Thursday, 12 January 2012

More "Fantastic" Public Relations for Gamers - The Tale of the Hacked Xbox Live Account

 Xbox hacked? Money lost? Don't worry, it seems that Microsoft Customer Support is here to ... do ... well, they're certainly here!

It hasn't been that long since I talked about the epic (and I believe I use the term correctly in this sense) tale of Ocean Marketing and the incident that lead to what very well might be the ruination of both a man and a company. Well this example isn't quite as bad, but it's still important to bring up because I think it proves some very substantial things:

Allow me to introduce: hackedonxbox which stems from this tumblr.

To start from the beginning and give some elaboration: on January 2nd Susan Taylor found that much to her bemusement "she" had made a rather hefty purchase on Xbox Live -- 10,000 Microsoft Points and a Gold Family Pack -- which of course she had no knowledge of. It's probably one of the top fears of every gamer: your online account has been hacked; worse still this was an account with PayPal information attached to it, so basically the person now had complete control of her account and had already purchased some products which they then gave to some (presumably) dummy accounts.

Susan did what any rational person would do: she contacted Microsoft Support, which told her that whilst this was investigated her account would need to be completely locked down for 30 days. It wasn't the best situation given that she'd had legitimately purchased a gold account for herself and that the time would run out on it before she got it back, but at least no more damage could be done, right?

Well, turns out not so much as on January 4th Susan found out that more purchases had been made from her account. While Susan admits that, "I know what you’re thinking right now, “She should’ve unlinked her PayPal account from her Xbox account, the silly woman!” I completely agree with you; yes I should’ve done exactly that" she does indicate that, "Microsoft insisted twice that my account was completely blocked I naturally assumed that meant my account was completely blocked. Silly me! What they really meant was that they did not block the account whatsoever and the hacker/thief/opportunist decided to purchase yet another 10,000 Microsoft Points and transfer them to another dummy account."

After making sure that she had now unlinked her PayPal account from her Xbox Live account Susan basically got to asking just what was up with Xbox and the customer service; while she wasn't sworn at or told that anyone could wwebsite as on the internet in any capacity, she was given the major run around and aside from one or two people who were actually helpful she mostly got stonewalled. That's why she created that tumblr which eventually picked up coverage from a lot of major gaming websites, and eventually spawned a website that's meant to help others deal with similar issues.

What point I take away from this is that in light of the recent Ocean Marketing debacle that people more than ever are tired of going in circles and being jerked around by PR people that don't seem to want to help and also don't seem to know what's even going on half the time. I fully expect to see more websites like this popping up in the future, because I think that 2012 is going to be the year when people push back even more against poor or even downright awful customer service. And frankly, it's about damn time.

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