Christopher Pratt (cpratt) wrote,
Christopher Pratt

Fun with Microsoft's billing system

I'm on hold right now with a call center in India. How did I get here? It goes like this...

1. Sign in to
2. Watch the advertising telling me that it is now Windows Live Hotmail
3. Read a message in my inbox that says "Your subscription to Windows Live Hotmail Plus is scheduled to be automatically renewed on Friday, October 12, 2007."
4. Decide that renewing my subscription is a bad idea. Thankfully, in the letter it says "To cancel, go to, click on the service name, and then on the next page click 'Cancel my service'."
5. Scroll down to Windows Live Hotmail Plus and click on it.
6. Wait for the page to load, then click on "Cancel my service."
7. Up comes a new window that says "To cancel your online service, you must contact Customer Support." This is followed by al ong list of things you can cancel. However, none of them is Windows Live Hotmail Plus.
8. Guess that what I'm looking for is MSN and click on that.
9. Once there, click on Interactive Chat Support.
10. This takes you to an insecure Web page ( that wants to enter information such as your home address, telephone number, credit card number, and so on - all things that you really probably shouldn't be entering into an insecure Web page. Decide what the hell, it's all old Washington data anyways - so I copy and paste it from another page at Microsoft's billing Web site.
11. Click Submit and wait. And wait. And wait some more. Nothing happens.
12. Decide that maybe this page only works in IE because Microsoft are idiots and didn't try it in Firefox. Go through it all again with exactly the same result.
13. Give up and call MSN billing support. After eight minutes' wait, get connected to an obviously Indian agent who claims his name is Stan. Uh, right. Tell him I'd like to cancel my account. Stan says that all of their systems are down and that he cannot possibly cancel my account.
14. I ask to speak with Stan's supervisor. After a few minutes' arguing, he gets his supervisor, another obviously Indian woman who claims her name is Sandra. I ask Sandra if they're lying in a bid to keep my business or what. No, she insists, Microsoft's billing systems are down and they cannot cancel my subscription. She takes my phone number and agrees to call me back when they fix the problem.
15. I return to the online chat support site and hit Refresh for a while until (miraculously!) the chat session loads (but only in Firefox, not IE - IE still isn't working).
16. Sudeep Bhaumik (finally, a name that seems believable) goes through the usual laborious scripts that Microsoft require their agents to go through in a perverted attempt to seem friendly - May I call you by your first name? I understand that you want to cancel his subscription. I am sorry for the typing error. Thank you for the information. For our records, may I have the reason for cancellation? Thank you for the information. Before I cancel your account, I would like to inform you about the changes that will occur to your account after cancellation.
17. Wait a sec - Microsoft is going to charge me for what exactly after I cancel my subscription?
18. No, it's another typo. Changes. He meant changes. That's good. "You can update to our new e-mail service, Windows Live Hotmail, so that your basic account will receive 5 GB storage space after cancellation. Else, the space will be reduced to 1 GB. If you have not updated to Windows Live Hotmail, you can visit and click "do it here" to make changes." But I thought I already had Windows Live Hotmail? Oh, who knows. These people are incompetent.
19. Finally, Sudeep says "In response to your request, I have cancelled the subscription, effective immediately. You will not be charged for this service in future. you can visit to view the subscription status."

Of course I find myself wondering: how is it that the call center can't cancel my subscription and wants me to call back in twenty-four hours, yet the chat center was able to do so immediately?

What a bunch of ass clowns.

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