Monday, August 17, 2009

Microsoft Xbox Live

17 August 2009

Attn.: Renee/A15609

RE: C0906xxxxxxxx, C0906xxxxxxxx, C0906xxxxxxxx

Dear Renee,

I am writing to re-dispute the charges of $7.99 in each of these three cases. The charges were made by Microsoft’s * Xbox Live service without my authorization. The details are as follows:

My son, Matthew Althouse, had a Microsoft Xbox game console. This console has the capability to operate through the Internet to facilitate gaming with others around the world, for a fee. That fee is collected and the service is administered through Xbox Live. Prior to March 2009, I authorized my son to provide Xbox Live with my Orchard Bank Mastercard information to pay for this service. In late February 2009, my son entered the U.S. Army’s basic training and is now serving our nation’s armed forces protecting our freedom (yours, mine and Microsoft’s). Upon his entrance into the Army, he sold his game console to an unknown third party and I canceled his membership with Xbox Live. I thought nothing more about it until June when I noticed that a monthly charge for Xbox live was still appearing on my Mastercard bill.

I called Microsoft Xbox Live to get my money credited back. I confirmed that his account was indeed canceled per my instructions, but it was reopened shortly thereafter. Neither my son nor I authorized Microsoft to reopen this account – he was (and is) in the Army and I do not have the required equipment to create such an account, i.e. a Microsoft Xbox game console. I was informed by Microsoft Xbox Live that when I canceled the account, they retained my credit card information – information that was linked to the serial number of that specific game console and that if I wanted that information to be prevented from being used in the future, I was to inform them at the time of cancellation. However, at the time of cancellation, I was not given this information. Microsoft Xbox Live refused to issue a credit for the fraudulent charges, but did assure me that my credit card information would not be used in the future. That assurance is not very reassuring.

Furthermore, it is reasonable to assume the opposite condition – that the default position would be in the interest of protecting the customer’s credit card information. I had every reason to believe that Microsoft would delete this information – especially considering that ownership of any electronic equipment is not a life-long commitment. These units are commonly bought and sold… and stolen. To keep my account information at all, let alone to keep it linked to a specific game console, is irresponsible bordering on fraudulent and to fail to inform me about this upon cancellation should be criminal. Maybe it is; it is an avenue I have yet to pursue, though I remain open to the possibility.

We are talking about a total charge of less than $24.00. I have already expended more time than it is worth to recover these charges. I am fighting this multi-billion dollar behemoth on principle alone and I would not be surprised if there are many, many other instances where Microsoft Xbox Live charged their former customers for services that were not authorized. The fact that they would stand by these obviously dubious charges is arrogant beyond belief. I trust that my credit card provider does not share in that arrogance. Hopefully this will be the end of my fight, but if I have any influence with Orchard Bank and credit card issuers in general, I hope it is not the end of yours.

Michael K. Althouse

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