So, a year ago, I bought a new computer. Rather than spend the effort building one, and the fact that I can’t really beat the prices of the pre-fab machines anymore unless I spend 3 months piecing it together, I went to Best Buy, saw a good price on a good system and bought it. They offered my a bunch of crap, to which I said no, just the system and the rebates, good-bye. Paid with my credit card, took it home, set it up, and mailed off my rebates. I was happy.
In January, I got my credit card statement, on it was a charge for $21.95 for Microsoft Online Services. Now, it being Christmas time and also floating a couple of charges for work on my card, I just nodded, said okay and filed the statement away.
I’m horrible about my credit cards. If I scan the charges and nothing leaps out at me like “Harold’s House of Fur Covered Fishing Poles” or something, I just nod and file it away after I write the check.
So, its June, and I’m looking at this month’s statement, and there is that Microsoft Online Services again. Only this time, I know I didn’t buy anything from them. I open up my budget program, ironically Microsoft Money, and sort the charges in my credit card statements. Sure enough, from January to June, 6 charges of $21.95.
I get on the net, find the phone number and call up MSN. They ask me my phone number, gave him all three, home and two cells… not on file. Name, gave him both mine and Jodi’s… not on file. Address… not on file. Seven email addresses… not on file. So I say, “Look, its billing my card, why I don’t I just give you the credit card number?” “Umm… sure,” he says, “that will work.”
I give him the number and… presto! Account found. Only, the name on it is “Best Buy Promotion”, the phone number is the number to the store, and the email address is listed as “firstname.lastname@example.org”. But my credit card number and expiration date are correct, and they’ve billed me $131.70 for an account that I NEVER signed into.
I ask him, “How exactly do you justify billing me for an account I never activated?” He tells me that it was activated at the store on the date of purchase. “But, look at the account information, it looks fake. Don’t you guys audit these promotions?” No, he says. “What about account activity? It was activated, and then never used, not once.” There is this pause, a completely silent pause… I’ve worked in call centers, this is the silence of being put on mute while he asks someone else how he should respond.
“Sir, it is not our business to dictate to our users how they do or do not use our service. If they choose to activate it and hold the account as a backup for another provider, never logging in because their primary provider never fails, that is their choice. It is not our place to deactivate accounts in good standing for inactivity.”
I’m dumbfounded. But I ask for a refund. “Sure,” he says, “just let me, okay, its done, it should appear on your next statement as a credit, is there anything else I can do for your today?”
“Have a great day and thank you for using MSN!”
And then he hung up before I could yell, “BUT I NEVER USED MSN!!”
So, to you out there, I say this… beware. MSN wants your money, and they love it best when you pay them to provide you with nothing. Watch your credit card statements closely, and when you purchase from Best Buy, even when you say no, they might just sign you up anyway.