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Premium Account Results in Avie Death


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Hey all,

NEVER EVER get a Premium Account.

I used to be Anik Pavlova. I was in SL for five years. My old B-day was June 2005.

A couple of years ago my roommate gave me a premium account as a gift. Very sweet thing to do, and I loved it. My own little corner of the world with some monthly Linden to baby along my tiny little skin biz. Cool. Fun.

Last December my roomie couldn't afford to renew the premium account. Let's just say "cool and fun" turned into SL Gulag and Death. Basically I was told, because we didn't cough up the annual fee, my account, with five years of inventory, thousands of uploaded textures and all the files for my little biz was closed down. Permanently. 

Wow. Bummer.

Well, we couldn't come up with the funds for a premium account, so Merry Christmas, Anik Pavlova, you're dead. You, your hundreds of little Ozimal bunnies, your houses, your extensive wardrobe, all purchased exclusively from ligit SL businesses - none of that rip off crap..., your skin biz, your cool SL dog, you're dead. Buh bye.

I just logged on again two nights ago. I wanted to see a friends horses. I had a small reserve of linden. I bought some clothes. It was nice. I uploaded five textures to make my avatar again. I counted every single linden.

I can't say I'll never put money into an SL account, but after being killed off and getting ZERO assistance from anyone in SL support after five years and several thousand US dollars (which is a lot to me) i can guarantee I will never EVER EVER get a premium account again and I will make absolutely sure I only spend what is essential to optimize my SL experience.

I will test all my uploads in beta for free before putting them on the live grid for 10L, I will only rent land from other sources so I'm not paying or trusting these guys with one red cent when I don't have to.

I'm an idiot. I actually thought the fact that I'd been here awhile, that I cared, that I've recruited people to SL would make a difference. HAHAHAHA - isn't it cute I thought that was the case? What an idiot.

When you call Customer Support, if you can wait out the abysmal hold times, you will talk to someone who does not care even a little, about anything except getting rid of you. They're not going to help you. They're not going to do anything except tell you, in a flat, bored voice, that you are screwed.

Don't believe the hype. These guys will flush you for $72 US, no matter what kind of history you've had as a "resident".

I may never have been a SL rock star, but I was a fairly vocal fan. I brought a number of people to SL, one who is currently making a killing in the horse market. He is a rock star. And he will never ever purchase anything from Linden he doesn't have to, because he knows exactly how things have gone for me.

You can't buy the kind of good press I used to give you guys.

Maybe I'm not the only idiot in this equation.

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

 

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Hello SoonerGlass - I am sorry to hear about your misfortune. Many residents forget that if you do not wish to re-new your premium account it is important to downgrade your membership to basic before your premium account is set to renew/expire. It is also important to abandon any land that you own prior to doing so otherwise you will not be able to downgrade. The downgrade is not instant, it only takes place at your next billing cycle so if you downgrade a month or even a week before your account is due for renewal you will still receive your weekly stipend until the next billing cycle and you will not be billed for the next billing cycle - instead, your membership will return to basic, you will stop receiving your weekly stipends and your allowed land holdings will return to 0sqm.

You have to downgrade your membership to basic or switch to monthly billing BEFORE the renewal date.

If however you do not downgrade in time then legally there is nothing that you can do besides either paying up or losing everything. This works the same way as any other billing agreement in the real world such as a cellphone contract or something that is set to auto-renew unless you cancel before the renewal date. Please keep this in mind for future account management.

It is however unfortunate that Linden Lab does not send out reminders about this matter close to the renewal/expiry date but it is stated in the initial billing agreement that it is a continuous agreement and that the same payment method on file will be used for future billing cycles unless you downgrade to basic beforehand. (not in those exact words but they do mention a recurring agreement).

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Yeah. As I mentioned, this had been a gift. Evidently the charge hit my roommate's credit card and it wasn't something she could manage. I couldn't cover it at that point, either.

This had happened the prior year, incidentally, and we had scrambled to pay the annual fee. At that time we had also told Linden in no uncertain terms we did not want to be automatically rebilled. Evidently that's not an option or they didn't care or they don't just sell a one year membership. It's eternal. Like all deals with the devil.

It never in a million years occurred to me that the demise of my premium account would take my avatar and all her stuff along with it. I thought the only risk was my land and my stipend. In fact, you lose the entire account and everything in it - that's the leverage they have to get you to continue with a premium account.

I'm sure it was all in the small print. I'm sure I don't have a leg to stand on.

So that's my cautionary tale. Just say NO to premium. In the end you end up all raggedy azz with nothing.
SoonerGlass Resident
the Ghost of Anik Pavlova

 

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Oh yeah. I know I'm screwed. I guarantee Linden covered their bases. I can't do a thing about that, but I CAN warn other well intentioned fans, if you want to keep your experience positive and you have a SHRED of concern about being able to cough up the cheese, do NOT go premium.

Furthermore, do not rely on their support to assist you in any way, shape or form. They will not.

In the end it will cost you far more than Linden.

Thanks,

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

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I have downgraded from premium to basic various times. I did not lose anything. - It is important that you manually downgrade via your account management page BEFORE the premium account renewal date otherwise you are legally obligated to pay the recurring fees. - Always read the fine-print when initiating payment agreements with any company.

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Thanks, David. Good advice.

Due to personal experience, I'm sticking with the just say NO to Premium. Because if something happens and you can't pay, you get to go start all over again. Shrug. I forgot how wooden that damn noob avitar walk is...

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

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Support really should be able to come to an arrangement with you,  you may have incurred some land use fees which should be able to be sorted out.

The other issue is that Linden Lab do tend to be harsh with regards to paid accounts in these scenarios, as in you can lose everything whilst this wouldn't happen to a basic account.

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Can't pay the balance.

And if I pay, I'm in the same spot I was the prior year.

I told them I was not interested in continuing - if you want to be particular, I gave them a YEAR of warning I wanted the account closed. So I paid the account and they still re-charged us and took all of it. If you pay, you're back on the hampster wheel. They did not close my account at the end of the year. They re-charged us and took everything.

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

 

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I hope you realize that many business operate this way.  Pay your bills or lose your service.  If your inability to manage your charge accounts leads to this kind of trouble, imagine if it were a car, a cell phone, an apartment, financing a refridgerator... and so on. (=_=)

Just because you refused to read the terms and pay attention to your account status, doesn't make it LL's fault and doesn't degrade the value of a premium account at all. (=_=)

Chalk this down as a lesson in financial responsibility and learn from it so that you don't repeat an event like this with any other service. (^_^)y

 

 

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Yep. You're right. It was all in my service agreement, but that doesn't change how this experience - opting to PAY was infinitely worse in my case, than keeping the FREE option, would have been.

Stay with the FREE account - it's a reasonable deal. If you go PREMIUM, you risk everything and you will get exactly the same kind of customer support you get in many other arenas - very poor to non-existant.

Premium? Don't do it. Downgrade. just say NO to Premium.

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

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Thanks, Rhonda. I'm not saying I wasn't an IDIOT.

I'm just saying the IDIOT part started when I signed up for Premium.

I didn't know the renewal date was coming up (gift. not my cc account, blah blah blah). We literally contacted "customer support" the day after the charge hit. Alas, as stated in the fine print, I was screwed.

So all you self-rightous folks who enjoy pointing out how those of us who are so stupid we end up getting stung, you're all exactly right and I worship at the tidy shrine of your organizational marvelousness.

That being said, if the Lindens wanted me running around continuing to drag all my friends into SL and extolling the virtues and beauty of the experience in spite of the miserable **bleep** of a learning curve and all the other weirdness that lives in SL... they would have been willing to work something out.

They have built an anti-fan from a true believer. I'm not saying don't go play in SL and have fun, build, shop, make friends, get your freak on or whatever. I AM saying, if there's even the most slender risk you might overlook a pending renewal date, DO NOT under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES sign up for a PREMIUM ACCOUNT with an account you want to keep. The annual fee is nothing compared to the pain if you can't renew.

Thanks again, Rhonda. Yeah. It kind of sucks.

And I'd forgotten how there are always folks dying to remind you how much of a dumb azz you were to make a mistake and blah blah blah.... I remember letting that silence me in the past, but I pretty much stand by my experience on this one.

Premium is not worth it. Not to me. Not anymore.

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

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Hi - I don't even know if that was an option. It wasn't an option that was presented to me from "Customer Support". Huh. Funny, because I could have probably scraped up the montly fee at the time, just couldn't lay down for the whole year.

Considering the whole experience and the fine print, I'm guessing since I already had hit the rebilling cycle, changing to monthly wasn't an option. It never occurred to me to ask at the time.

Good suggestion, though.

SoonerGlass Resident
the ghost of Anik Pavlova

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SoonerGlass wrote:

 I AM saying, if there's even the most slender risk you might overlook a pending renewal date,

You mean something like you suddenly can not use your credit card because the system will not take any card from your entire country and has been borked like that off an on for months?  Gee.  That never happens. :rolleyes:

You do not even need to be premium to get conceriege level support.  There is nothing you can do as premium that you can not do as basic except have your account deleted.  Not on hold or frozen until charges are resolved.  DELETED.  If you ask to have your basic account deleted you can come back in 6 months and have it re-activated for 10 USD.  It is almost as silly as a advertisement selling "3 for a dollar or 5 for two bucks."  Gee, gimme 5, please.

And I am a fangurl.  Srsly; this needs to be changed already.

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Ladies and gentlemen a textbook example of negative word of mouth created by a frustrated, formerly faithful customer who feel that their customer support issue was handled poorly or insensitively.

Word. Of. Mouth. A satisfied customer will tell a friend. A PO'd customer will tell -all- their friends, and anyone else who will listen, on every channel they can access, loudly.

What on earth does it -cost- the lab to resolve this in the customer's favor, as opposed to the negative word of mouth and possible loss of revenue from people who go "Whoa... maybe I should rethink this whole premium account thing, that sucks." Do the math. It might cost them writing off one annual membership vs, what, 10 of them? 20? 100? And that doesn't take into account saying "Ok, if you can cover the 1st month's delinquency as a penalty for lapse, we'll restore the account" if you must.

I have never understood the rationale for confiscating the account if the membership lapses. Returning landholdings, sure, remove the benefits of premium membership and revert the account to basic. Basic accounts, as has been pointed out, run no risk of losing their avatar.... why should those who -pay- to have a service that is labeled 'premium' have the potential to be treated far worse than an account that essentially accrues no direct benefit to the lab? Why treat your paying customers worse than the freebies? What sort of sense does that make? Who would want a 'premium' account under those conditions? As a penalty for paying to have an account and getting behind you take away the very thing that everyone that signs up gets -for free-. The avatar and the account.

Rodvik Linden, what say you, sir? From a service perspective, from a happy customer perspective does this policy work for you? How many paid memberships are not being realized because of this policy and people shying away from premium membership for fear something will happen and they will lose their account and everything they paid for to customize and upgrade it?

The policy makes perfect sense in the absence of free accounts but now that there are free accounts this only acts as a penalty for being a pay account.

This is partly why my once-Premium alt was downgraded the moment I heard about this policy. I didn't want to risk losing the account if something happened and I couldn't make the payment.

 

 

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