Microsoft Billing BS

A few years ago I purchased a watch with MSN Direct service; It was pretty nice to have at the time as I could not get my weather or MSN messages on my cell phone. This- of course was 2+ years ago.

My watch fell into disuse when I purchased a Treo 650p and I decided to let the service lapse. I tried to cancel via Microsoft's billing site, but they appear to purposely make cancellation as near impossible as possible.

Considering that the credit card expired in May 2008, I did not think that I would need to worry about a re-bull in December 2008; it should be declined and all would be canceled.

This was not the case- Microsoft's 'automated billing system' apparently ignores expired credit card info- as does PayPal- and charges the amount against the account.

I disputed the amount with PayPal and it was credited- only to be 'corrected' 30 days later and re-charged to my credit card (this is yet another personal negative mark against PayPal). The second dispute against the same charge was ignored.

To officially cancel service, I must:
  • Login to billing.microsoft.com
  • Select the service on the billing site
  • Find the 'cancel' button
  • figure out which of the 15 differnet sites I need to go to to cancel (in this case, MSN direct)
  • Login to msndirect.com
  • Look on the MSN direct for my service
  • Find the 'cancel' button again
  • No online canceling; for navigation devices, call 1-866-658-7032
  • Call the number
  • Go through the teleprompt- 3 levels deep until I find 'MSN Direct Watches'
  • Wait for the last prompt of 'Press 4 to cancel'
  • Wait in a queue (not bad- a few minutes)
  • Verify my email address, phone number and address
  • Explain why I am canceling (there is no watch on the account- and It was deleted from my account over a year ago- WTF are you guys still billing me?)
  • Get a confirmation number (followed by an email) for the cancellation
WTF; why isn't there a 'cancel' button that just asks 'Are you sure' on the goddman billing web site? I wonder how many extra charges for products such as in my scenario can Microsoft incurr in a yearly cycle? I know this is not ethical, but is it even legal?

I will NEVER order anything from Microsoft that requires a credit card; if I do, it will be on one of the $3 refillable cards from WalMart.

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