As of late, a good number of Xbox Live subscribers have had their patience put to the test, with Microsoft not only failing to answer concerned emails in a timely manner, but actually making some huge mistakes that cost unsuspecting gamers accounts. One such gamer, Josh Hinkle, was put through the ringer.
Dating back almost three months ago, Hinkle's account, after being hacked, was transferred from his native Xbox 360 console to one in Russia, where it was used to purchase 1200 MS Points. Hinkle noticed the transaction, reported it, and his account was put on hold while Microsoft investigated.
Then, whilst waiting to get his account back, Hinkle was informed that instead of reinstatement his Xbox Live account had been permanently banned. Something Microsoft found led to things getting worse for Hinkle rather than getting better.
What Microsoft found was that prior to the account transfer, the one that started this whole thing, some other particularly heinous activities took place on Hinkle's account -- his 360 was being used to try to hack into other 360s. But this wasn't Hinkle's Xbox 360 that lay in his residence; this was a Red Ring of Death 360 that Hinkle had sent back to Microsoft.
So, to explain, Hinkle had his home account hacked, and while Microsoft was trying to reinstate that, they found a refurbished Xbox 360, one that used to belong to Hinkle, was used to hack other 360s. It was the perfect storm of bad luck, and it resulted in Hinkle's banning.
As recounted by Hinkle to Kotaku, all is well now with Microsoft replacing the 360 that Hinkle threw out (most likely in anger) and his account being reinstated. It took a significant amount of jumping through hoops, including calls to the Better Business Bureau, to get things going, but eventually the whole thing was worked out.
But that still shouldn't undermine the fact that Microsoft made a huge mistake in dealing with this situation, and that this most likely isn't an isolated incident. Our heart goes out to Josh Hinkle, and we hope his gaming experiences are much smoother from here on out.
Have you encountered anything that resembles Josh Hinkle's headache with Xbox Live? Should Microsoft have investigated a little further before breaking out the banhammer?