I setup a new Skype account that is tied to my business email address, which I have been using for nearly a decade. It is the email that pretty much all my clients and associates have saved for me.
Out of the blue, I discovered I wasn’t able to make international “Skype Out” phone calls anymore, but I hadn’t received any notices or anything so I figured it was a temporary glitch, or that my VPN app on Android (NordVPN) was acting funny.
After a few hours of trying different settings, I logged in to my Skype profile page and found a warning message that said “Your account has been restricted from using Skype’s paid features. Fix your account.” and filled out a few verification questions.
Twice I completed this process, and twice I received an email almost immediately from Microsoft stating that it had not been accepted and that I needed to try again.
Growing more frustrated I found the (rather hidden) customer support chat feature on Microsoft’s support portal and talked with someone from the Philippines about my account. After verifying me, they assured me that it would be fixed immediately and they just needed to review my status with their security team.
Several hours later, I received a final email as below:
Thank you for reaching out to Microsoft Support, glad to be of assistance to you today.
Unfortunately we were unable to release your account. You will not be able to access this account again due to various violations of Microsoft Service Agreement and that was why the account was blocked. Kindly Open a new account and ensure you set it up appropriately to avoid this from happening again.
Here are the top 5 possible reasons why an account gets restricted from using Skype’s paid features:
- We notice unusual activity, for example markedly different usage of your Skype Credit or subscription, that suggests someone other than you might have taken control of it.
- You are disputing a payment (also called a chargeback), since this indicates that there is a problem with either your payment method or your account or your payment instrument has been reported to the payment providers.
- Sending multiple contact request, spam calling, or making a call in a short time frame which leads to other Skype users to report your account.
- Using VPN (Virtual Private Network) which Skype detects recycled IP addresses or your IP address has been reported to the Internet Service Providers.
Please find below the link to view the service Agreement: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servicesagreement
We Apologize for the inconvenience this must have caused and hope to serve you better in the future.
We value your business and hope to have you as our customer for years to come.
Microsoft Skype Support
I had no issues with billing or otherwise, so apparently Microsoft has permanently banned me from using Skype because of NordVPN, probably the most popular VPN app in existence.
(Up until now, I’ve barely used the account, so it would also be impossible to have been reported for spam, etc, even if a group of people had tried to simultaneously report me.)
This is after years of users complaining about problems with using Skype with VPNs and Microsoft’s support repeatedly saying that VPNs are in fact allowed, but that you may simply need to adjust settings in certain cases, such as changing locations.
But Microsoft refused to tell me the precise reason.
However, it sounds almost certainly like they have banned me for simply using a VPN, which they say is allowed. And now the money I had deposited is stuck there, too.