Adobe lost my credit card information two weeks ago. When I got my replacement card, I had to update subscriptions and pre‐orders around the web. This was a mostly painless process everywhere. They were all keen on taking my money. Except for the Microsoft Store.
Three weeks back, I had pre‐ordered a Surface 2 from the Microsoft Store. All accessories had sold out even before pre‐orders opened in Norway. I also pre‐ordered an Xbox One Day‐One Edition with all games and accessories. Even when hindered by technical problems with the website and a three‐hour delayed launch window, I eventually managed to place my orders successfully.
I now needed to update my two orders with my replacement credit card.
I always prefer emailing support. I usually feel that I am better at conveying what I want to achieve in writing. The Microsoft Store, unfortunately, only offered support over the phone.
I called their support number a dozen times. Every time, my call disconnected within seconds. A few times, I heard their robot greeter for a second before the connection broke up.
Two hours later, I gave it another shot. All I got was busy signals and immediate disconnections. I tried dialing back every ten minute until I finally got through and could interact with their robot. It took me nine attempts to get through.
An additional eight minutes later, I finally had a human on the other end. However, it took me a total of 32 minutes before I reached someone who could actually help.
That support representative told me that it was impossible to change the payment method on an order. I referred him to the website help section where they clearly stated that I could update my payment method by contacting them. He had nothing to say to that. He instead suggested that they would cancel my two orders and that I should place new orders using my new credit card. I asked if this would delay deliveries, and he told me that this would not be a problem. Grudgingly, I agreed to this.
After a few minutes, I got two order cancellation emails. In these emails, I noticed that my order had been for a Swedish edition of the Surface 2. Having placed my order from the Norwegian store, I found this very odd. I went back to the Microsoft Store to explore the Surface 2 product pages. Exactly nowhere on the product pages, help pages, product specification, order confirmation emails, or anywhere else on the website does it say that I would get a Swedish edition. Worse, expected delivery of the Surface 2 had moved back to the end of December.
Starting to get annoyed with the situation, I headed over to Microsoft Store’s Xbox section. The Xbox One Day‐One Edition had of course sold out. There was no alternative edition available in the store either. Many of the games and accessories had also sold out.
Time to call support again.
Setting things right
This time it took only three attempts to call them before my call connected. Positive start compared to my previous attempts. However, I did not get a support representative that spoke Norwegian this time. This is not an issue for me, but it could be for other Norwegians who call Microsoft Norway. I explained my problems and support history.
The representative I spoke to said there was nothing that could be do once an order had been canceled. He had no explanation for my order listing a Swedish edition, and suggested it might be a mislabeled Scandinavian edition. He had nothing to say regarding selling out of the Xbox One and losing my place in the queue. He could not expedite delivery of new orders for any of the products either. That was the end of that. The representative quickly ended the call.
He did not suggest I try at third‐party resellers or anything else to save the situation. I got no apology for the situation, a simply “sorry”, or any recognition that they were at fault or could have handled the situation any differently.
I can only hope that Microsoft will notice the two lost sales (will all accessories included). It should prompt them to improve their store prior to future product launches.
I have decided to wait with getting a next‐generation console; since it is now too late to pre‐order the PlayStation 4 nor the Xbox One with delivery in 2013. Norway will not be a priority market for early shipments from neither Sony nor Microsoft.
However, I did find the Surface 2 on another reseller’s website. They had illustrations showing a Norwegian user‐interface and keyboard. Their expected delivery time is at the end of next week. I hope that they will keep what they promise and actually deliver. Before I ordered, I checked to make sure they would allow me to change payment method myself. In case that would ever became a problem again.