It's been standard practice for a while now that, if your 360 broke, Microsoft would send you a box, so you could send your console back in. But a Consumerist report today claims otherwise.
They cite the story of reader Zach, who says:
My Xbox red-ringed for the second time this weekend. Which is almost a relief after hearing how bad my disc drive was sounding, but not so much after hearing the new policy. I was told that Xbox no longer ships out a box to you and you must find a box to ship it out in. Yeah I guess its not a big deal, but I think it gives them another thing to hold over your head; "We are sorry, Sir, but you didn't back it well enough and it appears the damage was due to shipping, we cannot help you."
Sounds ominous. And, given these tough economic times, somewhat plausible, so there's a good chance you may have seen the story doing the rounds earlier today. But Microsoft claim otherwise, telling us:
Reports that Microsoft now requires consumers to find their own packaging for sending product to Xbox 360 customer support are inaccurate. Our policy allows customers to choose whether they would like Microsoft to ship them a box and shipping label or print an electronic label and ship their console using their own packaging in an effort to speed up the repair process.
Sounds like Zach got a dud customer service rep. Which, to be fair to him, wouldn't be the first time that happened when trying to contact their god-awful help line.
Kotaku AU Note: As far as I'm aware the practice of sending out boxes was limited to the US and not something that Microsoft Australia ever did.