Xbox Live Support Woes Followup

After writing my blog post about issues I was having with my son’s Xbox Live Gold account, I used social media to my advantage and tweeted a link to my story to @xboxsupport, and started a thread in the Chatty on (where I regularly hang out … I’d link to my profile, but … ) to spread the word about the issues I was having.

@xboxsupport, true to their “Guinness World Record Holder: Most Responsive Brand on Twitter”, one of their CSRs ^JD thanked me for the link within minutes and when I pushed him for help with the issue, initially I was rebuffed.

@superthom I understand your concern, but we're unable to bend our policies or work around EA's. My sincere empathy for that situation ^JD

I wasn’t satisfied, so I pushed back …

.@XboxSupport So neither company is willing to accept responsibilty for allowing an account to make a purchase it can't possibly use?

… and finally got through:

@superthom Can you Direct Message us the two Gamertags involved? ^JD

About an hour after DM’ing my gamertags, an Xbox Support CSR from Redmond (as I later learned when he called my cell phone and “Redmond” was displayed) emailed me and said he was reviewing my issue and wanted to know if I had a phone number I could be reached at the following day.

The Phone Call

Davey called on Tuesday and we had a very interesting and good conversation.

The TL;DR version: Xbox Support was going to refund my points, and while they couldn’t bump the date of birth on the existing Live account, Davey instructed me to create a new Xbox Live account and that he’d send me codes equal to the time left on the current Gold account to add to the new one.

While not perfect (I’m going to have to play the hard missions of Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis again since Tommy’s save games are attached to his old XBL account…), it’s pretty much exactly what I want.

In case you’re wondering, I’ve already created the new account, had the points refunded to the new account and receieved the codes for remainder of my Gold membership.

Thank you Davey and the rest of Xbox Support for helping me out!

The Interesting Bit

The most interesting thing about the phone call was that Davey told me that I should have been offered a refund after my initial email. I told Davey that most of the correspondence I had had with Xbox Support to date was already posted in my blog post, but I offered to bundle the full emails up into an attachment and pass it along to him and he was interested in seeing that.

The good thing that may come out of all of this is that my noise may help others having similar issues in the future.

Public Response

I was pretty amused by the reception my original article got on the Internet.

The Escapist wrote a story about my issue and by the time I found it, it had already garnered 176 comments.

I was pretty surprised by the number of posters who didn’t think I deserved a refund because the conditions were available from the Marketplace screen for the game, but I think The Escapist user Puffenstuff put it into words better than I could:

Let’s set up an analogous situation (based on actual events). I send a 17 year old intern to buy dry ice at the store. What I don’t know is that the state I am in does not allow anyone under 18 to purchase dry ice. You are saying that the clerk should take his money (my firm’s money actually) and then refuse to give him the dry ice?

That’s how I felt about the whole fiasco. I’m fine if my account can’t play the game, but you don’t check my DOB *after* taking my money.

mjc0961 was one user in particular who was arguing strongly against my refund; he argued with several users on The Escapist’s site and also left a lengthy comment here on my site with his thoughts. I feel like the screenshot he posted shows text stating “YOU MUST BE 13+ TO REGISTER WITH EA ONLINE” is a little misleading. While the text does exist there, you have to scroll to almost the bottom of a pretty lengthy chunk of text to get to it.

When I originally saw his screenshot I felt like an idiot, but when I was setting up the new account and downloading BF1943 again, I realized just how far down I had to scroll to actually read the “13+” text:

Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: The Escapist did a follow-up piece as well. I’m still really amused by the comments over there. Thanks guys!

5 Responses to “Xbox Live Support Woes Followup”

  1. Couple of things I thought of since writing the post:

    1) My fears about the tough missions in Jurassic Park were not unfounded. As soon as Davey said I’d have to create a new Xbox Live account, seriously the first thing I thought was “dammit! I’m going to have to replay those missions in Operation Genesis!” and didn’t say anything to Tommy about it. I swear the kid is psychic; LAST NIGHT he pulls out Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis and starts playing it for the first time in months. lol

    2) A couple of the commenters on The Escapist piece cracked me up. They were applauding my decision to be involved in my kid’s hobby … little do they know I’m dragging the poor kid into *my* hobby. I’ve been a gamer since I first got an Atari 2600 back in the day, and now I’m passing along the terrible tradition to my son. :)

  2. I don’t think you should get a refund, it is clearly there!

    your where just QQing because you overlooked things in CAPSLOCK, SEE THIS TEXT, IT IS VERY EASY TO SEE!

  3. Sure it’s easy to read when it’s visible, but that wasn’t the case – watch the Youtube video I created. You have to scroll past six *pages* of standard boilerplate text that no one ever reads before making Xbox Live Marketplace purchases to get to the ALL CAPS age requirements text.

    The age requirement should be the first line outranking even “No refunds” if they want people to read it, but really the account should be barred from purchasing it if it’s going to be unable to play it.

    Just like the dry ice example — if you sent a kid into a bar to buy a beer, the barkeeper doesn’t take the kid’s money THEN tell him he can’t have the beer and keep the money. The bartender tells him ahead of accepting his money and the kid goes home with the money he walked in with.

    I’m frankly amused so many people don’t see it the same way as I do.

  4. Also, “YOU MUST BE 13+ TO REGISTER WITH EA ONLINE” does not immediately indicate to the anyone that a lack of registration is something anyone should care about. I’ve passed on registration for many games that offered registration with no penalty in the past.

    Microsoft was great to have fixed this, but it would be nice if EA caught a bit more of the blame, as they were the ones reading the profile information on an account that was set up by a parent (hence the gold account), with parental overrides specifically allowing certain ratings of games to be played. And after all of these existing checks, they have their obnoxious parallel “registration” process reach right past the layers of parental controls, do an out of context age comparison and lazily fail out with a “get older, and NO REFUNDS” default response.

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