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Windows Phone Developers: Do not renew your subscription until the expiry DAY or else Microsoft steals your money

October 1st, 2013 No comments

The Problem

So as I found out today, if you renew your Windows Phone Developer subscription early, it does not renew it for a year from the expiry date, it renews it for a year from the date you paid to have it renewed.  So essentially you pay for a 12 month subscription, but receive less than 12 months.  I’m not sure if the Windows Store subscription has the same problem or not, but beware.

 

The Story

After this happened I started up a support request chat with MS to have them extend the expiry date to what it should be, but was told that they are not able to do this.  Here is our chat transcript:

General Info

Chat start time

Oct 1, 2013 6:16:27 PM EST

Chat end time

Oct 1, 2013 6:40:49 PM EST

Duration (actual chatting time)

00:24:21

Operator

Adrian

Chat Transcript

info: Please wait for an agent to respond.  You are currently ‘1’ in the queue.
info: Privacy Statement
You are now chatting with ‘Adrian’.
Adrian: Hello, Dan
Dan: Hi there, I just renewed my Windows Phone Developer subscription today
Dan: My old expiry date was 10/24/2013, but when I renewed it the new expiry date is 10/1/2014
Dan: but it should be 10/24/2014
Adrian: So I understand that you have renewed your subscription before the expiration date and it seems that you have lost several days on your subscription.
Dan: yup, that’s basically it
Dan: I got the email notification about it expiring soon today, so I thought I would do it now before I forgot about it
Adrian: As it turns out, renewing your subscription manually is only available within 30 days of the expiration, but currently it does not stack the subscription.
Adrian: We recommend that you wait closer to your renewal date or let the account auto-renew (on by default) so that you do not lose any days.
Dan: so can you manually adjust my expiration date to be 10/24/2014 like it should, and submit a bug for them to fix that?
Adrian: I apologize for the inconvenience since I currently do not have a way to extend the subscription or modify the expiration date. Our engineers are already aware of the renewal behavior, but there is no estimated date on when a change will be implemented.
Dan: so can you guys credit my credit card for the difference then? You know that’s essentially jut stealing then…
Dan: Or just escalate me to a supervisor/manager/engineer who does have the ability to change the expiration date?
Adrian: I apologize as there is not a way to modify the expiration date within the system. My team works here as peers so there is no escalation path. The prorated amount for 24 days would amount to 1.28 USD out of 19 USD for a years subscription however we do not offer partial refunds per Microsoft policy.
Adrian: At best, I can refund the full amount and cancel your current subscription.  
Adrian: If there is any other way that I can offer my assistance I will be glad to help.
Adrian: Hello, are you there? I have not received any response from you.
Adrian: I have not yet received any response from you. I’ll wait for a minute before closing this chat session. Please feel free to initiate a new chat session so that we can assist you further.
Adrian: For some reason, possibly due to technical difficulty, I have not received a response from you. I will update the case notes and end this session. Please feel free to initiate a new chat session so that we can assist you further. Thank you for contacting MarketPlace Chat Support. Have a great day!

I started this chat up while at work and unfortunately had to leave my desk for 15 minutes, so Adrian closed our chat before I could reply.  The Windows Phone Developer subscription is now only $19/year, but I actually used a promo code that I received many months ago when it was still $100/year; so while Adrian mentioned that the missed days only added up to $1.28, the cost would actually be closer to $10.28 for the people who gave me the promo code.  Also, by this time next year the price may go back up to $100/year, in which case I’ll be forking over the $10.28 to pay for the month of October 2014.

Also, while Adrian admits that “Our engineers are already aware of the renewal behavior, but there is no estimated date on when a change will be implemented.”, this behaviour is not stated anywhere on the web page when renewing your account.  This seems pretty irresponsible to me, especially when it directly affects payments.  Can you imagine if your internet provider was allowed to just charge you for an extra month of service without warning or agreement.

Adrian mentioned that the recommended thing to do is to just let your annual subscription auto-renew.  This is likely the ideal situation, but I’m often paranoid that automatic transactions won’t go through and will be unnoticed (I’ve been bit by this in the past), or that by the time the renewal comes around my credit card info will have changed, etc., so I often manually renew my annual subscriptions.  Especially when the consequence of not renewing your membership means your apps are removed from the store and you stop making money off of them.  MS is basically stealing money from those who choose to manually renew their subscription.

I’m not going to bother pursuing this with MS as $10 isn’t worth the time or stress, but I wanted to try and let others know so that you don’t get burned as well.