A government body in the UK has today confirmed that they will open an investigation into Xbox's service renewal policies and practices, along with the other major console manufacturers, to make sure the process is fair.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is opening an investigation into Xbox, PlayStation and Nintendo with regards to their online subscription services such as Xbox Live Gold, PS Plus and Nintendo Online.
Here are the key points that will be investigated by the authority, who have made a full disclosure on the UK government's web portal:
Are the contract terms unfair? - do the companies’ terms give them wide discretion to change the quality of the deal, for example, by reducing the number of games included or increasing the price?The CMA has not made any claims that the companies have broken consumer law at this stage, but the implication is that a breach could potentially be found. This investigation is part of a larger study following a "loyalty penalty super-complaint" filed by Citizen's Advice, which is primarily concerned with renewal policies and practices in mobile, broadband, cash savings, home insurance and mortgages.
How easy it is to cancel or obtain a refund? - are there any factors that make it difficult for people to cancel their contract or get their money back?
How fair is the auto-renewal process? - are customers clearly told that their membership will be rolled over, are they regularly reminded that they are on a roll-over contract before further payments are taken, and is auto-renewal set as the default option?
The CMA are looking for UK citizens to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org if they have had experiences with these companies' auto-renewed services.