Microsoft pledges more clarity over UK Xbox subscriptions - regulator

FILE PHOTO: The new Xbox One controller (R), next to the previous controller during a press event unveiling Microsoft's new Xbox One in Redmond, Washington May 21, 2013. REUTERS/Nick Adams/File Photo

(Reuters) -Microsoft will begin offering more information to customers about how it automatically renews Xbox online gaming subscriptions in Britain, the UK's competition watchdog said on Wednesday.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it had secured undertakings from the U.S. tech giant to inform customers upfront about auto-renewals for Xbox Live Gold and Game Pass subscriptions. That would help gamers avoid paying for services they no longer use.

Microsoft has also agreed to provide clear and timely information on price hikes, and help inactive Xbox customers end their subscriptions if required and claim a pro-rata refund, the CMA said.

"Other companies offering memberships and subscriptions that auto-renew should take note, and review their practices to ensure they comply with consumer protection law," Michael Grenfell, executive director of enforcement at the CMA, said in a statement.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company earlier this month agreed to buy "Call of Duty" maker Activision Blizzard Inc for $69 billion.

The CMA has recently clashed with Big Tech firms such as Facebook over its acquisition of Giphy, and has criticised Google and Apple for what it considers as using their market power to create largely self-contained ecosystems.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.)

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