Microsoft will finally stop billing inactive Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass subscriptions

Microsoft has announced that it will begin canceling inactive Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass subscriptions, although the consumer protection practice will only be available in the UK for now.

The company has announced this new action under a voluntary agreement with the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). CMA has been actively investigating auto-renewing subscriptions for all major gaming platforms since 2019, although neither Sony nor Nintendo have publicly committed to making any changes to their services.

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Microsoft will begin contacting Xbox Live Gold or Game Pass customers who haven’t used the service in at least one year. This will tell customers how to opt out of future payments, and those who continue to pay but don’t use their subscription for a full year (24 months total) will be automatically terminated.

In addition to these changes, Microsoft has agreed to provide better information about auto-renewing subscriptions, including clearer details about how often the service is updated and how to get refunds for accidental renewals.

That CMA seems happy with Microsoft’s decision and still hope that other companies will follow suit. “Other companies that offer memberships and auto-renewing subscriptions should watch and review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection laws,” Executive Director of Compliance Michael Grenfell shared in a statement.

Microsoft’s consumer-friendly changes will take effect in the UK first, but the company says edge which will begin rolling out globally at some point in the near future.

Popular streaming service Netflix underwent a similar adjustment in 2020. With Microsoft joining in as well, we’re likely to start seeing more companies adopt these types of protective practices.

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Sophie Wilkinson

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