Scratch Too Hard On Your XBOX Live Card? Microsoft Won't Tell You The Code

Microsoft sells scratch off cards that contain codes you can use with XBOX live. Trouble is, if you get overzealous and scratch off the code along with the scratch-off stuff—you’re out of luck.

Microsoft will not tell you the code and they won’t send you a new card. We assume that this is to prevent people from calling in and lying about not being able to read their cards, getting the codes, and then selling the unscratched cards to various chumps.

Still, it doesn’t help reader Matt, who really can’t read his code:

My name is Matthew [redacted] and my family (registered to my younger brother) is the happy owner of an xbox 360 purchased in the summer of 2007.

I have already sent in my xbox for service on two separate occasions (red ring once, discs not reading another time) and have had a wireless controller replaced… My family has owned an xbox for around 7 months and for 2.5 of those months it has been either inoperable or in transit. Despite the hassles I am quite pleased with owning an xbox because of the quality titles. Aside from a couple of hiccups involving creative navigating of the customer service representatives and multiple delays in receiving the shipping box for a return; my overall opinion on the customer service has been helpful, pleasant and ultimately have helped me solve my issues each time.

On my second servicing of my xbox, I had an active xbox live gold subscription card and was obviously not able to suspend service so I was given the standard one month card. I waited until Christmas break to utilize this card. When scratching off the card with my fingernail (a lowly level of 3 on the Mohs hardness scale) I managed to scratch over scratch 4 of the characters. Searching the internet I found multiple people with similar problems and was sure support could help me out. All I wanted was to have them help me complete the code.

There is a separate serial # on the card to identify it I presume. Perhaps they have records of the codes according to serial #. After about an hour hold, I spoke to one rep for a half hour, was told it was another departments problem and to refuse being transferred back here if that department said it was the previously departments problem (I was told this multiple times for reiteration). I waited on hold for another hour explained my plight and did the back and forth about 45 minutes and again was tried transfer me but I did my job and held strong. At this point I felt like I was making progress. Finally, I was transferred reluctantly to a third dept. but was told not to worry, they can resolve this almost instantly. Another hour hold and 45 minutes of back and forth with another attempt to transfer me back to both of the previous two departments. I explained I had already been there and that it should not be my job to coordinate between different departments. After several more minutes of hold I was then greeted with an abrupt, there is nothing we can do for you, sorry we do not have access to the codes and will not issue a replacement card.

I would not be so bitter if I had purchased this card from the store because I would have attempted to return it. But this was card issued as an apology for a faulty product and compensation for the hassle. To have the apology not work and then refuse to correct the problem is insulting. Not only that, if the answer was so simple I wish I would have been told up front that it is a policy not to issue new cards or give out codes because I wasted about 4 hours on the phone trying to get my halo 3 on.

I write to you as a final attempt at finding credibility in Microsoft’s customer service. I hope I can in the end be happy with the service I received.


Matt sent us an update:

Just a quick followup on the scratched xbox live gamercard. Microsoft contacted me last week on their own accord. This was not expected, but I was pretty excited because I thought I was getting action due to the email I sent them. Unfortunately they only called to tell me again they would NOT be replacing the card. All I could think in my head was, gee thanks for rubbing it in. I was then asked by the representative if there was more he could do to help me? Baffled, I said nope and hung up the phone.

Hey, Matt. All is not lost: Our good friend Phil the Philmguy did the same thing this weekend. He actually sat around trying different combinations until he figured it out: “That happened to me this weekend. i had to guess on seven of the letter/numbers in different combinations. Took me three hours, but I won.”

Buyer beware.

Xbox live card refund? [Metafilter]
Xbox 360 Live 1 Month Gold Card [Amazon]

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.