Microsoft's Live Celebrated, Sued

Dennis Faas's picture

It's been another happy week for Microsoft, as the company celebrates the fifth anniversary of Xbox Live, the online service that connects millions of consoles around the world. Unfortunately, not everyone is so ecstatic for Redmond; in fact, a class action lawsuit has now been revealed, slamming Microsoft and Live for renewing subscriptions without permission.

The lawsuit is being led by Georgia resident Francisco Garcia, father of an underage gamer who first purchased a subscription with his debit card. That initial charge was $49.99 in October of 2005, enough to provide the kid with unlimited access to Gears of War, Halo 3, and Project Gotham Racing multiplayer for a year.

According to Garcia, in October of 2006 Microsoft renewed that service automatically, billing him for another $49.99. That's the standard for Microsoft's Live service; once the year is over, it is up to the subscriber to cancel. If not, it will immediately renew.

This policy proved unfortunate for Garcia, since Microsoft unknowingly made the withdrawal from his checking account which was sent into overdraft as a result. Garcia's bank subsequently charged him $35.00 as a penalty.

Although Garcia's complaints were enough to get Microsoft to refund the subscription fee, the company showed no interest in refunding the $35 bank fee. That refusal has culminated in Garcia's allegation that Microsoft is engaged in consumer fraud through its Xbox Live payment policy.

In his suit, Garcia claims Microsoft, "fraudulently induced a contractual relationship for Xbox Live services." His basis for such a claim is that it allowed a minor to make a payment using a debit card, and then automatically renewed the subscription without any warning. Thus, Microsoft should be held responsible for any consequences. (Source:

It hasn't yet been released to the media what kind of damages Garcia is seeking, but the plaintiff is opening the case to all Georgia residents who want to join in the attack on Microsoft's shoddy policy.

Microsoft will be celebrating its Live fifth anniversary by making Xbox Live Arcade game Carcassonne available free for download on November 15. In addition, by December 4 a slew of original Xbox hits will be ready for download, including Halo, Crimson Skies, and cult favorite Psychonauts. (Source:

I wonder if Garcia's son is excited to hear that.

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