Microsoft makes its Xbox subscriptions more flexible after UK regulator intervenes


Microsoft is making its Xbox subscriptions slightly more flexible after a UK regulator raised concerns. The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) “has made commitments with Microsoft” that will improve accidental renewals of Xbox Live Gold or Xbox Game Pass subscriptions.

Microsoft has agreed to offer refunds to Xbox subscribers who have 12-month recurring subscriptions and even cancel inactive subscriptions if customers are reminded how to stop payments and still not continue using a subscription.

The CMA identified a number of concerns about Microsoft’s auto-renewing subscriptions, and the Xbox maker has agreed to address them with the following improvements:

  • “Better upfront information: Microsoft will provide more transparent upfront information to help customers understand their Xbox membership, including making it clear that the subscription will automatically renew unless the customer turns off auto-renewal; when the subscription automatically renews; how much will it be; and how the customer can receive a refund after an accidental renewal.”
  • “Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers with 12-month recurring contracts and give them the option to terminate their contract and claim a prorated refund.”
  • “Inactive subscriptions: Microsoft will also contact existing customers who have not used their subscriptions for a long time but are still paying. These customers are being reminded how to stop payments, and if they don’t continue to use their subscriptions, Microsoft will eventually stop taking further payments.”
  • “Better information about price increases: Microsoft will provide clearer notifications of future price increases and will make sure people know how to turn off auto-renewal if they don’t want to pay the higher price.”

These improvements will not be limited to the UK either. “Changes to inactive subscriptions are rolling out initially in the UK and will be available globally soon,” a Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement. The edge. The CMA also wants other companies to follow Microsoft’s changes and make sure consumers are aware of automatic renewals and not paying for services they no longer use.

“Other companies that offer auto-renewing memberships and subscriptions should take note and review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws,” said Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA.

Microsoft’s subscription services are key to the company’s overall gaming endeavors. The software giant just announced plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in a move that will boost its Xbox Game Pass subscription. Microsoft currently has 25 million Xbox Game Pass subscribers, and consumers can access more than 100 games that they can download to an Xbox console or stream through Xbox Cloud Gaming on tablets, phones, or through a web browser using the Ultimate version of the service. .

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