Friday, 22 September 2017

Microsoft Store Customer Care.....

So; family sharing.

Setting up a family account with either Google, Apple or Microsoft has a number of benefits, for example locating your kids (and wife), controlling PC access, checking web history, setting parental controls and generally looking after your family online.

Plus, the great benefit of sharing apps between a number of family devices. For example; Minecraft, which our family is heavily into, having built @chester_craft on Xbox 360 and having over 2 million downloads via maps for minecraft on Android (Search Chester if you want it for free).

We've used family sharing on Apple devices in the past, Downloading Minecraft on the Parent iOS device, and easily downloading it for free on a childs device.
However everything over at Apple hasn't always been plain sailing, sometimes I've had problems with purchases, which have needed rectifying.
Once my very young daughter inadvertently bought £12 of in app purchases (while in app purchasing was still in it's infancy). In that situation, via iTunes, I logged into my account clicked 'report a problem' next to the item, filled out a quick form, explained whats happened and had the issue resolved with shockingly good customer care very quickly.

When I recently purchased a PC for work (for a Minecraft job oddly) I ensured that family setting was working as best as I could. My children are listed on my family correctly on my account page and should be able to share apps purchased via the Microsoft Store. 'The shopping bag icon in my taskbar' as this guy on hold keeps reminding me about every 3 minutes (I'm 46 minutes on hold as I type, I've just had a battery low warning on the handset as I have it on speakerphone, so I'm not hopeful).

Anyway, in my first month, I purchased Minecraft for Windows, with the view of getting our Chester map onto it later (I teach digital media in schools as well, so it could be used for educational purposes). A couple of months back, I bought my two girls Acer laptops with Windows 10, primarily for school, but also, we ought to be able to play Minecraft together, like we do on Xbox, only full screen. Alas no. When my daughter logs in, using her child account on her laptop, her only option is to buy it for £22.49.

So I tweeted @Microsoftstore and stated that it should be easier than this.
The first reply sent me to a Minecraft help page. I replied that this didn't address the problem.
The next solution was to log in using my daughters account on my PC, effectively creating a new user profile on my computer - which I don't really want, but nevertheless, I did it anyway. But disappointingly, that didn't work either. Via Twitter, again I explained that when she did this, on my computer, the store said she could 'play' or 'buy to keep'(? Huh) But on hers, it still said 'Buy', or 'play free trial'. None of which acknowledged that it was in our 'family library' and ought to be obtainable free of cost.

So, back on twitter and I'm redirected to some help pages for the Microsoft store. I click the obvious connection to contact them (email) and this lets me share the support page with someone else (aaargh).

I find another link which takes me through to what appears to be a Tezcorp robot.

Here's our chat.

Basically she wants to explain Emoji's in Skype to me after a question about Minecraft and family sharing? Go figure, one of the most powerful IT comanies in the world and a question with the phrases 'minecraft' and 'family sharing' results in an answer about skype and emojis. Pull the plug on this junk Microsoft it does your reputation as much good as the HMRC robots. 

So (obviously) I return to Twitter - where I'm asked if I tried calling. Like they used to do in the olden days. Alas, I have not, and I come to the realisation that perhaps a good old fashioned phone call might be the only way.

I point out however that the page I have been directed to has no UK phone numbers, and I'm offered another one, which (thank goodness has an 0800 number). I thank them for the freefone number, but then I'm directed to another page, with an 0344 number, no thanks, I'll stick with the freefone number.

(Spoiler alert - Phone has just died this story has a sad end).

So I call and after only a couple of minutes I speak to the first person. Sadly, he cannot help me, but he knows a guy who can and puts me through. 12 minutes later and my saviour answers, however, he can only help me with Microsoft store purchases. Huh, I explain, that's exactly what I'm having a problem with, but no, he insists he's not the man to resolve my problem, but, it will only be a matter of seconds before some supreme super hero is helping me. The next 40 minutes are spent listening to the same music on loop, which lasts approximately 3 minutes, with a guy with the mosht [sic] infuriaching achent telling me how great Microshoft productsh are. Until the phone dies.

So for now, this is the end of the story, hopefully I'll be able to update with a successful resolution, but for now, my advice is, if you have a family and want to share apps, shtick with Google or Apple.

Life is too short.

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