Microsoft will start automatically cancelling inactive Game Pass subscriptions soon
Microsoft is changing how it bills its Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass subscription services, following issues raised by the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The CMA, a UK regulator, has announced that it ‘has secured undertakings with Microsoft’ that should prevent accidental renewals for both subscription services.
Published on the GOV.UK website, the CMA identified several concerns with both subscription services. In response, Microsoft has agreed to make the following changes:
- Better upfront information: Microsoft will provide more transparent, upfront information to help customers understand their Xbox membership – making clear, for example, that the subscription will auto-renew unless the customer turns off auto-renewal; when the subscription will auto-renew; how much it will cost; and how the customer can receive a refund after an accidental renewal.
- Refunds: Microsoft will contact existing customers on recurring 12-month contracts and give them the option to end their contract and claim a pro-rata refund.
- Inactive memberships: Microsoft will also contact existing customers who haven’t used their memberships for a long time but are still paying. These customers will be reminded how to stop payments, and if they continue not to use their memberships, Microsoft will ultimately stop taking further payments.
- Better information about price increases: Microsoft will give clearer notifications of any future price rises, and will ensure people know how to turn off auto-renewal if they don’t want to pay the higher price.
While the CMA only regulates the UK, Microsoft is altering its Xbox Live Gold and Xbox Game Pass services globally. Initially, the changes will be reflected in UK subscriptions, but other markets should benefit from them soon. Incidentally, the CMA wants other companies to follow Microsoft’s changes, ensuring that they comply with English and Welsh consumer protection law. It remains to be seen how many will do so without coercion, though.