A tip from a community member reveals how to get human customer support, and the issue is escalated.
In the last post, I explained how redeeming Game Pass points for what Microsoft called an “Xbox Gift Card” resulted in credits applied to my account that were actually counted as refunds, then when I needed a legitimate refund for something, they refused, saying I’d had too many refunds this year.
Well, no definitive resolution yet, but we have an update.
Upon posting the story to Twitter (don’t wait for me to start calling it X; I will die first), my social media pal Adrian reached out with a tip about how to force a manual review when a digital refund is declined.
Apparently, when Microsoft.com tells you phone and chat support is unavailable for digital refund support, you need to ignore that, bring up support chat elsewhere on the site, and find a combination of dropdown reasons that will get you into the chat by any means necessary. I was able to do this by saying I needed help with Subscriptions & Billing, then in the…sub-reason(?) I chose that I needed help activating a code. Finally, in the text entry field where you’re supposed to get more specific, I mentioned that a refund request had been automatically declined.
Moments after joining the chat, an extremely pleasant and sympathetic human was more than happy to look up information, apologize for the trouble, and escalated the issue to some type of refund team, promising me a response and a human review of the situation soon. The conversation really was a nice change of pace, but I had to remind myself that this representative was free to take time to pay attention to my situation because Microsoft explicitly claimed this category of support didn’t exist.
The representative advised the fastest way to get a review for this type of rejection is to respond to the email that goes out when the refund is first declined.
The problem? I didn’t get any emails. I requested the refunds through my account at Microsoft.com and had to go back to dig through my account again to check the status when I discovered they’d been declined almost immediately. The rep apologized for this and assured me they were escalating the issue manually.
I do appreciate that Microsoft has to do something to stay ahead of what I’m sure would be rampant refund shenanigans, but I can’t give them a pass for trying to stem the tide by telling everyone there’s no appeal process by default and addressing issues only for the most determined individuals who are willing to game the support chat system and pound the digital pavement to hunt for clues. Yes, this keeps out scammers and jerks who want to habitually speed run games and return them, but it also blocks out the kids, grandparents, and clueless folks who actually need all the help in this situation.
I’ve collaborated with Microsoft in the past and have more than a couple of contacts there, but as always, I want to go through the system like anyone would have to so I can hopefully be of some help to everyone else.
So, we wait. Thanks again to Adrian for the tip when the trail ran cold.
Todd Mitchell is a US Midwest-based comedy writer and game developer with bylines at Weekly Humorist, Fanbyte, Slackjaw, End of the Bench Sports, and more. He’s the author of Inside Video Game Creation, the founder of CodeWritePlay, and host of the GameDev Breakdown podcast. Follow him on Twitter @Mechatodzilla.