If you have been reading my blog for a while, since it began, you will remember when I battled Hewlett Packard. You can read all about it here. I won but it took a lot of time and an incredible amount of frustration on all parts to find resolution.

Here we go again.

My son has a subscription to XBOX Live. This subscription allows him to play games online with other geeks and to download games. He also plays WOW on his PC. He mostly plays WOW. He pays for the subscription with my credit card which is actually my debit card so the fees are taken out of my checking account directly. The subscription was up for renewal two weeks ago.

Because my debit card had expired and they had sent me a new one months ago, Microsoft did not have my new expiration number. They sent an email to my son stating that they needed the new expiration date so they could process the charge. Son mentioned this too me when he received the email. I asked him if he used XBOX Live and if we could get along without it. He said indeed he rarely used it and we didn’t have to renew the subscription.

This was my first mistake. I left the boy in charge of taking care of the subscription. I wrongly assumed that without updating the billing information they would not be able to charge my account. They did. They ran the charge through yesterday which overdrafted me. Which then snowballed into three other overdraft charges at $37.50 each. I might add that my bank received $6.6 billion in the most recent bail out.

Because I am home recouperating and don’t have much that I can do I called Microsoft about this problem. I talked to a man named Nat with a heavy middle eastern accent. I tried to explain the problem but there seemed to be a communication barrier. He told me that since my son, who is 15, signed up for XBOX Live we were responsible for the charges. I was not disputing this I told him but I did have an issue with the email sent that said they could not charge my account until I updated it. He then told me my son had updated the information.

“Really? When” I asked.

“Well he didn’t really but he should have” Said Nat.

I’m confused at this point. The information had not been updated, they sent an email requesting the updated information and explained they could not charge the account without the update and therefore the subscription would be canceled. They charged the account anyway causing overdrafts because I was not expecting the charge. Nat and I went around a bit about this mostly because I could not understand what he was trying to tell me. I asked to speak to a supervisor and preferably someone who spoke English as a first language. I thanked him for his help and expressed that his English was very good but I was still having a hard time understanding him. He said he would transfer me to his supervisor and thanked me for calling Microsoft.

I heard some Muzak for a couple of seconds and then heard nothing. After another 30 seconds I heard the chirping on the phone line which means the call had been disconnected.

I called back. I got a hold of another man, Michael, in customer support who had a middle eastern accent. His English was much better than Nat’s but there was still a translation problem. I again explained what had happened. He explained that it was my fault. I asked again to speak to a supervisor. I was placed on hold..for real this time.

Michael came back on the line and told me that his supervisor wouldn’t talk to me since this was my fault.

“Is there anything else I can help you with today Ms. Jennifer?” He asked.

“Yes, I want to speak to your supervisor.” I said.

Michael placed me on hold again. He came back online a bit later and said he had Virginia on the line who was a supervisor.

Virginia also had a thick accent. She explained, like everyone before her, that this was my fault, or my son’s fault and therefore they would not be refunding me the overdraft charges. She suggested I call my bank and see if they would reverse the charges. I repeated my question asking why they would send an email saying they could not charge the account without the updated information. She just repeated that it was my fault. I then asked to speak to her supervisor.

“There is no one else higher you can speak to here.” Said Virginia.

“Really.” It wasn’t even a question.

Because I am frustrated and because I had been through this before and because I knew I would have to blog about it and that meant I would have to type sitting up for a while and that would be uncomfortable, I was irritated with Virginia.

“Listen, Virginia, I have a hard time beleiving that you are the end of the line with regard to customer support. This is a small problem. It isn’t worth the hassle that it will cause someone much higher up on the Microsoft totem pole. Who will then wonder why you didn’t handle it better. I realize you are following protocol. I understand you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and I have no fault with you.”

I went on but was just repeating myself at that point and I was pretty sure she wasn’t listening nor that she cared. She asked if there was anything else she could do for me today.

“You can put me through to your supervisor.” I said.

Virginia had no sense of humor. She started the whole conversation over again. I would have been much more impressed had she said “Now Ms. Jennifer you know I can’t do that” or something like that but instead we went around and around until I told her we were both wasting time and it would be best if we ended the call so I could find the email addresses I needed to contact someone who would at least pretend to help me. She thanked me for calling Microsoft and we ended the call.

What has happened to customer service? Why is it like pulling teeth to get any real understanding to the problem at hand?

If one of the candidates in this past election had promised that there would be no more customer support with people who have thick accents they would have won in a landslide.