I have been on XBox Live since 2005. I pay my bill each year with the hopes that my money is going to a solidly staffed IT company that can keep my personal information secure. A few years back, I got my girlfriend her own XBox Live account, too… effectively doubling the money I sacrifice to Microsoft each year for a hobby.
Since then, that girlfriend has become my wife – complete with matching last names! Thus: a family.
Last night, we were playing with our Kinect when Shannon (the aforementioned wife) was alerted that it was time to renew her account. They offered her a “Family Plan” for $99.99 a year instead of the usual $59.99 a year. With our fur kid, I assume that a “married couple” constitutes a “family”, so I took time to today to look into it.
AND THUS BEGINS CUSTOMER SERVICE HELL.
Here is the final result (said somewhat tongue in cheek): Microsoft does not acknowledge adoptions or marriages as “family.” Following along…
- On March 23, 2011, my XBox Live account (User: WasabiGuy) renewed for another year for $59.99.
- On June 8, 2011, my wife’s XBox Live account (User: WasabiGirl) renewed for another year for $59.99.
- I called in today to the XBox Support Number (425-635-7180) and explained that I was interested in merging the two accounts into the offered “Family Plan” for $99.99 a year. I was told that I could do so, but it would cost me $60 MORE and I would have account credit for 18 months.
- MATH TIME! Let’s pro rate my account, shall we? If I use the date from a couple of weeks from now (June 23) then I have 9 MONTHS left on my account… thus $44.99 not used.
- MATH TIME! So my remaining account time ($44.99) plus Shannon’s ($59.99) = $104.98.
- A Family Plan is worth $99.99.
- Since there is no effective way to “sync” the account billing dates or even merge them… wait: visual aid time:
- Where was I? Oh yeah – since I can’t merge accounts, I was looking for a way to get BOTH Gamertags onto ONE account (but not merge!) with prorating one existing plan into the other. I was later told that if I used my wife’s plan that it would only cost me another $30-$40.
- MATH TIME! I have $104.98 worth of account credit with two accounts. If I follow the suggestion of using my wife’s account, then I will pay ~$140 for the next year of XBox Live for the two of us.
- MATH TIME! If I was on the family plan with my wife, then I would be saving $20 a year.
- MATH TIME! If I do what is suggested, then it will take me TWO YEARS to SAVE MONEY on the Family Plan… all because they can’t effectively prorate the accounts to sync them up!
- So how does Microsoft disregard marriages or adoptions as “family?” (Again, that’s tongue in cheek for dramatic purpose.) Here’s how: the math that @XBoxSupport is presenting is based on a family of four… so if I sign up for a new account with my “family” then I’m golden! Money saved! BUT – If I add a family member (i.e. get married or adopt a child) then there is no cost effective way to create the account.
In conclusion: I’m not looking for OMG GIVE ME FREE STUFF! I’m just looking for a cost effective way to save a couple of bucks as a loyal (paying) XBox Live member for the better part of the past decade. Can someone in Microsoft help me out with this?
-Tom “WasabiGuy” Croom