Microsoft launches free Surface Pro 4 replacement program because it can't fix flickering screens

Close up of Surface Pro 4

If you have a Surface Pro 4, you might be one of the unlucky tablet owners to suffer from a flickering screen -- a problem predictably dubbed "flickergate". Unable to come up with a fix, Microsoft has opened up a replacement program that means that those affected by the problem will be able to get a new Surface Pro 4 free of charge.

Microsoft says that it has been unable to produce a patch to address the issue, and is therefore simply going to offer replacements to people. What's not clear is why it has taken the company so long to do something; Surface 4 owners have been complaining about screen flicker since the tablet launched back in 2015.

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Microsoft says: "We have heard your feedback and after careful examination, have determined that a small percentage of Surface Pro 4 devices are exhibiting a screen flicker that cannot be addressed with a firmware or driver update. To support customers affected by this issue, we will replace eligible Surface Pro 4 devices for up to three years from the date of purchase, free of charge."

The company acknowledges that a handful of people paid for an out-of-warranty screen repair to address the problem with their Surface Pro 4, and there is further good news here. Microsoft says that anyone who paid for a replacement screen specifically to fix screen flicker is eligible for a refund.

There are a few caveats to bear in mind:

  • Only Surface Pro 4 devices, of any configuration, are covered under this program.
  • This offer is extended to both consumers and commercial customers.
  • This program does not apply to Devices damage 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 extension of a free replacement is applicable only for Surface Pro 4 devices which are experiencing screen flickering. For other repair needs, customers will continue to receive service under their existing Limited Warranty support or Microsoft Complete.
  • Microsoft provides replacement devices which are refurbished to the defined quality standards.
  • Customers who have already paid an out-of-warranty fee to repair the screen flickering issue will be offered a refund and should contact Customer Support for validation.

If you have a Surface Pro 4 blighted by screen flicker, you can head over to the replacement program page to find out how to get your hands on a new unit.

Image credit: ymgerman / Shutterstock

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