fun fun fun

I’ve just had a really interesting bout with Microsoft tech support hotlines. Over the course of six different conversations, I was routed in a complete circle. I talked to six different MS representatives who were unable to help me. Let me outline the situation.

I bought a copy of Asheron’s Call 2 for my wife while we were at EB games Sunday afternoon. When we got out to the car, she noticed that the sticker sealing the bottom of the box was sliced. Since everything was in the box that should have been (manual, two quick references, three cd’s, one product registration key), I didn’t think anything of it. When we got home, she installed it and tried to register it for play using the enclosed product key. A warning message popped up at that time stating that the product key was already in use. At that point, things started to percolate in my brain, but I still had to check a few things before I was ready to point any fingers. In retrospect, it seems that someone opened the box, wrote down the product key (or, smarter yet, snapped a digital pic of the product key), put the box back on the shelf, and then walked out of the store.

Trying to figure this thing out, first I clicked the “click here for more information on your product key” link in the warning window. It gave the standard sorts of “you’re only allowed to use this product key once, please buy another one now” sorts of things. I tried calling the tech support line that was listed on the web as being for Asheron’s Call (866.672.4551). I explained my problem, and he forwarded me onwards to another help line, this one being the billing department for the game, supposedly. They didn’t know what to do either. That person told he that I should wait until Monday (today) and then call a different support line (800.936.5700).

I called that help line this morning. The person there said that I should definitely talk to the piracy hotline there at Microsoft (800.785.3448). So I called the piracy hotline. The piracy hotline was _definitely_ the most interesting. When I explained my situation to the woman at the piracy hotline, she politely informed me that unless there was something missing from the box, they did not consider it to be a piracy issue. Now I’m sure that the implication there was that “when it comes to end-user purchases” should be tacked on the front there, but I’m glad to know that as long as nothing is missing from the box, no crime has occurred in Microsoft’s eyes.

At this point, I’m starting to think that the person who opened this game’s box and wrote down the product key (my guess as to what happened) has committed the perfect crime. They saved themselves a few bucks by not having to buy a copy of the game. The lady at the anti-piracy line then forwarded me back to the games support line. The games support line (a different voice, but the same place I started) was still unable to do anything to help me. He forwarded me to yet another support line. This person was quite unfriendly, but, like all the others, just wanted me to take the product back to EB games for a different copy.

In all, I talked to six different people and spent about an hour of my life chasing a wild goose. None of these support agents were able to offer me any help with my goal, which was to get the person who stole this account number banned from AC2, or at least investigated. All of them just wanted me to take the game back and forget about it. Now I’ll grant you, there’s the possibility that something far less annoying is going on here. Occum says that someone walked out of EB games with a number scrawled down on the back of their hand though, and I tend to believe him. Just thought everyone would like to know not only what constitutes a near perfect crime, but also that MS doesn’t care about it.

On the plus side, I found a rebate for the game while I was digging around on microsoft’s site looking for help.

  1. So Microsoft suks. SURPRISE!

  2. I mean, Microsoft suks except for Ryan.

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