March 20, 2005
microsoft xbox live, you need to change this too
Microsoft, your Xbox Live subscription renewal policy stinks. It is unfriendly to your customers, especially to families, and it makes you look like greedy profiteers. You should take the lead for the online gaming industry and fix it.
Here's the problem. When my kid's 12 month subscription expired, you billed my credit card automatically for a 1 year renewal. Unfortunately he doesn't like to play on XBL ever since Halo 2 turned out to be a disappointment to him, so he's not using it. I called your customer service line to cancel, and they told me that I could cancel the account, but they would not refund my payment. When I told them I expected the refund in full, they pointed me to the terms of service which state that they will bill customers for an automatic renewal, and once it is paid the policy is "no refunds". If I wanted to cancel, I had to do it before the previous subscription expired to avoid the renewal! Oh, and they told me they had sent me an email notice prior to the expiration; I never received such a notice (were they thinking that email to an address given during registration a year before, was as reliable as a registered letter???) At that point I was pretty fried and escalated my complaint up two levels of supervisors in the call center, of course to no avail. Finally, a manager told me that I could write a letter to Microsoft describing my complaint. The address? One Microsoft Way, in Redmond WA. Oh, MSFT corporate headquarters, yeah, that'll get results. Thanks for that advice, geniuses.
Anyway, with my intelligence firmly insulted and my 50 bucks firmly embedded in the Microsoft bottom line, I have a new reason not to like this company and not to buy their products. Unfortunately, predatory billing policies like this appear to be increasingly common in the online gaming industry (see my recent experience with Sony, for example). I would like to think that the large influential companies like Microsoft would take a more enlightened view of customer service, and lead the rest of the industry by positive example. I'm probably delusional for thinking that will ever happen though.Posted by Gene at March 20, 2005 11:42 PM | TrackBack