Microsoft sued over Xbox Live points system

Pennsylvania man claims publisher defrauded him and others by charging for unused virtual currency.

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Microsoft's system for selling content through Xbox Live is anything but straightforward. Rather than using real-world currency or an easily understood conversion rate, the publisher has adopted its own system, where 400 Microsoft points is equivalent to $5. Further, Microsoft sells point packs only in multiples of 400, often leaving gamers with excess points after purchasing content that they want.

Purchasing points has given at least one man a serious headache.

This last point is the subject of a new class-action lawsuit, which was filed in the US District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania last week. The complaint alleges that Microsoft defrauded the class, which is led by Samuel Lassoff, by "collecting revenues for digital goods and services which were not provided." In particular, Lassoff's filing states that Microsoft contractually agreed to only charge for "the complete, whole, and or actual digital goods and services purchased."

Lassoff claims that Microsoft did not warn him, as well as the "hundreds" of others he believes are in a similar situation, of "point fraud due to incomplete and or partial downloads." He also notes in the filing that Microsoft did not offer any way to recover the unused points after he contacted customer support.

The complaint goes on to charge the publisher with negligence, unjust enrichment, and unfair business practices due to its pricing scheme for Microsoft points. Lassoff is seeking compensatory damages for the class, as well as interest and other damages as determined by the court.

"We haven’t seen the case so it’d be inappropriate to comment."

Discussion

696 comments
CTBradums
CTBradums

Honestly, I don't really care about the handful of points I lose/lost, but on the grounds of logic, this has merit. Why would you only allow people to buy set amounts (400, 800, etc.), then charge them incomplete amounts for packages, that are 99.9% guaranteed to leave unusable quantities as a remainder?

yang4200
yang4200

Everyone who disagree with this law sued must be those people who tell the cashier " keep the change, its only 2-5$ " or " mom! I need some freak en MS point now!. I don't care where or how you get the money I just want my MS point. " or MS already screw me over a few hundred dollar on everything a few more dollar wouldn't hurt. " In my opinion your better off giving a few bucks to a homeless person, you probably feel better that way anyway.

rarson
rarson

@Philly1UPer "As soon as you click buy, that product on LIVE is yours and you can delete and redownload it as many times as you want." ...until they take it off the market. Then you're SOL.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

@Merl57 Actually, you can download stuff again. As soon as you click buy, that product on LIVE is yours and you can delete and redownload it as many times as you want.

Philly1UPer
Philly1UPer

He didnt know? It must have taken him a very long time to finally notice he had left overs of 80 points each time he used a card......I hope he loses to be honest.

shafe-man
shafe-man

The only reason this is happening is because the XBLA games offered aren't even, whole numbers. Wii Points, for example, are sold in increments of $20 (2000 points), and games are in increments of 100. So if I buy a 500, a 1000, and two 300 point games/DLC, I still have 300, and I can still buy a 300 DLC and get even. Not some crudely thought out MS sale price, like 80. What they want is for games to be cheap while simultaneously having people pay more to even out the points left, essentially buying more and more until they have 0 points.

GOR_TAK
GOR_TAK

@ JimmyJimJim The debate wasn't about what "umbrella" the problems were under but rather that suits centering around their console IS a new phenomena not at all related to their previous suits over hardware and operating systems. Oblivious troll is still oblivious

JimmyJimJim
JimmyJimJim

@GOR_TAK They're all under the same umbrella buddy, and considering I had to mention their previous problems that would be the opposite of "oblivious".

Hydrolix
Hydrolix

Wow, I got a bunch of thumbs down on my post. I'll admit, the gift card analogy isn't the best and I certainly wasn't defending MS. (the similarities lie in that the stores are COUNTING on a certain % of sold gift cards never being redeemed and MS is going for the same thing by making you buy points in a package). I am a lawyer and my comments about the case are that this isn't the kind of case that I think is a winner. At best they are hoping to get MS to settle quick due to a cost/benefit analysis. Settlement = cheaper than all the bad press/litigation expense. If we are lucky the lawyers handling this will make as part of the settlement that MS has to change how points are purchased/handled. My guess is that they won't, which, will go to show that this is someone just trying to dip into MS pockets real quick as opposed to actually changing something.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

@HerbalVideogame: This is a joke. If you don't like the system stay away from it these purchases. You brough into a point system and now you are made thay you brought into a point system. You should go sue Chucky Cheese and every arcade in the world as well for the token system. I felt robbed too but then i realized that I am responsible for my own actions. Capitalizim sucks alot. I agree. but the reason it prevails is people don't take responsiblitity for there actions. If you don't like the system stay away from it and convice other to go on the parade with you. But this is for video games. you don't need it you like it there is a difference. Go fight health care issues. not trip out for probably 1 dollar worth of Microsoft points. I find you quam elementary and utter nonsense. Own up and shut up or else fight for dumb causes while people in slums looking for jobs suffer. DONE!!!!

commandokock
commandokock

@ lindallison yeah its a smart system to benefit microsoft. its also not fair to customers. theyre just 'nickel and dimeing' the customers and its petty of them. my comment basically was saying to get rid of the point system. i just think microsoft should be fair and let us spend only what we wanna spend and quit trying to come up with little scams to manipulate the supporters (us) who keep them with a job.

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

View from the outside: It reminds me of the old days of arcades, the argument of tokens vs. quarters. Yes, you know going in that tokens can only be used in that arcade, but you buy them anyway, because you know you're going to use them. However, the points business MS runs is different in one big way from the arcades of old. In an arcade, you can always find a game that uses one token only, so you can always use all of your tokens. With XBLive, apparently, there's nothing that costs one point; you can't use all of your remaining points, even if you wanted to. In short, the difference is in the units. You shouldn't have a currency unit that you can't buy anything with (pennies can still be exchanged for larger currency, so they don't count). MS points can't be redeemed for real currency, unlike chips in casinos. MS should allow for buying of set amounts of points, or allow for cashing out of points for real currency (or both, if they truly want to clean up their image). If they wanted to be shady, they could allow users to buy and sell points from each other for real currency (like in MMORPGs), but that's a poor way to go, and risky for the people involved. It would be best to allow buying of any amount of points. After all, if a company like MS can't do simple division...well, that would explain what happened with their Vista and Windows ME operating systems. :)

stray2615
stray2615

Only in America would this not be thrown out of a court instantly. The customers had what? Maybe 10-100 points left? maybe a monetary value of 15c? I wish I could sue anyone for anything.

Bad_Ass_Dr_Funk
Bad_Ass_Dr_Funk

The Microsoft points system is a rip off. By the time my 360 RROD'd, I had 200 worthless points left. I went and switched over to a PS3 and couldn't be happier. Free online play and when I buy points, it's possible to use them all. You can say I QQ all you want, but M$ is running a scam, and I hope they pay big and have to change the way they do business.

snooker8th
snooker8th

Microsoft has frauded every person who bought a Gold membership and invested in their poor excuse for a console. The points system was always stupid and unfair. I prefer paying in USD or YEN occasionally for different store titles on PSN and the ability to gameshare with my friends...

MagicOneUp
MagicOneUp

do you have a feeling that americans is suing everyone and every thing?

maaly81
maaly81

yeah it a scam... they make you purchase over and above the amount of point you need for content, rather than just charge you for what you buy. I got a gang of point left but under 400 so I cant buy a game...guess thats why they came out with that crap "buy clothes for your avatar" and all the other stuff

Vodoo
Vodoo

This IS a scam MS is running. And the only way to get a big corp. like MS to change anything is to sue them. Because, unfortunately, they don't listen to regular people.

Zloth2
Zloth2

I keep buying bread but, as a single guy, there's no way I can ever get through an entire loaf before it starts to go bad. So I get to sue because they don't sell smaller loaves? Please. This guy is just trying to get a solid enough case so that it's cheaper for Microsoft to pay him off than to fight him in court.

OU_Munky
OU_Munky

Oh...and i am also sueing teh People's Republic of China..because the RMB i had in my pocket when i got back to eth states was just enough to cover teh cost of conversion at the kiosk...oh noes...they stoles it!! :(

OU_Munky
OU_Munky

Don't forget to sue every video arcade you went to growing up...for making you use tokens...and let us not forget Chuck E Cheese...in fact if you feel like crying about...maybe your mother can take you back there with the rest of the babies. Would you like that little guy? You wanna have your birthday at Chuck E Cheese?

aowens1993
aowens1993

Pennsylvania man needs to QQ less

Huzzaahh
Huzzaahh

@ the05birdman Well, you need to have credit card info on the 360 and Wii to buy points straight from the system, so it looks like you're stuck to just using pre-paid cards. Therefore it's a lose-lose situation for you. I have next to no fear of my account getting hacked, so it's win-win for me. My point was that paying in actual currency is so much convenient than having to buy points. You run the risk of people stealing your credit card information from so many things these days, that you might as well trust a safe company (Sony) and trust yourself with the fact that your account is secure. You lose money from buying points, and it's unacceptable to me that companies like Microsoft and Nintendo continue to do this. It's dirty, it's shady, and it's just generally wrong, but it's business.

OwnageGuy
OwnageGuy

i doubt these people who sue M$ actually play much of the console, spending so much time suing m$ for everything. even though I'm a ps3 fan, seriously ppl can sue for anything these days.

KamikazeCanuck
KamikazeCanuck

and full games do use real dollar amounts: so you can't even use you're damn leftover MS Points on them!

jakesnakeel
jakesnakeel

I have a great idea, if I want to buy something for 3 dollars, charge me 3 dollars. Why is that so difficult? Why would anyone applaud being forced to pay 4 dollars and keep the dollar in some MS virtual account. 1 dollar x 23 million subscribers is a lot of money. It's a total scam

Sparta316
Sparta316

So if you don't like the system don't use it. Really guys come on.

Merl57
Merl57

Doesn't it let you download again?

Heshertonfist
Heshertonfist

Good. One lawsuit against Microsoft that seems to make sense. I've had 60 points sitting in my account that I can't use for a long time now. I know that's not much but how many others are there with X amount of points they can't use?

TheTenth10
TheTenth10

@batzy : it would be time for Microsoft to get sued by "abusing" capitalism, come on, all the éexclusives" announced by them and developers to sell many X360 games when they know from the start the game will be released on PS3 ... isn't it a bit unfair lying to other companies, buyers and retailers??? on topic : let's say 10 million X360 users have 2.5$ not being used, means M$ got 25 million $ for nothing in return

Batzy79
Batzy79

i think this is rediculous. are you guys gonna go after the hot dog people next? i mean how dare they give me ten hotdogs but i can only get 8 hotdog buns in a package wtf? One word for all of this: capitalism

dean0586
dean0586

@ toasty lol im pretty sure that they will change the currency to gbp or euro depending on where you live. i doubt very much they will have us using dollars that would be stupid :)

osiriskam
osiriskam

Scratch that, American spelling Vs English. Still no case though

osiriskam
osiriskam

@crimsonknight I don't believe you. Mostly because you can't spell attourney. Also because he accepted the terms and conditions.

oneligas
oneligas

man you people need to get your heads on straight, the MS points are the same as if you go to the drug store and get a pack of gum for a dollar and you get a few pennies back those few pennies aren't going to be of use unless you have more money so just go and blame MS for setting up a online currency and not forcing every game developer using it to only use rounded fees so you never get left over change

otanikun
otanikun

He'll be successful in the suit, I have a few unused points I can't use unless I buy more and the cycle continues.

YoungDab
YoungDab

Yea the entire xbox live online system is built from extortion.

Phaselinear
Phaselinear

I'm going to spend anywhere from 240-800 points on "ZUNE" to watch a movie these days. B.S. man. What a farce. I can watch the same movie on Netflix (actually 8 for the same price!!!) for a far cheaper price. Why would any idiot buy anything from the "extortion" team at Xbox/Microsoft in the first place? I pay my $50 a year, and at times a game add-on (if recommended!!) and that's it. Man, I wish APPLE co. had a gaming platform to buy, I have a feeling MS wouldn't be in buisness (Xbox) right now if they did!

kevin8se7en
kevin8se7en

I've had 10 Microsoft points on my account for over 6 months. Nothing costs 10 points. I'm totally gonna sue Microsoft for my 8 cents i will never get back. All they are gonna do to avoid this is add a bunch of stupid avatars that cost 1-10 points or something like that. Who gives a crap. The dude is an idiot.

Zerkrender
Zerkrender

Yaaay! :D I don't know why but I love reading and watching lawsuits take place. I've had serious thoughts of becoming a lawyer.

Trogeton
Trogeton

yeah pretty stupid of M$ to think of something like this in the first place.. either way..It's enough that we pay for online but in my opinion I think the amount of money it costs for points should be reduced but the amount of the M$ points costs should stay the same.. even though it's not much I think the costs of everything on the market place it too expensive... Like most arcade games are 800 ms points THATS 10 BUCKS thats just crazy.. the current prices of everything should be cut in half

scatterbrain007
scatterbrain007

Yes, seriously this guy didn't think it through when using the service. I think every Xbox owner out there knows at some point that they're going to purchase something off of the market place and have points left over. I don't like the point system (I love my Xbox, but that point system is F***ing STUPID) so I don't use it.

toasty1979
toasty1979

great a $ system you all cry! That will appeal to all us european customers.

Ozzy_Jacob
Ozzy_Jacob

they are changing the point system to real money soon anyway

shinchy
shinchy

Yeh, the problem here is simple though. You know what would happen if he won right!? 400 points for the price we currently pay for 500. All the customers are screwed.

omnislash_13
omnislash_13

It's annoying but I wouldn't say worth going to court over. We're talking a few dollars here. I have a Wii and the system works pretty much the same and I ended up using the points eventually when all the leftovers added up to enough to get something. I lived with it. Now I have a PS3 and it's all real money and the system works much better I think.

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Yes, it's annoying that MS and Nintendo have points to buy items, and you always have a few left over. Well tough. As soon as you make that decision to buy the points, that's it. YOU made that decision. It's also up to you then, to use the points for something if it bothers you that much that they're going unused. It's laughable that anyone thinks they could take this to a court of law. I hope the judge slaps him in the face and tells him to grow up.

Crusader721
Crusader721

So basically what this kid is saying is that every company that uses a point system to redeem items is defrauding their customers. Nintendo does the same thing. It's just a ploy to try to get rich quick and the guy is a loser.

yang4200
yang4200

 @Batzy79 

that is different.  You actually get more for your money. If you actually read the article right.. he is getting less for what he pay for :) simple right.