Microsoft has just tried to verify my age on Skype

This all started when a friend using an old Skype version attempted to send me a picture. The link that was produced was a web Skype link so I could see it via the web, not inside the Skype application.
(This also happens to her whenever we send pictures, she gets a web link which she has to press – and log in to Skype again – to see them).

Well, I pressed that link of hers and I was greeted with a birthday input field. Yeah right! “April 1st, 2017”, I proclaimed and moved on. Then it asked for far more personal data, at which point I just gave up on it. I’m not going to share all that just to see a picture. I moved on with my life.

Come next morning, I could not log in to Skype. The message stated that I was not of age and I needed my parent’s permission to log in to Skype! “Oh for crying out loud!” I exclaimed and proceeded to see what I could do. Surprisingly enough, it was easy to set a new birthdate, however, that prompted the website to present me with a credit card input screen, for the reason that I must prove I’m an adult.

First of all, I love how having a credit card is proof you are an adult! There was no other option available, so by Microsoft’s thinking, all adults globally have credit cards!

Second of all, it pissed me off that I have to give you my credit card to use Skype! How up your bottom do you have to be to think that this is something that is reasonable? What’s next? Social security number? Last five years of tax returns?

Did some research online, and found the following:
a) parents of children that allow them to be on Skype through the credit card information are being charged $0.50 for the privilege. This is reported as not going to Skype or Microsoft but to a children’s fund. Sorry, if I want to support a charity or anything, you do not force it on me. I’ll just not use Skype.
b) if you have just become an adult and want to verify your age via the credit card, there will be no charge. See back to my “second of all” point!

Whatever, I decided to supply the information of my top-up credit card, which currently only had something like 4 euros in it, so who cares…

Sorry, this form is locked to the US form and the choice for Country cannot be changed so you cannot complete the form so you cannot be verified, so you cannot login to this Microsoft (Skype) account.

Starting to get a little annoyed, I seek Microsoft support lines, get forwarded to Skype support web page, where I find this lovely support page.

“If you can sign in to your Skype account…”, so no, I cannot, moving on.

“What do I do if I am having problems signing in?
Have you forgotten your username, password or have other problems signing in? We can help”. No, I have not forgotten the password!

“If your account has been suspended or if you think it may have been hacked or compromised, you can recover your account online”.

Let’s choose this!

Then I get a choice of “Forgotten your password?”

Didn’t you already ask me that???

“I know my password, but can’t sign in”, there we are, which brings us to the:

“We can help you reset your password and security info. First, enter your Microsoft account and follow the instructions below”, so in goes my email, and after the CAPTCHA I get “You cannot use a school or work email”.

WTH!?! I’ve been using this now for 4 years, now you have an issue with it???

Back to support and the only thing left is Microsoft support. They do have a phone number, so I call this “Are you a home or business user?”

Well, I’m in an office, but I use a free tool for non-commercial reasons, so that makes me a home user despite not being at home… (the logic of licensing terminology).

Press 1.

Then the rest of the messages take me to 3 and then to 4 which I press patiently, but if I were to tell you what I was doing for the next 20 minutes, I think it would not be a source of laughter!

Suffice it to say, that I basically navigated the entire catalogue of the Microsoft automated support menu to try to find a person to talk to; 90% of the choices lead to “Please go online at page www.WeEmployeeNoPeopleAnyMore.com/supportIsImportantToUs to log your issue”, 9% I did not even try but I just mashed the phone keypad to go to Activation problems. I confused the automated system something awful (“Please insert your first group of *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* – random presses on the telephone pad – Error has been detected, please insert your first group of *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* *BEEP* Error has been detected” – about some 10 times until it gave up and started asking for the second part, which was handled in the same way) until it capitulated to present to me a HUMAN BEING! Success!

“No, my good fellow I do not want to activate anything, I need HELP from a HUMAN to handle my account that I cannot use because…” I explain what I need.
“I’m sorry this is the activation department, please hold while I transfer you!”
“Thank you” I candidly offer.
“Did you know that if you go to www.WeEmployeeNoPeopleAnyMore.com/supportIsImportantToUs you can …”
“NO NO NO NO NO! Stop! I’ve done that, it’s not working out for me, that’s why I’ve spent 20 minutes on the phone to talk to a human!”, panicly reacting to a droning message read off a script.
“O…k…” the human behind the script wonders what to do next, “thank you for contacting Microsoft support, please hold”. Ah… the comfort of the readied pages…

A lot of musak later, and repeated explanation of what I need and why I called, to three different people, I’m hanged up. At least I think that is what it’s spelt, shouldn’t it? They hang up on me, so I’m hanged up? Should be so!

OK then… blood starting to boil a bit, but it’s all for the protection of the children after all, right?!?!?!

Sure! So let’s go to Gmail, make a new account with a totally.supid.name@gmail.com, go back to Skype login, log out, make a new account, give that totally.stupid.name@gmail.com, get asked for my date of birth, choose April 1st, 1950 and Bob’s your uncle, I’m in!!!

NO age verification with a credit card… maybe because now I’m a 67-year-old?? Who my age would ever want to harm a child or lie about being a 67-year-old?

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