Microsoft Tells Me I Qualified For Free Online Cash, Then Takes It Away

Scott tried to take advantage of an Xbox Live promotion that would net him 800 points ($10) of bonus money if he spent 2400 points ($30) in a set amount of time. He spent the required amount of money, then received a message from a Microsoft customer service rep that said he’d get the 800 points if he kept waiting.

Eventually, though, Microsoft changed its mind, told Scott he didn’t qualify and that he wouldn’t receive the points.

Scott, who provided the accompanying photo, writes:

I wanted to write you a short story about my experience with Xbox Live
customer service and an Xbox promotion.

Xbox Live was running a promotion during the month of October, know as the Xbox Shopping Spree promotion. The promotion required the user to spend 2400 Microsoft Points during the month of October. If you spent the points you would receive 800 points as a reward within 4-6 weeks. I spent the points during the month of October and 4 weeks later I received a message from Xbox Live through my Xbox 360, thanking me for participating the the Shopping Spree Promotion and 800 had been deposited into my account. The points were now actually showing up in my account though, so I gave it a few days and when they still had not shown up I called Xbox Live and I spoke to a customer service agent. The agent informed me that yes I had qualified for the promotion and I should wait another 2 weeks since they have stipulated that it may take 4-6 weeks for the points to arrive in your account. I explained that I didn’t understand why they would bother to send me a message telling me that the points had been deposited when that had not actually done that yet. I was then transfered to a supervisor and I had to explain the entire situation to again and she also told me that I qualified and that I should wait two more weeks.

I waited the two weeks and still no points show up in my account. I call Xbox Support once again. I explain the entire story to the first customer service agent and she also tells me that I qualify and does not understand why I haven’t received the points. I am then transferred to a supervisor and I explain the entire story again. The supervisor tells me that I qualify and she doesn’t understand why I haven’t received the points. She tells me she needs to send this to some kind of investigation department and that I will be contacted within 5 days.

A few days go by and I finally get a call from Xbox. They have investigated the problem and have determined that I did not qualify for the promotion and they are sorry but there is nothing more they can do. At this point I am beyond upset having spent more than two hours in total on the phone telling my entire situation 4 different times. I tell the representative that I don’t agree with their determination and I am very upset over the time I’ve spent trying to get this corrected. Even if they have decided that I didn’t qualify, I’ve had 4 of their employees tell me that I have qualified and I received a message through my Xbox telling me congrats and we are giving you points. They have refused to compensate me in any way for the time I’ve spent trying to resolve a message they have sent to me in error. I was never even apologized to for the message that was sent to me. They didn’t even admit they had made an error. I feel lied to and cheated.

If you participated in the promotion, did it work for you?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Terron says:

    I hate to blame the tipster here, but was spending 2 hours on the phone for $10 really worth it? Especially when you add the headache on top of the time wasted.

    Why not shoot off an EECB and hope for the best?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Was Microsoft’s failure to figure their shit out, and waste 2 hours of a CSR’s time and wages trying to fix a customer’s problem, all for $10 really worth it?

      Blame the OP comments are not appreciated here.

      • Terron says:

        I wasn’t blaming him, just wondering if it was worth his time.

        Microsoft is to blame here, assuming he did complete the promotion correctly (I don’t see a reason for the denial), but the $30 they were going to pay to those CSRs anyway isn’t going to have nearly the impact to a multi-billion dollar company like Microsoft.

        • MattSaintCool says:

          Comments prefaced with “I hate to blame the tipster here” are usually followed by just that, and this is true here as well.

          • Kitten Mittens says:

            Except it’s not in this instance. He was just pondering whether trying to get Microsoft to fix their error was worth his time. I’d argue that spending more than 2 hours for a $10 credit (less valuable than cash) is absolutely NOT worth the time.

            • RandomHookup says:

              It’s not worth YOUR time. It’s up to an individual to decide how much his/her time is worth.

      • shufflemoomin says:

        Blame the op comments are perfectly valid. People are entitled to their opinion on the situation and we don’t have to side with someone simply because a site tells us to. I, personally, think the guy went to unreasonable lengths to get 800 MS points.

    • SteveZim1017 says:

      sometimes its simply the principle of the matter. Some people don’t like being robbed.

      Please let me know how much money I can take from you before you will bother to do anything about it.

    • mmrosek says:

      Very helpful comment.

  2. Alvis says:

    I don’t understand why this should even take 4-6 weeks in the first place. System should credit it instantly once the qualifications were met.

    • stormbird says:

      Well, it’s not like Microsoft would have skills in using computers… er, I mean, it’s not like Microsoft has the expertise in writing code… sorry, I got nothin’.

  3. chrimsonfyre says:

    I did a similar thing with xbox…took a survey and they said I would get some Microsoft points. I got the same message in my live messages box (less points though) but they were never credited to my actual account. I just assumed it was false advertising because I never heard back from them again.
    Guess we both got cheated out of our so-called “free” points.

  4. The Cynical Librarian says:

    I believe what he’s referring to required you to buy 3 or 4 specific games, not just spend 2400 points. Probably he spent the money and they realized after the fact that he didn’t qualify based on the fact that he didn’t buy the right items.
    I do like the idea of how much of MS’s time he wasted so they didn’t waste $10 bucks (2 hours x 4 CSR’s would have to equal more than $10), but in the end, I don’t think we’re getting a completely accurate story either way.

    • HazyCloud says:

      From that message it tells me it was the 2400 Point promo.

      My question is why didn’t he qualify? The only thing I can think of is he purchased 2400 worth of stuff but not what was required by Microsoft. To get the 800, you had to buy arcade games or game add-ons.

      “During the month of October, spend 2400 Microsoft Points on Arcade games and/or game add-ons and you’ll get 800 Microsoft Points added to your membership as a thank-you gift.”

      • The Cynical Librarian says:

        Good call; so it seems that any XBLA titles and add-ons were eligible; Zune Videos/Music, Xbox 360 and Original Xbox, Indie Games, and Avatar items were not eligible. That may have been his problem. Basically, in order to know if this is legit or not, we’d need to know what he ordered and at what time he ordered them.

        Or he’ll just raise enough of a ruckus so MS says “Here’s your 10 bucks, now leave us alone”.

      • Winterfall007 says:

        I actually did this. Thing was, the 800 points were randomly dumped into my account one day (I was about to buy 800 points for something when I noticed it). It wasn’t until roughly two weeks later that I got the message from Xbox that the OP received.

        And yeah, you only had to buy 2400 points worth of stuff.

    • Kitten Mittens says:

      My time is worth far more than $5/hr. Cost-benefit analysis done.

      • RandomHookup says:

        But do you know when you initiate the process how much time it will take?

        • Kitten Mittens says:

          I have a watch on my wrist, a clock on my desk and a clock icon on my computer. If I’m on hold or getting the run around, I have a pretty damn good idea of how much time I’m spending trying to recoup $10 in credit (so the value is less than actual cash).

          If it goes on more than say 5-10 minutes, hang up, shoot off an EECB and quit buying anything from XBox and M$ unless it makes it right.

    • Chaosium says:

      “I believe what he’s referring to required you to buy 3 or 4 specific games, not just spend 2400 points. Probably he spent the money and they realized after the fact that he didn’t qualify based on the fact that he didn’t buy the right items. “

      Yup, he didn’t read the rules.

  5. Kitten Mittens says:

    Anyone else ever get tired of hearing OPs go on and on about the amount of time or an expectation of compensation? Craptastic customer service is the rule, not the exception. Be prepared.

    And no, I’m not blaming the OP for the actual issue at hand. Although, he conveniently omits why they determined he wasn’t eligible. Sounds like he got the email in error and then tried to get the benefit after the fact.

  6. Larraque eats babies says:

    I participated in this promotion and bought 30 bucks (2400 points) worth of rock band songs. The points were deposited into my account but I never received the message.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      Check your october downloads history on and see how much you spent?

    • muffingal says:

      During the promo I brought some Dragon Age: Origins DLC, some Mass Effect DLC and Super Meat Boy. I never got a message either but I got my points deposited sometime in November. One thing I do remember reading was that Avatar stuff was not eligible while somewhere else I read it was. Maybe this could have been part of the problem?

  7. Scurvythepirate says:

    Is today bash on Xbox day? I feel that’s all I am reading.

  8. bigd738778 says:

    Why does the Consumerist just repost a message and ask us for an opinion? Why are you not giving tips as to what to do? I also suspect that most of these “problems” people have is because there not to smart. I don’t ever seem to have any of these problems when I follow the directions and actually read the promotion. Every bonus promo companies have offered, including MS, I have received and have never been let down, but I did read.

    • RandomHookup says:

      …there not to smart

      Come again?

    • coren says:

      That’s just how some authors do their articles.

    • pandroid says:

      “Not to smart”? Really, that’s your response? I spent hours once trying to get Microsoft to honor a Bing cashback promotion that got denied for absolutely no reason. We read all the fine print and we completely qualified but for some reason we kept getting messages that said our cash back was denied. We finally had to go through HP customer service to fix it because Microsoft would NOT fix their own error until HP complained to them. It was a disaster, and if it hadn’t been for HP stepping up to fix it, Microsoft would denied us $160 that was legitimately ours under their promotion.

    • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

      “there not to smart”.. Ohh, the irony.

  9. coren says:

    First off, no, they shouldn’t compensate him for the time he spent dealing with them. That isn’t how life works.

    That said, they sure as fuck should explain how he didn’t qualify for the promotion, especially after their system and no less than 4 agents told him otherwise. If I were the OP that’s what I’d be doing now, demanding an explanation as to why I didn’t qualify.

  10. TerpBE says:

    My wife and I each “won” Microsoft points and games playing “1 vs. 100” on Xbox Live. They said winners would get prizes in 8 weeks. We waited and waited, and never heard anything. I was able to hunt down someone who was in charge of the prizes for it, but didn’t get any response to two emails. Now apparently the entire group has disbanded and the game won’t be returning. So Microsoft seems to have a habit of promising prizes and then refusing to deliver.

  11. toxicXchocobo says:

    Unfortunately the OP didn’t specify what he purchased during this promotion. While it does say “anything you want” it also goes on to say “game add-ons, avatar accessories, or even another Arcade game” which is also referenced on other sites (such as: & It also doesn’t include already discounted items and the Deal of the Week. If OP purchased either of these or (quite possibly) movies, music, or non-Arcade games as part of the 2400, then this may be why they didn’t qualify.

  12. jaya9581 says:

    We participated in this promotion as well. We did promptly receive our bonus points. I don’t recall the promotion but my husband seems to think you could spend the points on anything. I know we picked up some Rock Band songs and at least one XBLA game, he might have gotten some wrestling game content as well.

  13. Kitten Mittens says:

    I have a watch on my wrist, a clock on my desk and a clock icon on my computer. If I’m on hold or getting the run around, I have a pretty damn good idea of how much time I’m spending trying to recoup $10 in credit (so the value is less than actual cash).

    If it goes on more than say 5-10 minutes, hang up, shoot off an EECB and quit buying anything from XBox and M$ unless it makes it right.

    • BBBB says:

      I don’t count hold time as wasted time in the same way as time talking to the reps. While I am on hold I do things like read e-mail or newsletters, play games that can be paused, etc. I do consider it an inconvenience, but not totally wasted time. Another problem with deciding if it is worth it is that you don’t know in advance how long it will take. I’ve had problems solved in 2 minutes or 3 hours. You never know if just a few more minutes will solve it.

  14. Kate says:

    When a store promises me something and then renigs, I call my state’s Attorney General’s office to file a complaint. I would think the same thing should be done here. It’s basically false advertising.

    • coren says:

      Assuming he correctly completed the offer, of course.

      • RandomHookup says:

        The photo above seems to say he did.

        • Kitten Mittens says:

          The article, on the other hand, seems to indicate that he’s been trying to “resolve a message they have sent to me in error” – indicating that he was not eligible for the rebate/credit and was only pursuing it because of the inadvertent message. Now he wants to be compensated because he was dumb enough to spend 2 hours on the phone.

  15. outinthedark says:

    Yeah double check you didn’t actually spend them on accident. I never received a message and I got in on this promotion as well.

    You can check all point history on there is a breakdown of absolutely everything on there.

    If you didn’t qualify though, you didn’t qualify.

  16. badaboomxx says:

    still waiting for the points

  17. Jerkamie says:

    A search on google confirms that the shopping spree was spending 2400 points until oct 31 to get the bonus points. I never heard about the promotion only the buy 3 games get 800 points back.

    “This promotion was for purchasing 2,400 points worth of arcade or game add-on content in the month of October.”

    Lots of other people haven’t gotten their points either. Suckers.

  18. oldgoat says:

    I prefer to just buy a $20 chinese account with 10,000 points.