Should you consider joining the ranks of Wii U early adopters over the Christmas period, be warned that it will be difficult to get technical support if you’re among the unlucky number whose consoles don’t work as advertised.
Among other things, the Nintendo warehouse in South Africa is closed until 27 December 2012, which means swap-outs and repairs will only resume on Thursday.
Numerous technical failures and other issues have been reported over the course of the Wii U’s launch, yet in spite of this the console is reportedly flying off shelves. Time also ranked the Wii U second on its list of the top 10 gadgets of 2012.
Problems range from failed firmware updates that result in a console being “bricked”, to seemingly random lock-ups from which the device doesn’t recover.
What follows are the lessons learnt from personal dealings with the Nintendo technical support department of Core Group in South Africa. Core is the official distributor of Nintendo (and Apple) products in South Africa.
Getting someone at Nintendo to help
Your first port of call for support on the Nintendo Wii U is the Core technical support contact centre.
It can take ten minutes or more for your call to be answered and if you’re calling over a weekend or public holiday with an untypical problem it’s likely that the folks in the call centre won’t be able to help you.
Core’s call centre agents were always friendly and eager to help. When they couldn’t provide support immediately agents always took my contact information, with a promise of a return call when the correct people are back in the office.
No return calls ever materialised, so expect having to make the follow-up call yourself, spending another good few minutes on hold while waiting for an agent to become available.
Once it’s established that your Wii U is broken, the agent will explain your options for getting it to the repair centre. If you’re confident that technical support over the phone can’t revive your console, you can skip the call centre and go straight to this step.
Swap-out or repair
The best course of action is to deliver (and collect) your Wii U in person to the Core Technical offices in Jet Park, Kempton Park.
There the support staff will evaluate the console and determine whether they can repair it or whether it needs to be replaced.
If you can’t go to Jet Park in person, you could arrange for Core’s courier to collect the faulty device, but this will introduce additional delays.
According to Core’s technical support contact centre, it takes the courier up to 48 hours (in major centres) to collect a broken device once your support ticket has been handled. Once the device is repaired or replaced it can take the courier another 48 hours to get it back to you.
To log a fault for collection, you need to email [email protected] the following details:
- Serial number of the device;
- Name of the store you bought it from, and its physical address if relevant;
- Detailed fault report;
- Clear copy of the proof of purchase;
- Your name and contact details;
- Collection and return address.
After you’ve reported the fault and requested collection, Core will inform you that it is your responsibility to ensure that the console is securely packaged.
What happens if there’s a snag?
If all goes well, you’ll have your Wii U back in under 14 working days. This is including the 10 days Core says it can take to repair a device, and the 4 days the couriers need.
In my case it took Core no more than a day to determine that my Wii U was irreparable, and dispatch a replacement with the courier.
At this point, however, the courier appeared to encounter some kind of snag and in two days Core’s support staff were unable to track down where the replacement Wii U was.
On Saturday (23 December 2012), five days after the Wii U was given to the courier to ship, the courier called to arrange delivery of the replacement device for that same day.
Looking for answers
Core was asked how many returns they are seeing on the Nintendo Wii U, and how frequently the courier delivers outside the 48 hour window specified by the call centre.
They were also asked about their call centre statistics and escalation procedures.
A Core Technical spokesperson explained that they aren’t seeing higher than normal returns on Wii U consoles or related products for a new launch. For example, only two games were returned since the launch of the console, the person explained.
According to Core, calls not being returned by the contact centre is strange as reminders are set for agents and they are measured against metrics such as whether calls are returned in a timely manner.
The spokesperson said that they have noticed that courier deliveries are sometimes delayed, but usually no more than a day.
Need your old Nintendo Network ID? Your troubles are just beginning
Another well documented problem which becomes an issue when a Wii U needs to be replaced is the fact that Nintendo Network IDs are linked to a specific console.
That same login can’t be used on another Wii U until it has been unlinked.
When asked about the problem, the only advice offered by a friendly Core call centre agent was to create a new Nintendo Network ID.
Once it was explained that I really liked my current username and have already bought items on the eShop, she excused herself and found out that the matter has to be escalated to their head office.
Adopt early at own risk
The launch of Nintendo’s new Wii U console has been fraught with reports of hardware problems and other glitches.
This isn’t unheard of during new platform launches, but potential buyers should take note of what is involved in getting your console replaced should something go wrong.