NOV. 11, 2011 • After years of lobbying by consumers, Microsoft Entertainment used a dashboard update to enable a new option to disable automatic renewal to Xbox Live. The previous policy of forcing automatic account renewal was seen as an account retention measure.
Impact: These automatic renewals, where a credit card is charged until a consumer takes a proactive measure to disable the reoccurring charge, are a devious way to keep subscribers around long after they have stopped using a product. Savvy consumers are becoming leery of giving credit card info for any type of subscription service. As more consumers get burned they tend to become savvy the hard way through a bad experience. Having the ability to disable automatic renewal is something that more and more consumers are demanding before they give up their credit card information. This is something Microsoft should have done long ago and we suspect it was just a case of finally caving into the reality of what consumers clearly demand.