Bing cancelled my wife's Reward account

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DatManWolf

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So here is an update. Still no reply via e-mail, but I finally got the attention of the FB page op. They looked into it and this was their response.

Hi <me>. Our records show that the account associated with the email: <wife's e-mail> was suspended by Fraud. The account was identified to be performing 100% bot queries in the past two months and was suspended at the end of March. Let us know if you have additional questions.

I let them know that none of the searches were done by a bot. That they were all legit searches.

What they may be getting pissy about is the simple number searches we tend to do if we hadn't met the daily allotted points. Simply start at 1 and go up until you are done. So, you apparently cannot search for the same thing daily and in consecutive order, because it will make them think it is a bot. Well, it wasn't. We would physically enter in those searches every day but I guess since we just did simple number searches, they think it was a bot and therefor fraud.

Looking through the TOU I see nothing that says I cannot search for the same things daily.

How You May Not Use the Program
You must not at any time use the Program to harm others, or the Program. For example, you may not:

engage in, facilitate or further unlawful conduct;
use the Program in a way that harms us or our advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors and/or vendors, or any customer of ours or our advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors and/or vendors;
use any automated process or service to access and/or use the Program (such as a BOT, a spider, periodic caching of information stored by Microsoft, or "meta-searching");
use any unauthorized means to modify or reroute, or attempt to modify or reroute, the Program;
damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Program (or the network(s) connected to the Program) or interfere with anyone's use and enjoyment of the Program; or
resell or redistribute the Program, or any part of the Program

As far as I can tell from their language, searching for the same thing daily isn't against the TOU. Maybe we have a number fetish(lol). Well, at least I am getting somewhere with the FB people versus the actual customer service. At least now I can make my argument for why is isn't Fraud and go from there. So a little forward momentum. At least I have the reason now.
 

hopmedic

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You may say I am over reacting with this as it is a free service and it is theirs to do what they want. But, getting the run around and essentially being told "we don't have to give you a reason" is not good enough for me.
No, I don't think you're overreacting to want your points back, but having read through the thread, and seeing that you are in tech support, I would think that you'd know better that honey will get you more flies than vinegar, and that these are nothing more than canned responses. In the early 00s I worked in tech support, and one of the quickest ways to get me to stop listening was to speak to me in an abusive manner.

These days, having not only worked in a call center, but also having been in a pseudo-supervisory role, if I'm not getting what I want from the customer support rep, I just ask for a supervisor. Getting upset with the CSR isn't going to solve anything, at least not in my favor. I understand that they are limited in many ways, and if they can't give me what I want, maybe the supervisor can. I often did things when I was in the call center that the CSRs couldn't do. But I wasn't going to bend any rules if someone was going to be abusive about it. I'd tell them the same thing that I would have told them were I just a CSR.

Beyond that, I have done what you said you've done, with entering random searches, but I only did it for a short period of time. Then Bing came out with the "new" (then) way of showing the top searches even on the results pages, and now I just go through and click them one after another until I get all my points. At this point I have more than 3200 points.
 

DatManWolf

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I would think that you'd know better that honey will get you more flies than vinegar, and that these are nothing more than canned responses.

These days, having not only worked in a call center, but also having been in a pseudo-supervisory role, if I'm not getting what I want from the customer support rep, I just ask for a supervisor.

I do know better. I know that being irate and vulgar doesn't accomplish anything. I had 3 previous e-mails before flying off the handle with these people, and the canned responses and lack of info was just pissing me off further.

I have asked for a supervisor, twice. Since then it has been radio silence. Even the FB op is no longer replying to me. So, they have now gone to giving me the silent treatment. I got the reason, but now they will not respond at all anymore. At this point, I have pretty much given up. I liked getting free money for using their services that I could use for my xbox and phones, but now I will just walk away from it. I put in the effort and they refuse to budge. So I quit Bing.
 

DatManWolf

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I guess I spoke too soon.

FB op finally contacted me back.

"Our team has gone back and taken a look at the data. We are confident in the decision to suspend your account. So we will not be reversing our decision. We apologize for the inconvenience."

So looks like we are back to the canned responses.
I said that they were incorrect in their decision, and just being confident doesn't make them correct. I requested, for the third time, some contact information to a supervisor or manager of the Bing Rewards department and not just someone in their customer service.

So, probably 3 to 4 more weeks of silence before I get a reply.
 

MyNL822

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Well I think I better stop violating the ToS, I didn't know they actually checked stuff. I am violating like 2 right now and I don't want to risk my credits.
 

ULOP3Z

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That's why I stay in the shadows, fly under the radar, never contact Microsoft they'll find dirt on you. Lol, but that really sucks man I hope it ends well for you and your wife
 

MazoMark

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OP, you've spent a lot of time on this and I understand. Getting penalized without cause sucks.

If you want to take it further, I'd send an email to Satya Nadella. Calmly explain the situation without getting venomous.
Explain that you are a loyal MS customer and feel cheated, but don't make threats to leave MS. If it reaches his office, I'd bet someone contacts you within 48 hours.
 

Indistinguishable

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Quick googling for his e-mail turned up nothing, if you happen to point me to it, I would appreciate it.

I'm not sure how much you value your time at... But I'd be willing to guess your time is worth more than how much you've spent doing all of this.

You're better off letting by-gones be by-gones. You violated the ToS. Deal with the consequences and quit wasting your time.
 

sejgiul

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"I have 3 accounts for everyone in my house" - this clearly reads as though each of your family members has 3 accounts. Your English appears to be decent enough for the rest, so why does this sentence not make sense?

I think the reason your account got suspended is due to running more accounts than allowed in one household (9 if I'm correct). It's pretty easy setting up an Outlook account, and judging from their responses this is exactly what you have done. They wouldn't suspend your account for the fun of it.
 

peacefulberry

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Also,op, they mentioned that cached searches violates tos. You mentioned that you saved some of your searches. Could they interpret this as a violation (a type of caching)? Next, how many Microsoft accounts are in your household? Even if you didn't use some of the accounts for Bing rewards, if you unintentionally searched with more than 5 accounts, or more than 1 account per person, then you've violated tos. So, in other words, you have to have 5 ppl in your house to be within tos if you created 5 accounts. Lastly, if there is a number search bot that is identical to your searches then there's no way to prove your searches were bot-free.
 

Markham Ranja

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I don't understand what's going on here.

OP violated the ToS. The ban is legit

You said that you and your wife would just search for numbers over and over again, in sequence, just to make up your daily maximum rewards. That's clear abuse of the system.
 

hopmedic

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You said that you and your wife would just search for numbers over and over again, in sequence, just to make up your daily maximum rewards. That's clear abuse of the system.
I disagree. The TOS does not say that you cannot repeatedly enter the same search terms. It says:
How You May Not Use the Program
You must not at any time use the Program to harm others, or the Program. For example, you may not:
?engage in, facilitate or further unlawful conduct;
?use the Program in a way that harms us or our advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors and/or vendors, or any customer of ours or our advertisers, affiliates, resellers, distributors and/or vendors;
?use any automated process or service to access and/or use the Program (such as a BOT, a spider, periodic caching of information stored by Microsoft, or "meta-searching");
?use any unauthorized means to modify or reroute, or attempt to modify or reroute, the Program;
?damage, disable, overburden, or impair the Program (or the network(s) connected to the Program) or interfere with anyone's use and enjoyment of the Program; or
?resell or redistribute the Program, or any part of the Program
While some may disagree with the OP entering the same search terms repeatedly, that is a subjective claim, and is open to interpretation. The TOS, being a legally-binding contract, is not subject to such open interpretation. It was written by lawyers who knew what they were doing. What the OP was doing, practically speaking, is no different than what I do. I click on the popular bing searches (the row of pictures) repeatedly, at the end of the day, until I get my max points. He's typing manually, I'm clicking. Technically speaking there's really no difference in what we're doing. But since the popular searches change regularly, my activity has not been flagged as being from a bot. He was apparently (by his own words) doing the same thing day after day, so the system decided it was a bot. Microsoft doesn't say you have to be searching for something that you're legitimately interested in. Here's what it says:
Microsoft will determine what constitutes a search (hereinafter ?Search?). A Search is the act of an individual user manually entering text for the good faith purpose of obtaining results for such user?s own research purpose, as determined by Microsoft. A Search does not include any query entered by a bot, macro, or other automated or fraudulent means of any kind.
So if you want to get technical, it appears that the points I get for clicking the popular searches shouldn't even count. That's their fault - they're giving me points for searching on links that they provide, though their own contract says that that doesn't constitute a search. I'm not going to get upset about it, though. If they take it away, they take it away. I was using Bing before the rewards program, and I'll use it after. I'm happy for what I get while I get it.

BTW - for now at least, I'm getting 40 points a day, and 70 on Tuesdays (for this month - double the desktop search points on Tuesday - doesn't double on mobile). I'll keep it up until someone says no go. Someone with the power to cut me off.
 

DatManWolf

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"I have 3 accounts for everyone in my house" - this clearly reads as though each of your family members has 3 accounts. Your English appears to be decent enough for the rest, so why does this sentence not make sense?

I think the reason your account got suspended is due to running more accounts than allowed in one household (9 if I'm correct). It's pretty easy setting up an Outlook account, and judging from their responses this is exactly what you have done. They wouldn't suspend your account for the fun of it.

3 accounts total. 1 for each person.
 

DatManWolf

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I'm not sure how much you value your time at... But I'd be willing to guess your time is worth more than how much you've spent doing all of this.

You're better off letting by-gones be by-gones. You violated the ToS. Deal with the consequences and quit wasting your time.

I did not violate the ToS according to the ToS and had you read anything in this thread you would know that. I do value my time. I value the time and effort I put into earning points on their site. So why would I not pursue the issue. So anytime it is a hassle over an issue of being screwed, I should just say f it?
 

DatManWolf

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I don't understand what's going on here.

OP violated the ToS. The ban is legit

You said that you and your wife would just search for numbers over and over again, in sequence, just to make up your daily maximum rewards. That's clear abuse of the system.

Obviously you don't understand what is going on here.

I did not violate the ToS based upon what is written in the ToS. Nothing I did shows as a violation of their written rules, so it is not clear abuse of the system. Had it been CLEAR abuse of the system, then my account would have been banned as well because we did the exact same thing. So, they are taking a stand on one end and ignoring it on the other. Doesn't seem to be very clear, does it?
 

Indistinguishable

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I did not violate the ToS according to the ToS and had you read anything in this thread you would know that. I do value my time. I value the time and effort I put into earning points on their site. So why would I not pursue the issue. So anytime it is a hassle over an issue of being screwed, I should just say f it?

If you don't already know them, look up two basic economic terms and they will answer your question. 1.) Opportunity cost. 2.) Sunk cost.
 

DatManWolf

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If you don't already know them, look up two basic economic terms and they will answer your question. 1.) Opportunity cost. 2.) Sunk cost.

Well, it cost my wife 8 or so months to earn 3k+ worth of bing points. I've been dealing with this for close to 2 months. Most of that time has been waiting on responses. So, all in all, I haven't wasted much time on this. At this point, I really don't expect to get those points back or her account re-instated, but I won't be satisfied until I have exhausted all options to try and do so. I guess it's the principle of it.

Also, MazoMark's recommendation also got me results faster than anything else. Microsoft Customer Advocacy has now contacted me and is looking into the situation. They said I should hear something next week.
 

DatManWolf

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Customer Advocacy says there is nothing they can do.

At this point, I am done. Thanks for all the suggestions and help. Back to Google I go.
 
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