Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Club Live scam...

I'm not even sure how to post this one up, I'm so angry right now. Back in July I was surfing around and found out about Microsoft's "Club Live" offering, where you could play word puzzles and win tickets that can be used to "purchase" Microsoft products, including copies of Vista, a Zune or maybe even a xbox360!

Needless to say, I was excited. I already had my sites on a 360, and this was a great way to "earn" one without plunking down what was then almost $400 for the pro set, plus this came with a few games. My wife and I both were playing, so our household would only use one account (and follow the EULA), and we were working towards the goal of getting a 360. Christy spent more time than me working on it, actually; she figured she's get it for me as a Birthday present. She was 10 times faster than me playing the games, and she really liked the word puzzles in general.

Fast forward to mid-August. We've gone through all the puzzles on the games we liked to play, everything else was just not fun for us to play. I also started evaluating the value of the packages, and came to the realization that I really wanted the 360 elite, with it's 120gig drive, instead of the pro. So I settled on getting a wireless controller and a few games from the reward list. Figured, "at least I got something worthwhile and enjoyable from my time"; all good. The order status says it takes 30-60 days to review the order and fulfill it, and I get a confirmation that my order should ship on Oct 12. Fine, Fine.. I can wait.

Slow motion to November. No fulfillment; no emails; nothing. I email support for a status, in return I receive an auto-responder with answers to "frequently asked questions"; I sent a response (as the email states I should), and receive no responses from my queries. Re-check the information, and I guess in September they started saying it would be 120 days to get prizes. 120 days is mid-November, only a few weeks away. Already have my 360, looking forward to the 2nd controller; figure I can wait.

All but stop until Monday. Original date and 120-day period that is now mentioned in the T&C long gone. Decided to send an email over to CNET, since they cover all sorts of things Microsoft related. Got a great response from Elinor Mills, saying that the Microsoft PR contact she had would like my account name so he can have someone research it. Good, good.. maybe finally I'll get somewhere with this order.

Leap up to today. I get an email at 12:30am today saying they are reviewing my order with fulfillment to see what the status is. Good, good. Then this afternoon I get the following email -

"Dear Live Search Club Participant:

Thank you for your patience while our Technical Support Team has further reviewed and re-evaluated the game play history on your account. Upon review of your account, it appears that a number of the games played meet our criteria of unfair game play and violates our terms and conditions (http://club.live.com/TermsAndConditions.htm) resulting in a cancellation of your order.

Best Regards,

Live Search Club Customer Support"
Now, the terms and conditions they speak of state -
"You must comply with the Terms and Rules, as determined by Microsoft, to receive a Ticket or Reward. You must not use any bot, cheat code or other automated way to do an Activity or participate in the Program. You may not use more than one user account to avoid caps or other restrictions on Activities and Tickets you can earn."
Best I can figure, I broke it because both Christy and I played on the same account. But, if we played on our own accounts we would have broken the "You may not use more than one user account" clause, since we are in the same household.

This smells, sounds and acts like a scam to me. The way the T&C is written it's clear they can just cancel all the orders done, because if you play the games "too fast", you must be cheating. If you have folks in your "Household" play on one account, you are cheating. If you each have your own account, you are "cheating".

All of this over 3 xbox360 games and a wireless controller. I'm very disappointed in Microsoft, and how they are handling this service. 180 days with no way for the customer to be in contact with them, and then claim they are cheating. No way to spin around this; it really makes me question Microsoft's ethics.

The sad thing is, I love my 360... but if I had gotten this treatment before I got the 360, I wouldn't have bought one. Makes me really question all future Microsoft products, too.

1 comment:

GoldMedalModerator said...

Brian,

I'm in a similar situation myself... although I would at this point just love to receive correspondence from Microsoft. At least you got that much! To this date I have not heard from them. I'd like to find a phone number so I can try to speak with someone about it.

I played the games with my sights set on the Zune (20000 pts) and after about three months of at least an hour of game play a day (and many days of "no games to play"), I was able to order it 9/30/2007 with my points. I received a confirmation email stating the est. ship date would be 11/24/2007. However, it is now nearly February and after three attempts to contact Microsoft, I am still in the dark....

Needless to say, I am very dissappointed. It's a clever way to drive web traffic to live.com, but it's a terrible shame if they are not willing to fulfill their end of the bargain with prizes, that will ultimately end up costing them more. I've long been a Microsoft fan, but if I cannot resolve this, I am not going to be supporting Microsoft and their products and services any further.

Thanks for letting me share.
Bill