Nintendo Switch Joy-Con Repair Centers Are Reportedly Overwhelmed Constantly

It’s been almost five years, but Joy-Con drift is still an issue. Multiple lawsuits have accused Nintendo of deliberately creating faulty hardware in order to sell more Joy-Cons, and the issue was so bad that Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa even made a public apology to customers after promising free repairs to anyone suffering from Joy-Con drift.

This customer service nightmare was even worse for the people tasked with repairing these Joy-Cons, according to a former supervisor who spoke with Kotaku. During their tenure, Nintendo’s contracted service center was receiving “easily thousands of Joy-Cons … coming through each week.” This volume of repair requests combined with some questionable labor practices resulted in high employee turnover and multiple customer-facing errors.

When a customer runs into a problem with their Nintendo console’s hardware, the first step is to contact Nintendo customer support. After it's verified that the device is covered under warranty, Nintendo tells the customer to send their hardware to an authorized Nintendo service center. For most of the East Coast, that would be United Radio, a company located in Syracuse, New York.

According to Kotaku, United Radio is largely staffed by temp employees from a staffing agency called Aerotek, and most of those employees rarely stayed long enough to build up knowledge and expertise in hardware repair. Because of this lack of experience, United Radio struggled to maintain its standard of 90% of repairs done within four days of arrival.

Complicating matters further was many of the contractors supplied by Aerotek were immigrants where English wasn’t their first language, but training was provided in English. This made training take longer and resulted in frequent errors. Contractors were eligible to be hired after three months on the job, but Aerotek often made “nitpicky firings” over job performance. Combined with “folks not showing up,” United Radio experienced extremely high turnover and was constantly searching for more staff.

News of Nintendo's struggling repair centers comes during a time of increased scrutiny for the game maker. Earlier this week, a complaint was filed to the National Labor Relations Board accusing Nintendo of "coercive actions" aimed at preventing employees from organizing. These reports are in stark contrast to Nintendo’s family-friendly reputation.

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