendo or unauthorized software (Backup Channel, Gecko OS, etc). on it, this repair is out of warranty. If the defect is related to the modication or not, is of no interest for us, anytime we find unauthorized software, it is out of warranty.

The consumer needs to be informed about this and needs to agree that in case we repair the product he will lose this unauthorized content and get an updated Wii Product back. If the consumer do not agree, you shall not repair and send the product back.

Legal is preparing the letter which you can send to the consumer. Please note the price will be higher for such a Repair as well, as soon as it is fixed. Approx 18O€-21O€, but please wait for our documents. For the current situaiton you can use a price of 120€ for
such kind of issues.

We might change the warranty wording as well to make it more clear, even if the current one is enough. In addition yes we are aware of a small legal risk to be claimed on this in the court, but NOE more than willing to take the risk. We need to stop the Homebrew-Channel now.

Additional to this we checked with NCL to get a better Check-Disc to make your work more efficient and easier. (deleted) will keep you udated on this. Please contact him as well if you need more discs of version 1, as EVERY Wii returned for repairs needs to be checked. Please note the Ver.1 is not as good as expected so manual check
might be needed. (deleted) will share more info on this tomorrow.

(deleted) will share more information about this topic at the coming DSi training and show you some samples, as we want to use this meeting opportunity even if it is not DSi related. Please let me know ifyou have further questions? Please inform your team members accordingly.

Thanks a lot for your understanding and support.
Best Regards
(deleted)

(All typos and misspellings are quoted verbatim; the only edits are (deletions))

This is unacceptable. I was under the impression that most out-of-warranty repairs were in the $75 – $100 range — and this email came with a note saying that the most expensive (common?) repair is to replace the drive for 90€.

Should Nintendo have to pay to repair hacked Wiis under warranty? Maybe not, but they have no (moral) right to gouge customers out of spite for having the HBC installed.

This actually poses a technical dilemma for us with BootMii. As currently designed, BootMii looks for an SD card when you boot your Wii, and if it finds the card and the right file, it will execute that file. Otherwise, there’s no way to tell it’s installed. Unfortunately, we’re currently battling a bug where some SD cards are never recognized in some Wiis. (We’ve been mailing SD cards back and forth around the world to try to figure this out!) With a USBGecko, you get some nice debug spew, but many people won’t have one of those, and if we release BootMii without fixing this bug, some percentage of people will find that it simply doesn’t work. There won’t be any way for them to tell whether the installation of BootMii failed, or if it’s just their SD card. So, we put in a little drive-LED flash that happens in case of error.

I still maintain that a bricked Wii — one that boots to a black screen, or won’t boot discs — can’t be examined enough to tell what was installed on it … unless you have BootMii installed, in which case the drive LED will flash and suddenly cost you 200€.

We’ll probably have to come up with some clever way to disable that flash once you are confident that it has been installed correctly, but we really shouldn’t have to do this. It’s worth pointing out that Apple won’t cover hacked phones under warranty — but A) they don’t charge you a penalty for them, and B) in 99% of all cases, you can click one button in iTunes and restore the device to its original state, so there’s no way they can even tell.

Please try to keep your comments mature and on-topic.

Tags: Wii

73 responses so far ↓

  • 1 magu // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:14 am

    This is interesting, since you would basically be better off tearing off the NAND chip with a pair of pliers before sending it in if you brick it, than to send it as is.

    If they actually do charge some customers more, to “factory reset” your Wii, than others based on the way in which you ended up in your non working end point, despite the end result being more or less the same for all, this would be something to have a discussion with local consumer rights organisations about.

    It would be one thing if wiping an l33t h4xx0r:ed Wii took more labour time, or increased material costs, but I’m not sure if they are allowed to arbitrarily discriminate this way (at least not here in Sweden).

  • 2 recklessness // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:20 am

    The costs seem to be for a hardware component AND the assembling / disassembling (labor) of the wii.

    The text below it reads:
    “Warranty void due to the nature of the defect !
    Modification of the internal software noted.
    Softwarehack”

    So they repaired it, (and noticed HBC evidence somehow?) so they voided the warranty.
    Though the warranty was now void, they just went ahead to fix it and bill the customer.

    I don’t think Nintendo charged a penalty, but that those really are the repair costs.

  • 3 stern // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:26 am

    Now that there’s an SDL port and the Wii is being flooded with emulators Nintendo would eventually have had to take more active action against the HBC anyway, now it just happened sooner than I thought.

    It would be interesting to see a revenue breakdown for the Wii. I wouldn’t be surprised if emulation represented a bigger threat to Nintendo’s bottom line than any Wii game piracy enabled via the HBC.

  • 4 Neoprenanzug // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:34 am

    The german sheet says “Exclusion of warranty due to type of defect. Modification of internal software conducted. Softwarehack”
    A few lines below:
    “Note: If we don’t get answer from you during the following 4 weeks, we will send back the item”.

  • 5 Blue Ion // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:46 am

    I’ve just read this and I’ve freezed. 210€ for a bloody repair?
    I’m specially annoyed by this, because my wii lens has started to malfunction.
    Lately I’ve been using the USBLoader to avoid using the lens, but I had to make the dumps with my pc.
    Now, I was hoping it was just dust, but I couldn’t find my screwdriver I used to install the modchip, and the “official” lens cleaner is all stocked out everywhere.

    Here comes the actual question: This was just a german repair, Do you think it will apply everywhere else? Like spain for example.

  • 6 Blue-K // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Well…if that’s true that’s bad news…realy bad news. Guess they will also go for that if the DSi would be hacked with a HBC…never thought Nintendo would go that far…until now, Nintendo was very generous with repairing…looks like this time now ends…Anyways, I think this was the risk we took, when we installed the HBC…and I took it.

  • 7 funkamatic // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:51 am

    the letter seems fake to me, maybe not though. If Nintendo had such a drive to “stop the Homebrew Channel” than why have they done such a crappy job at blocking it? I always assumed that they didn’t really care a whole lot, but maybe they’ve just always been really stupid.

    @Bushing: so if someone does have a USB Gecko, they could get a “debug spew”. I have a launch console (which as I recall, the earlier Wii’s don’t have a problem with bootmii), but I also have a USB Gecko and I’m willing to test.

  • 8 magu // Apr 23, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Well, the nasty part is:
    “Please note the price will be higher for such a Repair as well, as soon as it is fixed. Approx 18O€-21O€, but please wait for our documents. For the current situaiton you can use a price of 120€ for such kind of issues.

    We might change the warranty wording as well to make it more clear, even if the current one is enough. In addition yes we are aware of a small legal risk to be claimed on this in the court, but NOE more than willing to take the risk.”

    If this is true, here they deliberately overcharge despite knowing that they do it on dubious grounds.

    The proper way of reacting would be like Apple’s reasoning, as mentioned in the post: If you fuck up by doing stuff they don’t want you to do with the device, they won’t service it under Warranty. However will they not charge you more than they charge the people who broke their devices by mere stupidity.

    If it’s broken, fix it and charge for the repair. Don’t have people pay an extra €60–90 because you don’t like them, or what they do. The basic repair cost should cover all …

  • 9 marcan // Apr 23, 2009 at 6:03 am

    Honestly, if you brick a Wii via software, they’re well within their right to charge you a pretty chunk, since chances are they can’t repair the Wii without replacing the entire motherboard (especially if you brick it using retarded warez apps, which seems to be all the rage these days). The funny part is that they won’t do that, because they also wouldn’t be able to diagnose the issue as caused by software. So instead, apparently they’re charging you for repairs that are THEIR fault just because you installed some homebrew. Sounds like some annoyed manager decided to make up the money spent on people who brick their Wiis from people who don’t.

  • 10 Googletwo // Apr 23, 2009 at 6:23 am

    @Marcan : In my opinion you are totally wrong and react as still expected…

    The reason is clearly that Nintendo said many times they don’t want homebrew by all the known ways.. The time consumed to fix a wii, change pieces if needed, and all situations possible around hacking the system cost money, this is perfectly normal they charge you for the fixing. Pricing it loud is another story.

    But saying “apparently they’re charging you for repairs that are THEIR fault just because you installed some homebrew” is stupid (not directed to you but understand the way i ‘m talking).

    Human is not perfect, it’s just a chance we use fault made by human to our convenence. Don’t blame humans like you can do sometimes like in your comment, again..

    Peace and love
    ————————————————————
    Sorry for bad english, this comment is not for flaming but agree mostly with nintendo reaction to charge you for infringment to their cluf, rules and all around.

  • 11 avalanchajuan.blogspot.com/ // Apr 23, 2009 at 6:26 am

    Disabling the flash is a good idea in order to make dificult to find that a BootMii is installed, but they could also find that it is installed placing the SD card with the right file. It will be more job for them but they can still detect it if they want. And regarding this letter, it seems they want.

    This supposing that they will know what is the right file. If this file is always the same, they will know.

    I propose the possibility to install BootMii selecting a password that the user choose. And then only booting the file on the SD card if it has the password, otherwise there will be no evidence that BootMii is installed). This way the user will know his password, but Nintendo won’t.

  • 12 pood // Apr 23, 2009 at 7:50 am

    That does seem a bit excessive!

    With the drive flashing if there is an error, how about the drive gives a flash a few times when it installs properly.

  • 13 rkay // Apr 23, 2009 at 7:56 am

    Maybe make two versions, one with the LED flashing indicator and one without?

    If your wii is still in warranty then perhaps install the stealth version of BootMii to avoid any trouble if its ever sent back.

    Likewise it might also be good to be able to edit the file name it looks for on the SD so that it can’t be detected that way.

    Another thought I had, is that you could somehow probe the SD card before rewriting boot2 to check if it will be recognised or not. That way the flashing led might not be needed.

    I’m dripping with excitement about bootmii and as always incredibly grateful for the time and energy you guys put in to make these things a reality.

  • 14 maddoc // Apr 23, 2009 at 8:40 am

    I do not agree with Homebrew Channel as a warranty voider but all I can say is bravo Nintendo!

    Using HBC and the nice programs for it won’t brick your Wii ever so you can simply format your memory before sending it to Nintendo for repairs.

    If one’s Wii is bricked due to stupid tools then it’s not Nintendo’s fault!

  • 15 Slowking // Apr 23, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Hmm that deosn’t seem like NOE. They are traditionally the most generous of all Nintendo devisions. I guess that guy must have screwed up his Wii really bad for them to go to such extremes.
    I really would like to see this confirmed by more people before I join the freaking out. ;)

  • 16 zoid // Apr 23, 2009 at 9:31 am

    Well, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? It’s in the
    guarantee contract and it’s the same what MS does. (and I would do either)

  • 17 me.yahoo.com/a/0Jmgu.h0u… // Apr 23, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Come on … we all know we are morally and legally voiding the warranty as soon as we start tampering with our Wii, whether this is by opening the cover for a modchip or installing unauthorized software.

    We all need to balance the advantages versus the risks PRIOR to modding our machines, and then fully assume this risk if we decided to proceed … and by fully I mean having to go back to the store to buy a new Wii if we had things go wrong, including the Wii failing for reasons NOT related to our mods.

    Let’s be grown-ups here and stop whining. Nintendo is doing the right thing. Period.

  • 18 King Zargo // Apr 23, 2009 at 10:04 am

    250 minus 40 euro for Wiimote and 20 euro for nun-chuck.

    = 190

    It is kinda evil.

  • 19 openid.aol.com/Thomas83lin // Apr 23, 2009 at 10:44 am

    Honestly i actually see this costing Nintendo more money in the long run, What i mean is people are now more than likely going to start going to the extreme just to keep Nintendo from seeing their softmods, probably far as removing the system menu IOS or doing damage to the motherboard just to keep the wii just booting up, meaning instead of a problem as simple has replacing the DVD Drive on most Soft modded Wiis they will now be replacing the Whole Wii System, just because someone didn’t want them to see their softmods , Their are other ways to remove most traces of softmods off the Wii but again most people will probably do the latter

  • 20 drmr // Apr 23, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I would have to disagree. By giving them the order to “repair the machine”, and I don’t see a possibility to have them repair just single parts thereof, a modified system software obligates them to completely restore the system to an “official state”, too.

    Of course, the reasoning stated in the quoted mail is outrageous. As is charging close to the full retail price for a repair. Obviously they are trying to make examples.

    All in all, this changes nothing, tho. If anything, it makes matters perfectly clear: A virtual screwdriver is equally effective in voiding your warranty as a real one.

  • 21 Link // Apr 23, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Translation: http://l0nk.org/warranty-eng.jpg

    I am normally used to writing English directly… although my native language is German, translating from German to English is not too easy.. anyway.. the important parts are translated.

    @bushing: feel free to use!

  • 22 Alexander M. // Apr 23, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    If anyone thinks this is a Europe-only thing, you’re wrong. I bricked my Wii after a stupid move. I was told it would be either $75 or $200 USD, but likely $200 because of hacks. I lucked out and got the $75 (and $10 shipping) after calling a few days later. I suppose it’s a new thing and not all reps know about it?

    While I think they should charge a bit more for “repairing” bricks due to homebrew, I think $200 USD/210€ is pretty extreme. Maybe around $160 USD.

  • 23 oops_ur_dead // Apr 23, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Thats kinda stupid. Why doesnt somebody who bricks just open their Wii up, take a 9V battery to the NAND chip, and blame it on a hardware issue?

  • 24 Reichi // Apr 23, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Well… i think if you know about it, it shouldn’t be much of a Problem, should it?
    2 Possiblities:

    1. If you Drive is dead simply get rid of the homebrew-stuff on your wii
    2. If your wii is “dead” be sure to completley blow it up so nobody will ever bring it back to life again without changing the mainboard

    You “just” have to know that…
    Nintendo obviouly still doesn’t understand anything… Maybe it’s some “all your base are belong to us”-alike translation issue, maybe it’s ignorance, but who knows.

  • 25 thefalken.livejournal.com/ // Apr 23, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    So, in the super-unlikely event that BootMii bricks or otherwise nukes my Wii, it’ll be easier and cheaper to stick a pick axe through it before I return it ?

  • 26 Distant Thunder // Apr 23, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Mmmh, this is pretty funny if you consider the whole document, it illustrates the entire way Nintendo seems to have taken since the release of the WII, first the mail begin by fixing the price of a repair for a softhacked-Wii, but then the man goes on notifying (?) that they can’t actually detect with a 100 % probability if a consol is softhacked or not, and that they need to improve their detection’s soft…But no way, this is pure swindle (ing ? :p)…

  • 27 fhyrin // Apr 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    “Should Nintendo have to pay to repair hacked Wiis under warranty? Maybe not, but they have no (moral) right to gouge customers out of spite for having the HBC installed.”

    I’d like to say my opinion as someone working at a computer/hifi store.

    If you buy an Epson printer and there’s a problem during warranty, Epson will refuse to repair it for free if they find refilled/nonbranded ink cartdridges.

    Other case : You buy a computer and a 2 years repair service plan. 6 month later you bring your computer to repair. If you reformatted the HD and installed Linux, WinXP or whatever, they won’t take it. Same if you changed the graphic card yourself.

    I know it’s not fair, but you HAVE to be this harsh when dealing with tens of thousands of … well, noobs. If you don’t put this kind of limit, you get annoyed every hour by some silly lamerz who just tried to “play geek” and installed anything without thinking or understanding (RTFM? what’s this?). In my country, they’ll just waste your time and energy, in US, they would sue you and harrass you.

    Homebrew channel is a very good program, but for nintendo it’s not possible to include it in their support policy, even to tolerate it, it will be impossible to manage (they can’t ask the repair center, to spend time to verify if HBC was used in a “good” or “pirate” way, or if there are cIOS or other “bad” hacks)

  • 28 techtwa // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    Okay I just had to send back my Wii to Nintendo of America. All it boiled down to is the dang thing wouldn’t boot up, startup files corrupted. Anyway after recieving a phone call asking if it was alright to replace my main board that was a ridiculus $75, I got my Wii back. Oh and they did void my warrenty when they read he memory which they remove and read to see if you have installed Homebrew apps on your device. Comunist pigs!!!! What happened to the day when you could actually use the constitution and for you like here its my right to do whatever i want with my Wii, software included!

  • 29 bushing // Apr 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    Some of you are missing the point.

    It’s okay for Nintendo to exclude “hacked Wiis” from warranty coverage. It’s not okay for Nintendo to charge a “penalty”, above and beyond what they would normally charge you for a Wii with an expired warranty (or for damage not covered under warranty, such as water or lightning damage).

    The silly thing is that if you send back a Wii for repair, their flow has to go something like this (along with the estimated amount of money it actually costs Nintendo to do this step)

    1. ($10 overhead) Apply power. Does disk drive work (mechanically)? If yes, go to #3.
    2. ($90 — $50 for the drive, $40 for the time to remove all those damn screws) Open Wii and replace drive.
    3. Does system boot into system menu? If not, skip to #5
    4. Does system recognize a game disc? If yes, go to step 9. If not, go back to #2
    5. ($10 towards R&D costs to develop service disc) System menu is damaged. Insert Waikiki (the thing we emulated with SaveMii) and service disc.
    6. Does service disc boot? If not, main board is dead. Return unit to factory and give customer a refurb ($125 – $50 for a salvaged drive = $75)
    7. Does service disc detect hacks? If yes, make a note of it and charge customer $$$
    8. ($5 of time) Reinstall system menu. Go to #4
    9. (Optional and purely driven by profit motive) Wii has a bad drive which has now been replaced, and is otherwise fully functional and could be sent back to customer. Insert service disc and look for hacks. If found, make a note of it and charge customer $$$.

    So, at the end of it, if you send in a Wii with a busted drive, it costs them $100. If you send in a Wii that won’t even boot their service disc, that could be up to $185. If you send in a Wii with a (somewhat-damaged) system menu, that costs them about $25.

    Wiis with a broken drive will cost them $100 to fix. They can either stop there and send the Wii back for free (if under warranty) or for (insert standard price here — $100?). Or, they can run their service disc to look for hacks and have the opportunity to charge $200.

    Wiis with no hardware damage will cost them $25 to fix if their service disc will boot, or $85 if it won’t boot (boot1 or boot2 or system menu executable or system menu’s IOS is damaged).

    If the drive is okay, the only case in which they actually can prove you’ve installed software hacks is the $25 case. The others they just have to suck up as the cost of doing business — but they cover this by charging $75 if your warranty is expired ($50 profit if the Wii can be fixed with the service disc, $10 loss if it can’t).

    As some has noted, this creates a financial incentive for anyone with a “Softwarehack”ed Wii ($25 for Nintendo to fix, but they’ll charge you $200) to find a way to damage it further ($85 for Nintendo to fix, but they will only charge you $75).

  • 30 ChuckBartowski // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    *sigh* im dissapointed in nintendo. Doing this out of spite is wrong. But heres where i differ a litlle: Them charging you if your mainboard fried and it had nothing to do withthe HBC, Software hacks, etc. is just unacceptable. However, if you send your wii back because you bricked it by being a dumbass and failed to install a wad right or evn if a good app like HBC f***ed up your wii, i would charge too, but not that high. It only makes sense when you put it like that. But charging just cuz, thats a bunch of crap.

  • 31 kmeisthax // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    NOA hasn’t done this yet, or their checks suck. My friend -had- HBC installed; his idiot brother trashed it, then the disc drive went bad and he sent it in for repairs. They returned it with 4.0, and didn’t complain about any hacks. They must not be checking the usage logs yet.

  • 32 rkay // Apr 23, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I just re-read the copy of the nintendo email. Something just doesn’t feel right about it.

    Isn’t this actually a hoax that someone is trying to trick bushing with?

    Would it be a good idea to confirm this with nintendo? Surely if they want to be crappy about warranty voiding they want everyone to know about that beforehand?

    How do you know that any of these documents are genuine. If they are then it wouldn’t be a secret as far as nintendo repair are concerned.

    I would expect nintendo to void the warranty if you brick your console with a soft-mod or if you remove the case screws or install a chip, but does that mean that these documents are actually real?

  • 33 gth44331 // Apr 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Would there be no way to ‘block’ them from detecting and subsequently charging for ‘HAX’? (If they do indeed scan every Wii even if the issue is unrelated)

  • 34 Couchy // Apr 23, 2009 at 7:53 pm

    Something about the email strikes me as fake. Does the NOE president even get involved in stuff like this? I just hope it is fake for everyone’s (Nintendo and hack users) sakes, and that that invoice was, in fact, just an isolated incident from some asshole-run repair center. It doesn’t take a genius to predict that people will start completely nuking their modded Wiis before sending them in once word of this gets around.

  • 35 bushing // Apr 23, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    @rkay, Couchy, etc: The email came with a bit more context (that I did not publish), which was enough for me to believe the email was genuine. Still, I didn’t publish it when I received it because I couldn’t be certain it was legitimate.

    I still can’t be certain, of course, but the German invoice was enough for me to believe that it is true. One reason I posted this was in the hopes that others will come forward if this happens to them, so we can get further confirmation.

  • 36 disorganizer // Apr 24, 2009 at 12:27 am

    i doubt this would ever pass court, at least in germany.

    if you see that new wiis are sold as low as 239euros and if you then reduce this by the nunckuck and wiimote prices (not to mention power supply, sensor bar etc) you end up at a imho reasonable price of around 150-180 euros for an out-of-warranty full-replacement of the pure console.

    if you take a nintendo ds which is out of warranty and broken bejond repair and send it in, you get a new (refurb) one for 80-90euros.

    the interesting question is:
    why do they do this?
    in my opinion they replace the wii when they detect hacks just to get wiis with need boot-sectors and system menus out to the customers which use hacks :-)
    that way they propably want to eliminate the boot-hacking (just to prevent bootmii).

    if I was nintendo, i would be very happy to replace such a wii with a new one for a low price… why?
    well, that user will propably never use homebrew or hacks again, because he gets a wii with updated bootsector and newest anti-hb system menu *eg*

    forgot one thing (maybe mod can merge posts? (ed: ok)

    in cases the wii is bricked and able to boot a disc, wouldnt it also be possible to enable a kind of “emergency recovery” for bootmii?
    this recovery process could just install the original boot sector back onto the wii via sd card or something. that way nintendo wont be able to detect bootmii
    also it would propably also make sense to be able to completely “format” the wii from bootmii with an emergency hack, even if parts of the flash dont work correctly (just to get rid of anything on the flash).

    this brings me to the next thought:
    wouldnt it be possible to completely erase the flash including any hacks and bootmii itself even on a bricked wii?
    the “erase” function only needs to ignore any error messages, which will then also allow us to erase a partly defective flash.

    also it propably would be extremely nice to get hands on such a “hack detection disc”

  • 37 lavers // Apr 24, 2009 at 12:33 am

    Ive send my FULL-BRICK wii in yesterday (low-level brick), so ill see what happens here. In Australia I dont think they even try to fix a bricked wii, they simply offer the AU$200 replacement console, ive had this happen on a simple banner brick before. Ill see within a few days the outcome of my latest ‘repair’

  • 38 esposch // Apr 24, 2009 at 4:52 am

    It’s not exactly hard to see why Nintendo are doing this. The majority of Wii Homebrew users use “Legal backup” Loader. If you included emulators as piracy (which I would as it affects sales on Virtual Console) then almost everyone is a pirate. It’s simply just a way of discouraging people from installing Warez. Still though, a slap in the face for people here who just want homebrew from their homebrew channel (I’m on 4.0 with HBC and loving it).

    So thanks again, Waninkoko. I hope you enjoy being praised by script kiddies.

  • 39 djdynamite123 // Apr 24, 2009 at 5:08 am

    Charges are Over The Top, but I’m glad Nintendo make examples, and I hope this is the same for each repair centre now.
    Shouldn’t tamper with the console then should you, and expect them to repair or replace it after “you” fuck it up. :P

    Quite bizarre when you look at it, but it is annoying the fact people kill their wii’s due to ones idiotic fault, and expect to get a repaired wii or replacement for a certain charge.

    Good job Nintendo, way too late though!

  • 40 daniel c w // Apr 24, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I doubt, the Email is true.
    Some of the wording just sounds off.
    For example: why does the author call the president “NOE President”. Why does he not refer to him by his name.

    I also doubt, that Nintendo, or any company would do that, without legal back-up.

    @bushing:
    Was the Email translated?

    Since this whole topics relates to Germany: There are several court rulings, that outrule software modifications as a way to void the warranty. But there also some that say the opposite (for example: a BIOS update)

    But you have to remeber, that there are 2 kinds of waranties:
    -The 2-year one forced by EU-law, which is the vendors (!) responsibility.
    AND
    -the one which Nintendo grants you, at free will, on their own terms.

  • 41 cr08 // Apr 24, 2009 at 7:32 am

    The way I see all this mess, which holds the same sentiment as marcan, is this:

    Pretty much all software bricks are recoverable nowadays with a little bit of legwork. modchip+autoboot disc or savemii come clearly to mind here. (though if I’m wrong on this, please do correct me. I, much like marcan, have long refrained from the cesspool that much of the large Wii ‘homebrew’ sites have become for my own sanity’s sake.)

    If it’s not recoverable with those tools, in 99% of cases the hardware is well shot or in a state that nintendo themselves can’t recover it without replacing the board, nand chip, or any combination of hardware in the system. Any chances of the repair centers finding signs of illegit software on there is slim to none. They aren’t going to waste hours and lots of manpower searching specifically for it.

    And the third case goes back to ‘simple’ bricks that can be recovered fairly easily compared to a full hardware brick/system death. Too many people are either getting into things they hardly know anything about, running unverified software, hacking system files and IOS’s. Or innocent people are getting roped into this by friends, family, these ‘sell-you-HBC-to-pirate’ scheming sites, whathaveyou and when they end up with a piece of software going south and taking the system menu with it, first stop is a Ninty repair center. With a sanctioned, non-modchip-requiring autoboot disc it is completely trivial to get into the system, search for certain titles, non-Ninty signed titles, or just any unique file that is not there on an unhacked Wii.

    One of my pet peeves has been those who have a fascination with installing every homebrew program under the sun as a new channel on the system menu. Not only does this quickly open you up for said bricks, but it wastes limited and valuable NAND space on stuff that can run directly from an SD card (It’s just 1 or 2 extra clicks of the wiimote into the HBC and to the app! Not to mention that a lot of applications that utilize files beyond the main dol can’t be completely contained in a channel wad and need to store some files on the SD card anyways.) compared to save games and Ninty’s own channels that MUST be run from the Nand with no open alternative.

    Even if you do end up with an unrecoverable brick that the repair center can miraculously recover, installing every app under the sun as a channel just gives them much more evidence that something fishy is going on (granted, the HBC is still there and is all they need. But that is besides the point. If they spot, say, the USB backup loader, GC disc backup loader, and Wii backup disc loader on there all at once…).

    One thing I am curious about that is not on the same topic: Is if bootmii will offer the ability to go HBC channel-less and boot the HBC dol right from the SD card as part of the initial boot1 boot process where bootmii lives and runs?

  • 42 cr08 // Apr 24, 2009 at 7:36 am

    I want to add an addendum to my previous post of this: Yeah, if you somehow end up with a low-level brick which is not recoverable by conventional means, you are boned. But so is Ninty for the most part and the only recovery possibility for even them would be either to replace the nand chip or overwrite it bit for bit with a stock, unhacked wii image.

  • 43 someone // Apr 24, 2009 at 9:17 am

    I remember reading that Bootmii would have an application to backup and restore the whole of the internal flash memory.

    In the event of not being able to start BootMii and getting the flashing drive LED, maybe a button combination on the GC pad or the SaveMii dongle could be used to make BootMii restore a small part of the flash memory; deleting itself and restoring the original boot2.

    If I remember right there is a reserved section of flash memory for boot2 and not all of it is used. The original boot2 could be saved here and then restored with the button combination/SaveMii dongle. Obviously the section which held the backup boot2 would have to be wiped too.

    The console would still be bricked, but boot2 would look untampered with. And if all homebrew runs off SD card, the rest of the internal flash memory wouldn’t have any changes made to it anyway.

    So even if Nintendo do have a magic debug disc which can detect non-standard stuff in flash memory, it should draw a blank.

  • 44 dionet // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I know two Wiis (one was mine, the other was from a friend) that simply didn’t want to power on: Once you turned them on, they would automatically turn off, as if I unplugged the power cable. Both had homebrew installed. One was repaired in October 2008, and the other in March 2009 (this one even had a DVD video that couldn’t be removed because the wii didn’t turn on, which was played in Mplayer). Fortunately, they still were covered by the warranty, and when the one with the DVD was returned, they simply said: “Wii consoles aren’t able to read DVDs!”. This happened in Portugal, but we are not covered by Nintendo of Europe, we have a company that represents Nintendo here, so that may be why.

  • 45 TexasDex // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:45 am

    This is most definitely illegal in the United States. The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act of 1975 states that unauthorized modifications void your warranty ONLY if they can reasonably show that YOUR MOD CAUSED THE MALFUNCTION.

    So, if I had to send my console in because Smash wasn’t working and I needed the disk repair, it would be illegal for them to claim that the product is out of warranty just because I installed HBC, because there is NO WAY that it could have caused that. In fact, under this law they can’t even refuse warranty repairs to a chipped console if the defect isn’t related to the mod, although they will probably do it anyways. This is U.S. Law. If they break this law they are liable to be hit with a class action lawsuit, and I would cheer the lawyers on.

  • 46 TexasDex // Apr 24, 2009 at 10:46 am

    Disclaimer to my above comment: IANAL

  • 47 tavueni // Apr 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    My two pennies. The Wii hardware comes with a hardware warranty and the software has a software warranty.

    If your Wii develops a problem with the hardware or software as they develop SPECIFICALLY for it (ie. without homebrew/modchips) WITHIN their warranty period, then they need to honour that warranty.

    If you deviate/mod from the hardware or software of the Wii as Nintendo design it, then personally, they shouldn’t HAVE to fix it within your warranty, at least not with discussing it with you or agreeing it with you first

    It would be unreasonable for someone to buy a new car, changing the colour of a door and then taking it back to the dealer saying you don’t like the colour or the colour is causing rust to other parts of the car. Nintendos view is “Well that’s not how we gave it to you. YOU modded it. We didn’t”.

    At the end of the day, we all have bought Wii’s so we are customers so I think they ideally need a more tactile approach for Nintendo like:

    “Sorry dude. You’re machine/software has been tampered with therefore voiding your warranty. We can either send it back to you duff or dispose of it. We can fix it for you but this is the cost. You choose and let us know accordingly.

    (Not verbatim of course)

    Just my view.

  • 48 HyperHacker // Apr 24, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    However, if you brought the car back and told them the engine wasn’t running properly, it wouldn’t make sense for them to refuse to honour the warranty because you painted the door, unless you somehow screwed up the engine in the process. Same idea; if you send in a console that has a hardware defect, hacked software should not even be considered unless they can prove that the software somehow damaged it.

    Also would Nintendo n0t have a database of each console’s keys with their serial numbers? Even if you destroyed the console I’d imagine they could pull out the chip, pop it into a reader and see what you’ve done to it. The repair disc is convenient since they don’t need to open it, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have other methods.

  • 49 redydav // Apr 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    My wii (back menu patch installed) got stuffed up and the system menu would crash after a few seconds, in thoose few seconds u could browse around the channels but pretty much nothing else so i decided to try and hide hbc (put it on last page lol) i thought they would find it and charge me heaps for a new one or repairs. so i sent it off and a few days later Nintendo called up saying blah blah malfunction blah blah and then they said they would send me a new one for $120 AUS!!!

    Just my thoughts… and problems

  • 50 Juan // Apr 25, 2009 at 1:18 am

    Like it or not, it’s there. I don’t count on Nintendo to repair my Wii anyway. But I do count on Team Twiizers and BootMii to bring my bricked Wii to life again. You really are helping people! And good to see that Marcan is still around.

  • 51 Slowking // Apr 25, 2009 at 1:33 am

    Bushing, you say nintendo a well in their rights to void the warrenty of Wiis with homebrew installed. That is simply not true, at least in Germany. 2 years of warrenty are guaranteed by law and only if you cause the device to be defected (willfully, neglect or using harmfull software) is the warrenty voided.
    So if I have the Homebrew Channel installed and my Wiis drive is defect the warrenty is NOT voided, or if it got bricked through a Nintendo Update, or if it blew a fuse.
    So no the law is not on Nintendos side here and I believe it is the same case in most european countrys.

  • 52 Wack0 // Apr 25, 2009 at 1:38 am

    ow… and this happens after that guy from nintendo (i think in norway ?) sent that mail saying that he agreed with homebrew ?

  • 53 disorganizer // Apr 25, 2009 at 1:59 am

    maybe we miss the true point here:
    no doubt that the warranty is voided in most countries when you tamper / open up / modify the system somehow (inlcuding homebrew).

    BUT
    the problem is that nintendo is charging the full retail price for the replacement wii despite the fact that the problem could most of the time be extremely easy to fix with almost no cost (excluding shipping etc).

    even if they completely exchange the hardware with a refurb or even new console the cost for nintendo are not as high as they charge for the repair.

    and that is the most disturbing point here, seeing that even out of warranty cost for replacement console are at about 50-70% of the retail price (depending on console type) at nintendo at the moment.

  • 54 daniel c w // Apr 25, 2009 at 5:47 am

    Apparently this information is already spreading, which is good.

    But it is also treated as a fact, which is bad.

  • 55 warewolf.livejournal.com/ // Apr 25, 2009 at 7:25 am

    I recently sent my Wii in for an out-of-warranty drive mechanism replacement – they charged me whatever the out-of-warranty repair bill for replacing the drive mechanism was. Nothing more.

    My repair was done at a third party repair facility, not specifically Nintendo of America. I had the Home Brew Channel installed, but it wasn’t visible from the first (leftmost) system menu screen.

    My repair cost me $75 to replace the mechanism, and then $change for shipping etc. The grand total was $82.50. That price seemed reasonable enough to me for my laziness of not wanting to hunt down a replacement drive mechanism on my own, and do the swap myself.

    They left the HBC alone and didn’t appear to update any IOSes.

  • 56 someone // Apr 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

    @ tavueni 47:

    “At the end of the day, we all have bought Wii’s so we are customers so I think they ideally need a more tactile approach for Nintendo like:

    “Sorry dude. You’re machine/software has been tampered with therefore voiding your warranty. We can either send it back to you duff or dispose of it. We can fix it for you but this is the cost. You choose and let us know accordingly.”

    That’s exactly what they’ve said in the bill. The problem is the price. And the fact they’re charging it even if the problem wasn’t caused by a softmod.

  • 57 wowfunhappy // Apr 25, 2009 at 10:51 am

    Would it be possible to write some sort of software- risky or not- which would remove all traces of homebrew? Perhaps a complete Nand restore?

    This is one of those rare cases where it would be worth the risk of bricking.

    That way, if someone’s Wii drive dies, for example, they can run the software and then send the Wii back to Nintendo for repair. Sure, the user would loose all the data, which would be a total pain, but it would be better than the alternative…

  • 58 cr08 // Apr 25, 2009 at 11:10 am

    @HyperHacker: Maybe, but it seems like the targeted group here is those who have absolutely no idea wtf they are doing and brick their wii’s -BY- the ‘illegit’ software in question, often being shady, untested homebrew wads. And if the code is bad enough to kill the hardware, it’s still their fault and Nintendo is in the right to say ‘sorry, no go. You can go buy a new one at full price.’ fhyrin’s post at comment #27 makes complete sense in this case. Any company worth their salt is not going to even attempt any kind of repairs when the hardware was used well outside of it’s intended purpose.

    Now while a normal hardware failure that would even happen on a stock wii -should- be covered without this extra cost thrown in, I say tough toodles if they hit you with the huge bill when they find any homebrew apps on there. Everyone who runs homebrew on their wii has indirectly agreed that stuff like this is possible and there is no recourse than to fess up or pay up when something goes wrong. Period.

    Also, I HIGHLY doubt they’d take the painstaking time and work to desolder a nand chip with a large number of VERY tiny pins and risk damaging it just to check if MAYBE there is a sign of homebrew on there. It is just not worth the time for a Ninty repair shop to do something like that so right off the bat something like that is out of the question. The only way they would find out, -usually-, is if they can get their repair discs to boot on the thing and then the automated software contained therein does the dirty work of scanning the system for homebrew.

  • 59 hochhausmaedchen // Apr 25, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    @Slowking:
    That is wrong. In Germany your vendor must give you a 2 year warrenty, but this has nothing to do with Nintendo, and after 6 monthes you have to proof that the defect was caused by the vendor or manufacturer. If your disc drive would break, then you could not proof, this defect is not the result of a “backup” launcher and bad DVD-Rs. So you would have no warrenty.

    @On-Topic:
    I do not really care about this costs, because I have my NAND key and a backup of my Wii NAND, and an Infectus mod chip is much cheaper than 210€. A hardware defect may be a problem, but I never had one with a Nintendo device (even my NES is still running), and I know a German mod chip vendor, who replaces a defect Wii by a new device for just 130€.

    But it would be nice to have a tool to remove the homebrew channel, bootmii, preloader and most of the evidences of previously installed homebrew. Such a tool could also delete the statistics of played channels or brick the wii, since Nintendo would repair it for less than 210€.

  • 60 someguy // Apr 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I guess I’m not sending my Wii to Nintendo anymore. I stupidly bricked my Wii customizing my System Menu a few weeks ago.

    @Bushing
    So, um.. will Bootmii (boot2) be installable via the Infectus2? Was the Infectus the nand programmer that was being talked about in the other articles? I want to make sure before buying one since the team behind it doesn’t seem to have a great grasp on what they’re doing.
    I’ve been doing my research and there seems to be corruption problems while dumping the nand. Does this happen with writing, too?
    I know you must be busy, sorry for asking so many questions, (and for posting this in the wrong section, but maybe you don’t check the old articles?)
    Thanks

  • 61 rfc1394 // Apr 25, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    As TexasDex stated (and was correct), declaring a software modification to void the hardware warranty is illegal under Magnuson-Moss in the U.S. People who mod their cars to improve performance do things like replace the exhaust with bigger pipes or a new muffler or other non-approved equipment. This voids the warranty on the exhaust system; it does not void the warranty on the engine or power train unless the change to the exhaust also in some fashion damaged the engine or power train.

    Also, if the claimed E-mail is true, it would represent an attempt by Nintendo to prevent competitors from creating alternative software for the Wii. This may be a violation of the Antitrust laws as it is attempt to use their market power to deny a competitor access to this market. If Nintendo also makes software for the Wii, an attempt to prevent competitors from doing the same is almost certainly an anti-competitive practice in violation of the Sherman, Robinson-Patman or Clayton antitrust acts; I haven’t looked at that law recently so I’m not sure which would apply. It might also violate equivalent E.U. antitrust directives.

  • 62 Isakill // Apr 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    @rfc1394 and TexasDex:
    using the car as an example was PERFECT at being wrong, especially the exhaust thing. Mainly because any manufacturer can find a way to make any modification to their product void it’s warranty. PERIOD.
    Their argument will be Thus and has been mentioned before. “We didn’t sell that piece of equipment to you in that shape.” so both of you are wrong in thinking that the magnuson-moss law could possibly protect you. all laws have loopholes that Ninty WILL jump through.

    I agree that if any of us does ANY mod to our Wii soft or hard should void it. But gouging is wrong.

  • 63 Red_Breast // Apr 27, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Regarding that Magnuson law it would be interesting to see how it played out in court.
    Wouldn’t the court need proof that HBC hadn’t affected whatever was causing problems with the Wii?
    Anyway it’s quite interesting that Ninty are aware of the legal risk.

    “In addition yes we are aware of a small legal risk to be claimed on this in the court, but NOE more than willing to take the risk.”

    I’d love to see such a court case. Even if BigN won it would show them in bad light as they were aware they were doing something which, from what I can tell, they were not entirely sure of it’s legal standing.

    @cr08 You’re not the only one with a pet peeve. Those types wind me up and I get wound up by the fact that they wind me up.
    Maybe I’m a little lucky in that I’m not interested in wanting to ‘back-up’ any Wii games. I only own 3 and one of those is because it was needed (Zelda). I haven’t come across any VC/WiiWare that interests me either.
    Mostly I use HBC for ScummVM. I was starting it straight from Zelda until I thought HBC would make it easier.
    Anyway enough of me what I’m saying is a lot of people using ‘retarded warez apps’ should stand back and have a long hard look at what they’re doing. Maybe money is not an issue. Fair enough. All I know is I don’t have the money for a new Wii just lying around so I’ll only use TT’s apps for now. Apart from ScummVM I do use MPlayer a little but again I only use the original TT version.

    Regarding Bootmii I say don’t release it if you’re not entirely happy with it. Put it on hold and have a good look at you’re options.

  • 64 anv // Apr 28, 2009 at 7:11 am

    Ok, Nintendo can create any excuse for incressing the repairing cost up to 210 €.

    Now we need to get installed bootmii as soon as possible. Then, if the wii is so broken that does not boot, They will not be able to check if there is homebrew channel or not. And if it can boot, we can use bootmii to remove the homebrew channel and put bootmii in some “silent” mode.

    In the other side of this… for people that uses software modifications for running pirated games, even 210€ are a low cost in exchange for the benefits (the price of 4 games).

    I think that Nintendo is only generating viral advertising with this. The money is not the problem. Replacing some hacked wiis with “unhackeable ones” is not usefull for them: the viral advertising of “do not install homebrew or you will have to pay 210€ no matter what problem you have with your wii” is the important message.

    But they are forgetting that the games are so expensive that if you are planning to buy more than 4 games, it is cheaper to place a modchip or install some “softchip” on it. Even more: the message of Nintendo can be traduced as modchips are better than soft mods, because many of them can be removed before sending the console for repairing and they are transparent and compatible with any game and soft mods are not.

  • 65 nicklesminer // May 1, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    I can also confirm that as of the moment, Nintendo of America is not charging extra for having homebrew installed, nor are they voiding the warranty because of it.
    I sent my wii into the Syracuse repair center on the 24th of April and will receive it back on Monday, May 4th (or so says UPS). I sent it in because of some graphical display issues (flickering and blotches of color making the image hard to see while playing the wii), I’ll leave an update after I get my wii back. But I have not received any charge or notification that they weren’t fixing it, so I’m assuming that they have.

  • 66 sion_zaphod // May 4, 2009 at 5:15 am

    This is my first post here so please excuse the wording! I have just read all the comments posted in regards to this warranty issue and wanted to have my say. I think Nintendo are right with this course of action but I really do not think it will make a scrap of difference!

    First of all when we decide to mod a console either by hardware or software we know in our minds that this is slightly dodgy and could void the warranty. This is something we all should accept or not do the mod! Second, if something then goes wrong either because of the mod or not why should we expect Nintendo to repair the fault. For example if I bought a new PC from say compaq or dell or some other company and the computer came bundled with the latest windows release. But then I decided to setup a dual boot Linux system and it buggered up the computer. I would never send the machine back to the company to be repaired. I would accept that it was my fault in the first place and therefore my responsibility to fix it!

    Now here is where I’m going with this thread. I think that if we brick our Wii through mods or homebrew use. We should’nt then go crying to Nintendo expecting them to repair it and then cying even more about what they charge for the repairs. Or trying to disguise what mods we had installed before sending it off for repair. We modded a perfectly decent console for the purpose of playing homebrew or illegal backups or both. This is the price we pay for trying to be clever!

    Instead of crying about it we should be focusing on fixing the problem ourselves. All it takes is one clever hacker to find a way of restoring a wii back to factory defaults. And then we can cut the big N out of the loop. Plus there is money to be made here too. I have fixed many semi bricked consoles and even some that were so screwed up that its ended up taking days to fix. I see this as a challenge despite the frustration. It encourages me to find out as much as possible about the consoles hardware and software.

    So stop crying because you bricked your wii, get off your behind and fix it yourself. And if you find a way to fix it. Let everyone know so they can send you their consoles for repair instead of Nintendo. And you can charge for this service!!

  • 67 stiansoftcorehard // May 6, 2009 at 1:44 am

    @anv:

    They do this for console that installed homebrew in general (also legal), that could brick your Wii. Not just warezloaders.

  • 68 theoperator.myopenid.com/ // May 6, 2009 at 11:14 pm

    Back at the beginning of March when they roled out 4.0, I was dumb and did a full brick to my Wii. I called up Nintendo, sent my Wii in and 2 weeks later got a “brand new” (most likely refurb) Wii. No charge, no fee.(and extended 1 year warranty) I live in the US and I talk to a couple Nintendo Reps who I have known for years, most of them do not know about the added charges and doubt that NoA will be adding that anytime soon.
    Here’s hoping a new hack to run through, so I can get back to playing my old Atari games….

  • 69 shredman // May 7, 2009 at 2:45 am

    @rfc1394

    Ninendo has fought and won every lawsuit that claims anti-competitive behaviour in regards to their closed system gaming consoles.
    Nintendo will win given the precedents they themselves have set in regards to closed hardware. Without this no gaming console manufacturer would be able to charge a license fee for making software for a particular conosle.
    Nintendo are perhaps one of the most legally adept mega-corporations in the consumer industry today (due in no doubt to Howard Lincolns legacy )- they do not ever do anything without legal consult first – I would know because I used to work for Nintendo Australia and am well aware of their standard operating procedures. (They apply worldwide…)

  • 70 CCowell125 // May 12, 2009 at 5:07 am

    I phoned Nintendo UK, they confirmed that “third party software installed shall void your warrenty”. I complained, and he said that “I can’t help you there, Nintendo of Europe in Germany are the main offices”. I already knew that.

    It may be worth knowing that Nintendo of Europe’s main offices are indeed in Germany. And Nintendo UK (and any other Nintendo office in an EU country) are only customer service and repair offices.

    Also, Nintendo UK, at least in my experience, charge you almost the price of the item brand new in retail for a “repair” which in all my cases, was just sending me a refurbished item.

  • 71 Sephiroth // May 13, 2009 at 2:38 am

    @ CCowell125:

    that phone call wasn’t neccessary at all, as we all now already that a softmod technically voids your warranty and of course somebody from nintendo will tell you that. the question is, if you now really have to pay this ridiculous price (210€) just because of the installation of the hbc;instead of a regular non-guarantee case which will cost you (in most cases) not more than 100€.
    unfortunately I live in germany, so I guess, if I somehow brick my wii, at least I won’t have to send it to nintendo xD.
    I guess we just have to wait and see if other countries will adopt that behaviour or not.

  • 72 zoomx // Nov 5, 2009 at 12:45 am

    “If the defect is related to the modication or not, is of no interest for us, anytime we find unauthorized software, it is out of warranty.”

    Reading my italian warranty I understand that if the modification is related to the defect the wii is out of warranty and that’s ok but if I have an hardware failure then there is a warranty.
    The word above instead says that if you have an hardware failure and the find unauthorized software my wii is out of warranty. That’s completely different.

    @Bushing
    If you have an hardware failure (for example the bluetooth module) when it is repaired they can check what it is installed, they just turn it on!

  • 73 eBay Wii Owner // Mar 26, 2010 at 2:39 pm

    I bought my Wii on eBay last year, used. After a few months it had a wierd issue with the hard drive where games would crash mid-way so I finally sent it into Nintendo for repairs, should have been $85. I got this email today:
    —-
    Hello,

    Thank you for sending your Nintendo system for repair.

    Upon examination of your system, our technicians determined that the system has been tampered with. Our technicians discovered that the product was altered by downloading of unauthorized software, such as the “homebrew” channel.

    These types of alterations void the warranty. In addition, a system that has been altered is permanently damaged and cannot be brought back to its original working condition. As such, your only option would be to purchase a replacement.

    If you enclosed a check with your repair, your payment will be returned. If you provided a credit card when setting up your repair order, your credit card will not be charged. For other methods of payment (i.e., money order, cashier’s check), you will receive a refund within the next two to three weeks.

    Your product should arrive back to you in approximately two weeks. We will hold it at our repair facility for 5 business days before it is sent back. If you have questions you may call 800-448-6797 and ask to speak with a Tech Service Administrator. We are available every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. However, should we happen to be on another call, please leave a voice mail message with your name and phone number.

    Sincerely,

    Nintendo of America Inc.

    Apparently, it had the “Homebrew” channel on it, something which I never installed, nor never heard of until now. A quick Ask search brought me here.

    I was incredulous: This is like your mechanic saying he won’t repair the fan belt on your engine because he smelled weed in your back seat! (Like that would *ever* happen…)

    After vigourously complaining, the tech agreed to make an “exception” and sell me a refurbed Wii for $165. Ridiculous! But I had no choice. She said I should take it up with the original seller, but I laughed – I’m not going to return an eBay item after 4 months of use to some podunk in Arizona.

    I attempted to argue with them that just flash the BIOS or whatever, I mean, c’mon it’s just software! The rep claimed that they couldn’t “quality control” the repair because of the mod. Ridiculous. I can flash the PROM on my linksys router, or my PC, but multi-billion dollar Nintendo can’t flash their ROMs to remove some software I didn’t install.

    Anyway, I asked if this was a “recent” policy, and it is: as of before the holidays (Nov. 2009) they refuse to service hacked Wii’s. So beware.

    In short: You void your warranty and Nintendo won’t touch the units for repairs no way no how.

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