Hey, I'm just posting a log of my conversation with M$, for those that are interested.
I wasn't banned when the bannings started. I thought I dodged a bullet. Yet I was banned a few days ago. I had to call to cancel my live service, so I thought I'd have a little fun and try to see if I could get unbanned just by playing dumb and speaking to various microsoft employees.
This is actually the concice version of the conversation.
The first agent I spoke to didn't speak english very well. I had to keep asking him to repeat himself.
HIM: "Thank you for calling xbox live, how can I help you?"
ME: "Hi there! I can't seem to connect to xbox live. I haven't been able to for a few days"
HIM: "okay, let me get some information"
ME: "Sure" - gave my info
HIM: "okay, let me walk you through the test" - gave test, asked for error codes
ME: gave him codes
HIM: "okay, the one we're most concerned with is Z: 8015 - 190D. This code indicates to us that you've modified your console, which is why you can't connect to live"
ME: "What does modified mean?"
ME: "What does modified mean? Because I had my drive replaced? Or could it be my intercooler?" (playing dumb)
HIM: "Did you have your drive replaced from an authorized microsoft service center?"
ME: "No, I got it repaired at gameworld in Toronto" (i made up that name)
HIM: "Hmmm... well it seems that they have repaired the console but also that it has been modified in some way"
ME: "Yes, it was modified - the drive was replaced because I broke the other one. Why can't I connect to live now? Everything else works fine!"
HIM: "Um... You can't connect to live because your console was banned. Your console has detected a change in hardware or software, which is why you were banned"
ME: "Why does having my console repaired at a different service center reason enough to ban me from live? Live is the reason I bought this thing! I have bought 15 games (LIE! I only bought 1!) and I only play online. How can I get back on live?" (you see, you've gotta ask open-ended questions. Make them work, and enjoy hearing them squirm)
HIM: "let me put you on hold"
ME: "Thank you" (you've always gotta say please and thank you, they feel extra bad if you're being polite)
HIM: "Thank you for holding. Unfortunately you can't ever go on live with this console because it has been banned"
ME: "Woh... that hardly seems fair. I buy this thing, and I buy a bunch of games to use with it, and when it breaks and I have it repaired, you won't let me use it online!?"
HIM: "I'm sorry sir, but that is the situation"
ME: "So you're telling me that since I didn't send it away to you for repair, I can no longer use live... that's ridiculous. I NEVER send my electroincs away for repair. I've had to many bad experiences. It always takes a month or more, and gameworld did it for me in an hour. I don't see why I should be peanalized for that."
HIM: "Well maybe you could take it back to gameworld"
ME: "and do what?"
HIM: "Tell them they caused your console to be banned"
ME: "And they'll give me a new one? Not likey. They did their job - they repaired it. The console works! They repaired it!"
HIM: "Yes, but because it's been modified.."
ME: "yes yes, i know. So what can I do to get back on live?"
HIM: "Let me look into that. Please hold"
ME: takes a pee
HIM: "Thank you for holding, unfortunately there is nothing I can do to put this console back on-line"
ME: "Can I speak to your supervisor please?"
HIM: "Um, sure. let me connect you"
ME: plays crackdown while on hold
HIM: "Hello, I'll transfer you to my supervisor"
ME: "Thank you so much."
His supervisor speaks even less english than he does
HER: "Hello. How can I help you?"
ME: "Didn't the last customer service representitive explain my situation"
HER: "Oh, yes. Apparently you've been banned from xbox live for having a modified console"
ME: "Yes, I had the thing repaired, and because I didn't have it repaired through you, I've been banned"
ME: "That's absolutly ridiculous. I don't know how you can do this to me. I love this console, and I've bought so many games and accessories, and I pay you each month to use your service. I don't see why having it repaired at a non M$ service center is reason enough to ban someone."
ME: "yes, I know that I AM banned, and I know that it's becasue I have a "modified" console, but please just answer my question - WHY do you ban people for having repairs done?"
HER: "because it's about keeping things fair - a level playing field"
ME: "I don't see how having a repair done has anything to do with a fair level playing field"
ME: "Please, just answer my question. WHY do you ban consoles that have been repaired?"
HER: "I've already explained that"
ME: "No, you said it was about a level playing field and against the terms of service, but I want to know WHY it's in the terms of servicce to ban those who have had repairs done. That doesn't seem fair to me. I have repairs on my electronics done all the time, and I've never dealt with a policiy that's as ridiculous as this
HER: "Sir, I'll give you a case ID number for this call"
ME: "Please, just tell me why"
HER: "Sir, please take the case ID number"
ME: "So you're ending this conversation?"
ME: "Can I speak to your supervisor please?" (the supervisor of a supervisor is the only one who can get $#!t done)
HER: "Sir, I am the supervisor"
ME: "You don't have a boss?"
HER: "Well, yes I do, but he'll just tell you the same answer"
ME: "Can I talk to your boss please?"
HER: "Let me check. I'll put you on hold"
ME: plays more crackdown - I'm only like 10 agility orbs away from finding them all
HER: "Sir, here is my supervisor"
Her supervisor doesn't speak english either. I'm starting to think that this call center is in India or something.
HIM: "Hello sir, I've had your situation explained, and I'm afraid there is nothing we can do"
ME: "That's unnaceptable. I don't see how me having this console repaired by another service center is any reason to deny me service"
At this point the conversation gets very repetative. In the end, he tells me that there is nothing anyone at microsoft can do to "unban" a console, and if I want to play online again, I'll have to buy a new one. I tell him that this policiy is completely unreasonable, and that I have paid so much money to play these games that I should at least be able to get an answer as to WHY they are banning people who have had their system repaired. Of course I know that they know that my console is modded, but I wanted to pressure them and make them sweat a bit.
HIM: "So I'm sorry, but I'm ending this conversation. There is NOTHING we can do."
ME: "Okay. Can you put me through to someone who can cancel my xbox live service?" (which was the reason I called in the first place. I just wanted to have some fun first)
He transfers me, and I get another billing rep. When she asked "why are you cancelling your service?", I tore her ear off with my speal. I asked her if there was anyone at all in the entire company who cares what I have to say and can give me some real answers or real solutions, and she said no. "What a company" I think were my words.
Anyways, I cancelled my live. She said that xbox live silver will still be active for a period of time, during which if I sign up again I can have access to my full gold account again. "Useless to me! Just cancel. I'll never again give microsoft a dollar of my money!" (not true. I'm thinking of buying a core to play my live games).
All in all, a very satisfying way to get your frustrations out. Be polite, but be firm. If someone isn't helping you, demand to talk to someone else. In the end you won't get "unbanned" EVER if your system isn't under M$ warranty, but if you're going to cancel your xbox live account, try calling and yelling a bit. Who knows, they might reevaluate the "unban" idea if enough of us complain that we're banned for no reason (even if it's a lie).