Whoops: I Paid $143.82 for 1.5 Years Of XBOX Live

Thomas did something dumb and he wants to warn others not to follow in his footsteps. He assumed (incorrectly) that his $7.99 per month subscription to XBOX Live would roll over into a yearly subscription once he’d paid $50. (A yearly subscription costs $50, obviously.) Yeah, it didn’t.

Thomas says:

Just wanted to shoot you guys and gals a quick note on how I am an idiot and hopefully others don’t make my mistake. I was under the impression that the monthly charge of $7.99 for Xbox Live service would roll into a year once I hit a total of $50 in charges.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. Over the past year and a half I have paid $143.82 for Xbox Live. Almost the price for THREE FULL YEARS of service.

When I noticed this I called their support and asked why they don’t just roll it into a year once a user hits the $50 mark, both representatives I spoke with said the exact same thing “You are signed up for a reoccurring monthly payment of $7.99″ and could not comprehend why I would ask such a question… I guess as a naive consumer I am expecting to much from a company to give me the best bang for my buck automatically.

I accept full responsibility for this situation and hope others avoid this.

-Thomas

Oh dear, that really sucks. At least you learned a valuable lesson (check your bank statements) and are trying to help others avoid your fate.

Comments

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  1. glennski says:

    That stinks man.

    Lesson is that modern billing methods really aren’t sophisticated enough to think logically like that.

    • Franklin Comes Alive! says:

      @glennski:

      I don’t see how this is the lesson at all. I think the lesson is, if I’m on a monthly billing plan, I’m going to get billed monthly.

      • glennski says:

        @Franklin Comes Alive!:

        yea, you’re right, I wanted to be a bit more direct and just say it’s dumb to expect Microsoft to be able to figure out who’s been paying by the month for a long enough period of time to qualify for the yearly rate, but didn’t want to get accused of hating on the op. If you want the yearly rate, you get the yearly rate, you can’t have your red ring of death and eat it too.

        • mariospants says:

          @glennski: Well, I guess if not a full year once he hit the rate, the OP was at least expecting Microsoft to say “hey, Thomas, we noticed you’ve already spent over $50 paying for xbox live. Did you know that if you pay $50 we’ll give you a whole year’s worth of xbox live?” etc.

          What’s the use of all of these multimillion dollar CRM systems anyway? It’s not like: a) companies know anything about their customers and b) companies actually care.

    • Kishi says:

      @glennski: No, I’d think the lesson is that you shouldn’t assume a company is going to do anything that leads to them getting less money from you.

  2. SonicMan says:

    Why would they.

    What you are looking for is a payment plan for the $50 they normally charge for a year, not a $7 a month plan.

    • katylostherart says:

      @SonicMan: agreed. considering how many places get called out for changing billing methods without the customer’s consent, i’m surprised he assumed that xbox/microsoft would do that as a FAVOR.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        @katylostherart: I just hope the XBOX people don’t take this as a sign that they should start changing people’s billing methods.

        XBOX: Do not start automatically rolling people into plans you think they want. OP admits it was his mistake. That is all.

        The OP does get points for sharing this, knowing he’d get ragged on.

  3. MSUHitman says:

    Always just use the cards you put codes into the XBox for in regards to XBox Live, DO NOT use the recurring billing option. Only bad things can happen when you do it that way.

    • Guard says:

      @MSUHitman:
      Personally I think this post is kind of stupid. Most online game services offer you lower prices if you pay several months in advance rather than a month at a time, yet I don’t see people playing Warhammer/WoW/Eve/etc. complaining that their bill didn’t get lowered from $15/mo to $10/mo just because they played for a long time.

      For your card idea, this is the equivalent of buying 12 1-month cards for $8 each, and then wondering why Microsoft didn’t send you a check in the mail.

      Monthly billing lets you back out of your subscription early if you need to, while paying for a year at a time doesn’t. You’re paying for that ability. Same thing with MMOs, you only pay for 6 months at a time if you think you’ll play all 6 months. If you think it’ll be less, you go with the more expensive, but shorter-term, plan.

      • MSUHitman says:

        @Guard: OK first off XBox Live is the only focus of this article. Look at any story about problems with XBox Live billing on this site or any other; EVERY SINGLE ONE DID THE ELECTRONIC AUTO BILLING.

        Also if you buy the XBox Live 1 year card in-store, you get 13 months of Live (1 bonus month) instead of 12 for the same price you would pay electronically.

        While your point is correct on many PC MMO’s, please learn to research the difference between XBox and PC MMO subscriptions before you make statements saying the person experienced with XBox is stupid.

        • Guard says:

          @MSUHitman:

          I didn’t mean your post was stupid, sorry that it came across like that, I meant the story on Consumerist.

          The person wanted to pay for individual months obviously. If they had wanted to pay for a year at a time, they can change to a 1-year plan for $50 at any time. They admitted it was their fault, but I just think it’s the same as assuming AT&T will roll you up to the next plan when you go over your 500 minutes in order to save you from paying overages.

  4. CountryJustice says:

    Classic boneheaded move: assuming anything, especially when it involves your money going into someone else’s hands.

    It’s refreshing that the OP isn’t all indignant about it or claiming some kind of entitlement. “I messed up–learn from my mistake,” flies a lot farther with me than “Micro$oft should’ve been able to read my mind!”

    Good stuff.

  5. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Well, you are on a month by month basis, and pay for the benifit of being able to cancel any time. Just because the total you shell out ends up costing more than just signing up for a month, doesn’t mean a company is going to go back and bascially change what you paid for. Like pay as you go cell phones, you don’t go “well, I ended up spending on minutes what would have cost me to have had a contract all this time, so I should have had this just changed into a contract retroactively to save me money.”

    • Erwos says:

      @AlteredBeast: Correct. This is the dumbest Consumerist article I’ve seen in a while, but to the OP’s credit, at least he’s not acting like he’s entitled to a refund.

      I’ve actually signed up for the monthly when I’ve wanted to game with a buddy for a little while. The most annoying thing is that they make you call in to cancel it.

      • mugsywwiii says:

        @Erwos:
        At least the Consumerist isn’t criticizing MS for doing billing him month to month. They’re just throwing it out there as a PSA in case anyone else thinks the way Thomas does.

  6. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    Also, I’m not trying to “blame the customer” but its sorta like lease versus finance, it’s two different methods with different benifits and pricing structures. It’s good he brought this to the attention of others though.

  7. lodleader says:

    live cards only for me…

    • VouxCroux says:

      @lodleader:

      Exactly. Recurring payments and the prepaid cards don’t mix. Microsoft doesn’t even have my credit information for XBOX Live purposes.

  8. TheCheez says:

    I don’t know of any company that does what the OP expected… If you lock in for 6 months or more that’s a commitment you’ve made with your money and the company gives you a discount. If you pay month to month you can bail whenever you want. Seems simple enough?

  9. Crabby Cakes says:

    You usually get a discount for paying for things up front, like car insurance. There’s usually a $6-$10 a month charge for monthly payments. So it’s safe to assume that a monthly payment plan would cost more than an up-front lump sum.

    That said, nice job with the letter, OP. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s nice to see someone looking out for others.

  10. aggie_brad says:

    “I am an idiot” – nailed it.

    • Phydeaux says:

      @aggie_brad: eff that, if you’ve got nothing more to contribute.

      Personally I pay the month-to-month because I have no clue where my life will take me within that time. If I find one of those yearly cards for like 40 or less I’ll pounce it, but when I could be away from home for months to years at a time with a phone call, I’d rather play it this way.

    • aquanutz says:

      @aggie_brad: very constructive. you’ll go far in life like this.

  11. ShaheenaAethalides says:

    Why would anyone assume this? I imagine there are quite a few people who opt for a month-to-month deal because they can’t justify the bigger upfront cost of a yearly plan. (As an aside, you can get 12 and 13 month cards for $35-$40 if you shop around)

    Also, this charge went unnoticed for 18 months? Might be time to brush up on some personal finance basics.

    • ohgoodness says:

      @ShaheenaAethalides: Exactly. The whole not noticing for 18 mo is a little silly. Common. Surely this guy knows better than that.

    • strathmeyer says:

      @ShaheenaAethalides: “Why would anyone assume this?”

      Why would a company do this? Is losing people like Thomas as a customer, perhaps for life, worth squeezing an extra hundred dollars out of him over a year?

      • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

        @strathmeyer:
        Shaheena has it right. Why would anyone assume this. You are signed up for a plan, and you pay for that plan. You get a discount for giving the money up front. Many companies do this.

        I for example have played MMO’s and payed monthly. It was a discounted rate for 1 year, which was 30 dollars at least off the monthly charge total for a year. Yet they didn’t switch me over when I hit the mark for that payment.

        Its called business. They are in it to make money. No one told him to pay the $8 a month, they just offered him the service and said a price. They also gave a price for the whole year. It’s not a payment plan. What you should do is save that $8 a month for 5 months and buy a year subscription card. You will be without xbl for 5 months but then you get it for 13 more after that.

        • Bakkster_Man says:

          @socalrob: “I for example have played MMO’s and payed monthly. It was a discounted rate for 1 year, which was 30 dollars at least off the monthly charge total for a year. Yet they didn’t switch me over when I hit the mark for that payment.”

          The more expensive monthly rate is essentially a surcharge for your reduced risk. Alternatively, the increased security the company gets from your guaranteed year’s payment is reason for them to offer a discount.

          Also, you need to look at the present value of the money you give them. If you pay for the entire year upfront, MS can then invest your money into other project, or otherwise earn more money with it over the year. With monthly payments, they earn much less interest than with an upfront lump sum.

          Either way you look at it, companies have no motivation to upgrade their monthly customers to a yearly plan once they have spent that much money. I’m glad the OP learned this lesson now, so he can avoid the mistake later on, when it might have been more costly.

    • tek1024 says:

      @ShaheenaAethalides: I agree, though maybe the tone is too harsh. We don’t know how old OP is or to what kinds of deals he’s been exposed. I had the inverse of this situation when I was just starting college some years ago and looking for webhosting–a buddy of mine in the business advised me to pay the company I was going with a yearly fee of $ouch once, instead of paying $7 for a monthly pinprick.

      In any case, it’s a good reminder for some and will be a good lesson for others, and I’d like to applaud Thomas for publicly taking responsibility for this miscalculation.

  12. Maulleigh says:

    Yeah, that stinks. Match.com has pulled some serious BS on me. They won’t give me my money back either.

    Whatever.

  13. EyeHeartPie says:

    I think it’s a feature. This way, MS makes more money if the customer is not paying attention. They want you to forget you’re on a month to month and pay $96 for a year instead of $50 for a yearly subscription.

  14. BStu says:

    Was that sarcasm with the whole “naive customer” bit? I mean, it *was* naive and I don’t think in this case the company was wrong for not understanding the complaint. Its worth drawing attention to the value of buying a large quantity of product as opposed to paying a higher price and buying it more regularly, but that’s a pretty standard model. It just felt like he was being kinda snarky which was undercutting his acceptance of responsibility for what was genuinely his mistake.

  15. incognit000 says:

    I always just pay for it using prepaid cards so that they have no way of charging me once the service is up.

  16. Bladefist says:

    I’m not going to blame the OP, because he did it for me. If I had 10 bux in my bank account and xbox rolled me into a 50$ yearly subscription, then I got a overdraft fine of 40$, I would shit myself.

    • RecordStoreToughGuy_RidesTheWarpOfSpaceIntoTheWombOfNight says:

      @Bladefist: I don’t think that’s what he’s getting at. He thought he’d be automatically upgraded once he paid a total of $50 in monthly payments, not that he’d get hit with another fee once he did.

  17. TheName says:

    You know, this same thing happened to me with magazines! I kept buying Consumer Reports after seeing an ad for 63% off the cover price. But when I bought the 8th magazine, they wouldn’t give me the next one free no matter how many times I called!

    But seriously folks, do people really think this might happen? “I signed up monthly instead of the discounted pre-paid but they didn’t give me the pre-paid discount!?”

  18. morganlh85 says:

    Sorry OP, but why would you expect a company to voluntarily take LESS of your money? I would never expect a company to automatically enroll me in a LESS expensive plan than I am already signed up for. That’s like signing up for 1000 minutes on your cell phone, then calling them and saying “Well I only used 100 minutes, why didn’t change my plan to the 100 minute plan for me?”

    • Bladefist says:

      @morganlh85: Thats not the point. Verizon Wireless rolled me into a text messaging plan that saves me money after I went over a certain amount of texts, that made it more then getting a plan.

      The problem with this is, he wants xbox to make a decision to withdrawl 50 instead of 7.99….Which is not what their agreement was.

      • Gopher bond says:

        @Bladefist: “The problem with this is, he wants xbox to make a decision to withdrawl 50 instead of 7.99….Which is not what their agreement was.”

        I don’t even think it’s that. He assumed the charged would stop at $50 for the year, because that’s how much a year subscription up-front is. Instead, Xbox charged him $7.99 a month, or roughly $96 a year. Sounds like he just assumed he’d be charged $7.99 for like 6 months and then be good for the year. Nothing works like that.

  19. TheFuzz53 says:

    I can’t really fault Microsoft on this one. Does this mean that his guy just finally actually read his credit card statement for the first time in a year? At $8/month you pass $50 after 7 months.

  20. Gopher bond says:

    Sounds just like plain old no-negative-connotaion-meant ignorance. Most anything with options for monthly billing are going to be more expensive than yearly billing.

  21. zentex says:

    This is a clear case of consumer assumption. I’ve been using XBL for 4 years, and I’ve never assumed what he did (who has?).

    It’s pretty clear, you pay monthly at one price and annually at another. MS WANTS (needs?) a large subscriber base, so they throw a bone if you commit to a year…and “penalize” you for going month to month.

    Just buy they pre-paid cards, don’t use a card to auto-bill.

  22. Red_Eye says:

    It’s called stupid tax, now, can you find any deductions?

  23. ModernTenshi04 says:

    Sometimes your existence is to only serve as a warning to others. :D

    That sucks though. Hope you at least used it on a regular basis to sort of justify it though.

  24. FallonVespillo says:

    Something similar happened to me just a week ago. I have the recurring yearly subscription plan and my card on file expired. So in my effort to not use my credit card I bought the prepaid card at BestBuy (which is a better deal because for the same price you get 200 xbox live points to buy stuff, the vision camera and two arcade games free). I go and put the code in and it won’t let me, it keeps saying I need to update credit info. I did and put my code in and all is merry. I check my email I got charged for the yearly now I am prepaid till 2010. I called customer service and they said I needed to call first to refund the charge on the account before putting in the pin. I said I never got the charge since my card expired and declined why would I have to call for a refund for something I have not been charged. The only way to refund the money is if they close the account completely which would also make me lose the prepaid card I bought. Damn you Microsoft this is an additional warning for everyone.

    • ludwigk says:

      @FallonVespillo: I bought that same kit as well, and the webcam works with a PC/Mac as well, although its only half useful it lacks autofocus, and doesn’t have a Mic. Whatever, its still a fun toy. Plus, Robotron FTW, that’s my second favorite arcade game ever, so I was very pleased with that. GF appreciated Uno, which she is a long-time fan of as well.

      These kits were apparently clearance priced, so they usually cost $80. But you can normally get 1 Yr GOLD subscriptions for $50 from any store, which is about $4.17/month, so that’s definitely the way to go.

  25. Daenar says:

    I understand how the OP feels – obviously it is easier on the wallet initially to pay $9.99 (or whatever it is) than $50 when you first sign up – perhaps it was just a bit naive to assume that Microsoft would roll your plan over automatically.

    Moving forward – you really can’t ignore the savings going with the 12 month option if you plan to continue using the service for at least one year.

    Tip: Newegg has 12-month XBox Live subscription cards for about $38 shipped, and they are typically 12 month + 1 bonus month cards. 13 months for 38.92 = ~2.99 / month.

  26. Cyco says:

    It blows me away how many posters are still attacking the OP. He comes on, admits his mistake and the leason he learned and then almost every other post is either an insult or some holier-than-thou jerk trying to shove an “I told you so” down his throat. What a bunch savages, I tell ya.

  27. mugsywwiii says:

    FYI – buy the 12+1 month cards. You can usually get them for ~$40 from Buy.com.

  28. Swizzler121 says:

    I did this too. except they were even more devious, I wanted live for one month so I could play halo 3 with my friend when I was there on vacation, so I got online and bought a month with my credit card BIG MISTAKE. Nowhere I can remember It said that these were reoccurring payments, but sure enough when I came back next year, I found that I STILL HAD LIVE… I now pay more attention to my monthly bank statements.

  29. coan_net says:

    Many places do this – just like buying a magazine at the store – cost like $8. But a 12 issue subscription for like $20. Does not mean after you buy 2 1/2 issues at the store you should get the other 9 1/2 issues for free

    Same thing at McDonalds – Go and buy a BIG MAC for $3. Later go in and buy a fry for $1.50. Later go in and buy a drink for $1.50 (total $6). If you just bought them all at once in a combo, it would only be $5.

    [please note I just estimated the cost of items to make the point - the prices are not exact]

    Point being – many places offer discounts if you buy in bulk or buy in advance

    • Gopher bond says:

      @coan_net: Dear Playboy, I bought 4 of your literature publications at newstand prices and am henceforth requesting the remaining 8 issues to be delivered to my home address as the price of 4 issues at the newstand price is the same as a yearly subscription.

  30. macdude22 says:

    Consumerist, this is not a story. Quit diluting your value. Hey Cell company, I’m on your 300 minute plan but I used 400 minutes and you charged me .57 a minute after 300. This cost me more than your 400 minute plan, why didn’t’ you automatically roll into that plan.

    Why on earth would Microsoft put you on the $50 a year subscription when you didn’t request it. I’d be more worried about them nilly willy moving my subscriptions around.

    • TracyHamandEggs says:

      @macdude22: A number of cell phone company salespeoplle will do that. They call and say “I saw you went over by X last month, I can retroactively put you into a new plan for Y that would avoid all those overages”

      The upside, you avoid the big hit. On the down side, you are locked into a new contract.

  31. tundey says:

    This customer must be kidding, right? ‘Cos why would anyone expect a company to switch you from one plan to another without you asking for it? Especially when the second plan makes them less money? Wow!

  32. pippenz says:

    I do not like that you can easily sign up for and put in your CC info for XBOX Live, however, in order to cancel, you have to deal with their HORRIBLE call center.

    Seems like we do have the technology to cancel on the Xbox “Browser” they just want to rob us if possible.

    Solution – Buy prepaid cards.

  33. guroth says:

    I can’t comprehend why this is even an article.. This guy is an idiot.

    Did he honestly expect that after 6 months of paying monthly that he would all of a sudden get the next 6 months free? Or perhaps at the end of 1 full year he would receive a reimbursement check for $50?

    Especially considering the fact we are talking about Microsoft here, a company that revolves around profits.

    At least he was smart enough to realize that his logic was fouled, unlike the old ladies of yesteryear who rented phones on a monthly charge from ma bell for 65 years.

  34. brent_r says:

    Many things work like this.

    They only give you a lower rate because you’re paying them up front.

    If you aren’t paying up front, then they charge you more for the privilege to back out of the service at any time.

  35. Corporate_guy says:

    At least you admit your mistake. Very bone headed move, a company will never ever cap your usage to the next better plan. Like cell phone bills. They may have an unlimited plan for 100 bucks, but if you have a per minute plan they will charge you thousands if you run your bill up. I’ve never heard of anything that would cap your bill at the price of the next higher tier.

  36. Garbanzo says:

    I’m guessing the OP is very young and just not experienced in the ways of the world. I remember when I was first starting out in adulthood and had to pay my first bill, I was surprised that I had to stamp the envelope myself. Always before anything I’d seen to send in to a company was a business reply envelope that you didn’t have to stamp. I figured it out immediately, “Oh, when you owe people money YOU have to pony up for the stamp, too!” Just one of those moments where you learn how the adult world works. There’s *always* going to be a first time for each individual to encounter each concept. Apparantly Thomas hadn’t run into the monthly vs. yearly billing concept before. Now he knows for life.

  37. 3drage says:

    No reoccurring plan ever works like that. You get a discount for paying the year, because you pay the cash up front. You pay a “fee” when you go month to month because of the added increase of work the system has to do to process your payments.

    It’s kind of like letting your insurance payment lapse for five months, then getting in an accident and expecting to pay five months worth of dues to get your car replaced. Likely the company has let your coverage lapse.

  38. 108Reliant says:

    We’ve all been victims of personal consumer fraud on ourselves. It just shows us to ask questions and make sure the answers make sense financially. I’ve done similar mistakes and being human will probably do more. As the old adage goes “read the fine print”. :)

  39. XTC46 says:

    This is just like the text message thing discussed the other day. Customers need to research their options and make their own decisions. A companies job is to make as much money as possible, not save the customer as much money as possible.

  40. DustoMan says:

    Yet another anti-Microsoft hit piece… Thanks Consumerist.

  41. The Commenter Formerly Known as StartingAces says:

    This is a solid PSA for only buying live cards.

    Especially because you can snag 12+1 month cards for $40 pretty frequently. Much better to pay about $3 a month and not be on the hook.

    CHECK YO STATEMENTS

  42. Parting says:

    I never heard about a company which would give you a lower rate, instead of the plan you were given…

  43. dvddesign says:

    I only use prepaid cards for XBL subscriptions.

    I’ve had XBL for 3 years now and only paid $60. Prepaid cards are the way to go.

  44. Coolmatt49 says:

    What’s not to understand? You were paying $7.99 a month. EVERYBODY always gives special rates to those who pay up front for a longer subscription (i.e. $7.99 monthly versus $49.99 for 12 months). Just because a person financed their $49.99 payment into about 6 months doesn’t mean you get automatically upgraded to a yearly subscription.

    It’s not Microsoft’s fault, I’m taking their side on this one.

  45. krom says:

    Actually, it would be MUCH WORSE if MS automatically changed your subscription plan because you paid extra, without you saying you wanted it.

    Imagine the Cist post that we would see instead, after an equally hapless consumer paid ahead once, was automatically shifted, then suddenly billed the larger lump sum next period.

    Billing systems simply do not wave magic wands, despite what magic customer X might *think* makes perfect sense.

    If you want a different subscription plan, you change your subscription plan, on purpose, without secret magic being done for you. (Frankly, MS has a long history of trying to do secret magic for you, and usually, as most experienced Windows users can attest, they fail badly. Let’s not encourage them to do more of it.)

    • flidget says:

      @krom: I think the ideal here is that he would have paid the $8 charge for seven months, at which point he would have been extended to a year [meaning five months of no charges whatsoever], and then a $50 charge at the end of the year. Or maybe after the year, another seven months of $8 charges? I’m not sure what he was after, given that the idea of a company treating a frequent-but-cheap subscription like layaway payments for an infrequent-and-expensive one is completely foreign.

  46. thor79 says:

    Gee, thanks for pointing out common sense. Did you not realize they were in the game business for money? Why on Earth would they automatically do something to save you money if not doing it would positively affect their bottom line? Jesus are you naive. This is basic subscription economics.

  47. Jesse in Japan says:

    Are there actually companies that would roll you up to a yearly plan once you’ve paid the amount that the yearly plan would cost? I’ve never heard of that. That would render the existence of a monthly plan unnecessary.

  48. ArmyCats says:

    It’s actually like hosting accounts… You pay more per month if you pay monthly, or get a discount if you pay annually. I don’t see how it would roll into a $50/yr plan just because payments hit the $50 mark.

  49. waybaker says:

    Yet.. my story about being ripped off by XBL doesn’t even get a response.

    I bought a prepaid card and accidentally applied it to the wrong gamertag (I own both) but MS Customer service won’t help me because they don’t sell the cards a third party does.

    All I wanted was for the 12 months to be transferred to the right gamertag and after 3 levels of support on 5 different phone calls.. turned away and told to basically eat my $50. Thats why when the time is up to renew, I don’t plan to.

  50. TheHeartless says:

    This is EXACTLY what happened to me! It overdrew my bank account, and I am out $170! Worse, on the M$ website, there is no way to turn off one fee without signing up for another, and it already had my new card on the books! It listed both of them! I want my money back! The bank couldn’t help me, and I am poor as hell. I know it sounds bad that $170 can mean so much, but I’m an unemployed college student-that was a lot of money to me.

    • thor79 says:

      @TheHeartless: Did you even try contacting XBL support to cancel your gold membership? That would be the obvious way to take care of it. True they don’t make it as easy to switch back to silver from gold as they do to change your gold subscription options, but that’s no excuse for letting them charge you for something you don’t want. Just contact XBL support and have them cancel your gold subscription. Or at the very least you can contact your bank and prevent any further charges from XBL from occuring by initiating a chargeback. The bank didn’t want to help you because you didn’t want to take the necessary steps to stop them from charging you. Those necessary steps include contacting support. Without that the bank will refuse to stop the charges.

  51. Meathamper says:

    It’s understandable how this guy would think like that. However, it’s not really Microsoft’s fault, unless you wanna point out that they should have made it clear or something. Immoral? No. Misunderstanding? Full of it.

    • thor79 says:

      @michaelleung: No, it’s not…no company I know of deals with subscriptions the way the guy expected them to deal with his subscription. That is what we call an “unreasonable expectation”. We expect them to be in the business for money…and thus we expect them to bill us for exactly what we have asked to be billed for. In this case it was $7.99 per month. It wasn’t $7.99 per month up to $50 then extend to a full year.

  52. arachnophilia says:

    little bit of column a, little bit of column b.

    on the one hand, no, you shouldn’t ever expect that the company will ever give you the better deal by default. you selected monthly, you got monthly.

    on the other hand, the billing part of xbox is horrendously screwed up. they SHOULD have better options. for instance, they should have a “cancel my subscription” option. you know, so you can tell it to not automatically charge your credit card. oh, and a way to remove your credit card. if they have any brains, they’ll revise the whole damned system once the new dashboard update hits.

  53. flidget says:

    This seems like the business model for everything ever. Buying in bulk is always cheaper in the long run, whether it’s a fifty-pack of Charmin being cheaper than fifty individual rolls, or a year’s subscription costing less than twelve months.

    Can anyone name any business that would behave as described? Monthly plans exist for people who want to pay every month, not as monthly installments towards a better plan.

    Maybe if at the time of registration, he wasn’t given the option of annual payments, this would be valid – but that doesn’t sound like what happened.

  54. aphexbr says:

    Wow, I’m amazed at how many people have been trying to claim this wasn’t just a silly mistake…

    It’s simple. The XBox offer was “pay $x per month, or get a get discount if you pay for a full year now”. That’s it – nothing underhand, no billing system issues. The OP made the mistake of assuming that the discount was going to apply anyway, even though Microsoft never stated anything of the sort. 18 months later, he checks his statements and realises that his false assumption was, indeed, false.

    It’s basic common sense, and thankfully the OP realises and accepts his own blame. That some people are apparently unable to accept this or try to spin this into something Microsoft did wrong is shameful. This isn’t a sign to “avoid paying Microsoft” or “only pay with points cards” or anything else. It’s “make sure you know the T&Cs of signing up before you do so, and never make any assumptions”. Because your assumptions may be wrong, and it’ll be your fault if you lose out.

  55. HollerJoller says:

    Yeah I did it this way too. I just thought I’ll pay this month to try it out, I don’t want a full year if I’m not going to use it after this game, right? I’m almost 3 years in my 7.99 per month deal. Totally didn’t think about it until I read this. Now I think I will change it…..but what if I don’t play for a full year….idiot.

  56. twinturbo2 says:

    It’s stuff like this that makes me deal with renewals exclusively through prepaid cards.

  57. chumleyex says:

    At least he got what he asked for.

  58. millertime1211 says:

    I would assume that if i signed up for a 3month membership that it would renew another 3month membership. Well i just got an email from xbox live that says it will renew as a $7.99/month membership automatically!

    Dear XXXXX,

    Your subscription to Xbox Live 3 mo. Gold Membership is scheduled to be automatically renewed to Xbox Live Monthly Gold Membership on Thursday, November 27, 2008. Here is a description of the service:

    Welcome to the future of gaming and online entertainment. As a new Xbox Live® Gold member, you will enjoy access to demos, trailers, downloads, tournaments, friends, and your gamertag, your unique digital identity. For only $7.99 plus applicable taxes per month, your monthly Xbox Live Gold Membership gives you all the rewards, privileges, and possibilities that come with being a Gold member. Your membership will automatically renew to a monthly membership at the then current price, unless you change your renewal or cancel before your membership ends. Pricing details can be viewed in the Account Management area of your gamer profile. For information about changing or canceling your membership and your membership refund policy, go to http://www.xbox.com/live/accounts.

    Please confirm that your account and payment information is up to date.

    To update your credit card information:
    1. Select your gamer card.
    2. Select Account Management.
    3. Select Memberships.
    4. Select the membership you want to update.
    For more info, go to http://www.xbox.com/support or call Xbox Customer Support at 1 (800) 4MY-XBOX.

    Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

    The Xbox Live team.