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I don’t want to go off on a rant here…., posted by Derek


I created an XBL account for my daughter, so that she can play Minecraft in an online game.

I get an email to her address saying that we have to verify the account (perfectly fine) by an adult.

Click it, and get taken to MSN (MSN? That’s your interface? Really?). Where it has two options – “Get your parent” or “ask by email.” Note that I’ll later find out that the “Ask by email” link doesn’t even work – it goes to a dead page.

Choosing ask a parent gives a confirm or deny link. I click confirm, and it asks me to sign in my account (fine, no worries).

Then I sign in, and it says it wants to verify me as an adult. And to do that, I see this:

“To verify that you’re an adult, you must provide a valid credit card number. A credit card is the only method of age verification we accept.

We’ll charge your credit card $0.50 (50 cents) and a portion will be donated to charity.”

Keep in mind, this is on my SSG Wookiee account. Which I’ve had for years, charged things to repeatedly, and, within the past two weeks, have used to purchase XBL points. This is not a new account. This is not some random account. This is my main account, which has a boatload of history. Just on the first page, I can see over $100 in charges on SSG Wookiee. And yet somehow Microsoft 1. Can’t use that history and 2. Can’t just do a hold and release, it wants to actually charge me $.50, and then donate a “portion” to charity.

I realize that it’s not even a dollar. But I don’t care. I don’t need to be paying Microsoft (oh, sorry, giving to some random charity they won’t identify) to allow me to verify I’m an adult to create a new account on MS.

And MS support confirms, by telling me “Heather B: Because you are creating a new account for a child my friend. That does not count, as verifying that you are an adult. The $.50 goes to a charity when you add your card to her account as a one time charge. That page that you are on explains that to you.”

Also, nice use of “My friend” there. Way to build rapport.

Also, note the “Add your card to her account.” Aka “Register your card as a payment option on her account” rather than just “Use it to verify.”

And the response? Heather B: You can make her a new account using an adult date of birth, and use prepaid codes for subscriptions and points if you do not want to add your card to her account.”

I’m being somewhat of an ass to the person in chat support, which I try to never do.

However, their total lack of empathy or understanding, and use of pure scripted responses which are “do what we say, or screw off” isn’t helping the situation.

And I get this back:

“Heather B: The two accounts are not related and one has nothing to do with the other. So you can put her date of birth at 18 or older, and bypass the parental controls and the $.50 charge. Or you can put in the correct date of birth and the money will go to a charity.”

So MS has just flat out told me to lie about her age. If this happened at my company, I would be in someone’s office 10 minutes later explaining how policies which make long term members feel valueless, along with *encouraging* a customer to lie, is a Bad Idea(tm).

I try not to jump on the “I hate big corporations” and “MS is full of greedy stupid bastards” bandwagons, but this is offensive to me, personally and professionally.

Ah well. Time to lie about her age and delete her account.