Friday, January 4, 2013

Microsoft Could Not Make it Any More Difficult to Cancel XBOX Live

I was a late bloomer to the gaming world. I didn't start until I was almost 30. Then I made up for lost time by beating expert levels and starting a gaming blog and Twitter with in a year. But, my career was short lived. I got pregnant and first-person shooters made me want to puke. 

In the last two years I've played a total of 3 or 4 hours online. I'm too tired to stay up until 11 pm to play  with our gaming buddies (I only really like cooperative games) and explosions kick my mamabear instincts into overdrive.  My XBOX Live Gold membership was a big fat waste of $59.99 a year we could be spending on diapers, so when the renewal came up I decided to cancel.

XBOX is owed by Microsoft, as in computers. XBOX Live is online gaming, as in the internet. My renewal was via automatic payment, as in something I set up on my computer via the internet. This should be easy to do via those methods, right?


When I logged into my account and clicked "manage" this is what I got:

You can change your credit card, renew your (already automatic renewal?), but you have to ask how to cancel.

When you click that text you are redirected to a support page which requires choosing from a number of drop down menus. When you finally get to "Cancel my subscription" you are required to enter your phone number and then wait for a customer service representative to call you back.

Um, WTF?

I did that and was told I would be called back in under 5 minutes. It took 8. Then I had to wait another 3 to be connected. When I finally got through, the customer service rep James was extremely nice and tried to make the process as painless as possible while he tried to locate my account with my phone number and address (um, how about the things actually connected to it on the user experience end like gamertag and email?), ask why I was canceling (evidently the only two reasons are work and kids. I was option 2.), go through his mandatory sales pitch about all the other crap you can do on XBOX Live (I can watch Netflix through my husband's account), and then of course ask when I planned on getting my kid an account. He's 18 months old. It will be a while. 

So something that should have taken a minute and a half took nearly a half an hour. Not a gigantic waste of time, but when I'm trying to cancel something because I don't have time to do it, I shouldn't be forced to waste time having to cancel it. Also? The internet. I was canceling an online gaming account. I should be able to do it online, Microsoft. 

Nothing makes me want to cancel a service more than making it super hard to cancel a service.

Update: This is the ridiculous process you have to go through if you click through the link sent to you in the email that alerts you to the automatic renewal. If you login to your XBL account of your own volition you can cancel the subscription easily. Its only if you use their "useful" alert email that you get introduced to the van full of kittens and candy.

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