Xbox Live Account Services
By Bobby Holt
This past week I became one of the unlucky Xbox Live customers to have his account hacked, stolen or allowed “unauthorized access,” as Microsoft likes to call it.
My account of five years, which has been with me through break-ups and hard times, gone through several name changes (the recent being bobby be merkin) is now gone for the foreseeable future. With that goes my credit card information that was linked to the account. The perpetrator which is now transformed into a felon once he or she, but let’s be honest with ourselves, he, used my credit card to purchased $150 worth of Microsoft Points. Luckily, I caught the situation early enough and had my bank settle everything, including the refund for the falsified purchases as well as closing that account and opening a new one. While this caused little harm outside of requiring me to change all of my passwords to pretty much everything and not allowing me to play video games for the past week, it’s still frustrating.
Before I go into the final part of my rant I’d like to clarify a few things. I love my Xbox, I thoroughly enjoy Xbox Live and I’ve never had a problem before this. The rant is not coming from some guy who hates Microsoft, quite the opposite actually. All I wanted to do this week was play Gears of War 3. Yes, I thought about making a new account, however my EA Season Ticket and GoW3 Beta information are also attached to this account. I mean, I had this account for five years, it’s not easy saying good-bye to something you had that long. Anyway, onto customer support.
As soon as I found out my account was stolen, I called Xbox Live’s support number: 1-800-4MY-XBOX. I was directed to some department where I spoke to an extremely nice lady named Tia who was very helpful. Be advised if you have to go through this process you will need your console ID number, credit card number attached to the account and some other console number on the back of the system. Once it was verified that it was me on the phone, they explained that it would take probably about 25 working days to get my account back. That seems like an awful long wait to get something that was rightfully mine back. She then said that I would probably receive a one month token to XBL for my troubles and time lost. Okay, I thought at least I don’t lose the month I paid for.
I was told that I would receive and e-mail within 48 hours saying that they are “investigating” the situation and where we would go from here. 48 hours went by, no dice. I then called them back explaining my situation to another very nice customer representative named Randy. He told me that it usually takes a week and it is an automated e-mail that “for some reason takes a really long time to send out, I don’t really know why.” He also echoed the sentiments that in that e-mail I would receive a one month code.
Today marks day number nine without a single phone call or e-mail updating my situation. Like most gamers going without playing for nine days I was starting to get frustrated by the lack of follow-up. I called again this morning. This time I can’t remember who it was I talked to, but he was the least accommodating out of the three. He told me that all he could tell was that they are looking into my situation and that it will probably take a month before it is all resolved. I mentioned that I was told to expect an e-mail within 48 hours and then within a week. The representative then said it usually is about the halfway mark around two weeks.
At this point I realize that none of them know what is going on and it’s starting to get ridiculous that I’m not only inconvenienced by their lack of security that required getting my account stolen, but also by their lack of understanding or competency. My Xbox Live account is tied to an e-mail address that I only use for XBL, with a password that has 14 characters that is only used on this account. I’m not a child who tells my account information over Xbox Live or would let anyone else use my account. This problem is on their end, not mine. Anyway, I still remain polite and courteous over the phone, because it’s not like he can do anything for me at the moment. A few minutes later, like a typical college graduate worried about the money situation I wanted to verify that I would be receiving a one month XBL card. He then explained that it doesn’t always work that way and that it would be up to the investigation team to deem if I was worthy. If I was deemed worthy? If getting my account stolen and credit card charged with bogus charges isn’t worthy then I honestly don’t know what is. Maybe being a high ranking member of the media (which I’m not) would have helped my case.
Anyway, here I am, two days away from Gears of War 3 without my Xbox Live account. I am trying to hold off as long as possible from breaking down and buying a one month membership since I feel that I shouldn’t have to spend more money on a problem that I didn’t cause. However, the allure of playing games is starting to break me down.
This rant/article was hurried and probably poorly constructed, but right now everything hurts. I just want to be able to cuddle up with my controller and get back to playing games. If you can find it in your hearts to spread this around and show some compassion, I’d greatly appreciate it.