Brad Feld

Back to Blog

The Unbearable Frustration of Error Code 80169d94

Dec 21, 2008
Category Technology

Error Code 80169d94 cost me an hour of my life last night and ninety minutes of my life this morning.  All I wanted to do was upgrade my Xbox Live Silver account (which comes free with an Xbox) to Xbox Live Gold (which costs $49.99 / year) so I could stream Netflix movies on my Xbox (cool feature).

I spend the first 15 minutes following the directions and trying to update to Gold on the web.  Every time I hit confirm the update page refreshed and did nothing.  Being stubborn, I did this about 25 times, including firing up IE and trying that (figuring that it was a Microsoft / Firefox thing.)  Wrong.

So – I stopped following directions and started poking around on the Xbox itself figuring there was an "upgrade to Gold option."  Of course there was, so I did it.  And got an error message: "Can’t retrieve information from Xbox LIVE.  Please try again later. Status Code: 80169d94".  I stared at it for a few minutes as though I had been pithed.  I tried again figuring it was some wonky connection problem.  Same error message.

I googled xbox live 80169d94 and found no shortage of other people with this problem.  The best explanation was at Xbox Live 80169d4 Fix.  It seems like there’s a case where your account gets "locked from making purchases" when the credit card info doesn’t exactly match the Xbox user info.

This is obviously ridiculous since there are never any instructions that these need to match and anyone that has a credit card knows that it probably isn’t the same as your user id.  Since I’ve successfully bought 100+ Rock Band songs using the credit card I’d previously entered, this is a recent issue with my id – possibly occurring when I recently did the Xbox upgrade to the new software.

Ok – that was about an hour, and I still have no solution.  I gave up for the night.

This morning, while procrastinating from going for an 8 mile run in 5 (feels like – 12) degree weather (at least the sun is out today), I called Xbox support. I used their spiffy voice automated system, which worked well.  I chose to talk to billing since that seemed most relevant.  "Marcus" (or "Michael" – I had trouble understanding his accent) verified my account information but decided he couldn’t help me.  Marcus then transferred me to tech support. 

I then spent 30 minutes on the phone with "Carlos".  I explained the situation to him and told him I was getting error code 80169d94.  He walked me through the upgrade steps I had done last night that didn’t work.  I tried to explain that I’d already tried this but he insisted that I walk though the steps with him.  When we got to the magic error code he had to check his resources.  After holding for a few minutes, Carlos came back on the phone and told me that he needed to transfer me to billing!  I asked if he realized that billing had transferred me to him and he said he realized this, but they were the ones that could help me.  Carlos put me on hold for a few minutes and then transferred me to his colleague in billing, who is named "Billy Jean."

For the third time I confirmed all my account data with Billy Jean.  I explained the error message to her.  She put me on hold to check "her resources."  She then had me go to, log in, and "update my account information."  I’m not really sure what she meant by update my account information, but I went ahead and modified all the information on the Xbox account to match the data on the credit card I was using (name, address, phone.)  After completing that, Billie Jean put me back on hold to check her resources.  She then came back on to get the best phone number to contact me at (the same one in the account!) and a time (Brad: "anytime", BJ: "you need to give me a specific time", Brad: "how about 6am to 10pm", BJ: "it has to be between 9am and 9pm Central Standard Time", Brad: "ok – anytime between 9am and 9pm Central Standard Time.")  Billy Jean then had to put me on hold to check her resources again.  After a minute, she told me that someone from upper management would be calling me in 5 to 10 days to help resolve my issue.  I amazingly asked why it would take 5 to 10 days and she informed me that a supervisor from upper management would need to resolve my issue.  I asked if she knew what the issue was, especially since I was able to provide an error code.  She told me that it was a problem that only upper management could solve.  I asked if there was any way we could resolve it faster than 5 to 10 days.  She told me that is the fastest they could call me back.

There are two phrases I heard at least ten times during this call sequence (exactly the same phrase from Marcos/Michael, Carlos, and Billy Jean: (1) "I need to put you on hold for 1 to 2 minutes to check my resources" and (2) "Thank for you patiently waiting, sorry for the long wait."  None of these 1 to 2 minute resource check waits were very long, especially when compared with the 5 to 10 days that I now have to wait.

I’m done procrastinating from my run (at least for the day.)  I guess Microsoft isn’t going to get my $49.99 for somewhere between 5 to 10 days and I won’t be watching streaming Netflix movies between now and – well – whenever upper management calls me.  It’s pretty amazing that it’s almost 2009 and Microsoft Tech Support can’t handle an Error Code 80169d94 in real time.  Oh – and during one of my hold periods, I was informed by the on hold music that I was talking to Samsung Customer Care in Richardson, Texas – obviously the Marcus pressed the wrong hold button from his call center – wherever he was – probably not Richardson, Texas.