Rambilicious 100% Ramble-y Goodness

1Apr/111

An XBOX Live Gold Membership Cautionary Tale…

Posted by Mythor

Recently I had cause to cancel my credit card due to a failure in an online retailer's security measures potentially exposing my details to various ne'er-do-wells.

Shit happens. I didn't lose any money and a quick round of updating records made sure the important bills (INTERNET!!!) would get paid with my replacement card. No drama here!

At least, no drama until recently. I started getting emails from Microsoft telling me that my Gold membership couldn't be automatically renewed as the credit card funding it had been rejected. I didn't think much of it at the time since I haven't touched my XBOX much since finishing Fable 3.

I thought, quite reasonably, that since Microsoft couldn't charge me for Gold they would revert me to Silver and that'd be an end to it.

Oh, how silly I am.

It seems that when Microsoft can't charge you for an auto renewal they will try again. Which seems sensible. And a third time, which is still pretty fair.

But then they'll just keep on trying and telling you it's failing and trying and telling you it's failing...

Still no big deal, right? They'll give up after X attempts and all will be just fine. They'll revert me to Silver and I won't care because I don't need Gold right now anyway.

Well, no. At some point some system in Microsoft twigs that you've not paid for your Gold membership and so your account becomes S... Suspended?

Son of a bitch!

It used to be that you could click a button on the website to switch autorenewal off, but that went away during one of the site "upgrades". These days you have to call them up on the telephone to cancel it. Which is no mean feat in itself - out of a dozen attempts I only got through to an actual human once, today, finally.

After muddling through an explanation of what I wanted done and a very long time on hold - presumably while a manager was consulted - I was told that my account will remain suspended until I settle the outstanding Gold membership fee.

So, if I want to get back to Silver membership, the guaranteed basic free level of XBOX Live, I have to cough up the $79.95 (Australian) Microsoft were trying to charge for my yearly renewal. Even though I don't want it and have not received any benefit from the Gold membership in the time period I was in arrears.

Oh, but if I do pay the amount? Then the autorenewal will be cancelled and when my membership expires next time it won't try and charge me again. Or so they say...

Sigh.

Lesson learned. If you paid for your Gold membership with a credit/debit card and you want to cancel the membership or your card becomes invalid for any reason, you must call XBOX Support before it comes up for renewal. Else you find yourself, like me, in the land of Suspended Accounts and Unexpected Bills.