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LadyWriter

Is it legal for vendors to sell gift cards with an expiry and not tell you up-front before purchase?

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Hi Debs,

I don't think RL laws regarding gift cards would extend into SL. Most "businesses" that operate here aren't really businesses in the legal sense of the term. They're not registered as businesses, they don't pay taxes, etc. I don't think it's terribly wrong to have an expiry date on a card that's sold at a discount for the holidays, but I would expect that to be clearly stated. Regardless, LL would see this as a resident-to-resident dispute and I wouldn't expect them to put any pressure on merchants to change their behavior in this regard.

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Hi Debs,

I don't think RL laws regarding gift cards would extend into SL. Most "businesses" that operate here aren't really businesses in the legal sense of the term. They're not registered as businesses, they don't pay taxes, etc. I don't think it's terribly wrong to have an expiry date on a card that's sold at a discount for the holidays, but I would expect that to be clearly stated. Regardless, LL would see this as a resident-to-resident dispute and I wouldn't expect them to put any pressure on merchants to change their behavior in this regard.

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I'll disagree with Madelaine. RL laws do reach into SL, BUT... Law enforcement is not likely to take you seriously. Filing a complaint with law enforcement for possible fraud of US$1 or $2 is not likely to be their top priority.

Most enforcement of RL law in Second Life is done via a civil lawsuit. There is no rational reason to hire an attorney for hundreds if not thousands of dollars to recover $1 to $25....

Linden Lab runs the game. They are not a law enforcement agency. They will enforce the ToS but, that is at their discretion. So, you can only turn to the Lab if the ToS has been violated. In general the Lab interprets the ToS to their advantage and in whatever way means they do the least work. They try hard to stay out of player vs player disputes.

Your first step should always be to contact the merchant. Look in their Profile to see how is best to contact them. See if you can work it out. Make sure you understand their viewpoint and thinking, not just your idea of how you think things should be done. You don't want to come across as an entitled snowflake. 

Inside SL it is buyer beware. If you don't take care of yourself, no one else will.

If you are mislead by a merchant and they won't correct an issue and you are certain THEY are at fault, file an abuse report explaining how they violated the ToS or are pissing off users. When enough people complain, the Lab may do something.

Be sure to leave a review of the product, when buying from the marketplace.

If in-world and lots of people are shopping there, carry a protest sign. But, make sure you are absolutely correct about your claims.

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"Legal"? Yes. "Nice"? No. That's for you to discuss with the merchant. It's not a TOS violation, so Linden Lab is not likely to care. It's also a small amount of money, so it's not really worth fighting over. I'd just write it off as a bad deal and remember not to buy anything from that merchant again.

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Nalates is right.  There HAVE been lawsuits...Real Life lawsuits...over Second Life disputes.  But these are generally disputes that involve tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Anything less isn't worth talking to a lawyer about; even the simplest lawsuit will cost you upwards of $20,000 USD.

Disputes over a gift card worth maybe $5 to $10 in real life terms...especially since they ARE redeemable for the next month...just don't make any sense.

Give 'em as Christmas presents, and be sure to put "Open BEFORE Christmas!" on the box!

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Before you do anything, go back to the store and examine any signs or information notecards they pass out to make sure the deadline wasn't noted.  Touch the sign to see if it does give further information.  

It is not uncommon for a merchant to offer a special sale via the use of gift cards, which allows you to pick the item you want to be on sale rather than what the merchant puts on sale.  Everytime I've seen this, the expiry date was stated if there was one.

If there was a notice that the cards expired that you didn't notice, then you have no case.

 

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Thanks for all the responses. Going back to the vendor was my first response, but I posted here to find out if it was legal under LL. There were no signs posted to the effect of there being a time limit anywhere. I didn't find out until after I purchased and opened the notecard that came with it, as I said. In this case, the vendor has now responded that she didn't know there was an expiry on the notecards and has given me a new notecard for each sans expiry date.

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