My TPAM Helped Me Out

My TPAM (Microsoft's Telephone Partner Account Manager) was a big help on something recently and I appreciate it.

In going through my accounting records while preparing for my accountant to do his job for my Income Taxes I noticed a repeating charge from Microsoft Live Office for $40 per month for about the last 12 to 14 months! These charges have been paid when presented but this was the first time I had actually reviewed the detail and noticed this one. When I called MS Live Office customer service I was told that this was for my premium Live Office Account. I do sign up for free offers, especially when I think I can learn about a service that might be helpful for my clients in my consulting practice. But when I see that the free trial period will change to a paid service I mark my calendar so that I don't forget to cancel the service if I don't want to keep it. Customer Service said they were sorry but all they could do was cancel my service and refund the one month that I was paid ahead. When I asked who else with a higher authority in service I could appeal to the answer I was give was - no one. When I expressed incredulity to this and asked if I could write a letter or email to someone I was advised to address my letter to:

1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA xxxxx

I asked if this was the complete address and was told it was. I asked if there was a person's name or department to direct it to and was answered - no, there wasn't.

Now I don't know about you but with the rest of the way I have seen MS operate I was skeptical as to whether addressing a letter to no one could get more results than actually talking to someone on the phone. I was picturing the mail room guy having to read my letter and then react appropriately. Seemed kind of iffy.

A few days later when I had a few minutes to spare and was in the mood to get frustrated I called Live Office customer service again. The guy I spoke with told me that he knew that I was sent an email letting me know that the Live Office service had changed from beta to production and I would start being charged. I asked if you could demonstrate that I had seen this email (even though I don't believe seeing it constitutes agreement). He said he could not. He went on to tell me that I had replied to the email and accepted the terms. THIS really got me. I knew that I had not seen the email and there is NO WAY that I had agreed. I asked him to produce a copy of my acceptance email and he said these were only accessible for 60 days - and at about 1 year we were way past that. I asked him who could retrieve this email and he suggested I call 1-800-microsoft and get to the billing department and they would help me. He added that he could credit my account for 2 months worth of charges. I am a little confused why he did this based on the rest of his story?

THEN, a week or so ago, while driving to Nashville to see one of my daughters, I got a call from Sheila, my TPAM. After we talked she asked if there was anything she could do for me. I thought for a minute and told her it would be great if she could get me in contact with someone in the Live Office customer service area that was a little more enlightened than the front line telephone people that I had been dealing with. I explained what the issue was and she said she couldn't promise anything but that she would try.

TODAY, I got a call from Josh at Live Office and he said he was instructed to get in touch with me and take care of refunding my money. WOW, I got what I was looking for and I didn't even have to knock myself out.

Thanks, Sheila.