Watchdog tackles 360 disc scratching issue

Xbox 360 came under the BBC spotlight last night as consumer awareness show Watchdog investigated complaints of a disc-scratching problem on Microsoft’s console.

The program reported that it has received ‘many’ complaints of discs being scratched – which they claim happened without users moving or knocking against their console.

The show also ran its own tests with new and older Xbox 360s. The newer machine ‘passed with flying colours’ but the older console failed the ‘shock vibration’ tests, which simulated the vibrations of someone putting a book down on the table near the Xbox.

Watchdog said on their website: ‘We’ve had complaints from many of our viewers telling us there’s another serious problem with the Xbox 360s, one that doesn’t affect the console but could destroy the games you’ve paid a hefty wad of cash for.

‘What’s worse, many of you have told us that Microsoft won’t accept responsibility and in fact say it’s your fault, not theirs.’

‘This problem isn’t restricted to the UK either. The EU’s Consumer Commissioner has written to Microsoft twice, asking why she’s receiving so many complaints about the Xbox 360. Further still, in the United States, lawyers are organising a class action against the company.’

Microsoft responded to Watchdog in a statement: "Microsoft reaffirms its longstanding position that it’s not been able to ascertain any defect in the Xbox 360 console that causes concentric gouges (that is, ‘scratching’) on discs when a console is in a stationary position.

Indeed, despite extensive testing and examination under static operating conditions, Microsoft has never been able to reproduce the concentric gouge that causes disc readability problems or find any such defect in consoles returned by consumers for examination. It’s only with the movement of a console that such ‘disc scratching’ may occur. Consequently, Microsoft provides notices on the Xbox 360 console itself, in the user manual, and on its website – warning consumers not to move the console with a disc in it while in use.

"A very small fraction of our customers have contacted us about disc scratching. For those customers, Microsoft offers online support tools and call-in centre support and we encourage consumers to contact us online at: or by telephone at: 0800 587 1102.

"Microsoft is committed to fully support its customers and honour its warranty obligations, but simply cannot replicate the disc scratching problem that’s been alleged with the console in a stationary position."

This isn’t the first time Watchdog has featured Microsoft’s console, having tackled the issue of the Red Ring of Death on the show in 2007.

For Watchdog’s full report on the disc scratching issue, click here.

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