How To Cancel Xbox LIVE Gold Automatic Renewals

April 1, 2011

By Terry Smiljanich:

The Deceptive Game of Automatic Renewal

Are your children playing too much Xbox LIVE and ignoring their homework? Are they on an automatic renewal program through your credit card? Have you tried to cancel the automatic renewal of the yearly charges by Microsoft and run into a problem? Join the crowd.

Popular Games Suck You In

Although some gamers complain about the fact that Microsoft charges a fee for allowing its Xbox games to be played over the internet with other live players, many still like the features of Xbox. Popular games such as “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” “World of Warcraft,” and “Halo 3” attract millions of players who like the live action feel of playing against friends or strangers. Some games, like Halo 3, can only be played on Xbox consoles. Others can also be played on Playstation or Wii.

“Xbox LIVE Gold” allows the player to do so on Xbox machines for a yearly fee of $49. You can sign up directly on your console or by visiting the Xbox web site. First, however, you are told you have to create a Microsoft.com account and allow automatic charging to your credit card. This is where things start getting tricky.

Cancelling Your Subscription

The problem comes when and if you try to cancel the automatic renewal of your account with Xbox Live. Simple, right? Just click on . . . what exactly? For what should be obvious reasons, Microsoft has made it very, very difficult to figure out how to cancel your subscription. No matter what you try to click to change your account, you keep getting told that you must call a customer service representative to change your account.

Call that number and you will almost certainly hear a pleasant voice tell you that “your call is important to us” and that all lines are currently busy. After waiting and waiting, you are tempted to give up. If you are lucky enough to get through, it will take some doing to get the representative, “Joe” from India, to cooperate and actually cancel your account automatic renewal. Sometimes, even when you are told it has been accomplished, you will find that your next renewal will be made anyway, despite your instructions.

The problem got bad enough for some customers that they even turned to class action lawsuits to complain about the practice.

We all understand that Microsoft loves being able to automatically hit your credit card on a periodic basis, but does it have to be quite so devious as to throw petty little hurdles in your path? Why can’t there be a simple self-intuitive way to cancel the automatic renewal?

Two Ways to Cancel Your Subscription

There are two ways to do this that each avoid having to deal with call waiting and “Joe” in customer service. Instead of dealing directly with Microsoft, call your credit card company. If your account has been charged against your wishes, the credit card company will put the amount “in dispute.” You will probably then get a notice of a credit to your account for the disallowed charge. Whether your account has been renewed or not, you can and should tell your credit card company to disallow any further charges on the account by Microsoft. That will stop such unwanted charges dead cold.

Guess what happens next? You’ll get a friendly email from Xbox saying it is having trouble renewing your account and to please contact the company. You should tell Xbox that its message is important to you, but you can’t get back to it just yet.

Another way has apparently been figured out by someone who has been through the same problem. By clicking through somewhat complicated options on the Xbox site, there might be a way to accomplish this without resorting to a call to your credit card company. You can try to follow the instructions given in a You Tube video, but we haven’t tried it and can’t vouch for its success.

Now if we could just do something about getting in touch with customer service representatives at your credit card company!