Microsoft Charges You $50 For Two Months Of XBOX Live

XBOX Live member ForceTrainer says that after he forgot to update his credit card information, Microsoft shut down his XBOX Live account. He was fine with this, but when he tried to update his info, pay his balance, and convert his account to silver, Microsoft demanded he pay an entire year’s fee to settle the two months he was delinquent.

I’ve been a faithful Xbox Live Gold member since I first bought my Xbox 360 a few years ago. When I first signed up for my account I chose the annual option, so for the past two years I’ve paid my $49.99 like a good little gamer.

This year was probably going to be no different, but my billing ran into a little snag when my credit card on file was replaced. I started receiving emails from Microsoft telling me that I needed to update my card info so that I could be charged for the next year, but I kept forgetting. I finally received a final email saying that my account had been closed and at that point I could no longer sign onto Xbox Live. Honestly I couldn’t care less about having a Live account, but I have a good amount of DLC, so I immediately gave Xbox Support a call so I could at least get switched to a free silver account so I wouldn’t bork what I had already bought.

After a minute or two on hold (I called 1-800-4MY-XBOX) I got through to a very nice woman. I explained to her that my account had lapsed and that I just wanted to convert my Gold account to a Silver one. She said no problem, but informed me that I would need to speak with billing. “Not a problem,” I thought, and I got forwarded immediately.

After another minute on hold I was through to the billing department. I was pretty impressed at the lack of hold time, considering it was a Sunday night, and I even made a comment to my brother over IM saying, “Wow, Xbox support is pretty good.” Needless to say my comment was a bit premature.

I again explained my situation to the billing rep, and he asked me to sign on to http://billing.microsoft.com so I could update my billing information there. That seemed like a pretty simple request, and he said he would stay on the line with me to make sure that everything got updated properly. Again, I was impressed because most reps would just tell you where to go and hang up. He verified that my billing information was updated, and he told me that I would be charged $49.99 because I had an owing balance on my account. While all I wanted to do was convert to a Silver account (hopefully for no charges), I was half expecting this since my account had technically lapsed in June. I asked if it was possible to just pro-rate the two months that I was given service after my account lapsed, and I was told because I’m an annual member that wouldn’t happen. Alright, fine, no big deal – it’s just $50. The charge was put through and I figured all was set. Here’s how the rest of the conversation went:

Me: Alright, so my account is settled. Since my account lapsed in June I’m assuming I should have about 10 months left of Xbox Live Gold service, right?

Rep: No.

Me: Ummm… what do you mean no? When I paid the $50 I was paying for service from June 2008 to June 2009. I understand that I won’t get a full year of service from today, but how come you’re telling me I’m not going to get Gold service at all?

Rep: By paying the $50 you settled your account. Your account has been reactivated as a Silver account.

Me: Okay, I understand that my account is now settled, but I just paid for 12 months of service. If you date that from June 2008 I should have a Gold account until June 2009.

Rep: No. When you paid the $50 that was just to settle the account and bring it current. Your account was almost sent to collections, so your payment stopped the process.

Me (Getting very pissed off right now): Okay, so what you’re telling me is that I just paid $50 so you wouldn’t send me to collections? With Xbox Live service you PRE-PAY for the service! If I’m paying you $50 I just PRE-PAID for services that you owe me. Now you’re telling me all I did was stop you from sending me to collections?

Rep: Yes. However, now that your account is settled you can go ahead and purchase a Gold account if you want.

Me (To the point of ripping my hair out): So what you’re telling me is that I just paid you $50, and if I want to get a Gold level account I will need to pay again for it even though I just paid you $50?!?

Rep: That would be correct sir.

Me (Trying not to yell at the guy so I can ask pertinent questions): Okay, that makes no sense, but let’s continue. Can you tell me exactly what I was charged for? Was the $50 I just spent for Xbox Live Gold service, collections fees, account reactivation… what?

Rep: The charge will be for Xbox Live Gold service.

Me (Ready to rip his throat out through the phone): You just said that I was being charged for Xbox Live Gold service. If that’s the case then how come I am not getting the balance of the months?

Rep: Because that charge was to bring your account current.

This ordeal continued for another 10 minutes. He told me that my payment was solely to bring my account “current.” His rationale for not giving me the balance of the months on my account was that my account was almost sent to collections. Well, first off, my account was never sent to collections, so that’s the biggest BS story I’ve ever heard. Second, how can you send me to collections on a debt for services that I was never given? Microsoft cut off my account when it went delinquent, and at the very least I got a free month out of them. I absolutely understand them wanting me to pay for that, but how can you send me to collections for an entire year of service that I haven’t even used yet? I also asked him that if I had called last month to settle my account would I have been given the balance of the months. His answer? Yes. Rationale? Because my account wasn’t being sent to collections last month.

After all of this I informed the rep that I would dispute the charge with my credit card company. He told me, “Fine, we get that all the time. However, we always win because we will show that it’s a legitimate charge.” I tried to argue with him saying that yes, while the charge itself is legitimate (I did authorize it), Microsoft is refusing to give me the services that I paid for, and that is grounds for a dispute resolution in my favor. He didn’t really seem to care and I knew I was getting nowhere, so I just hung up at that point.

So where do I stand? Yesterday I was charged $50 for 12-months of Microsoft Xbox Live Gold service which should have been dated from June 2008. However, my account is currently at a Silver level, and the only way to upgrade the account is to pay again for Gold service.

There are several problems that come up with this entire phone call. First, I only had the choice to pay $49.99 to bring my account current even though there are monthly and quarterly payment options available. If I had been a month-to-month member I probably would’ve just paid for a single month and lost a month of service, not 10. If I had been paying via Xbox Live Cards that you buy at retailers nothing would’ve happened because there are no recurring payments. So for the most part, a dedicated customer who makes an annual commitment to the service gets screwed the hardest. Thanks Microsoft!

Yuck. You should probably call your credit card company and talk the issue over with them. We wouldn’t be surprised if you were able to do a chargeback.

(Photo: Tengaport )

UPDATE: This complaint has been resolved.

Comments

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  1. stillkarenann says:

    I’m not sure where you are, but you could also file a complaint with your attorney general’s consumer complaint office.

    I’m in MA and every single time I’ve done that, I have gotten the result I’m looking for. Even when “executive relations” calls have failed.

  2. Hauler says:

    It’s posts like this that make me glad that I buy those yearly subscription cards. I’m not a fan of automatic billing for any service let alone something as trivial as an Xbox Live account.

  3. AI says:

    This is absolute bullshit. There is no way that you should be sent to collections. The $50 cost is to renew your account. If you don’t pay (because the card is expired), then it shouldn’t be renewed, and you should no longer have Xbox Live Gold. However, there is no way that you should owe MS anything that could be sent to collections.

  4. chenry says:

    That’s odd. My credit card expired and I sat around with an XBL Gold Account for about 2 months while carrying a balance on my card. They never got around to billing me or anything. I entered the new card info and they happily took the money and that was it.

  5. Kimaroo - 100% Pure Natural Kitteh says:

    It sounds like prepaying for a gaming service by buying the cards at a store is the way to go.

    I remain secure in the decision to only allow my husband to buy World of Warcraft cards instead of giving them our credit card number.

    (I understand the company is completely different, but if it can happen on an XBox it can happen on another site too..)

  6. punkrawka says:

    The best thing to do for both Microsoft Points and XBL subscriptions is to buy the pre-paid cards at the store and never give MS your info to begin with. Then it’s a simple transaction — you buy service, consume service for fixed amount of time/value, everyone’s happy, transaction over. In addition, you can often get the cards at a discount over MS’s base rates if you look hard enough.

  7. @chenry: I would guess that it would have worked fine if the OP had opted to renew/reactivate his Gold account. In this case, though, he wanted to switch to Silver…so MS decided he owed for those two free months. It’s screwed up and doesn’t make sense, but I’m guessing they saw a lost sale and screwed the consumer to get one last bit of cash…pitiful.

  8. HunterJoules says:

    @Hauler – I totally agree. Not only that, the yearly subscription cards actually give you 13 months of service, so you’re actually saving money buying the cards.

  9. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @Hauler: This is the way to go.

    I’ve recently discovered it’s pretty easy to get 12 month cards for under $50. When you use those, your account doesn’t automatically renew, even if you’ve payed with a credit card in the past.

  10. Bladefist says:

    Microsoft – How hard is it to fine him $2 late fee, and then give him his year’s subscription.

    I can see why they are against prorating. The yearly subscription costs about $3 a month, whereas doing it monthly is about $7 a month. So if you could prorate, he would be beating the system.

    But a late fee + giving him what he paid for = fixed.

  11. beezn says:

    heres the deal – if you enter in a credit/bank card to use xbox live – they charge you automaticlly. if your accout has no money or you chaged accounts but forgot to update it in live it keeps trying for 2 months, but the kicker is then you get locked out of your account.

    if you only use the prepaid subscription cards – once the balance is empty – you get a nice silver account.

    CountZer0 fron the CommanderTim podcast told this story about 5 months ago. man does it suck.

  12. Diet-Orange-Soda says:

    @FatalisticDread: What probably happened is his account renewed itself for another year ($50) and the rep heard “silver membership” as cancel my one year that I didn’t pay for yet.

  13. Move that shiznit up the tree, no way should he be charged anything but a prorated amount for the time used.

  14. adamsummers says:

    Microsoft is probably the last company I would trust with my credit card info. Pre-paid cards is the wisest choice.

  15. OldJohnRobinson says:

    Part of that conversation sounds like a bad Abbott and Costello routine.

  16. Areric says:

    I actually had a similar situation with these folks about 4 months ago. I also had lapsed on updating my now-expired credit card and my account was “Closed.” I also wanted to reopen my account as silver.

    SO i called up and spoke with a (admitidley very nice) gentleman to politely informed me that not only was he unable to convert my account to silver, I would also not be able to redeem my gamertag, downloadable content, or any other xbox live feature ever again. I was told that once an account is cancelled it cannot be pulled back from cancellation. I informed him that i was still able to log into my account on xbox.com, and that all of my account details were there… so knowing, how databases work it was unacceptable to me that my account is obviously still there but that they couldnt reopen it. Furthermore i was furious at the prospect of losing my meaningless gamerscore and also (and more importantly) the downloadable content I had paid for that microsoft had now disabled with my gamertag. (I hate DRM)

    Eventually the call was escalated and i was told the same thing by a supervisor however, having worked in a call center before, i knew to keep my cool and calmly explain my discontent. The supervisor vowed to pass along a support ticket to the 3rd level support people who actually have access to change my account directly.

    The next day my account was magically back to silver and i wasn’t charged for the extra month or so I had used not updating my card.

  17. zigziggityzoo says:

    how has MS gotten away with this for so long?

  18. howie_in_az says:

    Woah, wait a minute, if you have content that you purchased through XBL and then discontinue their $50/year plan, all that content is inaccessible? Even with the Silver/freebie plan?

  19. pigbearpug says:

    According to the story, you just talked to one rep. I would escalate, and escalate directly to Microsoft. Xbox Live Support is contracted to an outsourcer.

  20. GMFish says:

    Yet another nail in the Xbox’s coffin.

  21. zentex says:

    @Hauler: I waslk told by a microsoft employee years ago (like original xbox days) to _ALWAYS_ buy the cards at the store and never, ever, under any circumstances do the automated billing on a credit card. At the time I didn’t know why…but I followed his advice.

    In the last year or so, I can now see why he said that and I’m glad I was “forwarned” so many years ago.

  22. nforcer says:

    While I think that it was ridiculous to charge $50 for the delinquent account, keep in mind that the OP isn’t completely innocent here. He stated that Microsoft kept sending him reminders to update his info, but he “kept forgetting”. I doubt it takes that long to update that info. If that had been done, this whole fiasco could’ve been avoided.

    Microsoft was in the wrong here for letting his service keep running for two months. I would guess that it was automated, so why without a payment they would continue service is beyond me. However, if his account had been sent to collections I’m sure the OP would be kicking himself for not updating his info.

    It is possible that failure to pay with continued is a violation of contract, which may then make him liable to pay a full year’s service to bring his account current.

  23. NikonGal says:

    The OP should just call back and play dumb. Just say “I just paid $50 for a year’s membership, but for some reason my account didn’t get updated. Can you please fix it?” Sometimes just “playing dumb” works for me in these kinds of situations. It’s worth a try anyway.

  24. DustoMan says:

    Shocking… another anti-Microsoft post on Consumerist.

  25. @Diet-Orange-Soda: Exactly. So he had it set up to renew for a year membership, MS wanted payment for the free time he got, and, boom, $50 down the drain and a nice Silver account for his efforts.

  26. coan_net says:

    Of course the end result is that he should have 10 more months of XBOX live… but let me get this strait.

    User calls in to change his account from Gold to Silver.

    User find out there is still a charge that is due from his gold membership.

    User then updated credit card information to take care of the charge.

    Charge is now taken care of, and his original request to go from gold to silver is now done also.

    THEN user states that because he paid, he now wants to go from silver back to gold.

    AGAIN – Not saying what Microsoft did was OK, but this user should have NEVER PAID until he knew what he was getting. It seems like the user waited until AFTER he paid to then decide what he wanted, and sounds like it was already too late for the level 1 support guy to fix it.

    again – common since would say he should have 10 more months of gold……. but how many times is support yelled at for not listening to callers and what they want…. this time they did, and it backfired on the user.

  27. illtron says:

    @GMFish: Oh cool, I was hoping this would eventually turn into a fanboy soapbox!

  28. vivelafat says:

    They are notoriously sneaky with the billing. I too had forgotten to update my billing info. Microsoft canceled my account. Fine. Some months later I got a card for a free month of XBOX live. They asked me to enter in a CC number for verification purposes only. Big bold letters said “YOU WILL NOT BE CHARGED.” However after I entered in my CC, XBOX charged me $50 for a year. Their reasoning was that I updated my cc info, so of course they would rebill me on their yearly plan EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD CANCELED THAT ACCOUNT. It took me over a month and a half to get my money back. I would call crying every Monday to find out where my money was. IT was terrible.

  29. BrianDaBrain says:

    @NikonGal: This is probably the quickest way to go, especially if you get a compotent rep on the phone. They’ll see the payment and the Silver account and get you upgraded… hopefully. It can’t hurt anyway.

  30. @GMFish: That’s a funny article. I wonder how much Sony paid them to write it.

    Honestly, that article is so full of holes and misconceptions and ridiculous bias, I had a hard time reading it all (which I did). Much of the information is out-dated (and the article is a day old…!?!?) and based on what appears to be the author’s opinion.

    I own all three consoles and the 360 gets the love. The PS3 gets turned on to play Echochrome, Eden, and, um, and…well, system updates! I could go on, but it’s pointless, isn’t it?

  31. @illtron: See my above post to make you proud!

  32. Rojma says:

    Next time don’t “forget” so much and maybe you won’t run into so many problems.

    When you got the emails about renewing your account, if you had answered them then and downgraded your account from a Gold to Silver then, you wouldn’t be having a problem now.

    When you signed up to the automatic billing, you agreed to be automatically renewed. If you didn’t want that, and then you shouldn’t have signed up for the service in the first place (buy the pre-paid cards instead) or you should have ANSWERED the email when Microsoft gave you proper notice.

    I think you should be given the remaining 10 months since you paid for it. I also think the rep was acting out of his own accord and not according to Microsoft policy. But please don’t come whining about your billing woes to The Consumerist when this whole situation could of been avoided if you had acted accordingly and with proper timing when you received timely and adequate notices from Microsoft.

    I’m getting kinda tired of news stories posted on The Consumerist of people screwing up and then expecting companies to compensate them for their screw up.

    Next time pay your bill on time or tell them you want to cancel!

  33. You need to call and talk to a supervisor. I had this same issue. They need to charge your card the ammount. Bringing you current. Then refund you the total ammount. This can take a few days but will keep your account good and up to date.

  34. MyPetFly says:

    Sounds like a “Who’s on first?” comedy bit.

  35. PurpleMonkey says:

    Yea, the Microsoft rep screwed up, but I think there was a general confusion between both parties here. When you have a gold account and don’t pay to renew it, your gold ends. You automatically become a silver member. When you first create your account (gamertag) you become silver, so everyone who has an xbox has a silver account by default.

    I dislike the automatic renewal on live, so like the other posters, I recommend just buying the prepaid cards. But I’m pretty sure that if MS tries to renew your live, and you don’t have the money in that card, then it will simply not charge you that gold because it can’t. I think the fact that the op was a bit confused with how it works (having to call to get it downgraded to silver is not needed, it does it automatically,) caused some confusion at support, and led to this situation.

  36. Ickypoopy says:

    File a BBB complaint. Microsoft plays nice when you file a BBB complaint.

    Got my issue fixed a few months ago.

  37. The_IT_Crone says:

    Another similar story here. It seems to stem more from CS reps not COMPREHENDING situations.

    My ex* got sent to Baghdad on 2 days’ notice. He had renewed his XBL about 2 months prior. I contacted support to see if they could either credit him for the time he would not use, or to get credited for the year and put him on silver until he came back.

    The response? They told me that they were sorry that I wanted to deactivate MY account (Noooo!). Would I like to do that right now? They just wanted to “warn me” that I would lose my achievements, DLC, gamertag and that the yearly fee that had been paid would not be refundable. GAH! I was TERRIFIED that this rep had my information, and for the next week was waiting to see if my account would be suddenly deactivated.

    * Why I was doing favors for him is another I’m-a-dormat story, you needn’t remind me.

  38. The_IT_Crone says:

    @The_IT_Crone: ER, very tired. That should read: “I contacted support to see if they could either refund his payment, or to get credited for the year and put him on silver until he came back.”

  39. TheStonepedo says:

    @Hauler: Auto-payment for anything but predictable loan payments and utility bills is downright crazy. Why give Company X free reign to randomly change your rates and immediately take your money rather than keeping the power to dispute charges in your hands before the payment is due? I don’t let my cable/internet company auto-debit any payments; some service providers love changing rates.

  40. Shevek says:

    I don’t really understand why they continued to give him service after his payment lapsed. What does Microsoft gain? Although he admits he ignored his emails, he is right that you prepay. If his credit card did not go through, they should have cancelled his service right away. It isn’t as though the Live service is like your heat or electric: something that, in the winter, you might need survive without. Could anyone tell me if I’m missing something about how Live works?

  41. Shevek says:

    @Shevek: Ahem.”…you might need survive without” should be “you might not survive without.”

  42. AI says:

    I just went to Xbox.com and checked my account. Under ‘Update your membership” there is no option to downgrade the account to Silver either now or when the Gold subscription expires. Neither is there an option to switch to using the prepaid cards once the subscription expires, without entering the prepaid card number right now. Since I don’t trust MS and their account system, I certainly am not going to redeem a prepaid card months in advance. If I did, they’d probably give me 2 Gold accounts at the same time.

  43. forcetrainer2 says:

    I figured I’d wait until there was a slew of comments before writing :) It was my submission that Meg was so nice to post (thanks BTW). Anyway, a couple of points:

    1) I’m not complaining about having to pay – when they told me I had a balance I sucked that part up. When I asked if I would be receiving the balance of the months the rep did tell me yes initially. It was after the fact that the story changed.

    2) Yes, I admit that I am guilty for allowing the account to lapse, but that should matter when it comes to me paying for services. It’s not like I was asking for something that I didn’t deserve or just complaining to be a pain in the ass. I just wanted what I paid for.

    3) coan_net made the comment about there being some fault on my end because I initially requested a downgrade to a silver membership. I would agree that could have been the case (and therefore my mistake) if the rep hadn’t told me at first that I was paying for the gold membership and would be getting the balance of 10 months. It was never said, “okay, you’re paying for a gold membership and now I’m going to downgrade you to silver.” It was stated that my payment made my account “current” and now I have a silver account.

    4) PurpleMonkey said that when your gold account lapses it goes into a silver account. Unfortunately for me that wasn’t the case. My account was completely locked and I could not login at all. If it had defaulted to a silver account I would have never noticed. It was the inability to login that prompted me to call MS.

    5) Rojma makes the point, “please don’t come whining about your billing woes to The Consumerist when this whole situation could of been avoided if you had acted accordingly and with proper timing when you received timely and adequate notices from Microsoft.”

    Yes, MS did notify me properly, and I did exactly what they asked of me in their last email. I called their support line, spoke with billing, but in the end I was fed a line of BS. Like I said previously, it’s not like I want to get something over on MS… I just want what I paid for. Should I not let others know about my experience with their billing department just because my account lapsed? It’s not like I violated a TOS or did something else wrong – my account lapsed and I wanted to reactive it, plain and simple.

    6) And finally to Shevek – yes, you would think they would just cancel your account when billing doesn’t go through. However, I think their MO is that by providing you extra months of service they can then claim you were given services that you now need to pay for and possibly even send you to collections if it’s not paid for on time. However, who knows. I honestly don’t think they would send it to collections at all because it’s such a small amount. Shutting off the account makes more sense.

    Regardless of all of this, the point was to just let people know my experience. The rep that I spoke with was actually very nice – he just kept repeating the same ridiculous line over and over. I probably should have escalated the call, but I was too frustrated at that point and I would rather not getting pissy and yell at someone just because I’m in a bad mood. It’s not fair to the rep on the other end.

    For now I’ll just work with my credit card dispute, attorney general complain, and BBB complaint :)

  44. Mooshie says:

    “I started receiving emails from Microsoft telling me that I needed to update my card info so that I could be charged for the next year, but I kept forgetting. I finally received a final email saying that my account had been closed and at that point I could no longer sign onto Xbox Live.”

    So let me get this straight, Xbox emails him to remind him he needs to update his credit card information. At this point, he could have either cancelled his account by calling customer service or renewed the information. But instead he was lazy and probably wanted to find out if he could keep getting service without paying.

    However, it isn’t surprising that the billing department was not clear with the customer on what he was being charged for in the first place.

  45. @PurpleMonkey:

    You are wrong on this. If you do not remove the auto renew. You do infact get charged and if they are not able to charge. They will block the account. Not downgrade. And when you want to upgrade. You do indeed lose the days/weeks/months that you did not pay on time. They dont up your service 12mos from when they charge you. You are back dated and out of luck those months you failed to update your billing.

    Its very shady. Like I said if you have them charge your card and then cancel and credit it back In 3-5 days when you get the money back you can just go on your xbox and reup it for the full 12 mos.

  46. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    @coan_net: One generally assumes that, if one pays for a year of gold, one will get a year of gold. Not 2 months of gold.

  47. SnakesSolids says:

    Son, you need to go down to the store and sell that 360.

    Get yourself a PS3, you’ll thank me later for it.

  48. hegemonyhog says:

    This actually reminds me a lot of how the local paper works. You subscribe for X amount of time, and then once X months are up…they keep giving you papers and sending you bills.

    If and when you call to cancel, you’re offered the opportunity to pay for the extra papers you never wanted. If you refuse to pay, they keep sending you papers, and send you to collections. If you do pay, they offer you a new subscription, both without the discount you had before and without credit for the papers you didn’t want and will have to pay for.

  49. ortegar says:

    I find your story very strange since as noted above, Every user has a silver membership until siad user decides to update to a gold membership, and if while being in gold you download content, it will stuill be usable and available when the gold membership expires and turns into silver. I have been a Live! member for 4 years with an autmomated credit card renewal system and never had any problems. This year I decided to buy a box that included a headset, some MS points and a 12 month gold membership and planned to apply it just beofre my old membership was about to expire, maybe I waited a day or two too long and MS charged my credit card with the renewal, I called support and asked if they could cancel the renewal so I could renew the subscription via the package I bought.
    The rep said it was not a problem and that in the nex 24 hours the charge would be dropped and that I could do the renewal using the card I bought. And that was it, no fuzz. So I dont believe you when you say that a rep denied you of a silver account when every silver account is free for any user.

  50. ortegar says:

    @SnakesSolids:
    Son, you are a fanboy and thats why Kotaku exists, to have fanboy wars.

  51. tinyrobot says:

    Aside from the story sounding a bit iffy, quite frankly this seems more like case of a somewhat uninformed and poorly planned consumer ploy running up against a huge megalopoly’s billing machine, with entirely predictable results. While most of the stories here describe ridiculously mismanaged customer service opportunities with company at fault, in this case I’m quite honestly finding it difficult to find any logic for this customer’s course of action, or sympathy for the resulting condition.

    I’ve been an Xbox Live customer for two years, and their billing system is odd and unwieldy, but makes sense if you look at the payment options and different plans. In this fella’s case, I hope he knows that once a Gold account expires, it AUTOMATICALLY reverts to a Silver one (unless you’re delinquent with a payment, like it seems he was…)

  52. CuriousO says:

    Yeah this is just plain dumb, I don’t think the rep knew what he was doing. Its hard to believe that a company as large as MS can be so incompetent. Then again I guess is not.

  53. hamsangwich says:

    I had something with XBox Live happen to me two years ago. I never signed up for autobill and they autobilled me anyway after I had sold my xbox. Called up when i noticed on my statement about 25 days later, they said there was only a 15 day grace period and I had to eat the $50. I told them to cancel my account and don’t charge me again, but they refused to refund a cent to me even though I technically had a years service for 25 days. They were also unapologetic.

    Fortunately $50 isn’t a big deal, but it’s the principal really. Thank goodness with PS3 I don’t have to deal with any of this.

  54. shor0814 says:

    @Rojma:
    He wasn’t asking to be compensated for his screwup, he was asking for the additional 10 months he paid for.

    I bet if you ask the OP, he would have been more than happy to pay the 2 months at the monthly rate.

    Blaming the OP is one thing, but blaming him for the extra charge and accusing him of trying to be compensated is yet another.

  55. Cliff_Donner says:

    I’ve never signed up for DRM anything, and I don’t see doing so anytime in the future. So I admittedly do not understand most of the nuances of what’s going on here. I’m gonna hang my hat on a couple of stated points — Consumerist says:

    Microsoft demanded he pay an entire year’s fee to settle the two months he was delinquent.

    Is it contractually stated, anywhere, that allowing your account to go “delinquent” (which doesn’t exactly seem to be a correct stating of the facts here) entitles Microsoft to a “late fee” of approximately $41.00?

    Also, I’m not following the OP (though it sounds like he was having equal trouble following the CSR) — when the CSR says, “The charge will be for Xbox Live Gold service,” it sounds like this is the CSR saying that this is how the charge will be reflected on the OP’s credit card — because the CSR seems to be responding that the extra charge is specifically not for “collection fees” or “account reactivation.” If this is the case, I would hope that the credit card company would support a chargeback if the stated service was not received.

    Again, repeating, I know nothing about how these newfangled things work — but I’d second NikonGal in suggesting you just call back, hope for a different rep, play dumb and hope they just fix it. Worth a shot before you escalate.

  56. Cliff_Donner says:

    And ANOTHER thing — I’m understanding that this is a pre-paid service, and it does seem that Microsoft should have shut off service once the pre-paid hours were completed — but perhaps they extended the service as a “courtesy.” If the OP continued to use the service after the pre-paid period, I could see Microsoft having a “quantum meruit,” pro-rated claim for the services used — and that they may have a valid reason for a collection agency to go after that amount.

    Trying to collect anything more than that “quantum meruit” amount would need to be supported by the terms of a contract that the OP agreed to. (Yes, I watch a lot of People’s CourtIDNTBAL (“I don’t need to be a lawyer”).

    That said, I would expect that, before using any Microsoft product, a person clicks on a box that says “I Agree” — agreeing to 85 paragraphs of text that most people don’t bother to read through. Microsoft’s claim may be supported, which might explain the CSR’s Lily Tomlin-esque “We’re the phone company, we don’t have to care” comment.

    I think this really boils down to what contractual terms did the OP agree to here. Again, IDNTBAL. (I’m hoping that this will catch on, like “bitchcakes.” :)

  57. MSUHitman says:

    @punkrawka: unfortunately if you were an original member of Live on the XBox 1, you had to have a card on your account even if you used the store cards. Also, back in spring/summer 2006, the cards were in scarce supply and it was rumored that they would be discontinued, which obviously they weren’t, but many people who bought XBox 360’s during that time had to put a card on their account.

    My actual Live service is thankfully paid by cards, but I have had to buy MS points before through the XBox so my card is on my account, but not on any renewable status.

    The even worse thing is once any type of credit/debit card is attached to your account, there must always be a card on your account. There is no way to completely remove all cards from your account, there must always be one listed there, even if it’s an expired one. Of course, that’s where many problems like the OP’s start.

  58. MSUHitman says:

    I meant my XBox Live service is paid through the in-store cards you enter with the 25 digit code on the back of the card. My credit card does not renew my Live account. It’s only available to be used if I want to buy MS points on the system (which I always get the cards now) or if I want to put my Live up for auto-renewal on a cc (which I wouldn’t do in a million years.)

  59. duckandcover says:

    Fun fact you can’t even cancel online.Ohhh yeah so I have to call you, and listen to attempts to get me to continue paying, ridiculous.

  60. RageTowers says:

    He should just tell them that the time he owes is making up for the major outage back in dec/jan at the begining of the year.

    I’m always weird about putting my credit card info in online subscriptions. If I can buy a game card or prepaid anything I’m more comfortable with that. I always have this paranoia of “What if something goes wrong and they keep charging after I cancel it”

    We had that kind of problem with Gamefly a while ago.

  61. EclecticMonk says:

    I had a similar problem with my Xbox Live Gold subscription, although I was paying monthly. My experience differed slightly, however (possibly because I’m in the UK).

    On the positive side, MS did let me have the subscription that I’d paid for (once I brought my account up to date, I still had 3 weeks’ Gold membership left). This may have been blind luck, or there may be something in UK consumer law that prevented them from screwing me that way.

    However, the rep I spoke to put considerable effort into scaring/confusing me into keeping the Gold membership. He made comments such as “so you don’t mind losing your Friends list/Gamerscore/Achievements then”, and at one point told me that the only way they could stop charging my card would be to “blacklist” it so I’d never be able to use it to purchase anything on Xbox Live again.

    As other commenters have said: if I upgrade to a Gold membership again, I’m using the prepaid cards. Once MS has your payment details they’ll lie, cheat and squeeze you for every penny they can get.

  62. foondar says:

    I have the same issue RIGHT NOW. My account is in limbo, as it is currently suspended until I provide Microsoft with a new credit card number. My old one expired, and I really do not want to renew, I simply want a Silver Membership. I was told, after hours on the phone, that I need to provide them with a new credit card number, pay the entire Gold Membership fee, then have it refunded. I explained that I do not want to give hem any credit card number, especially for a service I am not using. Well, after hours on the phone, and even being hung up on my the ‘billing’ department, I am no further ahead. I cannot download demos, use any DLC, or simply show off my Gamerscore. It looks like there is no end in sight to this either. What to do?

  63. TheHeartless says:

    Sounds kinda like my situation. I am currently overdrawn for 70 dollars on my bank account because I bought a year card on XBL, and just today it still charged me the monthly fee despite me being on the year card now-says it on the site and everything-and that 8 dollar charge hit me while the bank was still holding 70 of my dollars, and so when that overdrafted, it took 35 bucks, and a 5 dollar charge came through as well from a trip to the gas station which, after M$ fucking me into overdraft territory, caused me another fine, so now instead of having 70 dollars I have -$5. Fucking Microsoft.

  64. wiggatron says:

    @Bladefist: Um, sight math fail there. More like 4 bucks a month ($4.00 x 12 mo. = $48.00).

  65. forcetrainer2 says:

    Just so everyone knows, I am the person that submitted this post to the Consumerist :)

    @foondar: In a nutshell, your problem is the same one as mine.

    There are several comments saying that I was at fault to a degree, and I will admit to that. Yes, if I had answered the emails sooner this would’ve never happened. However, when I got the final email that said my account was closed I followed the directions, called support, and that’s when the ridiculousness ensued. If I had called earlier this would’ve been handled differently. However, that doesn’t excuse the end result. I’m not trying to get anything over on MS… I just want what I paid for.

    On a good note, I received a phone call from MS last night about 6 hours after the post went up. I can only assume that this was because of the site. I’ll keep you guys updated and let you know the resolution.

    BTW… that is the purpose of this site, right? I’m very confused as to why people wanted to slam me for complaining, whining, etc., when I was just reporting what occurred. This was bad customer service and incorrect billing, plaing and simple. The downside is that there are other people experiencing my problem, but the upside is that maybe I’ll find a resolution for everything.

  66. forcetrainer2 says:

    @forcetrainer2: Bah… delete the first line, I didn’t realize that my first post with the longer explanations had made it on.

    Sorry for the redundancy folks.

  67. Bladefist says:

    @wiggatron: If you pay the retail. I got mine somewhere else, and it ended up being near $3. Thx though.

  68. forcetrainer2 says:

    Long story short, the situation was resolved thanks to the Consumerist! I spoke with support today and got a lot of great information. I forwarded everything off to Meg and the staff, so hopefully they’ll post it for everyone to see.

    Thanks to everyone that understood the situation!

  69. SnakesSolids says:

    @ortegar:

    Nah, not a fanboy, I just know a good value when I see it.

  70. Meathamper says:

    The PS3 didn’t suck the last time I checked.

  71. Cyberkinetic says:

    This just happened to me. i just got a refurb back from repair after the original one i bought got rrod. My cc expired called microshaft and was told my account had a billing violation and unless i gave them 50.00 bucks i couldnt access my DLC gamertag etc. the dam “membership”lapsed for two weeks whatever didnt want to pay again just to play online. was one the phone two hours. no resolution. I was hung up on repeatedly. the next day i sold the 360 on craigslist. They just lost a customer.

  72. VouxCroux says:

    You’re at fault here. It sounds like if you never wanted to change your account to Silver you’d be good. But you did. So when they reinstated it it was at Silver. That’s a separate process than the payment for Gold service that you missed.