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If I had been around since 2005. yeah. I WAS around since 2005, but I had no reason to use the dashboard. Stupid stupid me. Yeah, I get that. thanks. It's very easy. Yeah. Thanks. I get that.

 

And for anyone who asked, no, of course they haven't resurrected my avie or generally indicated in any way, shape or form that this issue means a thing to them. It doesn't. I can only commend those who have the foresight to save themselves the misery and downgrade.

I also really love the way, as I'm looking around in the forums, this topic was moved and then I had to login to find it. Bury hot issues much, LL? oh wait. Right. See? And I promised myself I was going to be less naive.

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Conifer Dada said: 

"One way to safeguard your main avatar / resident is to keep them as Basic and have an 'administrative' alt with the Premium account, which can deal with land etc., leaving your main free of any money worries."

 

This seems to me to be the ideal way to handle the desire to have a Premium account, though like most of us I never thought of such a Machievelian manuver when all I wanted was to own some land of my own.  When you own land, you can teraform & landscape, and your tier will likely be less expensive than leasing Estate land. If, on the other hand, you can only afford a 512 m lot or aren't sure you want a long-term commitment to Linden Labs, then don't go Premium. The weekly stipend is nice, but it doesn't ballance against the threat of losing your avatar & his or her inventory.

If someone wants to try Premium & is afraid of the risk, then do as Conifer suggested above. Create a land-owner alt & a land-owning group. Then add all your other avatars as officers in that group, giving them all the rights of ownership & none of the risks. They can set the land to Home, rez stuff, teraform, change the music & everything, but they will never be thrown into "Debtor's Prison" for non-payment of fees.

 

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Nathaniel Flores wrote:

The people saying "well you should have downgraded, then, there's a place on the website to do that", while factually correct, are missing the point.

An avatar can be had for free by anyone that signs up. There is therefore no monetary value assigned to having an avatar account, and therefore
no valid reason
the avatar account should ever be held or frozen for 'nonpayment'.

A "premium" membership for Second Life confers certain benefits: The ability to own land in your own name, supposedly better access to customer support (for all the good that did the OP), and a periodic L$ stipend.


Carole wrote:

This thread caught my eye and left me wondering, not for the first time, why certain companies jump through hoops trying to attract new clients whilst letting old, faithful ones slip through their fingers. What you replied to this poor soul is exactly spot on and it's why all the "tsk, tsk, you should have read the fine print/paid up/been more careful" type replies are missing the mark totally. Don't you love when smarty-pants, know-it-all posters get caught out for not having read the "fine print" of the OP, or perhaps in this case, simply not for not having understood the concept behind the issue? Well done you for doing the catching out!

Avatar accounts are free. There is no charge connected with SL unless YOU opt for a paying account with "privileges" - therefore the non-payment of the account should cause a lack of those privileges and nothing more.

Ishtara, I think, gave an example of a contract with a phone company as being something similar - it isn't though - this case is more as if you decide to contribute to your local park by making a donation and become one of their official "sponsors" or supporters and when you don't pay one year you find yourself banned from what was a free service open to the general public. That's why it's so appalling.

These people really do need to take a long close look at how they treat existing customers.

 

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Darrius Gothly wrote:

 

Imnotgoing Sideways wrote:

You can have a free avatar, but, you can't have a premium account for free.  I'm well aware of this.  I could always post with any of my 13 free accounts to prove that point.  Every single one of those accounts are subject to my personal responsibility to stay out of situations which may get me banned. (
^_^
)y 

Maybe I missed something but .. this isn't about being banned .. this is about being taken hostage because the OP didn't pay the yearly Premium fee. My point being, if you only have paid accounts then it makes sense to cut someone off totally for non-payment. But when you provide free accounts, it makes more sense to reduce someone to "Free Account" status until they pay again.

 

No, you're not missing something. It's several other posters who are missing the point entirely.

 

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SoonerGlass wrote:

If I had been around since 2005. yeah. I WAS around since 2005, but I had no reason to use the dashboard. Stupid stupid me. Yeah, I get that. thanks. It's very easy. Yeah. Thanks. I get that.

 

And for anyone who asked, no, of course they haven't resurrected my avie or generally indicated in any way, shape or form that this issue means a thing to them. It doesn't. I can only commend those who have the foresight to save themselves the misery and downgrade.

I also really love the way, as I'm looking around in the forums, this topic was moved and then I had to login to find it. Bury hot issues much, LL? oh wait. Right. See? And I promised myself I was going to be less naive.

 

If you actually quantified all the skills and knowledge you need to require to play SL in an average way, and the number of documents in the form of ToS, guidelines, tutorials, forum and blog posts, etc., that you require to read....it would work out probably at not much less energy and time invested than a first year at university. None of us "knows it all" - all of us have gaps in our SL wisdom (and if you don't maybe you ought to be wondering why you have that amount of free time) and none of us can afford to point fingers at others for not having their own diploma-level knowledge of all the technical and legal ins and outs of a frigging video game.

Personally, I'm very very sorry to hear of your problems and shocked by the lousy treatment you got from a company which should be trying harder to keep their esteemed clients happy. A special word of mention should also go to those who crawl out of the woodwork to let a fellow SLer know how much more savvy and clued-up they are - you warm the cockles of my hearts, guys.

I still think that if full knowledge of a a game such as SL requires you to give up your fulltime job and get a divorce in order to free up the time necessary to swat up, then there's something inherently very wrong with the usability of the system.

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You can all talk about what LL should do and how they should treat their customers all you want, and on many things, as far as that goes, I would probably agree with you. But the cold hard truth of what these people, whom you say are missing the point, are trying to point out, is that this is what LL does and that is indeed how they treat their customers.

The simple fact of the matter is, a company can and will discontinue service if you owe them money. LL is no exception, nor do they differentiate between premium and basic members when it comes to that.

I once had a SL boyfriend who was a basic member and for some reason, that I never fully understood, his credit card company reversed the charge to LL he'd made in order to purchase $L. His account was completely blocked until he could scrape up enough money to pay them back. In that respect, it's really no different than what happened to the OP.

Do I think that LL could do better to come to some sort of agreement with the OP? Of course I do. If nothing else, they could make her pay only for what she owed up to that point, then set her back to basic membership.

While we can talk about all of LL's shortcomings until we turn blue in the face, the point is the OP didn't cover her ass and now she has to pay... one way or the other.

...Dres

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Having followed this thread since the beginning, I would like to put my points of view.

There are many points in this issue, anyway we are now in a better position than we were 2 years ago, when after a little time, the account was erased, and not simply put on hold as today.

Is it fair the way LL manage account in debt now? I don’t think so. To begin with, Premium account is paid in advance, so if one fail to pay at renewal time, it would not actually be in debt if the account is immediately lowered to Basic.

Land fees are other history, it is charged at the end of the period, and so if someone fails to pay the tier for their land, they will be in debt.

Repeating myself: We are in a better position now that accounts are not canceled for debt anymore but we must continue to fight for a better treatment on LL’s part. I think that it would be a good thing for LL’s business – less people would remain in Basic for fear of having their accounts suspended in case of an unexpected failing in pay the bill.

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:

You can all talk about what LL should do and how they should treat their customers all you want, and on many things, as far as that goes, I would probably agree with you. But the cold hard truth of what these people, whom you say are missing the point, are trying to point out, is that this is what LL does and that is indeed how they treat their customers.

The simple fact of the matter is, a company can and will discontinue service if you owe them money. LL is no exception, nor do they differentiate between premium and basic members when it comes to that.

I once had a SL boyfriend who was a basic member and for some reason, that I never fully understood, his credit card company reversed the charge to LL he'd made in order to purchase $L. His account was completely blocked until he could scrape up enough money to pay them back. In that respect, it's really no different than what happened to the OP.

Do I think that LL could do better to come to some sort of agreement with the OP? Of course I do. If nothing else, they could make her pay only for what she owed up to that point, then set her back to basic membership.

While we can talk about all of LL's shortcomings until we turn blue in the face, the point is the OP didn't cover her ass and now she has to pay... one way or the other.

...Dres

 

No, it's not as simple as that, Dres. What people do, when they troop into a thread like this, is smirk over somebody else's hard luck and feel all warm and fuzzy inside over their own superior knowledge of the medium - and it's nauseating, to say the least. My point is that any one of us, including those who believe they're more in-the-know, more techy, more pc-savvy, more on-line-games-wise, could just as easily come a cropper. What won't happen is that those who were seen posting "Well, it kinda serves you right because you hadn't memorised the entire X number of pages which explain all the technical and legal elements which constitute this game" are hardly likely to come back when it happens to them. They'll probably just have to slink off and fume quietly in a corner over the lousy customer service they got from an entertainment infrastucture they might just have spent a fortune on.

All over the world companies give varying degrees of customer service. The old adage "the customer's always right" has long since become obsolete, however, it's unacceptable to twist the situation around and cast the clients in the role of benefactors of the largesse of a company's services, and who should be damn grateful for anything they're offered. Most of us spend money in here - some of us spend a lot of money in here - it's hardly unreasonable to desire decent customer service when, after your money's been taken, the game, for one reason or another - it doesn't work.

Communications from the company are often difficult to find - you have to know exactly where to look - and when you do find them, they're not always clear or accurate. You may or may not remember when LL was advertising its Teen Grid as an adult-free area - whilst forgetting to mention on the page dedicated to concerned parents that their kiddies were in direct contact with adults through the merged forums and the private message systems. That was a very simple case of giving false information through convenient omission of facts. When suddenly they began deducting amounts from my credit card without paying out Lindens (which was what I thought I was buying) but crediting my US dollar balance without any clear explanation on how to transform the dollar balance into Lindens (it was a fellow forumite who had to talk me through the process) - I got a very clear example of how poor their communications can be.

I think we'd all be wise to stop falling into the trap of seeing LL as Olympus populated by gods, creators of our "world", and remember they're just a company, populated by clerks and technicians - some of whom aren't particularly good at their jobs, apparently. Putting up with poor service without feeling you have the right to complain is another example of that fan-boy mentality which I find both infantile and counter-productive. If we all spoke up when things didn't work properly they'd actually be a bigger chance the company would sort the issues out more quickly. The opposite attitude - let's be grateful for what we've got and it's your own fault when things don't work - just serves to consolidate the weaknesses in LL's customer services.

In this particular case - a service which is free (and which is used by many new players every day free-of-charge) being taken away from an old customer who's already invested lots and would have continued to invest, because he didn't keep up payments for the higher-end service, is absolutely ludicrous. And if the day comes when LL has to close SL due to lack of clientele it'll be too late to point out that maybe - just maybe - if their customer service hadn't been so bad and they hadn't lost so many loyal old clients, they (and we) might not be in that situation at all.

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Carole, I agree with you on everything you're saying about LL. I am not a LL fanboy by way means. You don't have to be Mensa member to know LL is one of the worst companies when it comes to customer service. But you don't have to memorize the SL wiki to know that when you have a recurring bill for a service, you have to either cancel it ahead of time or pay for it. Otherwise, it will be discontinued.

That doesn't mean I don't feel for the OP because of what she's going through, I most certainly do. If this were to happen to me I'd be very angry. Especially, because after being a paying member for so long, I'd expect LL would be interested in working something out instead of saying... tough tits, your on your own. It's unfortunate, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

LL knows full well that most of their customers are heavily invested in Second Life, both financially and emotionally. In which case, my guess is that they feel they can get away with the crap customer service, the ridiculous tier fees, etc., etc. They probably figure most people will put up with it, especially considering that there really is no decent competition... yet.

It makes no sense, to me, to treat your customers like they're expendable and your not. Eventually people get fed up, take their money and leave. And it serves LL right. The only problem is that it also adds to the deterioration of our community, which is sad. But what else can you do?

sad-007.gif

...Dres

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Dresden Ceriano wrote:

Carole, I agree with you on everything you're saying about LL. I am not a LL fanboy by way means. You don't have to be Mensa member to know LL is one of the worst companies when it comes to customer service. But you don't have to memorize the SL wiki to know that when you have a recurring bill for a service, you have to either cancel it ahead of time or pay for it. Otherwise, it will be discontinued.

That doesn't mean I don't feel for the OP because of what she's going through, I most certainly do. If this were to happen to me I'd be very angry. Especially, because after being a paying member for so long, I'd expect LL would be interested in working something out instead of saying...
tough tits, your on your own
. It's unfortunate, but this doesn't seem to be the case.

LL knows full well that most of their customers are heavily invested in Second Life, both financially and emotionally. In which case, my guess is that they feel they can get away with the crap customer service, the ridiculous tier fees, etc., etc. They probably figure most people will put up with it, especially considering that there really is no decent competition...
yet
.

It makes no sense, to me, to treat your customers like they're expendable and your not. Eventually people get fed up, take their money and leave. And it serves LL right. The only problem is that it also adds to the deterioration of our community, which is sad. But what else can you do?

sad-007.gif

...Dres

 

Second Life residents can be their own worst enemy at times. They let their emotions haze their clarity of vision and they forget completely that they're not survivors of a nuclear war, space-shipwrecked on a private planet belonging to some magnanimous demi-god who allows them refuge but whose benevolence is uncertain in nature and duration - hence everyone falling over themselves to stroke egos and appear suitably humble and grateful. It's a business contract like the thousands of others one signs during a lifetime and in this particular case, the product is created almost entirely by its clients. I'm not belittling the technical knowledge and the stroke of genius which was the catalyst for this platform, but my sensation is that the creator of SL himself must have much greater awareness than many of the residents themselves that the collaboration which makes and keeps SL what it is is completely symbiotic . There would be no SL without the first Mr Linden's amazing vision and ability - but neither would it exist without the input from the thousands of users. I often wonder how much cringing and bemused smiling goes on when LL employees read the posts which raise them to superhero status.

Most of SL is pretty amazing. Bits of it don't work too well. Two of the bits which don't work too well are the communications and customer service - these are problems which exist from the very first moment of a new user entering SL - as much as they've tried, a lot of basic information just doesn't get across quickly enough to enable a new user to engage and "commit". I'd be really curious to know how many give up after an unsuccessful and perplexing half hour waddling round an info hub. I know, from personal experience, if it hadn't been for other residents taking me under their wing, I wouldn't be here now at all. Vital information just isn't relayed quickly and clearly enough and although everyone feels the OP should have known about the ins and outs of passing from a premium to a basic account, I think a safety net system which automatically sends messages warning the user what the consequences will be if he doesn't take certain steps would be the most obvious, logical solution to not losing an old client.

And that's what it boils down to - a steady trickle of old, invested clients being forced to rethink their commitment in the platform or, as often happens, actually forced out of it completely. It's sheer madness.

That's why I feel, rather than gloat over another user's misfortune, we'd all be wiser to use such instances as an opportunity to remind LL in a united voice that loyal regular customers are their greatest resource.

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Qwalyphi Korpov wrote:

[snip]

How the Lindens make policy
-

The Lindens do not set out to make premium a bad situation.  They have a meeting.  Someone says 'We need to change how we handle delinquent premium accounts. 
As it is we delete the account after a time.  Mean while basic accounts stay around forever
."  So they have a discussion and they're about to change that to from
delete
to
downgrade to basic
when someone mentions 'What if they have land or they've donated tier?'  More discussion.   They opt to suspend the account to avoid the turmoil that would result from land tier automatically being withdrawn.   Two years pass and the policy change is implemented in the billing procedures.





Just a correction:

This was true until 2009. That year they change the way they manage delinquent accounts, and started to freeze them until the payment is done, as Yoz Linden said in WEB-2647

Yoz Linden added a comment - 28/Aug/10 7:31 PM - edited

We're really sorry this issue has sat here for so long. Fortunately, this problem was fixed a year ago. Any premium account in default will not be purged, merely suspended until the account balance has been paid.

(Edit to add: No, inventory should not be purged either. If you can provide examples of premium accounts that were purged when the suspension for non-payment happened less than a year ago, please let me know.)

(In fact, I suspect that it was only in 2010 that the issue was fixed, by the number of people complaining for having their accounts deleted after missing a payment, but only LL knows for sure)

The related issue, is summarized by Argent Stonecutter in the same JIRA, and I repeated it above:

Argent Stonecutter added a comment - 29/Aug/10 2:22 AM - edited

This has not been resolved.

Premium accounts that do not own land beyond the original 512 square meters are NOT in default if they miss a payment and should be downgraded rather than suspended.”

 

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Qwalyphi Korpov wrote:


OP could have posted
-

"Opps... I forgot my annual premium payment was coming due and now my account is suspended.  (obtw, same thing happened the previous year... hehe, guess I'm forgetful)   Now the Lindens won't unfreeze the account unless I pay the bill.   I think they should change that policy.   We should have the option to drop back to basic as of the billing date.   I know things like tier need to be cleared up, like for the land I purchased.   They should have procedures to handle that.  I've entered a JIRA asking for that change (JIRA-!@## link) so please vote & or watch it if you agree.   As things are now, if you're like me, you probably should stay with the free basic account."


But NO!  Instead we get
-

"NO ONE SHOULD EVER GET A PREMIUM ACCOUNT.  I have been a member for 5 years.   I have spent thousands of dollars in second life.  Now the Lindens have taken everything from me simply because I can't afford to pay them $72.  Etc."

Carole comments:

WE get?? I should warn you - I have a terrible chronic ailment which has a horrible Jekyll and Hyde effect on me, making me abandon my usual polite manners, transforming me into an obnoxious little beast - and that occurs whenever I read people self-proclaim themselves official spokesperson of a community in which they have the same rights - no more, no less - as the members they are policing. Would it be rude of me to suggest that the OP, being the one facing the problem, has the right to choose the wording of the post which illustrates the nature of that problem?

(To be clearer - what's stopping me or anyone else telling you that WE feel that YOU should have written: "Although I fully understand your profound disappointment and upset, may I suggest that you re-consider the benefits of a premium account which are, in my experience, the following...bla bla"?).

I also note you are privy to what goes on in LL meetings. My heartfelt congratulations to you. However, you're not the first, nor will be the last forumite who claims to possess these eerie telepathic powers. As I see Vania corrects you in her subsequent post, forgive me if I'm a little sceptical of the efficiency of your supernatural skills.

 

 

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To anyone concerned on this issue, please vote and observe this JIRA:

Premiumaccounts that miss payments are suspended instead of being downgraded to Basic.

Description  

Premium accounts that are not liable for payments in arrears (eg, premium accounts that only have the "bonus" 512m tier in use) are treated as if they were in default and suspended rather than simply being downgraded to Basic.

____________

[Edit] My answer were general in the topic, not specifically  to Qwalyphi :matte-motes-sarcasm: but the reply button is working funny.

Anyway it gave me a chance to use some of the new emoticons :matte-motes-kiss:

 

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davidventer wrote:

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).

LL does send out reminders.  My Premium account is up for renewal on May 10 and I received two separate reminders via email, the first in mid-April.  I'm not positive about this re: Premium account renewals, but to get any other correspondence from LL you must indicate you wish to do so.  The SL website layout has changed several times since I first began SL 4 years ago and I checked someplace on the one at the time I joined that I wished to receive emails from LL so that information has apparently remained as the website layout changes.  I recently saw an area in the Dashboard under Contact Information that says "I would like to receive offline IMs via Email" that is unchecked by default.  That sounds like the same option that can be chosen within Preferences in world re: receiving in world IMs via email.  At any rate, I receive emails from time to time from LL and some of my friends say they don't so there is some place to indicate that one wants to receive emails. 

Another thing after indicating you wish to receive LL emails is to change the contact information if you change your email account.  I know that sounds obvious, but in the past I've forgotten to do that and don't think about it until I happen to run across the former email somewhere on this or another website.

One of my friends could not afford to pay his Premium account about 6 months ago.  He thought he would be able to get the money a week or so after the Premium expired so he called LL to tell them.  I can't recall all the details, but, at my urging, he downgraded to basic and thereby lost the LL house he had - he never did pay to continue the Premium and I think called LL again to let them know he had downgraded to basic so, even though his Premium had expired and was two weeks past due, he did not lose his account.

@SoonerGlass - I am so very sorry to hear this happened to you.  I read a similar account on the forums a year or so ago and one poster said that he made an alt account just to be the Premium account holder, purchased no inventory at all for that account, and formed a group with his main avatar and the alt, giving his main owner rights.

 

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Qwalyphi Korpov wrote:

Perhaps there's something to what you say.  However this JIRA (
)

indicates the issue you complain about was fixed in 2009.  Certainly it is no longer the policy of LL.

Included in the long issue history is this item by Yoz Linden:

28/Aug/10 7:31 PM
-
edited

We're really sorry this issue has sat here for so long. Fortunately, this problem was fixed a year ago. Any premium account in default will
not
be purged, merely suspended until the account balance has been paid.

(Edit to add: No, inventory should not be purged either. If you can provide examples of premium accounts that were purged when the
suspension for non-payment
happened less than a year ago, please let me know.)

Also, just to add a resource link for those who may want to read the KB for this topic: Click HERE

 

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There's a recent, high-profile report of being confronted by this (hopefully obsolete) practice of wiping Premium accounts:  "Linden Lab has informed him that in 30 days his entire account will be wiped... including a significant investment in inventory."

This may well be a miscommunication (or two, given that it's hearsay), but the perception still exists that Premium membership is a very dangerous thing.

I realize that WEB-2647 has been closed for a long time, but there seems to be confusion about SVC-6251, and I really think the practice itself needs to be changed to be clear and consistent.

The current practice is very incompletely described in the cited Delinquency Policy, now that I actually read it.  The part of the process described there is fine, but it's not where things go off the rails for Premium members.

Assuming that the account termination + inventory wiping is not actually happening any more (which was a disastrously bad practice), there remain a couple of problems, as best I can figure out:

  1. After a Premium account goes into arrears, it appears that the entire auto-renewal amount must be paid to bring the account back to paid-up status.  That's probably a mistake.  If the member was on the annual plan but wants to only renew on a monthly basis to revive the account, that should be possible.
  2. At some point, the Lab repossesses any land held by an in-arrears account.  That's fine, but at that point, the account should revert to Basic and any amount due should be dropped.  Yeah, holding the account hostage is some incentive for paying the balance due, but I'm guessing that actually works rarely enough that it doesn't offset the disincentive it poses to ever becoming Premium in the first place.

To be honest, I think the simplest and most coherent process would be for Premium accounts to immediately revert to Basic whenever payment lapses, commencing a 30-day (or whatever) grace period during which time they must either re-establish a Premium account (on any renewal plan) or dispose of any land holdings before LL reclaims it at the end of that grace period.*  (Given the vagaries of charging, this probably should be preceded by the current preliminary 7-day interval just to rectify payment info such as expired credit cards.)

I also want to add that I've gotten extraordinarily good response from Billing phone support.  I wish I'd taken down the representative's name the last time I had to call, because he really deserves commendation for thorough and professional attention to the customer.  This is in stark contrast to the screwed-up automated system that had to be worked-around, and a painful Live Chat experience that may result from those reps having very strict limitations on their own processes, which filter down to some quite unreasonable demands on customers.  The point is: anybody with a billing problem should contact Billing directly, and never try to go through other support channels.

_______

*ETA: This "grace period" would need to be restricted to no more than once in a 12 month interval or something like that.  Otherwise a daring landowner could pay tier only ever other month.

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Qie, as long as LL no longer actually wipes the account, then their policy on non-payment is reasonable when compared to other MMOs with any form of premium services.

 

I'll address the points.

 

  1. The subscription system states at all of them are self-renewing, just like any other MMO. It's the resident's job to keep up with when the subscription is suppose to renew and to take corrective action before the renew date. LL even emails you a reminder that your account is set to renew before the renew date! If no action is taken, then LL just assumes that the resident wishes to keep their subscription, thus making the renewing process as effortless as possible for those who want to stay premium.

 

  1. I can see where reverting the account to basic when the land reverts would be a good idea, but LL needs the stick to make people pay up. Especially on tier, which is charged based on the previous month's highest holding. Say Susie just tiered up to the $40 per month level and then decides she doesn't want that much tier and goes down to the $25. Oooh, but this month she'll still have the $40 which, because she didn't bother reading, comes as a surprise to her. So she decides to simply not pay it, and removes her payment type from the account before the due date. What else can LL do about it, but to lock Susie's account? She used that $40 in tier, so she should pay for it, after all.

 

You have a grace period. It's called the time between renewal dates. The subscription will expire without renewing, if you downgrade and get rid of the land before the next renewal.

 

So, the OP was responsible for knowing when her account renews, and should have taken steps to resolve the issue BEFORE the renewal date. LL's fault in this is how it's support handled the issue.

 

Yes, Support should have explained that if the OP had simply downgraded before the renewal/due date, then she would have had no issues. But given that she failed to do so, she is now responsible for the renewal payment. Once it's paid, access is restored and she can downgrade/go basic after that. If she went basic, then the subscription would just expire.. presuming she remembered to abandon/sell her land before the date. But it appears that Support failed to be supportive.

 

(This doesn't include if the issue with non-payment is due to LL having a fubar. If it's on LL's end, then there should be no corrective action taken against the account!)

 

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The "stick" may sound useful, but if fear of the stick is driving people to avoid the carrots, there's a problem. 

First, I must admit that I have absolutely no experience with other MMOs, so it may be common industry practice, but I really don't think it's working very well in SL.  I don't know whether that's a problem with the fit of the policy to SL's land economy, a problem with LL enforcement practices and systems, the frequently unreliable charging mechanisms, or something altogether else.

My fundamental criterion for a Premium billing policy is that there should be no way for a Premium member to find themselves in a worse situation than a Basic member.  As long as there's a risk of that being the case, it's going to be difficult to sell Premium memberships.

Sure, they can be required to pay up overdue Premium fees in order to get their land back.  That's fair.  And yes, there's a chance that they may have gotten unpaid use of that land for the duration of any grace period, but either they pay up the entire balance or they lose all the land. (Incidentally, I now think my "ETA" was a little brain-damaged.  One can't use such a scam repeatedly to save any money because one either pays the whole balance due or loses the land.)

Actually, I think I said that they should be able to dispose of the land during the grace period.  On further reflection, that's probably wrong.  Maybe that would be okay during those first seven days for fixing charge info, but after that, the land isn't theirs to sell until they pay the balance due.  I can even see putting the account on hold during that interval, so as not to complicate the logic about setting land for sale. 

Anyway, once a former Premium member fails to pay long enough that LL sells off their land, there's little point in trying to coerce them into paying the overdue balance by holding the account itself hostage.  I just can't imagine that has ever once worked, but even if it does on rare occasions, it presents an unreasonable risk to those thinking of becoming Premium.

There are too many things that can go wrong in RL.  Suppose that two weeks before a renewal data, a Premium member unexpectedly goes away to hospital, or is otherwise physically unable to connect to the Internet for several months.  Returning, that member may be disappointed to learn that their land now belongs to somebody else, and in the cosmic scheme of things, having to pay the full balance due for all that unused time is probably less traumatic than whatever caused their extended absence, but I honestly don't see the point of posing that risk to potential Premium members.

I absolutely never would have become a Premium member as Qie, had I appreciated this risk in advance.  Instead, I'd have set up a landowning alt and made very sure he never had any other responsibilities.  It's just too risky.  And that's no way to attract more Premium members.

(I could tell my billing horror story--probably most everybody has one who has been here as long as I have--but it's long and boring and I've told it before.  Suffice it to say, the period between billing cycles is not relevant to a grace period.  Such a period commences only when, suddenly and through no fault of LL, the member, nor the financial institution, somehow, a payment mechanism that hasn't changed for five years simply stops working.  At that point,  there had better be a lot of time free on one's calendar immediately to fix the problem.  Anyone to whom this has not yet happened is living a charmed existence.  I, too, was blithely oblivious to this risk, for five years.)

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Qie Niangao wrote:
 

there should be no way for a Premium member to find themselves in a worse situation than a Basic member
.

While I agree, LL's delinquency policy could use a good reworking, I still think this statement misrepresents the issue.

Whether an account is basic or premium, if, for any reason, you end up owing LL money, your account is blocked until you pay them what you owe. This isn't some double standard.

Certainly, a basic member doesn't run into this problem all that often, but it does happen.

I definitely think that, in the case of the OP, there should be some way that LL could drop her recurring bill from yearly to monthly. That way she could pay the smaller monthly about, then downgrade if she so chooses. That way her account would be in good standing; she gets to play; LL gets some money; everyone's happy... issue resolved.

I see this as more of a customer service issue than anything else. This situation could have been resolved to everyone's benefit, if only the OP would have had the channels to work it out with LL. They were not provided to her.

If Rodvik really wants to improve LL's reputation with it's users base, he needs to direct his attention to improving customer service in a significant way.

Honestly, who wants to continue using a service with crap customer support?

...Dres

ETA: a word.

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I don’t know if it still happens, but back in 2007 a friend used to buy/sell land in Mainland. When he gave up, he sold all land, downgraded to Basic, but forgot to revoke the land donation to his group. Next month was surprise for being billed something like US$ 100.

(this was my first lesson to carefully review twice every point when changing anything in SL)

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