*Note: WTFGamersOnly.com is a peaceful & friendly community of gamers that love to play games, talk about games & share their wealth of knowledge w/ a certain responsibility that is unbiased, truthful & direct. THIS is one of those rants that may not be viewed as a opinion resonating with the rest of our staff. They are mine & belong to me only. If i ruffle a few feathers in the process, so be it, but I’m sure it’s an issue that needs to be brought into attention. For the record, I am NOT a rival console fanboy.
If the title sounds like a terrible story about to be read, you’d be correct. Xbox Live has not been too kind to me during the last few months & possibly to hundreds of thousands of extremely loyal fans as well. Allow me to explain my grief and maybe (but I hope not) you can relate.
So about two months ago, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was about to be released both in retail & digital forms for Xbox 360. Being a single parent, I work hard for my money and try to manage every dollar I can wisely, maximizing every purchase to the fullest – not uncommon in our economy. So with that in mind, I opted for the digital release because it was $10 cheaper than it’s retail counterpart. Walking over to the local, walking-distance Kmart retailer and to my surprise, I noticed FULL RACKS of 1600 MS points cards, which since the currency swap (from Microsoft points to regional currency credit) should have transferred over to a flat-sum currency amount. I just needed an even $20 for the title, NOT $15… NOT $25… just $20, so I purchased the card and went home to redeem it, like usual, only to receive an error message. I called Xbox Support to resolve the issue, where I was told that they didn’t know what the problem was and that I would be added to a list that would be forwarded to their “escalation team” and that I’d hear some sort of reply within 24 hours.
Fours days past, now a Thursday and still no reply. So, I call them back, obviously a little more frustrated than before but continuing to keep my composure and asked what the hold-up was. They had no clue and said that the escalation team should have contacted me DAYS AGO. Nope, nada. No email, phone calls in relates to the issue or any credit forwarded towards my account. They give me the same “hmm, this is odd” response I’ve received from the last call and insist that escalation will contact me 24 hours later. This phone call conversation reoccurred 3 more times and when I called a FOURTH time, they asked me to run through the process of redeeming the code again with the same results, while admitting they had no record of me calling four times prior with the same issue. Issuing yet another promise that the escalation team would call me back within the next 24 hours to assist, I sat by my phone in hand all day to make sure I intercepted their call, only to have my time wasted. They never once attempted to reach me and resolve my issue. It wasn’t until The 5th call on the following Tuesday, where I was connected to a very kind, noob female support clerk that tries her best to resolve the issue but can’t find a resolution herself. Then it dawns on me: every time I attempt this, an error code pops up, so I volunteer to recite this code that NOBODY HAS ASKED FOR, she says it might and she concludes almost immediately from the error code that the MS Point card’s code was either “not activated” or that it contained a bad/corrupted code. Nearly a week an half to discover this?!? Why weren’t XBOX LIVE SUPPORT EMPLOYEES TRAINED TO ASK FOR THIS CODE?!? The impression their service gave me during that week rubbed me the wrong way, save face for this noob clerk how actually helped.
So I walk back to Kmart to either active the card or return it, they were unable to activate it (red flag), so with my offered refund, I try a different 1600-Point card to purchase, but alas the same issues occur. We go thru 3, maybe 4 different cards at the store before we draw to the conclusion that this entire stack won’t activate. But apparently, the 1600 point cards no longer can be activated. I asked around a few hardcore nerd forums to discover it’s a rising issue and that maybe 9 out of 10 of the 1600 cards I yanked off the rack won’t activate/redeem anymore. Being Xbox Support, the issue should had been resolved much faster, their employees should know what error codes are, what to look & ask for whenever they get a similar call, etc. Waiting a week to nearly two just to resolve such a petty issue is garbage on their behalf & a poor representation of their support team as a whole.
Now fast forward to TODAY: Last night, my gold membership was set to expire. Not wanting that to happen, I walked across the street to the nearest corner 7/11 to buy – you guessed it, more “Xbox Live currency”… because it makes Xbox Live’s world go round and bought a $15 card in a attempt to purchase one month of Xbox Live Gold online via XBL (at a rip-off price) because that’s all I need & my money SHOULD be good…RIGHT? It’s not. Oh how naive I was to think my money was good enough for the Xbox Support team. Apparently, I was dead wrong & real life currency converted into Xbox Live currency is an unacceptable form of payment to purchase Xbox Live Gold membership, as it asks for ONLY a credit card or paypal, while a Microsoft account option, shown in non-solid text sits among the payment options, with more than enough funds in my account to purchase said membership. Now, I’m nearing age 32 and was raised in such an old-school manner to where that’s the kind of PRIVATE information that you just don’t give out & share unless you are present and making the transaction in retail. I know for a fact there are hundreds of thousands to the millions like me that should be catered to, like they so eagerly supported folks w/ Paypal. So obviously, I call support again to fix this issue, only to get what is THE WORST set of customer service responses I’ve ever received from a support team. EVER.
Basically, the support crony recites that my $15 i just spent can’t be used to purchase Gold membership, which Microsoft never once communicated when they decided to switch from MS points to currency and I was spoken to in such a rude manner that I demanded to speak to his supervisor. After waiting to be connected, The “supervisor” proceeds to feed me a much more aggressive attitude than displayed by his predecessor, pretty much telling me I was screwed rather than understanding my frustrations as a consumer and helping to find a beneficial solution, which, in my 10+ years of retail marketing, including my time as an employee at SONY, taught better of me in relates to customer satisfaction. I challenge Xbox to investigate with their other consumers about their Xbox support practices & see where improvements must be made, both to their customer support model, who they hire to offer assistance & represent them as a company and how to make purchasing Xbox Live membership easier without making the consumer feel like their only option is to compromise otherwise private information.
So after this lengthy rant, it shames me to draw to these conclusions and perhaps my recommendations moving forward to prevent the same heartaches I’ve suffered:
1) DON’T BUY OLDER “MICROSOFT POINTS” CARDS: THEY ARE TRASH, LITERALLY.
If Microsoft knows these older “point cards” are invalid and no longer can be redeemed properly, them MS needs to step up & yank all of these defective points cards off the market or force the retailer to, rather than deceiving the public into thinking they’ve made a worthwhile purchase only to go through the mentioned struggle above. This “currency swap” was only about a year ago, they must know that there’s still a bunch of these cards out in the wild or sitting on retailer shelves.
2) YOUR XBOX LIVE REAL DOLLAR CURRENCY ISN’T GOOD FOR WHAT IS NEEDED MOST: XBOX LIVE ITSELF.
Xbox Live gold membership is THE single most important purchase a gamer can make towards their Xbox. Without it, you can’t play games online, chat with friends or use your pre-paid apps, rendering this “entertainment” console almost useless, because everything requires Gold to function.
And 3) DON’T RELY ON XBOX SUPPORT FOR RELIABLE (or reasonable) HELP NOWADAYS.
More than half the time, they seemingly don’t even know what’s going on. Then, when I asked to speak with the “supervisor”, he began to aggressively argue with me that the card doesn’t state that Xbox Live Gold membership can be purchased with it, which is a dumb & juvenile point to make considering a) The card never states it CAN’T be used for such, which is misleading to the consumer, and b) Microsoft XBOX’s OS currency should be good for ALL purchases on their service – plain & simple. Money is MONEY. The mere tone in which I was spoken in, as I sure others have been treated as of late as well, makes me never want to call for assistance, nor recommend others to it. If this was a face-to-face conversation, let’s just say I personally would not have allowed that person to speak to me in that manner… A message to Microsoft/Xbox: your support center is a mess, fix it.
As a former Sony fanboy & employee, Microsoft did wonders to sway me away from my own beloved house, but with current choices regarding Xbox One, alienating their consumer with products & services they don’t want and forcing non-flexible payment options, on top a continuing series of poor customer service reports, one has to ask: does Microsoft REALLY value and respect their consumers?
Sound off in the comments section below if YOU have had any issues with Xbox support and make YOUR voice heard!!