Back in early February, we brought you a story about Surface Pro 4 owners that were encountering some rather distressing problems with their tablets. The displays on affected machines would flicker continuously for no apparent reason.
A lengthy thread on Microsoft’s official forum gathered comments from many users experiencing the problem and FlickerGate.com was established to shine a spotlight on the display failures. At the time, Microsoft said that it was “aware that some customers have experienced a screen flicker on Surface Pro 4 and are monitoring the situation closely” and that “customers impacted by this should contact Microsoft support.”
Apparently, Microsoft was never able to come up with a permanent solution for the screen flickering either with a firmware update or display driver software. Instead, Microsoft has taken the drastic step of agreeing to actually replace Surface Pro 4 tablets that are afflicted with display flickering.
Microsoft says that if you are experiencing the problem, it will replace your device for free up to 3 years from your original purchase date. Before you send off your problematic device for replacement, Microsoft requests that Surface Pro 4 owners complete all current software updates for the machine. If the problem still exists, then you can proceed with the next step.
Once a Microsoft support representative is able to verify that your Surface Pro 4 is eligible for a replacement, you will need to send in your device. Once Microsoft receives it, you should receive your free [refurbished] replacement within 5 to 8 days.
Interestingly enough, under the “Additional Information” section, Microsoft’s wording seems to run afoul of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent edict on warranty policies that are deemed anti-consumer. In fact, Microsoft is one of the six companies that was named in the FTC’s crackdown.
Microsoft states that the program will not be honored for damage that was caused by:
- use with products not sold or licensed by Microsoft
- any external cause (for example, by being dropped, exposed to liquid, or used with inadequate ventilation)
- a repair done by anyone other than Microsoft or an authorized retailer or reseller.
The second bullet point is a given, but the other two seems kind of suspicious at this point. As for customers that have already paid for an out-of-warranty repair for the screen flickering issue (which could cost upwards of $450), Microsoft will issue you a refund for those costs.