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Unsatisfactory response to a MAJOR problem


KaycieLee
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On 11/27 I attempted to purchase Lindens to pay my tiers etc. The total Real World price was $60.54. I got a notice saying there was a problem completing the transaction, witha "try again" button

I did so. eventually making 3 failed attempts. When I checked my VISA account, I found that it had been charged THIRTY-TWO TIMES in the amount of $60.54! My account was shut down due to "Unusual activity", after being lightened by a total of  $1937.28

I contacted my finacial institution and was told that because the transactions had been "authorized", I could not recover the money unto Dec. 8, as the transactions would be carried as "pending" for 10 days, unless Linden Lab notified them that the transactions were erroneous.

I then attempted to reach LL to see what they were going to do about it. After waiting on hold for over 30 minutes, my first call was disconnected. A second call was also put on hold for over 20 minutes before it was finally answered by a customer service rep.(The long hold times tipped me that something was up , as it indicated that there were a LOT of callers trying to get their money back)

The Customer Rep I spoke to began by asking me if the problem was a Linden purchase that was takem multiple times. This indicated to me that the problem had happened to a lot of people, and in fact was known to be occurring.

She reviewed my account and admitted that the transactions had been made erroneously, but that she had no way of notifying my finacial instituion of this fact, so I was out of luck as far as recovering my money in a timely manor. I would just have to wait it out. She also suggested I watch the "Grid Status" page to see when the problem would be resolved.

Well, not only am I still waiting to have the $1937.28 released, but I have seen NO public statement from LL re: the problem having occurred, or any fix being applied.

The fact that they didn't even have the common courtesy to notify my Financial Institution of the error indicates to me that LL has no regard whatsoever for their customers. Having my account drained of  $1937.28 is not an inconvenience, it's a disaster, as I have REAL LIFE rent and bills to pay, that are now going to be overdue. LL's failure to step up and make good has soured my entire Second Life experience.

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I am so sorry you have experienced this. Thank you for alerting the forum. Sounds like a bug, maybe make a JIRA report? And please do keep us updated. This is outrageous behavior from LL. In the forums here I recently read of someone who was charged 32 times for something, I think they were in the merchant forum. In the past Imhave been charged 32 times for listing enhancements, but they did eventually refund.

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First of, complaining here doesn't really do any good. These forum are, for the most part, peer to peer and rarely monitored by LL. Second, always check the secondlife grid status at http://status.secondlifegrid.net/  to be sure there are no problems before you try to make purchases of any kind. 

The transactions will be cancelled eventually. At least you didn't have them route your payment through Great Britain and have VAT added even though you're in the US. I got that refunded eventually but stil.....

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Back at the dawn of time (meaning late 90's) I was involved with several "for pay" internet sites. We used a third-party payment processor to handle all of our credit card transactions. When issues arose we would act as the first tier support and do our best to resolve the problem. When it turned out to be a problem between our Processor and the customer's bank, we had a set of contact numbers and email addresses to which we referred people.

Yup .. we passed the buck. But we had to as we really had no visibility of the final transaction between bank and processor. When it came to problems that arose there, we had to hand it off to them because they could see the transaction and get it resolved.

I'm kind of amazed that here we are, nearly 20 years further down the road, dealing with a company that has been in business and dealing with credit processing for at least a decade .. and still we have no way to contact the people that can truly resolve issues?

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

I'm kind of amazed that here we are, nearly 20 years further down the road, dealing with a company that has been in business and dealing with credit processing for at least a decade .. and still we have no way to contact the people that can truly resolve issues?

Really Darrius?  This is LL we're talking about.

...Dres

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From my view, it still looks pretty much like that. Still fully compartmentalized. And I work with almost exclusively brick and mortar businesses. The relationships between the compartments is both difficult to understand and, it seems to me anyway, totally open to interpretation, but the bottom of that food chain is the merchant's customer. The merchant (LL, in this case) is only one rung off the bottom with all the capabilities and power that implies. From there it moves to the software, hardware, and possibly middleware LL uses to get credit card transactions (henceforth EFT) to the credit card processor. Probably none of it is actually LL's product, given the current PCI-DSS Standards* requirements, but I suppose it's possible. I'd guess third party, or 'us' in my case. We provided the merchant with the hardware/software and middleware.

Next up, the credit card processors, also sometimes apparently called merchant banks.

Then the gigantic server companies that provide the platforms the transactions go through to get to

The credit card companies, who either approve or deny the validity of the original customer's EFT account, and finally

The bank holding the merchant's account (that one recieves a deposit) and the one holding the customer's EFT account (that one recieves a debit).

*Lot going on there, lot of computers, lot of regulations, and an industry that's changing so fast it never has time to tie its shoes. You want to waste at a minimum an afternoon (I've lost weeks I can never get back), google the PCI-DSS Standard and learn the regs. Then figure out how to explain all that to your customer, who runs his wildly popular seafood restaurant with his wife just as they've done for years, and who when he needs something fixed on a colmputer (including the one running his EFT app) he usually just calls his sister's boy, who knows all aboujt them.

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I'm failing to understand your conviction that the forums are "rarely monitored". The help may be peer-to-peer, but Lindens do check in on these forums.

One way you know about concern in the Lab about criticism of them and their employees -- primarily funneled here on this forum -- is their reinforcement of the latest version of the TOS calling for "intolerance of harassment" of LL employees. 

So it hardly seems credible to claim that a) you can't complain here, b) that it is ignored.

Furthermore, it's helpful for all of this to understand the kinds of errors and bugs occurring.

I am always worried whenever I see "Unscheduled Maintenance" on billing issues. This happens very often. Why? What's wrong? What's happened? I've had troubles with my account as well. Suddenly, I find I'm being billed at a higher tier level when I know for certain that I did not increase my tier, either on the web site or inworld, and in fact that claimed increase isn't even available to my avatar inworld, and what's most odd, there is a discrepancy even on my own account page, showing the amount due as a new tier level, but the land manager showing the previous accepted tier I had. So it's all odd and your story is worrisome indeed.

I recently had my bank freeze my card once again, as they have numerous times, because they saw "Linden Lab" and "Second Life" coming in on charges (funny that these are never consistent.) These must be on some kind of blacklists because immediately my account was declared to have an "unauthorized user" and it took numerous phone calls to get it unlocked and paid so I could go on a Thanksgiving trip! Really annoying. One time when I was struggling to deal with this, the bank statement said "Gaming" as if it was some kind of Atlantic City type place. PayPal also sometimes doesn't accept these charges.

 

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I believe you've hit on a very important aspect of this issue Prok: Inconsistency.

We both know that computers love consistency. They are designed around specifications. Specifications are nothing more than written expectations. When data comes along that doesn't stick to those expectations, unexpected things happen. (duh? LOL)

Second Life is a place of great variation, imagination and broken expectations (in the good sense). But when it comes to moving money around, that's just not a place where consistency is merely an option.

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Thanks for all of the supportive and sympathetic responses. I had really hoped LL would weigh in here with some sort of answer to the problem, or at the very least an acknowledgement that they were aware and dealing with it. At this point, I am going to be forced to let my parcel, and in fact my premium account, go, and return to free account status. When my current supply of Lindens is gone, that will be the end of my purchasing, as I have no confidence whatsoever in the safety of LLs handling of my account. I cannot afford to give access to my real-world finances to a company that has demonstrated they are irresponsible, and simply don't give a damn about their PAYING customers.

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KaycieLee wrote:

Thanks for all of the supportive and sympathetic responses. I had really hoped LL would weigh in here with some sort of answer to the problem, or at the very least an acknowledgement that they were aware and dealing with it. At this point, I am going to be forced to let my parcel, and in fact my premium account, go, and return to free account status. When my current supply of Lindens is gone, that will be the end of my purchasing, as I have no confidence whatsoever in the safety of LLs handling of my account. I cannot afford to give access to my real-world finances to a company that has demonstrated they are irresponsible, and simply don't give a damn about their PAYING customers.

I really feel for you, I just recently had a terrible experience with customer support involving a substantial amount of money. In my case, it was cashing out to paypal, changing of email addresses, and supposed 'security issues.' I'm not going to get into specifics - I think that may be against the TOS now (lol) - but the support I received was literally zero. I was told there was nothing they could do, and nothing I could do except wait and cross my fingers. All I wanted was a little bit of information, a little transparency... Nope.

At least in my case it was money going the other way, but I totally agree that it seems like they just don't care.

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When a customer of a business which strives on small transactions has a thousand dollar mistake, then someone of authority should step in and write a note. In my opinion that person is the CEO. Even a short note to say sorry from the big boss would go a long way. That's what should have happened and should still happen. It's not like a CEO doesn't have the time for something as important as vitally important customer service. It would take them a few minutes. He could even have his assistant draft the note for him. So easy.

PS. I know the CEO is never going to read this, but I don't care. I'm just putting in my 2 cents.

All the Best,

Tim

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