I need to turn off auto-renew on my Xbox Live account every time I renew. I don’t make a lot of money writing for a living, and in the priorities of life, Xbox Live is somewhere in the middle. Well, the top half. Either way, I don’t want Microsoft charging my credit card for a renewal when I’m not ready. I don’t play Gold every day, and even if I did, I can go without a couple of weeks if I need to, in case I need to buy bread. Or cereal. Or underwear.
I did finally reup my account to Gold status recently and, with the new and “improved” Xbox.com, I could not find the option to turn off my account auto-renewal. After some mucking through the help files, I finally found the following sentence:
To cancel your Xbox LIVE membership or to change your auto renewal status, please call Xbox Support.
What the hey?
So I did. I called Xbox support. The first girl I spoke to was very helpful. She explained to me that there was some talk of adding it back to the website, but for now, it was off the table. She verified all my info, my gamertag, my email. Then… she told me she had to transfer me to an “escalation specialist.”
I waited for five minutes.
Then “Chris” got on the phone. (I say “Chris” because his accent made me doubt the validity of his name.) He told me that he needed to verify my information again. I HATE giving information AGAIN to customer support desks. He had to verify even more than the first girl, however. I had to give him my full name, address on the account, the phone number, and the last four of the credit card. Then he had to ask me questions like “Why do you want to turn off your auto-renewal?” (To which I answered, “Why do I have to have it on?”)
So all in all, a 13 minute phone call was required to turn off my auto-renewal. And, as “Chris” so pleasantly told me, I will need to call in every time I renew my account to turn it off again, as it automatically turns back on, and there’s no way to stop that from happening.