Xbox 360 user sues Microsoft for $500 billion

The latest case of a Xbox 360 gamer suing Microsoft has surfaced and this time the man filing the legal action is asking for a whopping $500 billion (with a b) from the company. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that David Stebbins from Arkansas filed a motion earlier this week in Seattle as he tries to use the terms of his Xbox Live contract against Microsoft. According to the story, Stebbins claims that on May 6 he sent a notice to Microsoft that he was "unilaterally amending the terms of service" of his Xbox Live contract. He also claimed that if Microsoft did not terminate his contract with him within 10 days, it would have to accept the new terms of service.

In effect, Stebbins is trying to do what companies like Microsoft do when they change the terms of a contract with consumers. Most people receive emails with the new terms and blindly accept them without even reading them.

Stebbins claims that after Microsoft didn't terminate the Xbox Live contract he then invited the company to have legal talks to discuss the case which he claims involve the $500 billion in damages. Microsoft didn't respond in which case Stebbins claims he is the automatic winner of that massive amount of money.

The article points out that Stebbins has also filed lawsuits against a number of other businesses with similar terms. Many of those lawsuits have been dismissed by the courts. Yet Stebbins says he is not just sending out frivolous lawsuits for the heck of it, claiming, "My true goal is not to just harass, and it's not just to get rich. My true goal is to level the playing field."

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Okay, yes, this lawsuit is against Microsoft, but that doesn't mean it ONLY applies to Microsoft...

This guy is trying to change one thing that many companies, not just Microsoft, have done in the past, which is changing their terms and services and what-not without much in the way of prior notice. While one person commented that Microsoft notifies users when their terms and services change in XBox Live, what about other companies? Do they do the same? My guess is, although perhaps those companies do something like post onto their blog or something about it, that doesn't mean many, if not most, of the people that use their service sees it...

In my opinion, this guy is smart. Will we win the case? Of course not! $500 billion? Are you crazy? But what he's doing is, depending upon what will become of this, he will open people's eyes to this kind of stuff. I'm not saying it's entirely unjust that companies are changing terms without notice, but input from the other party should be at least considered, as long as the contract remains fair for both sides.

I personally will be watching this case, and I'll be excited to see how it'll turn out. But I don't expect to hear about a man who's suddenly $500 billion bucks richer... Lol.

To all everyone saying he is dumb because he agreed to the contract and it says that they can change the contract as they see fit, this went over your head 100%. That is the point he is making. Anywhere else, if one entity tries to change a contract without the others explicit consent, the contract is void. With these things, we have no power in the contract and what it says. If Microsoft decides in order to play on Xbox live, you have to give up your first born, would you notice if someone else didn't report it? How many of you know that anything you post or upload onto almost any website, including Myspace and Facebook, becomes their intellectual property.

$500 billion is actually a fair number. How much are all the contracts worth that Microsoft has ever had worth (including EULA's, business contracts, and everything else they ever do/sell) Over the years, that number probably adds up to at least $500 billion

ILikeTobacco said,
To all everyone saying he is dumb because he agreed to the contract and it says that they can change the contract as they see fit, this went over your head 100%. That is the point he is making. Anywhere else, if one entity tries to change a contract without the others explicit consent, the contract is void. With these things, we have no power in the contract and what it says. If Microsoft decides in order to play on Xbox live, you have to give up your first born, would you notice if someone else didn't report it? How many of you know that anything you post or upload onto almost any website, including Myspace and Facebook, becomes their intellectual property.

$500 billion is actually a fair number. How much are all the contracts worth that Microsoft has ever had worth (including EULA's, business contracts, and everything else they ever do/sell) Over the years, that number probably adds up to at least $500 billion

Any time Microsoft makes a change to the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use they send out a notice and the user is required to agree IF they wish to continue using the service. They are given the option to review the new terms prior to acceptance.

He has 0 leg to stand on since customers are notified of the changes and given the opportunity to not accept them. Acceptance is not automatic.


So no, it is you who doesn't get it. I'd refrain from commenting further unless you want to look bad.

Yeah but if you do not agree do you get a refund ? no.

Generally when a contract is void both parties get back to day 1 not only one party.

Mountain Dew said,

Any time Microsoft makes a change to the Xbox LIVE Terms of Use they send out a notice and the user is required to agree IF they wish to continue using the service. They are given the option to review the new terms prior to acceptance.

He has 0 leg to stand on since customers are notified of the changes and given the opportunity to not accept them. Acceptance is not automatic.


So no, it is you who doesn't get it. I'd refrain from commenting further unless you want to look bad.

And thank you for proving that it went over your head. When you start using something like Xbox Live, you pay money and are bound by the terms of service at that point. When Microsoft changes those terms, do you get the option to get your money back? They voided the contract, not you which means they are legally responsible for any loss or damages caused by voiding that contract. As a customer we have no choice, we get nothing back and we don't get to negotiate the terms of those contracts. Those are the only contracts in business world were one party gets absolutely no say on the terms.

The only person you have made look bad is yourself by proving this went over your head and showing you are just another sheep that will do whatever the cooperation say you have to do. You are bending over and taking it every time they change their terms without asking you first. Perfect example, ATT changing contracts on peoples data caps without giving a way to opt out of their two year agree. This is no different and that is his case and point. Anyone with a bit of common sense can see that.

i see this stuff pointless, he agreed to xbox to change contract whenever they want to. so its stupid then he complaining about it when he first agreed.

i like how some people say "we have to blindly accept" "we have to accept it even if we dont know what it is about". because they say in "Terms of Use and Contract agreements" how they can change it when they want to, so people who think thats being "blindly accept" they should read more what they accept then, because it clearly says they can change contract if they want to and when they want to.

EmilyTheStrange said,
i see this stuff pointless, he agreed to xbox to change contract whenever they want to. so its stupid then he complaining about it when he first agreed.

i like how some people say "we have to blindly accept" "we have to accept it even if we dont know what it is about". because they say in "Terms of Use and Contract agreements" how they can change it when they want to, so people who think thats being "blindly accept" they should read more what they accept then, because it clearly says they can change contract if they want to and when they want to.

Granted.. but seriously, who actually reads the T&C's of every product or service they buy?? Some of them are small books, and as a consumer you simply accept (somewaht naively) that you arent going to be hard done by... I think the whole point is that companies should not simply be allowed to change their T&Cs when they feel lke it, usually at some expense to the consumer in one form or another...

Well...why Microsoft? Has Microsoft changed their terms and licenses lately? I use a bunch of MS services and I have never received any emails or seen any news items about MS changing anything.

Why not go for other companies, like Dropbox, which HAS changed their licenses lately? Seems like the guy just thought MS was the richest/biggest/whatever company out there and jumped on them.

i agree with the guys basic point on how they basically force new rules on us and we have to blindly accept them, but we can't do the same to them.

but at the end of the day it's obvious he's NEVER going to get 500billion, if anything.

+1 to evn's comment.

Who's forcing rules on you? Last time I checked..you have a choice in this country to not purchase what someone sells.

If you don't like the rules they set...don't buy their products.

ThaCrip said,
i agree with the guys basic point on how they basically force new rules on us and we have to blindly accept them, but we can't do the same to them.

but at the end of the day it's obvious he's NEVER going to get 500billion, if anything.

+1 to evn's comment.

evn. said,

The principle that in order for contracts to be enforceable they have to be 'fair'. For example a contract formed when one party has exceptional influence may be declared void.

I suspect his argument is based on the idea that contracts (like EULAs, phone company contracts, etc) are 'unconscionable'. One of the principles of contract law is that the terms must not be "excessively unfair" to one party. The individual filing these suits probably feels like having one party being able to dictate the terms at will, and to walk out of their contractual obligations on a whim is unfair. He might have a point, he might not: he wants the courts to weigh in on the matter but so far they've only said "bugger off".

Imagine if you entered into plastic surgery and mid-way through the doctor decided he wanted to tripple his rate: your choices are either 'agree', or he could stop the surgery mid-way and you'd leave without a nose: your choice. That's the sort of bargaining power that major companies have and his point is that the relationship isn't fair and shouldn't be legal.

If you read the article, or even the summary, you'll see the purpose of the individual isnt' to win the trial, but to have a precedent set where one party cannot exert what he considers undue influence. His approach is probably the most cost-effective and most likely to be effective so you can't really fault him for that. Lobbying for change is unlikely to be effective, and even if he did get a congressmen to introduce legislation, and it passed, and it went into effect, it would still be years before it actually helped anybody.

His request for half a trillion dollars is sane because it ensures he'd never win. That's what he wants: a verdict that says "you can't just change the rules of a contract because you want to." So far he's had no success - and I'm doubtful he will, but in terms of publicity per dollar and pay-off for succes you can't be any more cost effective than he is.

This.

While I think asking for $500 billion is a little much, I can see and agree with his point. Companies shouldn't continually change the terms of service for products you've already paid for.

CoMMo said,
While I think asking for $500 billion is a little much, I can see and agree with his point. Companies shouldn't continually change the terms of service for products you've already paid for.
A little? LOL

CoMMo said,
While I think asking for $500 billion is a little much, I can see and agree with his point. Companies shouldn't continually change the terms of service for products you've already paid for.

but thats what the contract says! i mean... if you dont like it, then dont get it. people should read that stuff, and then see if they like it or not.
so it clearly says they can change it whenever they want to. so if you dont like that.. why would you then agree and then complain? thats what they agreed to, none put a gun in their heads or used fake info.
so people should read these kind of stuff and then see if they like it or not.

EmilyTheStrange said,

but thats what the contract says! i mean... if you dont like it, then dont get it. people should read that stuff, and then see if they like it or not.
so it clearly says they can change it whenever they want to. so if you dont like that.. why would you then agree and then complain? thats what they agreed to, none put a gun in their heads or used fake info.
so people should read these kind of stuff and then see if they like it or not.

Did you even read the article ?

"According to the story, Stebbins claims that on May 6 he sent a notice to Microsoft that he was "unilaterally amending the terms of service" of his Xbox Live contract. He also claimed that if Microsoft did not terminate his contract with him within 10 days, it would have to accept the new terms of service."

The notice the guy sent to MS says that if MS doesn't answer then MS accept the new contract. Since MS did not answer then does it means MS did accept the new contract ? Of course not.

But that's the point the guy is trying to prove.

Even if the contrat says the company can change the rules you still did not accept the new rules at all. Those new rules were not in the contract when you signed it. At least when the TOS changes you should be able to void the contract and get a refund.

Ummmmm...

You can't amend a contract you did NOT draw up? This is about as bad as the news story I saw that said a lady is suing some porn movie star claiming that the 3-D porn movie she watched got her pregnant.

he is a troll.. but he is a smart troll... it could work users are fully in their rights to negotiate and change a contract but no one really can be bothered to.

ROFL. imagine he did win and did get $500 Billion (if Microsoft do have that much), Microsoft would be bankrupt, somebody would kill him for sure. Who'd get the $500 Billion? =/

Iimagine the Microsoft E-Mail spam filter: $500 Billion! Holy mackerel, Batman! That is a new record for a 419 Scam.
Nah, junk mail ...

What this fool doesn't realize is that part of the terms of the original contract is that microsoft can change the terms as they see fit. There is no similar provision for the consumer and it is not assumed. Therefore, he has no right to change terms.

freeeekyyy said,
What this fool doesn't realize is that part of the terms of the original contract is that microsoft can change the terms as they see fit. There is no similar provision for the consumer and it is not assumed. Therefore, he has no right to change terms.

That's exactly what he is seeking, a court ruling that will change standard contracts in a way that will allow customers to ask for change terms too.

alexalex said,

That's exactly what he is seeking, a court ruling that will change standard contracts in a way that will allow customers to ask for change terms too.

That would basically make contracts meaningless. I think more likely would be a ruling that neither party can change terms.

I don't see it as being very likely though.

Do Microsoft even have 500 billion dollars? Profit was $23 billion last year and I'm sure most of that goes into R&D, services etc.

people will do anything for money these days even if it means loosing some on legal. this dude is gambling here if he thinks this will actually work

I first thought it said 500 Million and thought he's out of his mind but hey i guess he has a 0.01% chance in getting it. Now with 500 Billion!!! I'm like, there's no chance in hell, not even the devil himself would allow that! LOL

SHoTTa35 said,
I first thought it said 500 Million and thought he's out of his mind but hey i guess he has a 0.01% chance in getting it. Now with 500 Billion!!! I'm like, there's no chance in hell, not even the devil himself would allow that! LOL

If the devil was Steve Jobs, then he would allow it.

SHoTTa35 said,
I first thought it said 500 Million and thought he's out of his mind but hey i guess he has a 0.01% chance in getting it. Now with 500 Billion!!! I'm like, there's no chance in hell, not even the devil himself would allow that! LOL
This is most likely a world record!
"Largest legal compensation"

Greedy, but i am still think that it is fair and somebody must stop this nonsense. It is not fair that a Company change the rules and contract whatever it pleased.

For example, xbox, facebook, google and several other products and services.

Even Neowin did it a couple of times.


Magallanes said,
Greedy, but i am still think that it is fair and somebody must stop this nonsense. It is not fair that a Company change the rules and contract whatever it pleased.

For example, xbox, facebook, google and several other products and services.

Even Neowin did it a couple of times.



Actually they can. One of the first paragraphs in each Terms of Use and Contract agreements, you abide to receive ANY change to the contract you are agreeing to. Of course, they shall provide information in the new contract and you should be able to read it and accept it to continue using the service, if not it must stop providing it to you.

In short: yes they can, and it is one's fault if you accept it blindly.

Magallanes said,
Greedy, but i am still think that it is fair and somebody must stop this nonsense. It is not fair that a Company change the rules and contract whatever it pleased.

For example, xbox, facebook, google and several other products and services.

Its not fair that a company can decide how you're allowed to use its service? Please.

Even Neowin did it a couple of times.


al11588 said,
Omg we should sue Neowin for a trillion dollars!!
We are coming for you Neobond! You changed the Neowin design.

Magallanes said,
Greedy, but i am still think that it is fair and somebody must stop this nonsense. It is not fair that a Company change the rules and contract whatever it pleased.

For example, xbox, facebook, google and several other products and services.

Even Neowin did it a couple of times.


so what? you read they can in the contract, and you accept to that... so you read something that says "if you go to here you can die", and then you read it and ignore it, or dont even read it, and then complain how you almost died.

of course its not the same, but the point is, a contract is a contract, you agree to it, you are saying "yes" to any term of the contract. so you cant complain, you dont like it, then dont accept it, of course you would have to expect people to actually read it.

so maybe for he or you its not good they change when they want to. but thats what the contract says, so again, you accept it, then you agree to that. you dont accept it and refuse to get xbox/xbox live, then you wont deal with those terms.

EmilyTheStrange said,

so what? you read they can in the contract, and you accept to that... so you read something that says "if you go to here you can die", and then you read it and ignore it, or dont even read it, and then complain how you almost died.

of course its not the same, but the point is, a contract is a contract, you agree to it, you are saying "yes" to any term of the contract. so you cant complain, you dont like it, then dont accept it, of course you would have to expect people to actually read it.

so maybe for he or you its not good they change when they want to. but thats what the contract says, so again, you accept it, then you agree to that. you dont accept it and refuse to get xbox/xbox live, then you wont deal with those terms.

Ever heard of "Vessatory terms"?

"Microsoft didn't respond in which case Stebbins claims he is the automatic winner of that massive amount of money."
Haha! This guys is such an idiot! Of course he didn't get answered, that amount is ridiculously big and senseless.

Jose_49 said,
"Microsoft didn't respond in which case Stebbins claims he is the automatic winner of that massive amount of money."
Haha! This guys is such an idiot! Of course he didn't get answered, that amount is ridiculously big and senseless.

So in your opinion just because the party I am taking to court decides that the amount of the requested damages is "ridiculously big and senseless" there is no need to take action?

Obviously isn't smart enough to notice that he agrees on a contract with MS that THEY CAN chance the rules of use as and when they please but there is nothing in the contract saying he can.

What a plonker.

n_K said,
Obviously isn't smart enough to notice that he agrees on a contract with MS that THEY CAN chance the rules of use as and when they please but there is nothing in the contract saying he can.

What a plonker.

That's what I was thinking. Am I missing something?

Jack Musick said,

That's what I was thinking. Am I missing something?


The principle that in order for contracts to be enforceable they have to be 'fair'. For example a contract formed when one party has exceptional influence may be declared void.

I suspect his argument is based on the idea that contracts (like EULAs, phone company contracts, etc) are 'unconscionable'. One of the principles of contract law is that the terms must not be "excessively unfair" to one party. The individual filing these suits probably feels like having one party being able to dictate the terms at will, and to walk out of their contractual obligations on a whim is unfair. He might have a point, he might not: he wants the courts to weigh in on the matter but so far they've only said "bugger off".

Imagine if you entered into plastic surgery and mid-way through the doctor decided he wanted to tripple his rate: your choices are either 'agree', or he could stop the surgery mid-way and you'd leave without a nose: your choice. That's the sort of bargaining power that major companies have and his point is that the relationship isn't fair and shouldn't be legal.

If you read the article, or even the summary, you'll see the purpose of the individual isnt' to win the trial, but to have a precedent set where one party cannot exert what he considers undue influence. His approach is probably the most cost-effective and most likely to be effective so you can't really fault him for that. Lobbying for change is unlikely to be effective, and even if he did get a congressmen to introduce legislation, and it passed, and it went into effect, it would still be years before it actually helped anybody.

His request for half a trillion dollars is sane because it ensures he'd never win. That's what he wants: a verdict that says "you can't just change the rules of a contract because you want to." So far he's had no success - and I'm doubtful he will, but in terms of publicity per dollar and pay-off for succes you can't be any more cost effective than he is.

Good points.

It is also worth noting that most people here probably don't fully understand administrative process, acceptance, and other key lawful / legal principles coming into play here.

evn. said,

The principle that in order for contracts to be enforceable they have to be 'fair'. For example a contract formed when one party has exceptional influence may be declared void.

I suspect his argument is based on the idea that contracts (like EULAs, phone company contracts, etc) are 'unconscionable'. One of the principles of contract law is that the terms must not be "excessively unfair" to one party. The individual filing these suits probably feels like having one party being able to dictate the terms at will, and to walk out of their contractual obligations on a whim is unfair. He might have a point, he might not: he wants the courts to weigh in on the matter but so far they've only said "bugger off".

Imagine if you entered into plastic surgery and mid-way through the doctor decided he wanted to tripple his rate: your choices are either 'agree', or he could stop the surgery mid-way and you'd leave without a nose: your choice. That's the sort of bargaining power that major companies have and his point is that the relationship isn't fair and shouldn't be legal.

If you read the article, or even the summary, you'll see the purpose of the individual isnt' to win the trial, but to have a precedent set where one party cannot exert what he considers undue influence. His approach is probably the most cost-effective and most likely to be effective so you can't really fault him for that. Lobbying for change is unlikely to be effective, and even if he did get a congressmen to introduce legislation, and it passed, and it went into effect, it would still be years before it actually helped anybody.

His request for half a trillion dollars is sane because it ensures he'd never win. That's what he wants: a verdict that says "you can't just change the rules of a contract because you want to." So far he's had no success - and I'm doubtful he will, but in terms of publicity per dollar and pay-off for succes you can't be any more cost effective than he is.

dam there's some great points there!

evn. said,

The principle that in order for contracts to be enforceable they have to be 'fair'. For example a contract formed when one party has exceptional influence may be declared void.

I suspect his argument is based on the idea that contracts (like EULAs, phone company contracts, etc) are 'unconscionable'. One of the principles of contract law is that the terms must not be "excessively unfair" to one party. The individual filing these suits probably feels like having one party being able to dictate the terms at will, and to walk out of their contractual obligations on a whim is unfair. He might have a point, he might not: he wants the courts to weigh in on the matter but so far they've only said "bugger off".

Imagine if you entered into plastic surgery and mid-way through the doctor decided he wanted to tripple his rate: your choices are either 'agree', or he could stop the surgery mid-way and you'd leave without a nose: your choice. That's the sort of bargaining power that major companies have and his point is that the relationship isn't fair and shouldn't be legal.

If you read the article, or even the summary, you'll see the purpose of the individual isnt' to win the trial, but to have a precedent set where one party cannot exert what he considers undue influence.

Thanks God! It seems I am not the only one who think we should all be grateful to this individual.

The entire matter is not about money but to drive attention to the unfair power that big corporations exercise over customers.

Fritzly said,

Thanks God! It seems I am not the only one who think we should all be grateful to this individual.

The entire matter is not about money but to drive attention to the unfair power that big corporations exercise over customers.

+1

Totally agree.

DrakeN2k said,
Lol how much $$ has he spent on legal

Probably $125 a case... which is about the average cost of filing the civil suit paperwork at your local clerk of the court.

xendrome said,

Probably $125 a case... which is about the average cost of filing the civil suit paperwork at your local clerk of the court.


Civil suits have limits of like $5,000 though.

randomevent said,

Civil suits have limits of like $5,000 though.

No they don't. The easiest example to point to is OJ Simpson's civil trial where he was found guilty of wrongful death and ordered to pay $35 million in damages.

You're thinking of small claims court, it's a different type of preceding.

ZAnwar said,
His lawyers must be loving the easy money.

"lawsuits have been dismissed by the courts" and he's probably an armchair lawyer and does this all from his fancy Packard Bell 486 DX2-66mhz with an Okidata do tmatrix printer.

xendrome said,

"lawsuits have been dismissed by the courts" and he's probably an armchair lawyer and does this all from his fancy Packard Bell 486 DX2-66mhz with an Okidata do tmatrix printer.

I had that same computer. LOL

blade1269 said,

I had that same computer. LOL

same here back in 1995, it was my first PC.

it had a 4xxMB hard drive with 4MB of ram and i believe a 2400baud modem (i still have the modem in my room to this day).

dvb2000 said,
he should sue Bill Gates for saying 640k memory should be enough for anyone
Sadly you miss half of the quote.