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  • Canceling an XBOX Live Gold membership

    Posted on June 18th, 2007 Lee Devlin 60 comments

    I got an Xbox 360 about a year ago with the hope of using it as a media player for my HP Media Vault because it is supposed to be a DLNA-compliant media server. It’s not. You can get it to work by installing Twonkyvision’s server on the Media Vault (which costs another $40), but it won’t stream Divx/xvid-encoded videos, which pretty much renders it useless as a media player in my opinion.

    I’m not much of a gamer myself, and so the Xbox 360 hasn’t gotten much use. For some reason that I cannot recall, I decided to upgrade my Xbox 360 silver membership (which is free) to an Xbox Live Gold membership which costs about $7.99/month. I figured I could always just switch back to the free membership if I didn’t use the Gold membership features. After a while of seeing that monthly charge appear on the credit card, I decided to cancel it. I first tried canceling it on-line via the webpage for Live, then through the Xbox console, and wasted at least a half hour before searching on the Internet only to find out that that only way to cancel it is to call up 1-800-4MY-XBOX (1-800-469-9269) to wait to talk to an operator. And that took an additional 18 minutes, most of which time I was on hold.

    I really hate it when a company makes such an obvious attempt to hang on to subscription fees that it causes that level of inconvenience when attempting to cancel a service. Signing up took a few minutes and I didn’t need to call anyone, but canceling took 48 minutes from my life. So I’ll post this here for three reasons:

  • To help someone in the future to not waste time looking for an on-line solution to canceling their xbox live membership.
  • To let Microsoft know that this is a really stupid policy.
  • To let any other company that is contemplating a similar strategy not to do it because customers don’t like it.
  • I hope someone Diggs this and maybe it will get the attention of the person Microsoft who can correct the situation. If they do, I’ll gladly remove this from my blog.


    60 responses to “Canceling an XBOX Live Gold membership”

    1. dugg.


    2. that is a really stupid complaint. make the people who were gonna cancel their account anyway happy by making it easier to cancel. the(any) company could care less what someone who is gonna cancel thinks about the cancellation process. you even said yourself you waited a few months before you decided to cancel. if everyone does that then the company makes a lot of money because people(you) are lazy.

    3. It will certainly make me think twice before signing up for a paid account again. There are plenty of reasons that it should be easy to cancel an account, for example, if I’m traveling unable to use it for a few months but intend to sign up again when I things change. But if it takes a lot of time and effort, I’m going to pay for something I’m not using. That may seem clever on the part of the company causing this inconvenience, but it bothers me, the customer.

      My complaint has to do with the asymmetry of the process, i.e., signing up takes about 2 minutes, canceling takes 18 minutes, not including the time to figure out how to do it. There’s no way to justify that. Companies think that this goes unnoticed but it doesn’t. AOL took it on the chin when some guy recorded the lengths they went through to prevent him from canceling a subscription and Microsoft is doing something that is similar, although not quite as blatant.

    4. To make it worse, you can’t call to cancel unless it’s during business hours. Microsoft really is just making it harder to cancel in order to keep your money.

    5. Dude. Thanks. Seriously. I was about to kill myself trying to figure out how to do it. Not really, but you get the point. Thanks.

    6. I agree. I have been a loyal xbox customer for years, and now that I am lending my cousin my xbox for a few months while I am out of town, it is a huge pain in the butt to even figure out what is going on.

      Xbox is definitely screwing customers on this one. catch up in the real world and provide some decent customer service Microsoft!!!

    7. Odd, I just called and downgraded my Gold account to a Silver account and it took about 7 minutes. I was on hold for 5 of the 7 minutes, but the person kept checking back with me and letting me know what was going on. I have to say that I did not share the negative experience of others, and I do not work for Microsoft.

    8. I just cancelled my account and it took 14 minutes, 10 of which i was on hold and they kept saying the same stupid stuff over and over. Cancell the account already!!!

    9. Thanks for the info. I agree with you . . . If it’s so dang easy to sign up, then it ought to be just as easy to cancel (and not have to do it over the phone). The monthly thing is also misleading – at first I thought I was paying for just a one time fee.

    10. What is the no. for Hong kong

    11. Nowadays the workaround is to get a prepaid VISA for the minimum amount of subscription you want and recharge it as you want or don’t if you want to cancel. Corporations are greedy and are not likely to change this behaviour anytime soon. The best way is to cut them off at the knees by not letting them into your pocket in the first place. Consumers have always had the burden of protecting themselves since ancient times. Caveat emptor!

    12. Microsoft automatically charged my old credit card $57 for an XBOX live account I haven’t used in over a year. I protested through the credit card company but MSFT’s lawyers prevailed. I somehow got all the way to XBOX billing management on the phone and they refused to refund me even though I don’t use the service because it was past 60 days, even though I had protested the charge via my credit card company immediately. If you sing up for XBOX live, be prepared to get automatically billed annually for the rest of your life. Worst customer service ever.

    13. I was hung up on 8 times the first day I tried to cancel and 4 times the next day. I finally received a confirmation number after 40 min on the phone with the 5th call and they said my account was canceled. 15 days later I found another $8.65 was subtracted from my checking. Called my bank and they will credit my account and put a STOP PAYMENT with any future withdraws.

    14. Well I guess we ALL should know how these deals work. I am NOT a gamer but my daughter signed up for the free thing and later upgraded I guess? She probably just “clicked” where she should not have. My wife said that they cancelled the service in Jan 2007. But they started taking out $8.65 every month. I work out of state and leave the home business to my wife …. who apparently did not know of the charge!!!! I had to call India to speak to some one named “Brandy” who I could not understand her English, such as it was. After much negotiation I got 3 months out of one year removed from my account and the service cancelled. I then called my bank and made a complaint, and had another 3 months refunded. The charge was cancelled but Microsoft never took the steps necessary to stop taking my money. I wish that old man Gates would read some these blogs …. I feel he would be totally ashamed of how his company has degenerated, especially the out sourcing of American labor to people in India who can’t speak English. Shame on you Gates, loser!!!!

    15. I bought a 3 month membership for 20$ by entering my credit card number through the console. Guess what? After the 3 months, I get an email that Xbox Live will auto renew to the 8$/Month membership. Ive been on hold over 20 minutes. Thanks a lot MS!

    16. ANYONE who thinks that what XBOX is doing to its customers is OK needs to have their head EXAMINED. It should be illegal for them to keep my credit card number in memory on my Xbox. There are plenty of ways for people to hack into the system to get the card number. Saving the card number on the system should be optional. Every other place online I pay with a credit card does not save the credit card information unless I agree to it.

    17. Thanks- this really helped me! I was searching on the console for 20 minutes.

    18. Hey this x box live compoany is definately running a scam – making it extremely difficult to cancel an account. I’ve tried 3 times now, every time, it is an excruciating ordeal, which never gets resolved. This company should be held accountable. It is wrong to steal peoples money . I am fuRIOUS

    19. The x box live accounts are extremely difficult to cancel ,My son opened an account and used it for one month, now they are asking me all this detailed info in order to cancel it.
      I ‘ve been getting billed 7.99 twice each month for 6 months the company even had the nerve to tell me I would have to file a fraud claim to get the charges off my card.signed.. Livid

    20. Got a 1mth subscription to play Gears of War 2 with a buddy for a few weeks before January, as then I will be studying and won’t have time. I didn’t like that the confirmation email said auto-renew, so I called the 1-800 number. Was on the phone with the rep and gave him all my info, saying I wanted to downgrade back to silver. He was pretty nice, put me on hold for maybe 4mins, then gave the same info to a billing agent. (Don’t know why they need it twice but oh well…)

      Billing agent was happy to help, he told me that my Gold is good for the rest of the month and then I won’t be charged anymore and it will be a silver membership.

      Here’s hoping that is true. If it isn’t then I will be most unhappy, but so far I have nothing to complain about. I think I will stick to pre-paid cards now.

      (P.S. called from Canada, don’t know if that makes a difference)

    21. Thanks for the help! I could have wasted much more time. The hold music was a horrible noise, but I only had to wait about 8 minutes. Geeeez Microsoft. Evil Empire!

    22. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. The reps made it easy, though one did try to bribe me with 500 points to stick around.

    23. This is *EXACTLY* why I returned my xbox 360. This kind of behavior is criminal. Im sticking with my PS3 and Wii and won’t ever consider another xbox unless they change these practices!

    24. Thank you SO much for posting this blog!! I wasted about an hour searching how to cancel my gold account before I found this. Now I’m not looking forward to calling and downgrading to silver. It’s not that I don’t want a gold membership, it’s just that I’m somewhat tight on money and I have more important things to pay for right now. They should definately make the process to down grade or cancel a lot easier…when I decide I want to go back to gold I’m definately going to buy a card instead of putting it on my debit because this is rediculous…

    25. I just got an email today from Microsoft that they’re happy to inform me they charged me for another year of XBL gold automatically today, EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN’T PLAYED ON XBL FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS AND DO NOT INTEND TO.

      Fuck you micro$oft. I used to like you.

    26. Great, I thought it didn’t auto-renewal. I mean I’m 15 years old, how the hell am I supposed to cancel that? Unless I get my mom to do it for me. Microsoft really needs to stiffen their pants up or they’re going to lose customers. Of all gaming consoles, only Microsoft charges for the “great online expirience” which is also unlogical because you pay for “1 month” of Xbox Live but the timer keeps on going even if you are NOT using your Xbox at all. Sucks big time, from now on I guess I’m going to use Xlink Kai and tell M$ to beat it.

    27. thanks for the info. i spent hours trying to find out how to cancel my gold account online ,but all i see is upgrades and more games. i have not come across the word “cancel” in the online account, not even if it meant something else. Microsoft should give customers the option of paying manually online like any other bill. If everyone else experienced the same ordeal with Microsoft operators they wont show no partiality to me. taking these matters to court is futile. they probably have the best lawyers anyways.

    28. CK of Silver City

      I just canceled my membership right now. Took no more than five minutes. I think some people just occasionally have bad experiences. I know for a fact when I did support that sometimes I would have a call that lasted seconds, then the next call i would be one the line for half an hour.

    29. The whole Gold thing is a con anyways, you shouldn’t have to pay to play with friends. I just downgraded to Silver, and they didn’t make it easy. Really underhanded, and they can wave goodbye to my money.

      Good blog. Post. Thing.

    30. Whether you’re on the phone for five seconds or five hours to do it is irrelevant. Only greedy companies make it easy to sign up for a paid service yet difficult to cancel it and only greedy companies set up membership in a way that REQUIRES auto-renewal to subscribe (it’s stated in their terms of service) unless you use a pre-paid card, which isn’t something they tell you upfront.

      Even if you go to Microsoft’s article titled “How to Downgrade to a Silver Xbox Live Membership” (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/907817), you’ll notice that it doesn’t actually tell you how to do it. It tells you that if you pre-paid, it’ll happen automatically, but if you used a credit card, it doesn’t tell you that you have to call. It doesn’t tell you anything.

      All it says is that if your credit card gets declined when they do the REQUIRED auto-renewal that it WON’T downgrade you to silver, you’ll just carry a balance and keep owing them.

      The only way to avoid the issue is not to use a credit card to do any business with Xbox in the first place, which isn’t something that they tell you upfront – and this is how they scam most of their money out of people. They know that most people will think it’s more convenient to use their credit/debit card instead of pre-paid ones, so they know more people will be trapping themselves into the cycle of being charged unless they call and yet tell you nowhere that you NEED to call.

      They just suck all over.

    31. Thanks for the info.

      I downgraded my account yesterday.

      For the most part a painless experience, took about 10 minutes from start to finish.

    32. i called around march to down grade to silver. they put me on hold for more than five minutes the first time. they told me i had two gamer tags with x box live which was ridiculous, i only had one. on top of that they refused to give me the name of the gamer tag that was supposedly on MY account. i figured i had the right to know cuz….. its MY account but anyways i knew it was a lie. after much argument about it i managed to get downgraded to silver membership. i dont know what happened to the other imaginary gamer tag they said was active monthly. its now july and i havent had another monthly charge since march. i knew the were lying about that other gamer tag.

    33. do you have to tell them your email? cuz if you do im screwed since i upgraded my membership to gold for 1 month and if u have to tell them your email i cant cuz i totally forgot the name and pass of my email

    34. thanks man, this was really useful and I’ll have to check this out before my 1$ month thing goes out.

      I really don’t get why they can’t have a system that manually cancels it ON THE XBOX, think about it, how many games do this? even the ones that don’t refund can get you off of the “premium” in about 2 mins max

      Thing is, I’m patient with them, (which is strange for a 14 year old) if I have to wait on a phone for 5 hours, I’ll do it, if they charge me for ANOTHER month, I’ll deal with it and figure that I was late on canceling and just pay it again, then call them up to make sure that it is canceled, if it ISN’T cancelled, fine, I’ll re-cancel it, if they charge me AGAIN, expect to see a lot of spray paint with vulgar words all around the microsoft office buildings…

      no, I’m kinda more upset with the server quality of XBOX live, you would think that if you pay-to-play, then microsoft’s bitches (their games that they refuse to release to other counsols such as ME and halo) would have excellent servers allowing for maximum gamelpay. nope, F that, I was on my PS3 this morning on untold legends, went into a server and BAM done in less then a minute with no problems, only had to restart once because the microwave screwed with the internet connection, went to play L4D earlier, and was disconnected (not kicked) from the servers about 27 times before I finally found one that didn’t auto-log me out of it when I got in.

      my sugestion: if you can deal with the comments about being a noob, just make false email adresses every month and sign up for a new account to get the 1 month of gold free and when you want to play single player games, use your main account which ISN’T Xboxlive/gold

    35. I hate Microsoft now. I payed 1 – month gold membership and when it was over they took my my credit card and without my permission, paid another month! I want Microsoft sued so that they would change their policy

    36. know how infamous microsoft is?

      They lost millions of dollers because they tried to pull a monopoly scheme and ended up wiping out about 27 game buisnesses that refused to allow their games to be sold by them.

      they are trying to take over the market and kill off the ps3 and wii, unfortunatly nintendo is so friggin rich I doubt they’ll ever beat them (nintendo could buy out the U.S.A. if we weren’t a democracy!)

    37. the1dollaramonthlivenoob

      Glad I found this .
      My 1$ is about to expire in a few days and had thought i was going crazy when I couldnt even figure out where to cancel at online.

      Finally found it . It points you to a phone number to call in business hours..
      What a scam.

      Calling is a pain in the ass and they know it.

      Samem stupid situation with realplayer subscription where you sign up easily online but if you want to cancel you have to call and get a barely english speaking person to cancel ur account.

    38. God, I just had this happen to me after I signed onto the $1 for a month deal, spent 40 mins. on the website and fiddling with my Xbox trying to figure out how to cancel until I figured out I had to call. The call was only about ten minutes, but they kept pumping me for information and even trying to upsell me to subscribing for a year (no, I want to *CANCEL*) before they’d let me cancel. It’s a way bigger pain in the ass than it should be. I’m certainly never going to get a Gold membership again. Ugh, if I didn’t love the games library I’d trade this shit in for a PS3.

    39. well, I emailed support to see if there was any other way to cancel the account as I used a friend’s credit card and wouldn’t be able to reach them until after they re-charged me and they sent me this:

      Hello Ryan,

      This is Ellen, with Microsoft XBOX Support services.

      As I understand it, you want to cancel your Xbox Live Gold subscription. We appreciate the opportunity to assist.

      With regards to this matter, you may need to call our phone support line. Accessing your account information requires high level of verification. This is to ensure the confidentiality and security of your account. Thank you for your time and understanding.

      You may contact Xbox Customer Service for US and Canada by calling 1-800-469-9269 at your earliest convenience, and we’ll be happy to help you. We are open everyday from 9:00 A.M. to 1:00 A.M. Eastern Time and 6:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. Pacific Time

      For international customers, please contact Xbox Customer Service in your local region. (To find the correct Customer Service number for your region first use this link http://www.xbox.com/en-US/ChangeLocale.htm to select the appropriate country and then use the contact number found under the Support menu). You may also choose to call international assistance (direct dial to the US) by dialing 425-635-7180.

      To expedite service, please provide Service Request Number 1108551491 when you call.

      Thank you for visiting Xbox.com. If you should have future questions on Xbox products or services, please be sure to revisit our Web site as we are continually adding information to enhance our service.

      Best Regards,


      Microsoft XBOX Support Services


      so in other words, they told me:No, we can’t cancel your account because it requires a “higher verification” to keep someone from canceling your gold (utter BS, in fact I wouldn’t mind if someone canceled my gold as it wouldn’t change anything and I could just re-sign up and wouldn’t gain any additional bills. I would be more worried about them having the Credit card info then I would with them canceling a gold membership) then put information that I have seen hundreds of times before and to make sure I could reach them again, added the link to where I found them at the bottom -_-

      I can officially say that I support Microsoft employees because they are usually well mannered like Ellen here, but hate the company in general

      I can also say that my friend will be pissed at me and possibly smash my Xbox

    40. Sign in to your account at http://xbox.com/accounts

      You can cancel automatic renewal of your Xbox LIVE Gold membership.

      Click on “Membership Level” on the left, then click “ON” next to Automatic Renewal. You should be able to switch it to OFF.

    41. Random Person who is in the same shoes, and agrees.

      Thanks so much for this, I too have wasted lots of time and am incredibly frustrated trying to cancle this stupid account. Thanks for the help dood, and just so you know, typing this blog wasn’t a waste of time since, at the very least, it helped me :D

    42. Person Who just buys prepaid cards

      Here’s how to cancel your account the quick and easy way 1) stop sending them money 2) Relax

      Then only pay using the prepaid card should you decide to renew. If it was a direct debit, cancel it. If they are withdrawing money phone the bank and stop them paying, wait for them to come to you, and say I don’t want my account. You don’t have a minimum contract. ETC.

    43. Well it was as easy as clicking the ON button. That’s not so hard… but it is kind of funny how they just beg and plead with you. “you’ll be missing out!” and “All your friends will be waiting for you.” (Which I know for a fact that most ofthem won’t because I don’t play all the games they play anyway.) But they did let me cancle easily enough (although they don’t quite tell you how) and I can get a membership thing card anytime which I think is better than monthly renewal anyway. Tha’ts how my friends do it, that’s how I’ll do it… if I don’t trade it in fr a PS3 like I plan.

    44. I am so mad right now. we bought my son a yr gold membership back in november, my son played for over a month then they suspended the account saying the payment never went through we spent around 20 extra dollars sending them proof, and they still say the payment didnt go through. We said fine, take off the credit card we will just buy the gold pre paid card, its been a freaking month, last night they hung up on me 5 times when I tried to cancel, and they decided to hit my card an additional 4 times last night. oh by the way they have tried to bill me for 18 years worth of xbox live gold in the last 2 month. After we get this done we will never deal with this company again. I regret we ever even bought the xbox 360, not only should the company be shut down but they should go to prison for credit card fraud because that is exactly what they are doing, and just from reading all the responses Im not the only one this has happened to nor am I the only one that it is continuing to happen to.

    45. On xbox.com, go to live, login, and go to your contact information, then go to modify membership level and click the word ON next to automatic renewal. It’s a hassle, but can be done online.

    46. As stated earlier:

      Sign in to your account at http://xbox.com/accounts

      You can cancel automatic renewal of your Xbox LIVE Gold membership.

      Click on “Membership Level” on the left, then click “ON” next to Automatic Renewal. You should be able to switch it to OFF.

    47. I saw this posting earlier, but didn’t see the on/off autorenewal in my screen. Here’s what I see:

      Xbox Live Membership Screen

      Click on image for a larger version.

      I see a way to upgrade my Silver membership but no way of knowing if it would let me go backward, i.e., if I had a Gold membership if I could change it back to Silver. I don’t intend to find out by signing up for Gold and attempting to cancel it because I don’t want to go through the same hassle I did the last time where I had to call someone to cancel it. Can someone from the U.S. with a Gold membership confirm whether it’s possible? So far, everyone who has offered this advice has said it ‘should’ work, but no one seems to have run the experiment to see if it does work.

    48. I just checked mine and it looks exactly like yours except it says “Xbox LIVE Gold Membership” at the top. Same options and no way to cancel…

    49. Those bastards removed the way the cancel it online!!!

    50. Sometimes Logged

      @ Lee Devlin

      I just turned my automatic renewal to ‘off’ today (April 8, 2010), so as far as I know it is working. I agree that the Membership Level screen doesn’t include this information, but if you click on the ‘Account Summary’ link, you should see 3 things:

      Contact Information

      Membership Level

      Microsoft Points Balance

      In the Membership Level, you should see the word ‘ON’ in green. Click on this word and it should take you to the appropriate screen to turn off the automatic renewal. On a side note, I was able to remove my credit card information from the Xbox site only after turning off the automatic renewal.

      Also, I’m not exactly sure about this, but turning off automatic renewal may NOT be available to those people paying monthly. The explanations on the site seem to hint at that. I was using a yearly Gold subscription and these steps worked for me.

    51. @ Sometimes Logged

      Confirmed your method on my US Gold monthly account.

    52. even got a confirmation email


      Dear *member id*,

      Your subscription to Xbox Live Monthly Gold Membership will expire on ******, May **, 2010. To avoid a possible interruption of your subscription service, please renew your subscription by ******, May **, 2010.

      To extend your subscription, just use a credit card online at this site: http://www.xbox.com/extendmembership

      To check pricing details, and to confirm your account information and payment options, go to: http://billing.microsoft.com
      If you have already renewed your subscription, please accept our thanks.

      Thank you for using Microsoft Online Services.

      Xbox LIVE Team


    53. Thank you very much k0lee for posting this blog!! This kind of thing infuriates me and I’ve had it happen before three times with other businesses, being forced to waste up to one hour and 40 minutes of my day on the phone when the company clearly stated that you could cancel on their WEBSITE. I love Microsoft and their console but this is f**king ridiculous and I will now not be subscribing to the 1-dollar for one month deal. I knew $1 for one month was too good to be true, they’re hoping to cling to some $50 subscription for something that is apparently free on PS3.

    54. Guys, Microsoft is really not the only company to do that. In fact, when you sign anything you better read carefully…

      Most companies nowadays are using that method. Ex; They give you free X stuff for 6 motnhs, then they send a letter to your house,
      stating that if you don’t anser back they will charge you.

      What if you never get that letter? Don’t live with your parents anymor ,etc.?

      It’s legal, you signed for it when you decided to accept the 6 months crappy stuff.

      Be careful guys when you sign up…

    55. not sure why everyone else is having such problems. kid made an account and got her first gold month free, it auto renewed the next month. I called and explained that my daughter did not need the gold, they canceled it & removed the info. there was no problem. but there SHOULD be a way to do it on site or xbox without having to call in i agree.

    56. its rediculous, im currently on the pohone waiting for them to answer as i have been on hold 15 minutes now. they put the feature to cancell the automatic renewal on for about a month on the uk site then it was gone. the problem is thast we are just complaining on here and not to somewhere more noticable

    57. I have just found out that my 9 year old grandson has charged over $700.00 worth of stuff on X-Box live. I do not think he realized just the extent of what he was doing. All I know was I signed him up for a year subscription to X-Box live when he first got the X-Box. I had NO IDEA he would be able to charge on MY CREDIT card without MY PERMISSION. I called X-Box and they pretty much said, “too bad”. They told me I should have gone online and removed my card. When I told the (hardly English speaking lady) that I did not know this she said I should have read the user info. It is a RIP OFF and they are doing it on purpose so kids can do this. I am so sick about it as I work hard for my money and can’t afford this.

    58. I appreciate your posting. I think this is the 2nd time I noticed the charge and couldn’t figure why I was being billed. I spent the last preparing for my cross_state move, and before that waiting on the return of my Xbox (red ring 2nd time). Xbox had run a special, get a gold membership for $1.00 for 1 month. The deal was too good to pass up(not knowing that it would cost me a additional $18.00) so thanks for the info and I will can right away

    59. I agree with this post it didn’t take me that long to cancel but when i talked to the employee on the support line she kept trying to lure me to staying with discounts and free microsoft points

    60. I currently dealing with a similar issue. I didn’t have the money in my account to renew so it put a hold on my account. I went out and bought a three month gold card but that wont work till I pay the sixty dollars on my credit card and they refuse to remove the credit card until its pain even though I dont owe them.

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