Buyer Beware: My Microsoft/Xbox Woes

This post is a departure from the site’s usual content: a cautionary tale for anyone who has paid for a digital good.

Xbox Logo.

Background

I previously owned an Xbox One. I paid for several digitally downloaded games (probably around $200-$300 in games total). I also signed up for Xbox Live. A few years ago I traded the console in to help toward a purchase of a Nintendo Switch (which we love!).

Last month, I saw announcements for the new Xbox Series X. The console claims backward compatibility with Xbox One games. This seemed like a perfect match – not only do I get my $200-$300 worth of Xbox One games, but I could play all of the great new titles too.

Problems

To view my Xbox One games, I attempted to login to my @outlook.com account. The @outlook.com account was created from the Xbox One Console enrollment into Xbox Live. Since I never login to the account, Microsoft noticed an anomalous sign-in to the account and prompted for another factor of authentication. Unfortunately, this was bound to an old phone number that I no longer use, and I couldn’t authenticate.

I called Microsoft’s help and they coached me to a process called ACSR, an account recovery process. ACSR did not help. ACSR prompted me for a serial number or console ID of my traded-in Xbox One console. I could not escalate with the phone rep. After I reached this terminal state, I tweeted Xbox Support which also went nowhere.

In Closing

I know I was not a perfect custodian of my @outlook.com account. I did not keep my account information updated. I did not print account recovery codes, although I’m unsure if they existed at the time.

I am fairly frustrated by the entire process and I hope others can learn from my experience.

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