1. Xbox Live Support: Epic Fail Part 2 + 3

Xbox Live Support: Epic Fail Part 2 + 3

EPISODE 2: Dial Harder

Day 7...

I wake up in the morning and life is good. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, I’ve got some serious morning wood (for the new fireplace I just had installed in the bedroom) - and better still, I can now download a metric shit tonne of Xbox LIVE Arcade games.

Like a hyperactive child on red cordial I leap out of bed, run over to my 360, fire it up, and enter my 3000 point card code.

It is at this point that I cop a hefty kick in the love spuds - courtesy of Microsoft.

QUOTH THE XBOX, “Can’t retrieve information from Xbox LIVE. Please try again later. Status code: 80169d94”.

QUOTH THE ADAM, “You *&%@$#*@^ sack of %$#@!!!!!”.

9:05 am – I call my homies at Xbox LIVE customer support and get slapped on hold.

*Two minutes pass…*

9:07 am - Leo answers

9:08 am - Rather than waste time explaining things, I give Leo the reference number of the last call. He excuses himself and takes two minutes to read the file and bring himself up to speed on the situation.

As he does this he uses the following choice phrases; ‘hmmmm’…’okayyyy’….’mm-hmmm’, ‘just checking the info, sir’…’okaaaaay’, ‘yeee-ahhh’ ‘alriiight’

Satisfactorily up to date, he returns to me and says “Well, it looks like your account is still locked”. In addition to this he tells me that the situation has been ‘escalated’ to the ‘front management department’ (a department so elite; they make the tip of the spear look like the arse end of a broom handle). Furthermore Leo tells me that any additional details regarding to the matter are being kept strictly confidential ‘for my protection’.

Sensing the end of the conversation fast approaching, I decide to level with Leo. I tell him that I’m a video games columnist who is currently writing for some nationally published magazines and some gaming websites.

This information is important to him because I’m trying to redeem this 3000 point card to write up some reviews of their Xbox LIVE Arcade games (I had plans to do it) – but after this whole experience I’m leaning towards a feature article entitled ‘Is the Xbox LIVE service convenient, or just a pain in the arse?’.

Without being rude, I remind him that it has now been 7 days, 21 hours, and 8 minutes since I tried to use Microsoft’s online service - to no effect. I ask him, ‘just out of curiosity sake - for both myself and the readers who’ll be following this article’, how much longer the situation will take to fix.

Leo says that he’ll find out for me, but first he needs to verify my credit card, phone number, (whether I like coke or pepsi) and my mailing address. He also has to confirm my Xbox LIVE tag - and, to his credit, he manages to stifle a chuckle when I tell him that ‘his mum’s awesome’. (YermumsAWESOME).

Leo keeps it together and tells me that he has to go and research my account on another PC. He courteously asks if it’s okay to put me on hold.

Even though it isn’t fine to get put on hold - and I’d jam a screwdriver into my ear rather than suffer their Halo hold music - I politely tell him that “its fine by me, I’ll wait as long as it needs to take.” Being a jerk never got nobody anywhere, after all.

9:13 am – I’m put on hold. Note to self: the next time we play Halo, mute the volume...

*Ten minutes tick past…*

9:23 am – Leo’s back, and according to him I’m being emasculated… sorry, Freudian slip there… I’m being escalated with the billing department – due to suspected fraud. He can also see that it is being ‘processed’ at this very moment.

Leo says that they need some more time until the issue is resolved. But he says that he is putting notes on everything to bring it to the attention of the ‘higher-ups’. He apologises once again for the inconvenience

“OK Leo, but how long will this take, can you tell me that? This review feature hinges on whether I’m able to redeem this card.” I ask him.

Leo taps away on his keyboard and then informs me that customers support is locked out from any further information at this point. According to him, it is now with the billing department and he is similarly “locked out for my protection”.

While it’s ‘super nice’ to be ‘protected’, realistically it is just a waste of time. I ask him if he can transfer this call to their billing department so that I can have a chinwag with them.

Leo can’t do that – customer support has no connection to the billing department whatsoever. I imagine a pristine white billing department run in total vacuum by a crack squad of bubble boys – with no phones.

Leo reassures me that he is putting the necessary notes on my file to attention it to the proper people (i.e. bubble boy automatons) in the billing department. This way their admin personnel will prioritise it and get it sorted out much quicker. I give an involuntary twitch at the word ‘quicker’… it seems like a term I once knew, in a past life perhaps.

With regards to me being in a position to write about their Xbox LIVE arcade products, Leo says that “We do appreciate your comments.”

I ask Leo how long it’ll be until I can redeem this card and get started on my feature. Leo says the account will be unlocked in three days time.

He sounds pretty damn confident on that last point. Shrugging my shoulders, I thank Leo for his help…

9:28 am - Call ends

Stand tot nu toe:

Call duration: 23 minutes

Time spent on hold: 12 minutes (52% of call)

Call duration Time to date: 1 hour, 3 minutes

Time spent on hold to date: 52 minutes (82.5% of total call time)

Time to Microsoft Points: 7 days, 21 hours, 28 minutes – and counting…

EPISODE 2: Attack of the Supervisor

Day 7....

I wake up to the sound of an early morning thunderstorm and with a groan I remember that this is the day I have to try to redeem my Microsoft code, again, for the millionth time. Sleepily rolling over I glance towards the alarm clock and immediately see the Xbox 360 staring intently at me from the living room down the hall.

Freakishly, it is already turned on. The angry green power ring winks at me with evil intent through the semi-darkness. This is especially odd because I haven’t played the little bastard in at least a week.

The logical part of me quickly deduces that he is only powered on because my pet cat (Mister Meowgi) has parked his sizeable fuzzy arse onto the 360 controller, thereby powering up the console overnight – but another, more primal part of me insists that the hideous white brick has been secretly nurturing itself on my frustration and has finally achieved malevolent sentience.

As if to prove the point Mr Xbox loads up the demo section of the Bourne Conspiracy disc sitting inside its twisted innards – and the resulting disc access sounds eerily like chortling, maniacal laughter.

Today is the day I try to redeem my points card again. I know it. He knows it.

Striking first, I leap out of bed, wrest the controller out from under my shit-scared cat, and enter my code.

QUOTH THE XBOX, “Can’t retrieve information from Xbox LIVE. Please try again later. Status code: 80169d94”.

Quoth the me, “&#^% you! You sack of %$#*!”

9:00 a.m. – I hit the speed dial for Microsoft Xbox LIVE support (it is now number ‘1’ on my speed list, having overtaken ‘Fire’, ‘Police’, ‘Pizza Hut’, and ‘The Drunk MILF Partyline’)

9:01 a.m. – I punch in the required menu numbers (punch in the traditional usage of the word) and I’m slapped on hold

*One minute passes*

9:02 a.m. - Karen answers

Despite my seething rage I realize that the spritely Karen isn’t the source of the evil that now pervades my gaming system, and I calmly explain my tale of woe to her.

We go through the usual motions after this, she asks me my gamertag (‘YermumsAWESOME’ for those of you just joining us) and we check a whole host of other info like my address, my email address (YermumsfreakinAWESOME at windows live dotcom), my phone number, my hair colour, whether I’m wearing glasses, whether I am wearing a hat, etc, etc.

Karen matches all this info up on her computer version of ‘Guess Who?’ (haha, dat is een goeie :P) and determines that I am who I say I am. She then tells me that she has to check something on another system (I imagine she has to feed this new information into a computerized version of Hungry, Hungry Hippos) and politely excuses herself.

9:05 a.m. - I am banished the magical land of ‘Hold’ where Halo theme music is all you will ever hear. Damn you, Bungie sound department.

*Five minutes tick past. Mister Meowgi stalks into the room and lives up to his namesake by catching a fly that was winging about. While I am suitably impressed, I scold him for using his paws to do it and not the special cat chopsticks I made for him.*

9: 10 a.m – Karen is back and she tells me that my account is still locked.

Confused, I quickly retell her the conversation I had with the last guy (Leo) and I make sure to mention his promise that this problem would be fixed by now.

Karen tells me that she can see that he has made notes in the documentation (so he did do something, at least) and he has put in a request to unlock my shit pronto (my words, not hers).

I ask her how the unlocking is coming along and she tells me she needs to go find ‘additional resources’ on another system so that she can see what stage the billing department is at. She politely excuses herself from the conversation.

9:13 a.m. – Back on hold. The great Halo marching returns to bash my ears like some sort of freelance wife.

*Six minutes of time that I’ll never ever get back, drip away*

9:19 a.m. – Karen is back from verifying my issue. She tells me that there are no available updates, and that my ‘fraudulent’ account is still on review.

When I press her for a timeframe she tells me that it’ll be early next week, according to her there is no specific time to resolve this sort of issue. At this point it seems weird that the last guy could give me a set date but Karen can only give me a roundabouts, when-it-is-done-its-done kind of guesstimate.

I tell Karen, that I realise she isn’t the cause of this problem – and that I’m not mad at her in particular for what is going on – but I need to speak with someone higher in the chain of command, perhaps a supervisor, because I need this problem resolved, like, seven days ago.

I tell her what I told the last guy: I’m a videogames reviewer who is trying to redeem a Microsoft points card to purchase Xbox LIVE arcade titles in order to write a roundup on them. I remind her that if I can’t buy their products I can’t review them, and if I can’t review them I can’t do my job. Once again, I ask her to please get me a supervisor.

Karen asks me if I can wait until next week.

No, Karen. My employer needs these reviews for an upcoming feature, I’m on a extended deadline – more importantly, I haven’t done anything to be labeled fraudulent in the first place - I need this problem fixed now. For the love of sweet Jeebus get me a supervisor.

9:22 a.m. – Karen goes looking for a supervisor

*Five minutes tick on by, during which time I contemplate strangling myself with the phone cord - then I remember it’s a cordless.*

9:27 a.m – Karen is back, not with a supervisor, but with a daft solution to them problem. She asks me why I don’t just create a new Xbox LIVE account and purchase the content through that.

Resisting the urge to bash the cordless into my head repeatedly, I tell her that isn’t an option, I’ve had my gamertag for a long time. I’ve invested a buttload of time into my digital persona, that and the phrase ‘YermumsAWESOME’ defines me as a person now. I wouldn’t know how to rebuild my life without it – furthermore – I shouldn’t have to, I’ve done nothing to warrant being locked out of my account.

Umoved by the passionate, symbiotic bond that I share with ‘YermumsAWESOME’, Karen says “seeing as though you don’t want my resolution sir, what would you like me to do?”

I thought the next part of the plan was pretty damned simple. What about the supervisor, Karen? Did we eliminate ‘get me a supervisor’ from the customer support field manual? Where’d he go? Keeping an even tone I tell her, “I’d still like to speak with that supervisor, Karen”.

9:29 a.m. - Thwarted, Karen says she will connect me through to her supervisor - Supervisor Dan.

*One minute goes by. My hands are positively dry with anticipation.*

9:30 a.m. - Supervisor Dan slinks over and picks up the bullhorn. While he is polite enough, he sounds like he was the kid who regularly got pushed into the urinals in primary school – and by the girls, no less.

I ask him if Karen has brought him up to speed on the situation. He tells me that she has and that he has my file open in front of him as we speak. He asks me why the ‘create another account idea’ won’t help me. I quickly realize that this is his brilliant solution to the problem, not Karen’s.

I tell Dan that I don’t want to create another account for several, glaringly obvious reasons. First, I don’t want my Microsoft Points strewn across two accounts – it is a pain in the arse. Second of all, if I create a new account it will be busting my arse down to a lowly SILVER account which means that if I download the Arcade games and they’re online enabled (i.e a fair percentage of them) I won’t be able to use the online modes, which will make for a shitty feature article. Lastly - and this one’s important Dan, so pay attention - I shouldn’t have to. I’m a loyal customer, why am I getting all this grief for nothing?

Realising he is about as useful as an Amy Winehouse rehab clinic, I ask Dan if it’s possible to get a direct line to the billing department – or even a phone number – so that I can sort this out myself - y’know, plead my case to the mighty Microsoft gatekeeper. Throw myself at their feet for mercy, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Dan responds like an automaton, “No sir, we communicate via the same systems, but we have no line to the billing department”.

“What I will do is post a follow up to this problem. It’ll be two or three weeks - but I can’t promise you that – and I will be putting the necessary attentions on your file to see that it gets looked at as soon as possible.”

Hmmm, well Dan, that’s not much of a turn around. I’ve got a job to do here – one that will reflect upon your company and their products - and all you’re telling me is ‘kinda, maybe, quasi-three weeks -esque, probably’. That isn’t anywhere near good enough, my friend.

I remind Dan, like I did the previous guy I spoke to, that this entire ‘customer support’ experience is being documented and that it’ll be showing up in a feature article very soon.

Treading veeeery delicately, Dan replies, “uh… okay sir, we… we do apologise for the inconvenience but there’s nothing further that I can do on this matter. Is there anything else you need from me today?”

I tell him no thanks.

Dan blurts out the automated “Thankyou for calling Xbox LIVE, we at Microsoft hope that you have a good day” – but both of us know how hollow his cheerful sentiment sounds.

9:36 a.m. – Call ends.

Stand tot nu toe:

Call duration: 36 minutes

Time spent on hold: 18 minutes (50% of call)

Call duration Time to date: 1 hour, 39 minutes

Time spent on hold to date: 1 hour, 10 minutes (70% of total call time)

Time to Microsoft Points: 10 days, 22 hours, 4 minutes – and still counting

Ik wacht eerst de reacties af en zie daarna of ik part 4 post (wat trouwens nog niet uit is).

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