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Nintendo pledges to repair Switch Joy-Con free in UK "until further notice"

UPDATE: Consumer watchdog calls for fix to underlying issue, further compensation.

UPDATE 4/4/23: UK consumer rights group Which? has called on Nintendo to go further in its attempts to compensate customers with faulty Switch Joy-Con. Yesterday, Nintendo quietly confirmed it would now offer free Joy-Con repairs regardless of warranty. But for Which?, that offer does not go far enough.

In a fresh statement, Which? stated Nintendo needed to address the underlying mechanical fault which it said was to blame for the frequent cases of Joy-Con 'drift' which have been "plaguing gamers for years". It also called on Nintendo to offer compensation to those who had been affected ever since the Switch launched back in 2017.

Here's that statement in full:

"Nintendo Switch 'drift' has been plaguing gamers for years, and many consumers have been left out of pocket buying expensive replacement controllers, so it's positive that the video game giant has committed to lifelong free repairs," Which? director of policy and advocacy Rocio Concha said.

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"Which? tests found that these chronic Nintendo Switch controller problems are likely due to a mechanical fault – pointing to design flaws that Nintendo must address to prevent faulty controllers ending up in people's homes in the first place.

"As well as free repairs, Nintendo also needs to commit to compensation, refunds or replacements for any consumers who have been impacted by this issue since the launch of the console and promote this scheme so that consumers know that support is available."

Eurogamer has contacted Nintendo for more.

ORIGINAL STORY 3/4/23: Nintendo has formally stated it will repair faulty Switch Joy-Con controllers - even if they are out of the standard 24-month warranty - free of charge until further notice.

This offer applies to Switch owners living in the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, and covers "responsiveness syndrome irrespective of whether this is caused by a defect or by wear and tear".

Nintendo Switch owners have long complained of the dreaded Joy-Con drift - where your controller disconnects or begins moving on its own - throughout the console's life.

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In the US, Nintendo's policy of no-quibble repairs has already been in place for some time. And, anecdotally, reports have surfaced of Nintendo UK quietly repairing some Switch Joy-Con even out of warranty too.

Now, however, this pledge is official.

"Nintendo takes great pride in creating high-quality and durable products and is continuously making improvements to them," a statement posted to Nintendo UK's support page on "so-called 'drifting'" now states (as spotted by Nintendo Life).

"Therefore and until further notice, Nintendo offers to consumers who purchased the respective product in the EEA, UK and Switzerland that repairs for responsiveness syndrome relating to control sticks will be conducted at no charge by official Nintendo repair centres.

"This applies even if the syndrome is caused by wear and tear and even if the 24-month manufacturer's warranty provided by Nintendo has expired. The manufacturer's warranty does not affect any statutory rights which you may have under consumer protection legislation as the purchaser of goods. The benefits described here are in addition to those rights."

Nintendo has come under repeated pressure from customers here in the UK, in mainland Europe and in North America over the widespread reports of Joy-Con drift - leading to various attempts at class-action lawsuits, plus warnings from consumer groups.

UK customer rights watchdog Which? previously estimated that two in five Switch Joy-Con would experience some kind of drifting issue.

In June 2020, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa issued a formal apology for the continued Joy-Con problems faced by Nintendo Switch owners.

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