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[UPDATEx3] Microsoft Vs. immigration: Nobody can help.

Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time LordsNorth Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
edited February 2008 in Games and Technology
UPDATED ON FEBRUARY 21ST

Major Nelson emailed me to let me know that nothing can currently be done. When I asked about some form of compensation, he chose instead to ignore the email. This, coupled with the emails and XBL messages I have received from various people, have convinced me to set up Xbox Strife, a site to catalog and report problems people are having with their Xbox Live accounts and their interactions with Xbox Customer Support.

The site has just launched, but I will be adding more information shortly.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I moved from the UK to the US back at the end of June, and made the rather idiotic assumption that I would be able to use my Xbox Live account in the US without any problems. I was, of course, Horribly Wrong.

Firstly, I can't pay for my account using my US bank account details. Inconvenient, I thought, but I can buy membership cards instead. it turns out that each region uses a different algorithm, or whatever, to generate their Membership Card numbers, meaning I bought a card I couldn't use. So I called the Xbox Live Customer Support line to see if I could perhaps get my account migrated over so I could enter my new US bank details.

This was a mistake.

They told me that they couldn't migrate my account, but they did offer these three solid gold solutions:
  1. Import membership cards from Amazon.co.uk, ignoring the fact that the price of a Gold Membership in the UK is approximately $80, plus shipping.
  2. Ask a friend or relative in the UK to pay for my membership for me. Again, this still works out more expensive, and if nothing else is pretty bloody cheeky.
  3. Go back to England.
I've been told by two advisers to go back to England. Offensive? Maybe. Hilarious? Definitely. I expressed my anger - politely, of course, as I used to work in a call center myself - and for my troubles I was hung up on. Three times. This does not a happy Squirminator make.

So I started to email Customer Support instead. I explained my problem carefully and politely, and I also expressed the problems I'd had with the Customer Support phone line. They quite obviously read every word in my emails carefully and with due consideration before sending me the following advice:
Please call our Xbox Customer Support at 1-800-4MYXBOX (1-800-469-9269) at your earliest convenience, and we’ll be happy to help you. We are open everyday from 8am to 12mn US Central Time

Was this their grand scheme? To keep me in some kind of circle-jerk going back and forth between email and phone, getting angrier and angrier until my head explodes and they don't have to speak to me anymore? No, it turns out, because after I sent this email:
I wrote:
People of the Xbox Customer Support email-reading team, please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to the future of you all.

You seem to be somewhat missing the point of these emails - I have called and spoken to Xbox Customer Support concerning this issue numerous times. Lots of times. Lots and lots of times. If I had $1 for every minute I had spent on the phone with Xbox Customer Support I would have a good few hundred dollars. You do seem to be rather missing the point, I feel. Calling Customer Support has so far got me no further on this issue, but has resulted in me being told to "Go back to England" twice. I didn't find this statement offensive before, but I could find it very offensive for the media.

You may notice I've CC'd a couple of people in on this email. Just drawing this to your attention.

Now, please do me a favour: Read this email. Read it from the very bottom right the way to the top. All the way. Every word. Please do this before you rush to click the "Reply" button to send me the very useful advice of "Please call our Xbox Customer Support at 1-800-4MYXBOX (1-800-469-9269) at your earliest convenience" because I've been told to do this before, I've done it, and I've been verbally abused, hung up on, and so on. I hate to tow the Discrimination line here, but this is discriminatory against me as an immigrant and I want something done about it.

Please.

Seasons greetings and the like,
~Ben Paddon

...I was sent this email:
his is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

[email protected]om

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 16): 550 5.7.1 <Your e-mail was rejected by an anti-spam content filter on gateway (205.248.106.32). Reasons for rejection may be: obscene language, graphics, or spam-like characteristics. Removing these may let the e-mail through the filter.>

So either they find the word "discriminatory" offensive, or they've had enough of me and blacklisted my email address. Either way, this doesn't bode well. I've forwarded my correspondence to a couple of gaming media websites, but where can I go from here? What, if anything, can I do?

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Posts

  • YodaTunaYodaTuna Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Microsoft is super stingy with gamertags. My old gamertag was just "YodaTuna" and when I tried to recover it, I had all the information required except for the original credit card I paid with because it had expired like 2 years earlier. Microsoft would not budge.

    It's stupid.

    YodaTuna on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    It is stupid. I'd just set up a new account, but if I did that I'd instantly lose all of the Live Arcade games and game content I've bought using this tag (msot of it was purchased on my 360 in the UK), and I refuse to give them money again for games and expansions I already own.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • LewiePLewieP Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    This is why companies shouldn't be allowed to be so big/powerful that they can get away with just ingoring the law, citing 'policy' as reason.

    Has no one at Microsoft even seen Brazil.

    LewieP on
  • werehippywerehippy Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    There is hope. I refer you to the consumerist's guide to complaining and getting things fixed. Of special note is the executive contact information at the bottom.

    Good luck.

    werehippy on
  • The_ScarabThe_Scarab Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    This is what you get for leaving the glorious country of England for that hellhole.

    You deserve it!







    But seriously: What you need to do I think is either keep harrassing customer support until you get someone who isnt a douche/idiot. Only deal with them on the phone too. Email is dismissed in 2 seconds. A phone call engages them more.

    Or just get a new US gamertag. I know you shouldnt have to but well, you might find after all this effort and complaining that it is impossible to get what you want because of policy/infrastructure of XBL.

    The_Scarab on
    scarab you have mental problems
  • OronisOronis Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Sounds like a job for the BBB

    Oronis on
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  • gilraingilrain Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Keep trying to get it as a story, or even a small blurb, on a gaming news site. Also, maybe try emailing actual individuals' addresses, at Microsoft. Maybe Major Nelson?

    gilrain on
  • FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    866-506-3826

    you will need a ticket number to get by the computer that picks up but the person that eventually answers is far better equipped at helping with hard problems

    FaceballMcDougal on
    xbl/psn/steam: jabbertrack
  • AlienCowThatMoosAlienCowThatMoos Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Microsoft is super stingy with gamertags. My old gamertag was just "YodaTuna" and when I tried to recover it, I had all the information required except for the original credit card I paid with because it had expired like 2 years earlier. Microsoft would not budge.

    It's stupid.

    If it helps, you probably couldn't have that name even if you remembered the credit card number. If MS has closed that account then no one, not even you, can ever use YodaTuna ever again. Same thing happened to me. I weep for the untold thousands of gamertags lost to the 48 hour freebee cards of the original xbox's run.

    AlienCowThatMoos on
    SpidermanSig.jpg
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    866-506-3826

    you will need a ticket number to get by the computer that picks up but the person that eventually answers is far better equipped at helping with hard problems

    Before I dial it, where does this number actually go? (By which I mean, 'Who is it for?" and not "What do I do with this number, duh, I don't know how a phone works.")

    Squirminator2k on
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  • BrandonLiveBrandonLive Registered User
    edited December 2007
    Can you ask for tier 2 customer service? Sounds like you're getting some pretty inept customer service people, for which I feel your pain and am very disappointed about. I'm also not sure if it's possible to "migrate" your account (have you tried migrating it to a US-based Passport account?) - but if it surely isn't, they should have told you that and let that be the end of it.

    I wonder a lot about the "go back to England" comment... was it said in jest?

    BrandonLive on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Can you ask for tier 2 customer service? Sounds like you're getting some pretty inept customer service people, for which I feel your pain and am very disappointed about. I'm also not sure if it's possible to "migrate" your account (have you tried migrating it to a US-based Passport account?) - but if it surely isn't, they should have told you that and let that be the end of it.

    I wonder a lot about the "go back to England" comment... was it said in jest?

    Around half of the calls I've made where I've asked to speak to a Supervisor lead to the adviser either hanging up on me or scheduling a call back which never happens.

    And the comment might have been said in jest. The second person who said it added, "I don't know, it depends on how happy you are in America. Are you happy there?"

    Squirminator2k on
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  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Jesus that's just ignorant. I can't see how it would be hard for them to change it from UK to US. Honestly. I'm sure it's just some code that pops up, and says: "Region - 2 - UK" and they can swap that to Region - 1 - US.

    urahonky on
  • FaceballMcDougalFaceballMcDougal Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    866-506-3826

    you will need a ticket number to get by the computer that picks up but the person that eventually answers is far better equipped at helping with hard problems

    Before I dial it, where does this number actually go? (By which I mean, 'Who is it for?" and not "What do I do with this number, duh, I don't know how a phone works.")

    It's a number that will connect you with an escalation department. Basically this is the number they give people as a "you can call back at:" if you get escalated.

    The loophole is that (at least a few months ago) you could call it as long as you got a ticket number from the regular unhelpful people at 8004myxbox because it the computer that answers immediately asks you for a ticket number in hopes it can connect you to the last person you talked to.

    Also... the people on the other end are in the US, and speak English.

    edit: when I called I kinda played dumb... and said it was a number I was given by my wife who tried to solve the issue but got escalated but didn't have all the right information... sure it's a lie... but IMO it's completely fair play when dealing with large companies and CS

    FaceballMcDougal on
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  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I'll try it otu at lunch. Cheers for that, Jabs.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • wunderbarwunderbar What Have I Done? Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    this is actually similar to something I'm about to go through. I created an Live account when I bought Halo 2 for PC(before my days of owning an Xbox) And it is a US account, when I live in Canada. I want to switch it to a Canadian Account without loosing my gamertag, becuase I really want to keep my gamertag. It's nice to know that i'll have a lot of problems trying to do this :S I guess I'll get on the phone tomorrow and pray :P

    wunderbar on
    XBL: thewunderbar PSN: thewunderbar NNID: thewunderbar Steam: wunderbar87 Twitter: wunderbar
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    YodaTuna wrote: »
    Microsoft is super stingy with gamertags. My old gamertag was just "YodaTuna" and when I tried to recover it, I had all the information required except for the original credit card I paid with because it had expired like 2 years earlier. Microsoft would not budge.

    It's stupid.

    Hm, when I migrated my XBL account from the oxbox to the 360, I didnt have my credit card info and the call support helped me out with no troubles. I guess it's just a matter of getting the right person.

    OP: Have you tried asking for a manager or supervisor?

    EDIT: Oh, guess you have. Man, i'd have been steaming by that point.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I was speaking to someone in Tech Support who said he can help me. He said he'd put me on hold briefly. That was ten minutes ago - I'm still holding. Microsoft are really, really starting to get on my nadgers.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Twenty minutes ago.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • urahonkyurahonky Dayton, OHRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Tell them to go fuck themselves at the end, because that's ridiculous.

    urahonky on
  • TheSonicRetardTheSonicRetard Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Twenty minutes ago.

    I must be the luckiest man on earth, I've yet to have a problem with MS' tech support.

    Reading this topic makes me angry for you.

    TheSonicRetard on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Twenty-five. I've hung up now. This is really getting beyond a joke.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I need to know the best course of action from here, really. Do I call them again? Do I give Steve Balmer's PA a call? Do I charge into their LA building wielding an axe and go "Argh"?

    Squirminator2k on
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  • Houk the NamebringerHouk the Namebringer Nipples The EchidnaRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Man. That really sucks. I cancelled my old Live account like 2 years ago. Then last December they charged me for it again. So I had to call and explain how I had cancelled it before, and how I really needed them not to charge me for it. Then I get CC statement this month and guess what? They charged me again! Hooray! Still gotta call them about that. Again.

    Houk the Namebringer on
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I need to know the best course of action from here, really. Do I call them again? Do I give Steve Balmer's PA a call? Do I charge into their LA building wielding an axe and go "Argh"?[

    Only with the proviso that you wear your kilt and dye your hair red first. Bonus points for getting some bagpipes in there somewhere.

    subedii on
  • scootchscootch Registered User
    edited December 2007
    They charged me without sending me a renewal notice, I didn't know it was up for renewal.. called them, got the charge reversed and canceled the live account with zero problems. after reading this, I think I lucked out.

    scootch on
    TF2 stats
    PSN: super_emu
    Xbox360 Gamertag: Emuchop
  • Roland of GileadRoland of Gilead Registered User
    edited December 2007
    I would call the escalation number again and ask for a supervisor. Be calm and rational but do not take no for an answer.

    Roland of Gilead on
    Barneysig.jpg
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    subedii wrote: »
    I need to know the best course of action from here, really. Do I call them again? Do I give Steve Balmer's PA a call? Do I charge into their LA building wielding an axe and go "Argh"?[

    Only with the proviso that you wear your kilt and dye your hair red first. Bonus points for getting some bagpipes in there somewhere.

    Ah, here at least I have a headstart.
    I would call the escalation number again and ask for a supervisor. Be calm and rational but do not take no for an answer.
    I think I'll have to.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • Roland of GileadRoland of Gilead Registered User
    edited December 2007
    I have friends on the inside of customer service. I'm trying to see what I can do about getting you a better number to call.

    Roland of Gilead on
    Barneysig.jpg
  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    subedii wrote: »
    I need to know the best course of action from here, really. Do I call them again? Do I give Steve Balmer's PA a call? Do I charge into their LA building wielding an axe and go "Argh"?[

    Only with the proviso that you wear your kilt and dye your hair red first. Bonus points for getting some bagpipes in there somewhere.

    Ah, here at least I have a headstart.

    Awesome. I lolled.

    subedii on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    I have friends on the inside of customer service. I'm trying to see what I can do about getting you a better number to call.

    It would be jes' peachy-keen if you could.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • LemmyLemmy Registered User
    edited December 2007
    It is stupid. I'd just set up a new account, but if I did that I'd instantly lose all of the Live Arcade games and game content I've bought using this tag (msot of it was purchased on my 360 in the UK), and I refuse to give them money again for games and expansions I already own.

    Are you sure this is true? When I first set up my 360, I just used my first name as my gamertag as I didn't have an internet connection. When I did get one, obviously that gamertag was used on Xbox Live, so I just made up a new one that wasn't taken, and I thought I would lose all my saves and achievements.

    However, I can access games and content that I've downloaded with my new gamertags on my original gamertag no problems, so long as I am using the same 360.

    Might be worth looking into, if this was your only stumbling block.

    Lemmy on
  • scootchscootch Registered User
    edited December 2007
    yah, but if he ever wants to get a new 360 won't he'll be shit out of luck without the original account?

    scootch on
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  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    At some point, I'd just go ahead and follow through on those media threats, because you're clearly getting nowhere in the conventional manner.

    Or if you elect to continue, get a tape recorder. Some states- I don't know if California is among them- have laws that say you don't have to get the other side's consent to tape a call. If it's kosher, do it next call, and every call from here on in. Build a case, then present it to your favorite media outlet. (Obviously, if Microsoft relents, all this is moot.) Just keep hammering and keep turning up the pressure.

    EDIT: Okay, go with Roland's suggestion first. But I'd still keep the tape recorder handy just in case THAT place tells you to go back to England too.

    Gosling on
    I have a new soccer blog The Minnow Tank. Reading it psychically kicks Sepp Blatter in the bean bag.
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Lemmy wrote: »
    It is stupid. I'd just set up a new account, but if I did that I'd instantly lose all of the Live Arcade games and game content I've bought using this tag (msot of it was purchased on my 360 in the UK), and I refuse to give them money again for games and expansions I already own.

    Are you sure this is true? When I first set up my 360, I just used my first name as my gamertag as I didn't have an internet connection. When I did get one, obviously that gamertag was used on Xbox Live, so I just made up a new one that wasn't taken, and I thought I would lose all my saves and achievements.

    When I was in the UK, I had a 360. That went to my brother when I left the UK, and I bought a new once once I arrived in the US. I had to re-download all of my Marketplace and XBL purchases, and people who want to play those games have to use my Gamertag to do it.

    Even so, the main problem here is that I can't update my payment details with my US billing address and card details, because when it asks for a "region" it only offers me England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Now, I will admit my world geography is not perfect, I'm fairly confident that these regions are not located anywhere within the US.

    I'm getting really fed up of this situation.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • subediisubedii Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Even so, the main problem here is that I can't update my payment details with my US billing address and card details, because when it asks for a "region" it only offers me England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Now, I will admit my world geography is not perfect, I'm fairly confident that these regions are not located anywhere within the US.

    We're the 51'st state. Just below Wyoming.

    subedii on
  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    subedii wrote: »
    Even so, the main problem here is that I can't update my payment details with my US billing address and card details, because when it asks for a "region" it only offers me England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Now, I will admit my world geography is not perfect, I'm fairly confident that these regions are not located anywhere within the US.

    We're the 51'st state. Just below Wyoming.

    If only - would've made immigration a lot easier and much, much less expensive.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • Squirminator2kSquirminator2k Toys, ports, and Time Lords North Hollywood, CARegistered User regular
    edited December 2007
    mtvcdm wrote: »
    Or if you elect to continue, get a tape recorder. Some states- I don't know if California is among them- have laws that say you don't have to get the other side's consent to tape a call. If it's kosher, do it next call, and every call from here on in. Build a case, then present it to your favorite media outlet. (Obviously, if Microsoft relents, all this is moot.) Just keep hammering and keep turning up the pressure.

    As Skype apparently lets you call toll-free numbers without charge, and as I use a program called PowerGrammo to recall my Skype calls for Podcasts, I think this shall be a very, very easy thing to accomplish indeed.

    Squirminator2k on
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  • LemmyLemmy Registered User
    edited December 2007
    I thought you still had the UK 360, sorry.

    Lemmy on
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited December 2007
    Call Soap McTavish. Clean those motherfuckers up.

    Cantido on
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