Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Trying to give Microsoft my money goes 5 for 5

Update: This has now resolved; 
The issue is between Azure and VisualStudio.com, which has a black hole where payments disappear into for an inordinately long time before it's reflected on the other side (this is alluded to as a possible cause further down in this post). 

If you don’t know my previous experiences at trying to hand over my money to Microsoft (all documented in this blog) in the past, here’s a quick run down of the silliness I’ve encountered:

  • You can't order a Microsoft Windows Kinect sensor for delivery to your home without a Live account.
  • If a bricks-and-mortar Microsoft Store does not have the Microsoft hardware you wish to purchase, you can't ask the store to order it so you can come in later and pay for it.  (This was documented in some length here)
  • A Microsoft help chat representative told me in November I can't order a copy of Windows 8 to run under Parallels on a Mac (this was reported immediately to Microsoft as that's just really bad advice).
  • You can immediately buy a Windows download - except they only give you stub that is useless if you've not yet gotten a copy of Windows to run it in.
So today I went to purchase a subscription for Visual Studio Online.  The initial stumbling block was Microsoft wanted a credit card number, but then told me I might already have the supplied number on file (it’s not explicit about whether it is or isn’t there) or that there might be another error - but won’t let you look up if there is a card on file or not…   Hitting refresh and this went away.  Magic, eh?

I wanted the Professional version of Visual Studio.  I linked Azure to my Visual Studio account, selected the subscription quantity and it charged my card.  At least it said it did…  

There’s three versions of Visual Studio Online:
  • Basic
  • Pro
  • Ultimate.


I clicked the new subscription I had created, went to downloads and I’m presented with options to “Try Ultimate” or download the free stuff that I’m trying to upgrade from.  

The middle one (the Pro version that I just bought) is not an option.

I checked the billing page and the card charge doesn’t show up yet.  Now, I know Microsoft has an internal time-continuum that can lead to things being paid for that haven’t been paid according to other internal systems - so I know I shouldn’t try again just incase I get charged twice.

So, I now have to twiddle my thumbs and wait to see if Microsoft did actually take the money or not, because they’re reporting I have a professional subscription that doesn’t show up on Visual Studio, but does in Azure - except for where the real proof is, which is on the billing screen.

Why does giving my money to Microsoft always have to be this difficult?  That's 5 times I've tried to hand them money and 5 times something has gotten horribly complicated.