How do I make a formal complaint to Microsoft about Zune products and support? RRS feed

  • Question

  • How do I make a formal complaint to Microsoft about problems I have been having with their Zune support staff?  I have already written a letter and sent copies of it to the the Chairman, the CEO, the Zune dept, and one labeled Attn: Zune Complaints at the Microsoft headquarters in Redmond, WA.  I sent it back on Nov, 22nd and I have not yet recieved a reply of any kind.  Here is a copy of the letter I sent...

                                                                                                                      Nov. 22, 2009


    To Whom it May Concern,


    I am writing you concerning events that led to my canceling of the Zune Pass account that I previously subscribed to on a monthly basis.  I held this account for some time (starting on 11/04/2007 and ending on 11/19/2009), and I own a limited edition 30G Halo 3 Zune player.  I have always enjoyed the device, and I chose it over the iPod mainly due to my loyalty to Microsoft and my support of the Xbox & Xbox 360 consoles.  In fact, I pre-ordered the device at one of my favorite games retailers, Gamestop.


    I say I chose it as a result of my support of Microsoft, but I kept it for different reasons.  I kept it because I have been mostly happy with the Zune software (barring a few hiccups) on my PC, and I have enjoyed the changes that have evolved in the service since its inception.  Even when circumstances (financial or otherwise) made it necessary for me to cancel or suspend monthly services I enjoyed, it was always another service other than the Zune that ended up taking the hit.  I have canceled many game subscriptions, magazines, and services over the last two years that I also enjoyed without even considering the cancellation of my Zune Pass.  Why?  Well, as I mentioned before, I enjoy the features of the Zune Pass, but to be more specific, I have always mostly enjoyed the free Zune Pass music and the 10 song credits a month more than anything.  How could I cancel such a great value?


    I’ll tell you how.


    On or around November 5th, I was having trouble purchasing a song through the Marketplace on the Zune Software.  I placed a call to the Microsoft support phone number (1-800-Microsoft) and waited in queue.   When they finally took my call, I ended up speaking to a representative who walked me through a number of steps that she said should solve my problem.  I will not go into detail, but it seemed a bit excessive for what the problem was (and I informed her of my concerns even as she had me booting into and out of safe mode, deleting, and renaming folders, and a number of other activities).  I was worried as I recalled an incident a year earlier when a technician performed similar steps and I ended up having to remove everything and reinstall the Zune software.


    Around three hours later (not even a mild exaggeration, I assure you.), I was on hold after we had just discovered that the problem was still not solved.  As I waited for her return, I began poking around my music library to find something to listen to as I waited … Only to find that almost my entire music collection had been irreversibly damaged.  After some investigation, I discovered that the only music that was left intact was the few .MP3s I had downloaded from the Zune Marketplace (most of my music was in .WMA form), and any music I had personally ripped from my own compact discs.


    Any music in .WMA form that was part of the free monthly Zune Pass music wouldn’t play at all and returned this error …  CAN’T PLAY SUMMARY  A media usage rights error has occurred.  ERROR CODE COOD12F5

    Any music I had purchased from the Zune Marketplace (if I didn’t try to play it first) would say this under the song properties …  DRM:   YES – invalid license (has no usage rights)


    Once I played the song (they seemed to play fine), the DRM listing would change from “DRM:   YES – invalid license (has no usage rights)“ to “DRM:   YES – License expires 12/08/2009 (has sync rights, no burn rights)”.


    The support representative had effectively destroyed my music collection.  We next spent a while trying to fix this new problem she had created until it was decided by her mysterious superiors that I should take a screenshot of each of the errors and email them to zinfo@microsoft.com.  I’m not sure why this was necessary since I had just described the errors to them in detail, unless they don’t believe the errors exist until they see them with their own eyes … but I obliged them.  Then I went to bed.


    Over the next few days, it was a fiasco of me calling in to see what they were doing about the problem, as they continually told me they did not receive the email.  I would resend it and then they would again say they never received it.  This happened a few times until they finally received it and told me they would study the problem and get back to me in a day or two.


    Around four days later, I called back to see what they were doing about the problem.  This time, they thought they had a fix for me and they instructed me again the steps I should take to correct the errors.  Hours later, the problem was not fixed and I was losing my patience.  We discussed the problems and I told them what I thought would be a good way to resolve it.  I said that they should remove ownership of the songs from my account - look over the records they had of my purchases - take a tally of how many of the songs were still on my PC in .MP3 form (43) – subtract the number of .MP3 songs from the total songs I have purchased (450) and that would be the number of songs I should be credited (407).


    When the support “professional” had me do a search in my Zune folder for .WMAs using the F3 key and she told me to take screenshots of all the music I could find there, I thought we were on our way.  I told her it would be a lot of screenshots, but she assured me it would be alright.  I was told they were going to credit me the songs owed to me in the form of a code or something and it would take about three days then they would call me back.


    That was ten days ago.


    I called back the next day to make sure they got the email.  They told me that they had received the email, but they could not open it due to its size (remember all those screenshots I warned the nice lady about?).  I complained that they should have told me that there was a size limitation when I first was told to send the shots, especially since I warned her, then I proceeded to send off the 19 screenshots in a series of new emails.  I waited three days.

    On the third day, I called and waited in queue until I managed to speak to a representative about my existing case.  I was told they weren’t done looking at all the screenshots yet and they would call me when they were done IN THREE DAYS!

    I explained that I was told the same thing three days prior and that I didn’t believe them.  I vented a bit (respectfully … without using profanity or shouting … please check the recordings you have.  PLEASE!) and told them that I would wait for their call for three days.  In three days' time, if they didn’t call me, I would call them and if they weren’t ready to give me my refund, I would cancel my Zune Pass account, write the company a letter, write a review of Microsoft’s customer service and get it posted wherever I could, and I would sue the company if I did not receive a proper refund.


    Well, guess what?  Here I am.  I canceled my account yesterday when I called back to find no forthcoming refund.  I am VERY SORRY to lose my account in such a way.  I truly enjoyed browsing the music, videos, podcasts, and other content on the Zune marketplace.  I LOVED using the music from my Zune Pass as I drove in my car, mowed my lawn, played on my Xbox 360, worked in my shop/garage (I even have stereo speakers set up in my garage and basement workshop so when I bring in my Zune I can plug it in and jam while I work), and any number of other places I used it.  It wasn’t an easy thing to cancel my account, but I cannot put up with the nonsense I have been dealing with since this all started.


    It’s not like it’s a unique occurrence either.  I have had terrible customer service many times before from Zune support.  I called in once to find out why the DRM on an album I purchased on the Marketplace kept telling me that I didn’t own it, when I KNEW I had purchased it.  After a long time on the phone (hours), I was told someone would call me back.  I called back TWICE about that situation and to this day; they never fixed it AND NOONE EVER CALLED ME BACK!  I finally just deleted the album from my collection and went and bought it (again) on Amazon.com.


    Another time I had problems with the Zune player not playing music I had purchased unless I synced the device with the PC.  After a long time on the phone with support, the representative told me that it was because of a recent update on the Zune software.  I tried to make him understand that his explanation made no sense because my Zune had not been synced therefore it had no way of knowing about the update.  How could an update to the software affect a Zune player that had not been in sync with the software since the update?  “You mean that until this update all music purchased by users off of the Zune marketplace would not play unless the device was synced?”  He had no idea what I was talking about.  He told me to plug my Zune into my PC.  I told him that if I did, it would sync, and then we wouldn’t know if the problem was fixed or not because all my music (even the free stuff) would sync.  He just told me it was necessary to fix the problem.  After I did as he asked, he told me to unplug the device after it was done syncing and play one of my purchased songs.

    Support:  “Does the song play?”


    Me:  “Of course it plays … ALL my music plays now because I just synced my player.”


    Support: “There you go, we have fixed the problem.”


    Me:  “What?”


    I finally got frustrated and hung up.  The problem cropped up again a few times until I just went ahead myself and completely wiped it clean, before re-setting it up again.


    If a loyal customer calls in with a problem, shouldn’t you do your best to solve it?  And if that customers’ problem is a direct result of the actions taken by your own staff, wouldn’t it be prudent to just give that customer the benefit of the doubt and simply and easily give them their refund?  Otherwise, you risk losing that loyal customer and any potential customers they might have been able to usher your way (and believe me, I previously pointed many customers your way when asked about .MP3 playing devices)...  Is Microsoft so big that it doesn’t need to worry about one little angry guy?  Is that it?


    My point here is that you have a serious customer relations problem.  Your technical support is appalling and as much as I love the Zune Pass I cannot be a part of a company who is going to treat me as badly as I have been treated by the Zune support staff.  Every time a customer calls in with difficulty or a crisis it should be viewed as an opportunity for your people to show that customer how much you care about them and their business.  I will sorely miss the Zune pass experience (not counting the horrendous customer support problems I have always had), but hopefully I can find a replacement elsewhere.


    Keep in mind that I am still going to pursue the refund I rightly deserve.  I wasn’t just howling threats when I said I would take legal action.  I have been patient and understanding, but my patience is gone.  You will be hearing from me again.


    Sincerely, Glen S Schmidt   lextaliones@iw.net 

    Sunday, December 6, 2009 5:41 PM