An Arkansas man is trying to get Microsoft to pay him $500 billion after he tried to amend his Xbox Live contract with the company and was ignored when he asked for legal arbitration.
With a motion filed Monday in federal court in Seattle, gamer David Stebbins is trying to confirm the exorbitant arbitration award from Microsoft. Representing himself, he spends much of his filing explaining in legalese why the district court cannot nullify the $500 billion payment.
Here’s how it happened. As a user of Xbox Live, Microsoft’s online network for the Xbox 360 gaming console, Stebbins entered into a contract with Microsoft. Since such a contract is binding on both Microsoft and an Xbox Live user, Stebbins decided to try something radical.
On May 6, he “submitted a notice” to Microsoft that he was “unilaterally amending the terms of service,” and if Microsoft did not terminate his Xbox Live membership, such changes would take effect in 10 days. Microsoft did not terminate his membership, Stebbins says, so he argues Microsoft accepted the new contract through inaction.
As he points out, companies often employ the same strategy with consumers. For example, if a company notifies a customer of a change in service contract terms, it can be assumed that the customer agreed to the new terms by continuing to use the service, Stebbins argues.
So, after Microsoft “agreed” to the new contract, Stebbins says, on May 18 he invited the company to arbitrate a legal dispute in which he claimed $500 billion in damages. He says that he included in his notice a “forfeit victory clause,” which stated that if Microsoft didn’t respond within 24 hours, Stebbins would automatically win.
“As you probably guessed,” Stebbins wrote in his motion, “the Defendants did not accept the invitation to arbitrate within 24 hours of receiving it. Therefore, I automatically won on May 19, 2011, per the forfeit victory clause.”
He argues Microsoft now owes him $500 billion.
Microsoft declined to comment for seattlepi.com.