a credit card for XBOX Live
Currently, this is the only known way to "cancel" a credit card attached to an XBOX Live account(or to any Microsoft service, apparently). After 36 minutes on the phone, not one of the three operators (Jian - Billing, Alfred - Billing Supervisor, RJ - Technical Support, all of them courteous) could remove my credit card information from my account.
Apparently, just like me, they have no way, no method to delete the information from the account. In other words, they have never programmed an interface to remove a credit card from an account. I can understand limiting access to credit card information as a form of data security to prevent it from being stolen or revealed to unwanted parties. However, deletion of the data is not possible. This is bizarre, especially considering that parents may not want their children to jack up the credit card that's attached to their account. Moreover, EVERY SCREEN in Xbox Live Marketplace says "(X) Add Microsoft Points" at the bottom - they make it easy to spend money .
Another thing that makes this whole thing awkward is that I only entered my credit card information in order to get 1 year of Live Gold service. 1 year, that's it. Apparently, buying one year via credit card means that you are also set to auto-renew your account after that year is over, which is a transaction I NEVER authorized. I HATE auto-renewing stuff. Worse, there is no way to disable auto-renewal in Xbox Live account settings - you have to call Microsoft billing. I believe that this kind of behavior is best described by words like "dickish".
So, the only way to "cancel" my account is to log in to billing.microsoft.com and enter bad information to attach to the credit card number with a "valid" expiration date and a valid city and state(for the US at least). I say "valid" expiration date because the web interface doesn't allow for already expired dates, so I chose this month.
Edit: In short, choose the current date as the expiration date so that the card information is invalid, and will be "expired" by tomorrow.
I *really* hope that this issue
www.baconismagic.com (this will eventually go back up someday)
2009/02/24 Update: This definitely works, as my e-mail account has 4 e-mails stating: "We have recently attempted to charge your Xbox Live 12 mo. Gold Membership service to the credit card on file for your account. Please accept this reminder that your credit card has passed its expiration date and needs to be updated."
I love that they're giving me this e-mail, especially after the customer support person said that he stopped automatic renewals on my account.
2010/11/18 Update: I should clarify that the main problem I have with having my credit card information tied to my Live account is that due to the way Microsoft ties together Hotmail and Live and Messenger accounts(at least for older accounts, they may allow other e-mails now, finally), you have the same e-mail and password for several services and locations. The problem with this is that in the event that my account gets hijacked, it's possible for the thief to buy things through my Live account, essentially stealing through my account. This is part of why point cards and time cards even exist in the first place; it's an option to pay a set amount for a game or a specified amount of time, and not have the costs exceed the amount you paid.
Cancelling auto-renewal is possible now!* Go to www.xbox.com. sign in to your account, and go to My Xbox > Accounts. Unfortunately, I can't find the link anymore, but under Upgrade/Manage Account, you should have a link that lets you turn auto-renewal off. (or maybe you click on the "Yes" link next to Auto-Renewal in your Membership information box on the left)
*The first time I tried it, auto-renewal kept turning itself back on for some reason(and sending me e-mails to that effect). I tried it again a month or so later, and it stuck that time. /shrug