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Microsoft sued over Xbox Live billing

Fri 12 Aug 2011 7:55am GMT / 3:55am EDT / 12:55am PDT
Hardware

Customer unhappy with double billing, files against Microsoft's "vague and onerous terms of use"

An Indiana man has filed a class action lawsuit against Microsoft, alledging that the company charged him for a two year subscription without his consent.

Ryan Graves, the plaintiff, allowed his Xbox Live subscription to lapse, leaving out of date credit card information on his account. When he updated those details a short time later he was billed twice, both for the expired and new subscription, giving him two tears of service.

Graves says this two year subscription was against his wishes, and Microsoft has refused to refund the charge.

He is seeking damages on the following charges. "Plaintiff asserts claims for breach of contract, unjust enrichment, conversion, and violation of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA), 15 U.S.C. 1693, et seq., on behalf of himself and similarly situated Xbox LIVE Gold members."

Graves also claims that the terms and conditions of Xbox Live are "vague and onerous" and unlawful.

Xbox Live has around 23 million subscribers.

16 Comments

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,249 405 0.3
I have found it annoying that renewal was automatic before, I found it out when mine expired when I was without internet for 6 months. This time round after getting a message that it would automatically renew, i got a message on the dash asking me if I wanted it to. Hopefully this is the start of a policy change.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Surely there's something in their T&Cs which said the renewal would be automatic? Not that I think this is right of them, but he probably just ticked 'I have read the Terms and Conditions' without actually reading them, like most of us do I'm sure.

The first thing I did when I got a 3 month PS Plus subscription was go into My Account disable the automatic renewal option. It did at least make it clear that I could do this when I signed up.

Posted:3 years ago

#2

Greg Knight
Freelance Developer

56 49 0.9
After the Sony hacking debacle I changed all my credit cards. It was amazing how many companies suddenly started sending me emails saying they couldn't renew as my credit card details were no longer valid for services that must have been silently renewed for a number of years without me even noticing.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

gi biz
;,pgc.eu

341 51 0.1
So MS is making recurring bills like porn sites? XD I hope this guy learned the lesson and that he'll think twice before giving his money to MS the next time.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Stuart Hunt
Senior Programmer

4 0 0.0
It's not the auto-renew he's suing over - although I think it's awful that you have to call someone to switch off the automatic renewal, on by default. They did something similar to me a few years back. My credit card had expired, but I'd no intention of renewing LIve via Microsoft directly as you can get it cheaper by buying their card from an online retailer. The steps made it awkward for me to add the new code, and forced me to put in new card details before I could continue the Live subscription. Then as soon as I did, they applied my code AND charged my new card, so I had 2 years subscription. That's just wrong and sneaky, the term should finish as soon as they can't get payment from you.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Chris Nash
QA Engineer

47 23 0.5
You used to be able to turn off auto-renewal on Xbox.com, but that option was removed a couple of years ago, and now you have to call MS - who will, naturally, persuade you to keep it turned on by hard-selling you "unbeatable" special offers. In that respect it's no different from trying to leave a mobile phone company - you get forwarded to "Retentions", the department whose job it is to convince you to stay.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Barrie Tingle
Live Producer

374 148 0.4
You can stop auto renewal in the same way you have been able to for years. Go to https://live.xbox.com/en-GB/account?xr=s... and it is at the top middle of the screen: "Automatic Renewal: On (Change)"

Posted:3 years ago

#7
I've had a similar experience with LIVE. I decided I didn't want the gold service anymore, because I rarely played online and was between jobs, so I needed to save money. At the same time my credit card expired, so (after hunting their website & following links to "Cancel your subscription" that don't lead anywhere) I decided that I'd simply not enter my new card details.

After a few months MS were threatening to permanently block my profile, because they had "loaned" me live subscription access for the time that I didn't want it, and were demanding back-payment for the previous months.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Tom Plunket

8 1 0.1
Barrie, on my account it shows that automatic renewal is on but there is no way to turn it off. Clicking edit details (which I have to do again on a subsequent screen) leaves me on a screen with no automatic renewal information.

Posted:3 years ago

#9
Quick correction:

"giving him two tears of service."

Posted:3 years ago

#10

C Fletcher

4 0 0.0
I think it's valid. It would change MS policies most likely. Why does this document have so many grammatical errors?

Posted:3 years ago

#11

James Prendergast
Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@Chris:

I used to work in retentions for a credit card company. Not only did the company require us to keep customers, they also wanted us to persuade them to get more into debt.. Such a horrible job doing something that is counter-customer service....

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Gregory Keenan

102 11 0.1
able to remove auto renew on the website with no problems. slightly suspect renewal date as I was starting basic training a year ago so had no access to the internet.

Posted:3 years ago

#13
They should ban automatic renewals. It's just a way of ripping off either unsuspecting or lazy customers.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Curt Sampson
Sofware Developer

596 360 0.6
Unlike long distance phone service or whatever, this is not a fungible product. So why do they think they have to resort to tactics like this to keep their customers? You'd think that, especially given he's a subscriber, they'd just give him a refund and wait for him to renew next year.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

559 608 1.1
I am a big fan of Live but their subscription model is a bit dubious to be honest. I cancelled my live subscription last year in autum as i was going to be without internet for several months. There was no option to do so online via the xbox, or even via their website.

I actually had to call their customer support (thats what it said on their website). For the UK this is necessary. US customers could cancel their subscription online via the website.

Its a bit cheeky to be honest, as i am sure there will be people who cant be bothered to call or forget and then it gets renewed automatically. I think for every service you can sign up for online, you should also be able to discontinue online, conviniently and easy to find.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

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