Thursday, March 31, 2016

More Microsoft Trouble for Me

“We were not able to complete the payment.”

I am not a fan of Microsoft. I believe the company is a bully, publishes bloated software, and usually does its users no favors. I am, however, a devotee of its Office product.

I own copies of Office 95, Office 97 and Office 2007. I have a subscription to MSOffice365; as long as I pay the annual fee, I am entitled to all updates, both major and minor, and access to all the programs in the suite. This is a good thing; I use the suite for virtually everything I do in my digital life except surf the internet. The subscription may cost me more in the long-run that purchasing the product, but both my wife and I can use it on our computers and the cash flow in the early years clearly favors the subscription.

At any rate, I bought it two years ago, renewed it a year ago, and was anticipating renewing it this year. I set calendar reminders so I would not forget. No need, of course, as MS let me know months in advance
( exaggerating slightly ). I eventually realized the subscription was due on Easter; I was unconcerned, believing I had to renew on or before March 27.

At 9:47 pm on March 26, I received an email from Microsoft: it confirmed the cancellation of my subscription. The message was mangled: “We’re sending you this message to confirm that your Office Home subscription ended ( note the past tense ) on Sunday, March 27, 2016 ( note the future date ).”

Ouch! This is a big deal. I use Office for virtually everything, I’m a power-user, and having to reinstall it and redo all my custom tweaks and things, would be devastating. I took a deep breath … maybe several. I came to believe that the future nature of the date was more important than the past nature of the cancellation text and that I could easily resolve this by renewing the subscription early Easter morning; I went to bed.

Stealing a few moments before leaving to visit family, I found the renewal instructions to be easily followed. Clicking the final button to complete the transaction, however, didn’t. Clicking the button didn’t do anything. After some non-productive fooling around ( I am a techie ) I clicked ‘Live Chat’ for help.

“The record says we were not able to complete the payment; are you using the same payment method as you did last time?”

“Yes, I am,” I reply. Isn’t the change in credit card on record at PayPal supposed to be transparent to this kind of thing? I wonder to myself.

Everything she asked me to do, including re-verification of my log-in and trying Internet Explorer, worked exactly as expected, except for clicking that final button. “Honey, are you coming?” my wife asks from the back door.

Now wanting to finish quickly, I ask, “Well, how about if I just give you my credit card information and you renew the subscription for me?”

“I would have offered that in the beginning of this if we could do that; I am not able to complete the sale for you. You can call the number on the screen and they can do it.”

“Thanks, good bye,” I typed and went upstairs to visit family.

After returning home, I returned to my computer intent on resolving the issue and renewing my subscription. The first thing I planned to do was remove PayPal from the payment method and add it in again. Using Firefox, I had some trouble getting this done. I opened the Microsoft site in Internet Explorer to try doing it that way; I experienced some more trouble. I eventually shut everything down and started over. Using Fire Fox, I tried renewing the subscription and everything worked exactly as it should, including the final button to complete the transaction. In moments I got a ‘thanks for your renewal’ from Microsoft and a receipt from PayPal.

Apparently the problem(s) I had had earlier in the day had nothing to do with either the browser or the payment method I was using. Go Microsoft.
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