How I Cancelled My Xbox Live Gold Subscription

It was a long time coming, but I finally cancelled my Xbox Live Gold subscription. The only reason I upgraded from Silver to Gold was for the Netflix support.  This was before Netflix started showing up in every set-top box, TV and toaster.  I have been meaning to downgrade for a while, but Microsoft does not make it easy to do.  At least they make it much easier for me to give them money than they do for me to keep it.

Today Sony updated PS3's to allow streaming of Netflix without the use of a disc.  Today I decided that I wanted to keep my money.  Especially in light of recent rate announcements from Microsoft.  Considering how ubiquitous Netflix has become, I wonder how Microsoft can justify its inclusion in the higher tier option.  I suspect that I am probably one of a minority who subscribed solely for Netflix.

But I digress.

If you have enabled the auto-renewal option of your Xbox Live account and you wish to cancel that, the following should help you find your way.

First, sign into your account by pointing your browser to  Once signed in, click on the Contact Information link.

On the left-hand side, under the "My Account" section, click the Membership Level link.

Now on the page you see before you, it gets a little tricky.  Or maybe it's just me because I am colorblind.  My eyes immediately go to the area that says "Modify Membership".  There are some obvious form controls there with a radio button to select an option and then a "Next" button.  This is a red herring.  Your eyes need to scan up the page a bit to the status area that describes your current membership information.  The text next to the "Automatic renewal" label is what you want.  This is actually a link.  Click it and ignore the form entirely.

Now don't be confused that the resulting page gives you little indication of the action you are attempting to perform.  Apparently this is an attempt to distract you from completing your objective.  Do not fall for it.  Click the Next button.

You successfully avoided that trap, but now they take another tack.  Maybe, just maybe, you didn't realize what you were asking for when you clicked the auto-renewal status link.  You silly person, you.  

Failing to entice you into changing to a different paid subscription plan, they would finally really, really like to talk to you about this decision you have so steadfastly been trying to make.

Click Next and laugh maniacally.  (The laughing is optional, but highly recommended.)

Finally, some options directly relating to the task at hand!  Select the Off radio button and then click Next.

If all went according to plan, you should see some confirmation.

And if you check your Membership Level again, you can see that the auto-renewal status is now "OFF" and the text is no longer clickable.

It's a piece of cake once you know how it's done.

I hate companies that make things more complicated in order to keep you tied into a service or try to up-sell you by injecting needless steps into the process.  I understand why it's done, and I won't go so far as to say it's evil, but I do think it is an insulting practice and it is a terrible idea from a customer service perspective.

Or maybe the experience here is a simple case of poor user interface design and I am reading too much into things.

Regardless, if you were looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, I hope this helps you find your way out.