Updated with Nintendo UK's official statement at the bottom of the page.
Nintendo will now offer free repairs of faulty Joy-Con to Switch owners in the UK, European Economic Area, and Switzerland.
This is according to an update to the company's support page on its UK site (which appears to be reflected on other official sites across affected territories), which labels the now-infamous 'Joy-Con drift' as "responsiveness syndrome or so-called 'drifting'".
This change brings the company's policy in line with various other regions, including North America, Latin America, and France. The new policy also covers the same issues with Switch Lite.
Here is exactly what is stated on the Nintendo UK support page:
Until further notice, Nintendo will not charge you in the European Economic Area (EEA), UK and Switzerland for the repair of the responsiveness syndrome irrespective of whether this is caused by a defect or by wear and tear.
Nintendo takes great pride in creating high-quality and durable products and is continuously making improvements to them. 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 notes that it reserves the right to refuse free repairs if it judges the fault to come from unofficial modification or a cause unrelated to the stick defect. However, assuming you are suffering from your common-or-garden Joy-Con drift, Switch owners in the territories above can now get them repaired free of charge.
The company has encountered criticism since early in the Switch's lifecycle concerning this widespread controller issue. Joy-Con drift is caused by wear to the mechanism in the analogue sticks which can cause false inputs to register, making gameplay frustrating at best and impossible at worst.
Nintendo has faced various legal challenges in different territories over the defect and instigated a policy in some regions whereby drifting Joy-Con would be repaired for free regardless of their warranty status. Increased pressure from consumer groups and the European Union to address the widespread issue has mounted, but until now Switch owners in the UK and Europe (outside France) have been unable to send their controllers for free repairs once the warranty period has expired.
Nintendo has previously said that wear of the analogue stick is "unavoidable", with hardware developers from the company comparing the mechanism to how car tires wear over time. A report from a former repairs supervisor in the US called the volume of Joy-Con controllers arriving for repair "very stressful".
We reached out to Nintendo UK for comment on this policy change and were provided with an official statement that largely reproduces the text from the support page, with added support links. Full text reproduced below:
Nintendo takes great pride in creating high quality and durable products and we are continuously making improvements to them.
Therefore and until further notice, Nintendo offers to consumers who purchased Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controllers in the European Economic Area (EEA), UK and Switzerland that the repair of a responsiveness syndrome of the analogue stick will be conducted at no charge by Nintendo official 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. For more information please visit dedicated article on Nintendo website: Joy-Con Control Sticks Are Not Responding or Respond Incorrectly (responsiveness syndrome or so-called “drifting”).
The manufacturer’s warranty does not affect any statutory rights which consumers may have under consumer protection legislation as the purchaser of goods. The benefits described are in addition to those rights.
If consumers have any issues, we always encourage them to visit https://support.nintendo.com/ so we can help in resolving, openly and leniently, any issues they may be having.
Are you a resident in any of the above countries who will be taking advantage of this policy change? Let us know below.
This is nice and all, but I'm willing to bet anyone in the UK already had to buy themselves a new pair long before this became available, myself included, good to know future sets are covered though I guess.
Edit: the link to the site is broken, wanted to have a look to see if I could send of my OG Pikachu and Eevee pair, could you give me a heads up when it's working? thankyou
Yea i’ve bought more since. But I still have 2 that are broken. One of the Splatoon 2 Joycons out of the box was already screwed and Nintendo wanted to charge me for a repair - it didn’t make sense. But now finally I can get on that I guess…
Had a switch since christmas 2017 never had joy con drift am I the only one?
I thought they were doing this already? I sent mine off a few years ago and came back a week later with no charge! Maybe I was just lucky?
I thought they did this anyway?
Last year I sent my 2 sets of Launch Joy cons off for repair and they didn't charge me a penny for it.
Happy to say that they seem to be working fine since I got them back.
I think we just posted more or less the same comment a few seconds apart 🤣
I'm on my second pair at the moment. Thankfully the one i currently have seems to be immortal xD so i'll hold on to it for as long as i can. Looks like my country is included, that's nice to know just in case..
I have two pairs suffering. I’ll send them both in. Nice one.
@Member_the_game @TommiKinder were they in warranty though? I believe they had started doing in warranty U.K. ones before. They started by denying it was an issue and charging but went free if in Warranty. I think like most things you could get lucky for sure. I had two pairs that suffer from it and now will 100% send in knowing they will repair without running the gauntlet of getting lucky. Good to know they are doing a good job with repairs though.
As others have said, I'm almost certain they did this already. Myself and two friends have sent in joycons suffering drift out of warranty and all have been repaired free of charge. However, I don't think it was an "official" policy thing - when I asked someone at Nintendo about this, they completely denied it and said you have to pay for joycon drift repair
That reminds me I need to book in mine for the third time.
I do feel bad for the switch lite owners as you have to send in the entire thing to get something that should have been sorted out before release.
Nintendo UK has been doing this at their own discretion for a while now, if you got in contact they'd normally repair or replace them even if they were out of warranty.
However, it's good that this is now an official policy that they are publicly speaking about, hopefully makes more people aware of it.
Mine definitely were not in warrenty. Both sets of Joy Cons were from 2017 when the Switch first launched.
It was last year some time when I sent them in so they were a good 5 years old
@Ali_Benji the same here I bought a spare set when I got my switch on launch day both are still working must just be lucky I guess
My day one Switch controllers still seem to be working fine. One had a bit of drift at one point but once I exercised it a biot it seemed to fix it. Trading in this month for the Zelda OLED. The original has served me well.
@Ali_Benji I was with you for the first 4 years but since had problems with my original joycon set and (more recently) my pro controller. Luckier than many by the sounds of it.
Literally threw mine in the bin about a month ago after getting replacement.
They say " better late than never " but seriously, it took 6 years for one of the biggest firm in this industry to react properly. I understand that they won't repair any problems caused by a customer, but everyone knows that the vast majority of the joycons will have these problems at one point. Nintendo never recognized this is a problem from the start of their conception.
What about the Pro Controllers? They use the same hardware and I've gone through 4 of them in the Switch's lifetime.
What if I've unscrewed them and jammed a bit of cardboard in there?
Does this only cover drift or also if they keep randomly disconnecting?
@Ali_Benji had mine three years, no issues at all. I always wash my hands before I play on mine, maybe that's the secret lol
@Nanami_Ataraxia you won't want to send those in to Nintendo, you might not get the same ones back.
No mention of the rail button/lights issue, I note. Though hopefully they might have the same approach for those. I'll make an enquiry.
So cool. Both of my left joysticks now drift in the worst way.
Too bad I’m not in any of those regions lol
Thanks for the advice, I'll probably not then, since they have sentimental value to me. Though they have been very loved by me drift aside, If I were to go ahead and do it, I doubt the ones they send me back could be worse xD
Got my first Switch in November (white OLED if matters). Primarily play handheld. Lucky for me no Joycon issue so far.
@Nanami_Ataraxia unfortunately when you arrange a repair you have to sign a disclaimer saying you're ok with the fact they might not send you back the ones you sent in, I've heard too many horror stories of people sending neon joycons in (only to get grey ones back) to risk sending any special edition ones in for repair when there are plenty of places who'll replace your control sticks for a reasonable price.
@Otoemetry "Sorry consumer. Your Joy-cons are in another castle."
@Ali_Benji I also got mine for Christmas 2017, have played the Switch for around 1000 hours judging by my profile, and haven't had any joycon drift yet. I predominantly play it in TV mode with a Pro Controller but i'd still guess i've played about 200 hours in handheld mode (mainly on Tetris 99 during 2020's lockdown).
Because they won't do it until they ABSOLUTELY have to according to country rulings, even though it's their fault in the first place
@sikthvash I'm wondering the same thing. I'd send mine in for repair in a heartbeat if so.
Nothing has really changed, in the UK and EU Nintendo have always been effectively obliged to fix or replace as we have incredibly powerful and far reaching consumer protections laws. I've had ours fixed twice well outside of any stated warranty or otherwise, mention 'not fit for purpose' and they won't even attempt to challenge you (because, quite frankly, they can't).
It's good that this is now made obvious, but I don't think the actual policy has changed, simply because it can't.
Sadly, that "great pride in quality products" is also what made them deaf for whatever issues people reported their product had until they HAD to change their policy.
"nope, nothing wrong with our product, YOU're wrong. ALL of you" - proud Nintendo.
"mine never had issues YOU're just treating them badly" - fans.
Me, who has enjoyed many quality products from Nintendo, and had many issues with them as well (Gamecube and Wii that had issues reading discs, a DS Lite with a bright green dead pixel right in the middle of one of the screens,...), but always took extreme care of my stuff, have had to replace joy cons more than once already. Mistakes happen, technology fails,... and it's pride that puts us in denial, which makes it impossible to advance.
I returned a joy con to be fixed (battery issue), and it came back unfixed and with a new clicking sound on a joystick.
I'm just glad the issue has become seemingly large enough for even the biggest fanboys to shift their responses from "Joy-Con drift isn't an issue, you're just treating them bad!" to "Well, it hasn't happen to ME..."
It's a small thing, but man was the discussion surrounding this frustrating.
Wonder if it is worth trying to send in my Xenoblade and Smash Bros pro controllers again...I sent them out of warranty a few months ago as both have drift, Nintendo wanted to charge me £90(!!!) to fix, so I said "no thank you" and had them returned
Nintendolife, I have a general question - just out of curiosity: Why is it that the UK market specifically is getting so much attention? Quite often the only European market mentioned is the UK (usually as "Japan, US, and UK"). A bit strange as the UK has 67,3m residents, the EU has 447,7m. It's like routinely mentioning Canada and leaving out the US.
Well that is the dumbest thing I've ever heard in my life, I can't believe that actually happens. I really appreciate the warning. So glad I commented first before I hastily sent them off and unknowing played Joycon roulette, seriously thankyou!
@NintendoWife it says the UK and EU in the header and article. It was spotted on the UK site first, understandable on an English language site, and these days they need to be mentioned separately from the EU as I'm sure you're away, they aren't part of it.
Funny you mention this though as they specifically glossed over the UK pricing when the whole £10/$10 extra for TotK kerfuffle happened. The UK (and I'm sure, some other territories) has ALWAYS (since BotW) had an additional pricing tier for the biggest titles, it all only kicked off because the US finally caught up with that.
This should of happened ages ago, instead of making most people buying replacement joycons as they can't repair them themselves as not technically minded.
Still butter than nothing, especially from Nintendo.
@Spookydux be careful, you have to sign a disclaimer saying you're ok with the fact you might not get the same ones back
@Nanami_Ataraxia no worries, I know how awful it would be to send off a special edition only to get a standard one back!
@ch37 Yeah my question was not so much about this article, more of a general one.
@Otoemetry yeah I'd be ok with that as long as they didn't try and charge me £90. 2 working standard pro controllers are better than 2 limited edition ones that don't work. Though looking at comments on here, Nintendo UK were fixing out of warranty joy cons for free when they had my pro controllers so assuming the free repair excludes them
Had drift on my first switch joycons..traded up for the longer battery version and then again for the oled... I usually use alternative joycons but mine haven't drifted yet... Haven't had an issue for years now... My pro controller on the other hand the left stick just grinds, should probably replace the stick soon
Nintendo owning up to the problem without actually owning up…
Can't believe it took this long. Better late than never I guess.
Next console better have hall effect sticks.
Haha USA get F**ked.
Better late than never, but like... how much money did consumers have to waste to get something that other regions had for free, YEARS earlier than Europe?
I know it sounds stupid, but what's the easiest way to tell if I have drift or not? As far as I can tell I don't have drift and I have two original sets of joycons. But can I find out via the switch?
I've probably complained about this in the comments of like 30 articles on Nintendo Life, but this will apparently NEVER happen in Japan, where everything is extra expensive because why not?
Good. I have 4 pairs to send to them.
@Blofse you will know if you have drift.
It’s like having the stick stuck in one direction. So when you try to select a game to play your screen will be scrolling instead of stopping. You try to run left with a character and it runs forward etc. You’re constantly battling the drift and it makes games unplayable and even menus become unusable without the touch screen.
@Ali_Benji Bought mine in 2017 and only just a few months ago my joy cons started to act up. Guess we were lucky.
I've 8 pairs. All of them have issues. R/L are not working properly, disconections when playing in portable, they don't even stick to the console!
Drifting happens in all of them from time to time. I had to move with a Controller Pro which is working flawlessly, but I barely can't play properly on portable. The Switch is a cool concept, but a ***** of a hardware
Eh. Wake me up when it’s available in Australia
@Member_the_game that's good news mate with the joycons. Out of curiosity how old is your switch. I had mine at launch left joycon drift started maybe a year or so in. Couldn't be bothered so got hori split pads. Miss the rumble in the joycons though, now they are offering this repair I'm sending mine off hopefully they honour the repair even though the age of the system.
It was a day one launch Switch, I have the grey set that came with it and the Neon set that was bought approximately a month later when Mario Kart 8 came out.
Over time the drift issue started on both sets but both currently working perfectly since the repair.
@Member_the_game good news hopefully they should repair then.
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