Category Archives: Just me

Why Microsoft is now at the very top of my hate list

Sit back and let me tell you a story of frustration and woe. It is a story of a gamer, his Xbox, (but truth be told, I use my Xbox more for Netflix than anything else these days) and the nightmare that is Microsoft’s support.

It all began back on the morning of March 19, 2011. It was just a typical Saturday morning…or so I thought. It started the same as most other Saturdays as was sitting there drinking my cup of coffee and checking my emails. I had no idea that this was the day that would start my 4 month-long bout of endless frustration with Microsoft.

As I started going through my emails I saw an email from Microsoft that read:

Dear XXXX,

This mail is a confirmation that you have purchased the following items from Microsoft:

Purchase Date

Friday, March 18, 2011

Subtotal of Items: $94.99

Subtotal of credit or fee from subscription conversion: $0.00

Total before Tax: $94.99

Tax: $0.00


Total for this order: $94.99

When I first looked at the email I really thought very little about it. I had a message earlier in the week pop up on my Xbox saying that my account was about to be up for renewal and I clicked the box that said “Yes, I want to autorenew the account”. I know that I thought $95 was a bit much for renewing but I remembered that I had seen information earlier in the year that the amount for an Xbox gold account was going to be increased this year. I thought a $40 increase was a bit much but I can’t say that I was overly surprised.

But then I saw the very next email that said:


 This mail is confirmation that you successfully purchased Xbox Live 6000 Microsoft Points bundle on Friday, March 18, 2011. Please retain a copy of this for your records.

This raised my eyebrows a little. But I still didn’t really balk at this. I honestly couldn’t remember what I was charged when I last renewed my account. Did I get charged for points as well as the account the last time around? Both of these emails were sent at the exact same time in the morning so I was just assuming that these two charges were related. I had stuff to do that morning so I didn’t think much about it and just made a mental note to come back and look into this later.

The very next morning I woke up and started my same morning routine when I found 2 more emails from Microsoft in my inbox:


This mail is confirmation that you successfully purchased Xbox Live 4000 Microsoft Points bundle on Sunday, March 20, 2011. Please retain a copy of this for your records.

The second email was one letting me know that all of the points that were purchased over the last two days were all transferred off of my account onto another one. I am not the brightest guy in the world but even I could figure out that someone had gotten into my account and was running up charges. I had to nip this in the bud quickly.

So I made the first of many calls to Xbox support.

I explained what had transpired over the last couple days and the guy I talked to was very helpful. I was informed that whoever got into my account changed my account to a family account (that was why the account was $40 more than it should be) and then ran up a big bill buying points and transferring them off to another account. He explained to me the process that they would have to go through to get this resolved. The first step would be disabling my account so that nothing else could happen while they investigated. I was told that the account would be disabled until there was a resolution and that this could take up to 10 days. But I was assured that this would most likely be resolved before then. And once the investigation took place I could reactivate my account (after changing passwords, credit cards, etc.).

Sure enough I received an email 9 days later that said that my issue was “received and researched by our fraud investigations team” and that the investigation was now “complete”. The email was a lengthy one explaining all that I needed to do to take control of my account back . There was also this section of the email:

If fraudulent purchases were made from your Xbox LIVE account while the account was not under your control, with an associated credit or debit card, or from your Microsoft Points balance. Such purchase amounts will be refunded. Refunds will be processed within the next 10 business days, but may take up to 30 days more to appear on your billing statement, depending on your financial institution.

So I waited a few days and checked my balance on my card. The initial charge, the $95 charge, had been refunded the same days as the email saying my investigation was complete.

At this point I was happy with how this whole thing was being handled. But this is the last time I had the warm and fuzzies for Microsoft and their support team.

I checked every week for the 30 day period to see if the rest of my money had been refunded. And nothing ever appeared. I was a bit concerned but (as I have worked in Billing and Tech support) I knew that sometimes things just took longer than expected. But just in case I called up Support again.

The guy I talked to wasn’t sure why I hadn’t gotten my refund for those charges back yet but assured me that I was “scheduled for a call back” from their Escalations Team in 2 days time. So I left that call thinking that I would get a call back and that everything would be cool in just a couple of days.

So 5 days passed and I didn’t get a call back. Frustration was starting to set in.

So I called back again. I was pretty much told the same thing, “You are scheduled for a call back in 2 days but there is nothing more we can do for you.” I asked to speak to a supervisor on this call and I was put on hold for about 20 minutes (with the occasional “I am still waiting but we haven’t forgotten about you” pop-ins) before I was finally transferred. The Supervisor was no more help than the first level support. All he could say was that the account was being investigated. I explained that I already received the email saying the investigation was complete but this didn’t seem to register with the guy on the other end of the call. He said that he was taking a “personal interest” in my situation and that he would be monitoring my account. I was assured that someone from the mythical Escalations Team would be calling me back within 72 hours. I tried telling him that I was told that last time I called but he said there was nothing more that he could do and that he could no longer stay on the phone because there were “other customers to help”. I wasn’t very pleased and asked for his name and employee number so that I could complain about the service which I was told he could not give. Even though he started the conversation by giving me his name he could not even give me his first name again now that I wanted to complain. So I hung up pretty pissed…and this was still early May.

When a week passed by and I heard nothing I called back again. This time I just explained to the poor woman from first level support that I didn’t want to talk to her because I knew that she couldn’t help me and I just requested to be escalated to a supervisor right off the bat. This time I explained that it was about to be 3 months since these fraudulent charges appeared and I was getting a bit impatient with this process. She apologized but once again was no help. She gave me the same runaround about how I was scheduled for a callback and that there was nothing she could do for me. This time the Supervisor said that she would apply some Microsoft points to my account for my frustration. I explained that I never use those points and it would be worthless to me but she said that was the only thing she could really do for me. But once again, I was told that she was going to take a “personal interest” in my account and that she was going to be monitoring my account and it nothing happened within 72 hours she would be calling me back. I told her that this “callback” story was starting to get old and that I didn’t believe I was ever going to be either hearing from someone at Microsoft or ever seeing my money returned to me. She assured me, once again, that within 72 hours I would hear from someone.

So a week later I still haven’t heard from anyone. Now I am just to pissed to even deal with them on the phone. So I decided to just wait and see and give them another week. Surely I would see or hear something in just one more week.


So now it is early June and I am into the 3rd month since the charges were made on my account. I stared at my phone for a few minutes before making yet another call as I tried to make sure I calmed myself and didn’t start the call with obscenities. As I sat through all the automated crap at the beginning of the call I could just feel my anger level rising.

This time I just laid into that poor first level support guy. I kept apologizing to him as I was practically yelling because I knew it wasn’t his fault but he was the one I was venting on. Once again I received as much help as if I had just picked up my phone and pretended to make a call into it. This time, when he transferred me to another in an endless stream of supervisors, I got to talk to a woman named Christine. She seemed actually to have a bit of empathy and actually sounded a bit frustrated that this issue had not been resolved. But yet again she explained that I was scheduled for a callback in a few days and that there wasn’t really much she could do. She did try to dig around a bit more than the supervisors I had previously talked to but really didn’t give me any new information. For some reason my account was still being investigated and there was no clear reason for this issue not being resolved. Once again she assured me that she would make sure this was addressed and that she was now taking a blahblah personal interest blah. I just sighed and told her that there was no way I was going to believe that.

Wouldn’t you know it, she did call. She left a lengthy voicemail message to just basically reiterate everything we talked about earlier. There was no new information. There was nothing helpful in the 4 minute voicemail message. The only reason I think the call was even made was to attempt to pacify me so that I could no longer say no one had ever called me back. Unfortunately, her voicemail ended with “someone from escalations will be calling you on the 29th of June”.

Total B#llsh1t.

It is now July 14th. In four days it will be 4 months since those charges were made to my card.

Once again, I called Microsoft’s support line this morning. Once again I have received the same runaround. Once again, guess who is scheduled to call me back tomorrow?

I am just beyond frustrated at this point.

4 months?


How, after all this time, can you not transfer me to anyone that can actually help me?

I am never going to see that money.

I started with the original Xbox and I am now on my third Xbox360 (freakin’ Red Ring of Death). I was a loyal Xbox guy. I was one of those fanboys that would actually argue about how I thought the 360 was the better console with those PS3 guys out there. But now, I don’t play as many games on it and I am pretty much paying an extra $60 a year to watch Netflix.

I won’t be renewing at the end of my Gold Subscription this year.

So thanks for nothing (literally) Microsoft and you have lost a once paying and loyal customer.

Anyone else have something like this happen to them?

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Filed under DC, Just me, Postaday2011, Postaweek2011, Rant


Unbelievable. You, *subject name here,* must be the pride of *subject hometown here.*

This is from some nerd convention, somewhere, and is just full of win!

All Aperture technologies remain safely operational up to 4000 degrees kelvin. Rest assured, that there is absolutely no chance of a dangerous equipment malfunction prior to your victory candescence. Thank you for participating in that Aperture Science Enrichment activity. Goodbye!

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It’s Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

And for only the 16th time since 1887, Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow.  Early Spring is headed our way.

But with a good part of the country being snowed in by the Blizzard…I can’t help but wonder if tomorrow will be Groundhog Day all over again.

But if you make up tomorrow and find that it is Groundhog Day, here are a couple of tips to make sure your day goes well:

  1. Always drink to world peace.
  2. Don’t laugh if the hot chick says she studied 19th Century French Poetry.
  3. It is never too early for flapjacks.
  4. Watch that first step, it’s a doozy.
  5. Don’t drive angry.

"You want a prediction about the weather, you're asking the wrong Phil. I'll give you a winter prediction: It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be grey, and it's gonna last you for the rest of your life. "


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What could get me to go to church?

I am definitely not a church-goer.  There have been times when I have wondered what it would take to get me to attend church on a regular basis.  Maybe if I moved to this town I would do more than lay on the couch and watch football on Sundays.

I bet this town always smells fantastic.

I am so hungry right now.

Time to go have some bacon and maybe look for some job opportunities in Bacontown.

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So Sacrilicious

The Creeper visits The Manger.

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If you plan to “Opt Out” at an Airport tomorrow…

Tomorrow, being the day before Thanksgiving, is historically the busiest travel day of the year.  And this year it appears that traveling on a plane is going to be probably about the worst possible way to travel.  With the new TSA screening procedures that are in place there are a growing number of people in our country that are up in arms about being scanned and/or patted down.  Because these people are upset about this new process they plan on having a National Opt Out Day.

What does this mean for all of you planning to travel tomorrow?  It means that, if there are enough people that actually plan to go through with this, you will either need to get to the airport hours before your flight or plan on having some sort of backup travel plan for when you miss your flight.  You see, the plan is for as many people as possible to refuse being scanned and bog down the TSA officers by making them have to pat down as many people as possible.  Their agenda is to overwhelm and make the entire security process come to a virtual stand still on the busiest travel day of the year.  So for all of the rest of us that have no political agenda and are just trying to get home to visit friends and family for the holidays it sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it?

You know what I really wish?  I wish that every person that “Opts Out” of the scan is moved to a separate area of the airport.  This area, let’s call it the “Holding Pen” will be one that is only manned by one TSA official.  Don’t take the security away from the rest of the passengers that want nothing more than to get home.  And let’s make sure this one official is the one that is always late to work, been written up a few times for subordination, closely resembles the scariest person you can imagine and hasn’t showered or brushed their teeth in weeks.  This way those people that are expecting the TSA officers to be the pervy/scary bastards they are being made out to be all over the news get their heart’s desire.  This way, on Friday, when they finally reach their destination and missed Thanksgiving they can gloat about how right they were.

Meanwhile, the rest of us will quietly go about our business and get to where we were going with as minimal a delay as possible.  While I am on the couch slowly slipping in and out of my food coma between seeing the Lions and Cowboys lose their games I am hoping some of those assholes that Opted-Out are still trying to reach their destination.  Maybe someone will save you a piece of pumpkin pie…I know I wouldn’t.

Oh…I almost forgot…Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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The Boy With The Broken Halo

Danger wrapped in a snug fitting costume.

That is Noah.

My nephew is turning 4 this weekend.  FOUR!  Time is really flying by as that kid and his big brother both grow like weeds.  It is like looking into some fairy tale mirror when I watch this kid play with his toys.  It is really freaky how much he plays like I did at that age.  He has an amazing imagination and had endless hours of conflict and drama with his growing number of action figures.

I have a big Halloween Bash of my own to go to this weekend so I am sorry I can’t make the little guy’s party but I went down to Richmond and had him all to myself for a few hours yesterday.  I really do prefer having him and his brother all to myself and not having to share their attention with all of their other relatives.  We really had a great visit too.

But since I can’t be there to help him celebrate his birthday I put together a little video for him.  Hope he likes it.

Happy Birthday Noah.  Hope you have a great party.

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Romance is in the air…through WIFI.

So it is Friday and you have that special someone coming over to your place tonight to “hang out” on the couch.  Want to add a little romance to your night?  Get that bottle of wine out, set it next to the laptop on the coffee table and follow the steps below for an instant romantic atmosphere:

  1. Set the laptop up so it easily viewable from the comfort of your couch.
  2. Open three tabs on your web browser of choice.
  3. Open this link in the first tab.
  4. Open this link in the second tab.
  5. Open this link in the third tab and then maximize this tab to be full screen.

Don’t blame me if you get laughed at can called a cheeseball though….it isn’t my fault if you choose to follow any of my ridiculous advice.  And hell, it isn’t even really my advice.  I just stole it from here.  Blame this guy!

And if you open these tabs while you are at work and people start to gather around your computer and start making out….you only have yourself to blame.  Consider yourself warned.

Have a good weekend.

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I Write Like…

Don't ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.

“Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior.  You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know.  Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now.  Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles.  You’ll learn from them – if you want to.  Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you.  It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement.  And it isn’t education.  It’s history.  It’s poetry.”  ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I saw that my sister had a badge on her blog from “I Write Like” where you just cut and paste some of your writing and the site will “analyze” your work and tell you who you write like.  I usually don’t give these types of sites even a minute of my time but this one intrigued me.  The fact that the site told me I write like Salinger made me believe that the site is pure genius. 😉

Ever since reading the book in my junior year of high school, The Catcher in the Rye has been at or near the top of my “Favorites” list.  It was the first book that seemed to speak directly to me.  The most influential part of Catcher, for me, was Salinger’s stream of consciousness writing style and how he really captured the thoughts of a crazy teenager.  The way Holden’s thoughts bounced from topic to topic in a haphazard fashion just felt like JD was writing from somewhere inside my own head.   I loved this writing style…until Faulkner (that asshat) killed it for me later.

I hate you William Faulkner.

So, yeah…I can dig being told that my writing is like Salinger.

***EDIT:  I hate that WordPress and badges don’t get along. 😦  No badges for me…but the link above works.

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You will be rewarded handsomely if you find it.

Today’s Plinky topic is to describe something you have lost that you want back. I am sure that I am not alone when I say that the one thing I miss most is my youth. The only problem is that I have no idea where I lost it. One day I just kinda woke up and realized it was gone. Every once in a while I search for it again but I always seem to come up just short. The thing about your youth…it is never where you think you left it so searching where you thought it was never really comes back with the results you were hoping to find.

Sometimes I try searching for it in movies I watched as a kid. It is always fun to go back and watch those movies from the 80s and reminisce. To see those crazy styles from the decade of my teens…those crazy hairstyles (oh yes, I had the mullet), the terrible neon and pastel clothes with the popped collars and the pegged jeans. How the memories flood back as I watch those movies. Just this weekend I watched a classic from the 80s: Fletch. I have seen this movie easily a hundred times and it is definitely one of my favorites. But shortly after watching Fletch I watched an episode of the NBC comedy “Community”. Chevy Chase goes from being the cool hero to being an old man in the matter of hours. And then I just start feeling old again. So searching for my youth in the movies didn’t quite work.

Sometimes I search from my youth in music. The other day I was bouncing through the stations on my car radio when I came across Guns N Roses. I pumped up the volume and was cruising around blasting Paradise City. It wasn’t until the song was over and the bumper for the radio station came on that I realized I was on a classic rock station. At first I kind of chuckled because someone was considering this classic rock. Then I thought about it. Appetite for Destruction came out in 1987. 23 years ago?!? When I was in high school I listened to the classic rock stations all the time and the music on there wasn’t 23 years old. So instead of finding my youth I just felt even older.

Then there are the times I go searching for my youth at a party. Sometimes this is the closest I get to finding it too. After hours of laughing and drinking, chatting and other non-specific tom-foolery I feel like that same kid that was doing this 20 years ago. But then the party ends and I go home. I used to be able to drink for a couple of days straight and still go out rock climbing, playing sports or even just moving from the couch in general. Now it takes my body several days to fully recover from one night of drinking. For example, I drank quite a bit on Sunday (It being the 4th of July and all). It is now Tuesday and, for reason for which I am not totally sure, my body is still and aching mess. My legs hurt, my right shoulder hurts (that one I can probably explain by the 80lb cooler I had to drag around) and for some reason my hips are killing me. I can manage the typical hangover symptoms now to the point where I don’t have the headaches of the nausea but my body just completely rebels on me. The recovery time is just nowhere near where it used to be. So damn it all but I just can’t find my youth there either.

I am now in my late thirties and for the life of me I can’t figure out how I got here. I wish I knew where the time went and how I could get some of it back. If anyone does happen to find my lost youth I would handsomely reward you for it’s return.


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