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Microsoft Facing Class-Action Suit Over Xbox Live Points 107

An anonymous reader tips news that a lawyer in Pennsylvania has filed a class-action lawsuit against Microsoft, alleging that the company's handling of Xbox Live transactions is, in some cases, fraudulent. "Samuel Lassoff, of Horsham, PA, said an invoice he received earlier this month from Microsoft included charges for purchases he couldn't complete due to a balky download system — and he claimed it wasn't an accident. Microsoft 'engaged in a scheme to unjustly enrich itself through their fraudulent handling' of his account, Lassoff charged in papers filed earlier this week in US District Court for Eastern Pennsylvania. ... 'Microsoft breached that contract by collecting revenues for digital goods and services which were not provided,' Lassoff said in his lawsuit."
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Microsoft Facing Class-Action Suit Over Xbox Live Points

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  • by delinear ( 991444 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @05:27AM (#30914820)

    Except it sounds like this is neither malice, stupidity or a mistake. It's hard to determine what the actual complaint is, but from the Facebook page (I won't dignify it with a link since that's the guy's whole intention, but it's called "Microsoft Point Fraud Class Action Lawsuit"):

    "Defendant Microsoft Corporation received and retained money paid by Plaintiffs in response to incomplete and or partial downloads of digital goods and services and refused refund of same."

    That implies a massive misunderstanding of the system. Points aren't a bank that you can pay into and extract money from at will, they're more like a gift card you can redeem at some future date, and neither does MS make any guarantees about the date of redemption, instead they allow you to re-download your content at any time. That means if your initial download fails to complete, or you can't download because the download system is "balky", you just try again later (and honestly, the only time I've ever had problems with downloads on Live is during dash updates, when it can be a bit flaky for the first few hours as everyone's getting the same download at the same time - more likely if he's having continual problems downloading it's his connection rather than the download system that is "balky"). Either way, once you've spent your points it's up to you to download your content.

    As someone else already said, once MS has your money they have no real interest in not delivering the downloads, all that will do is risk deterring customers from making future purchases (compared to the frankly tiny cost of providing the download). I'm all for giving big companies short shrift when they step out of line, and god knows MS have made some major misteps in the past, but this just looks like a case of a slimy lawyer either trying to hit it big by suing $RANDOM_BIG_TECH_COMPANY, or at the very least trying to get his face and name all over the internet.

  • by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @06:38AM (#30915096) Journal
    Why should the prices for points use better exchange rates than those for the goods themselves?

    Just checked:

    • Amazon.de, 2100 points for 28EUR means 1.9ct per point.
    • Amazon.com, 1600 points for $19.64, i.e. 1.2ct per point.

    That's steam exchange rates. Also notice how you can't really buy equal amounts of points (at least I didn't see them on the first pages of results) to muddy the waters.

    The fair way to handle the issue would be to set the price for one region then do, let's say weekly, automatic conversions into other currencies (with respective taxes, etc.).

    All we need is some kind of electronic computation machine that can do it for us. Perhaps somebody could hack one together. Imho vacuum tubes look promising.

  • by BlackHawk-666 ( 560896 ) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @08:37AM (#30915778) Homepage

    Actually corporations like Microsoft do this all the time. By hanging onto small amounts of cash from their customers they can place this into overnight funds on the money market or other investments. You'd be surprised how much cash you could make if you had $20,000,000 on the overnight money market. It's quite legal, so there is no problem with that.

    http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/rates/monmrt.html [bankofcanada.ca]

  • Pssst... (Score:2, Informative)

    by hoboroadie ( 1726896 ) on Wednesday January 27, 2010 @09:42AM (#30916348)

    Go to your posting prefs, and switch from HTML to plain text mode.

Sigmund Freud is alleged to have said that in the last analysis the entire field of psychology may reduce to biological electrochemistry.