Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Xbox Live World

Since I have nothing else to write about today, I'll just write about this.

I've always meant to watch the film It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. It's considered to be a comedy classic that has been beloved and adulated and adored for the past half century, and it's full of some of my all time favorite comic actors, like Peter Falk, Phil Silvers, Buddy Hacket, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Johnathan Winters, Don Knotts, and who knows who else. I certainly don't now who else because I didn't get to finish it. In fact, I didn't even get to see Don Knotts!

Here's how Xbox Live movie rentals work: You pay four bucks or so to download a movie to your Xbox that is valid for about a month or so unwatched, or for about 24 hours or so after you first hit play. I downloaded the rental in HD because if I'm gonna see Don Knotts, I really want to see Don Knotts! It's a nearly 3 hour film so the file was 11 gigs and took forever to download, but that's ok because I set it to go before I went out to meet my sister for dinner. When I got home, I settled in to watch some great comedy entertainment.

And it was! Very funny, very entertaining, and surprisingly beautifully shot film, especially in HD. After about 45 minutes or so I realized something was missing from my night, so I stopped the film and walked across the street to my local market and got some Ben and Jerry's frozen yogurt. When I got home, I grabbed a spoon, popped open my froyo, and resettled in to finish the movie... but when I went to resume the film, it for some reason started from the beginning and it looked like crap. Then my cell phone chimed and I saw that I just received an email from the Xbox live genie confirming my purchase of It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World for a total of about 10 dollars. What the hell?

Of course, I had received a similar email confirming my rental a few hours earlier, but I had approved that purchase, but not this one. So I was now being charged about $15 to watch It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.... in Standard definition. Well, I'm a snob and really prefer HD, especially after watching the first 45 minutes of the same film that way... and, to be honest, the SD version looked really bad. So I searched my Xbox for the HD version I had paid to rent, but it was gone. The SD purchase overwrote it apparently. I even deleted the SD version hoping I could find the HD rental, but it just wiped the film from my Xbox, which meant I was charged $15 for a film I couldn't watch.

At this point I had sailed passed annoyed and was actively angry. I looked over the purchase confirmation email, since those things usually have a line that says something like, "if you received this in error, please follow this link..." but there was nothing like that, so I had to search the Xbox live account site for help. After navigating the site for a few minutes, I finally followed a link to a live chat with a tech support person. I saved the chat and it was all time-stamped, and from start to finish the chat took 40 minutes... to not resolve my problem. I said what happened, and the person finally said he or she would have to escalate the problem to get me a refund. That took 40 minutes for some reason.

If you're interesting in reading that chat, and I don't know why anybody would, you can read it here.

So then I went to bed, and woke up to no emails... but I did get one about an hour ago (when I first started writing this manifesto), and they said they'd refund the purchase for the ten dollar film. I wrote back and said thank you, and noted that while I didn't want to sound ungrateful for that, I really should be refunded the price of the rental as well, since this purchase I didn't authorize overwrote the rental I did authorize.

So that's where that stands. And don't think me crazy for caring about that last five dollars. It's not about the movie. You should think I'm crazy because I'm doing this even though I don't care about the five dollars. It's the principle.


Mugato said...

well as they say, it's a mad, mad, mad ... oh never mind.

I'd like to know how the hell the second movie got ordered in the first place!

Justin Garrett Blum said...

Do you have a cat, or something, that stepped on your XBox remote and ordered the movie?