Transactions between Residents
Residents sometimes seek help with questions such as the following:
- I rented a land parcel from another Resident and they are taking it back from me, even though I paid the fees or rent.
- Another Resident is not upholding their agreement regarding real estate, group management, performance of services, or division of revenue.
- I paid for something, but didn't receive it as promised.
- I provided something, but the buyer didn't pay for it as promised.
However, per the Second Life Terms of Service, Linden Lab is a service provider and is not responsible or liable for the Content, conduct, or services of users or third parties. Linden Lab cannot verify, enforce, certify, examine, uphold, or adjudicate any oath, contract, deal, bargain, or agreement made by the Residents of Second Life. Nor does Linden Lab enforce or uphold rental agreements between Residents.
While you may have a valid agreement with another person, Linden Lab is not a party to and cannot resolve your dispute. Please contact the Resident involved and resolve the issue with them.
If you'd like to read more about agreements with other Residents in Second Life, please see the Second Life Terms of Service - Section 1.4 for specific information about third party transactions and interactions within the Second Life service.
How can I protect myself when transacting with other Residents?
Because Residents have a tremendous amount of control and freedom in how they set up businesses and services in Second Life, it's important to take step to be careful in transactions with other Residents. Most Residents aren't out to cheat anyone, but it's not uncommon that someone might not answer messages immediately, or for a vendor object to fail to deliver an item promptly.
That said, there are some steps that any Resident can take to help avoid losing Linden dollars on transactions with other Residents:
- Whenever possible, try to do a little research before a large purchase. Read Marketplace reviews, talk to other tenants on a private region that has an available rental, or chat on the Forums with people who have had experiences with the purchases you're interested in.
Don't spend more L$ or USD than you're comfortable losing if something goes wrong.
- Most Residents are honest! But real life can interfere and cause problems -- if someone has to cancel a private region due to a sudden medical emergency, you may not be able to get the six months of advanced rent you've paid back. If it's an option, consider paying on a month-to-month or weekly basis, and avoid paying too far in advance.
If you're hiring someone for a service, consider paying only part of the fee in advance and the rest on delivery. This helps protect you, so if the service provider isn't able to deliver, you haven't lost the full amount. It also helps protect the service provider, who receives at least partial payment for their work even if the agreement falls through.
- For services like photography, modeling, event planning, or landscaping, it's an especially good idea to talk to people who've worked with your provider in the past, if you can. References go a long way to helping both parties feel comfortable with the agreement.
- Try to be prepared for a deal to fall through. If you've hired someone for an event that absolutely has to happen, try to have a backup provider in mind in case your initial provider can't make it or has to cancel. Computers can fail, Internet connections can drop, or general calamity can keep people offline.
- Leave fair and accurate Marketplace reviews on products you've purchased to help other Residents.
- If you have a problem with something you've purchased, first try contacting the merchant -- many Second Life merchants have dedicated staff to assist customers with products, and many also have vendor systems that can redelivery purchases if something has happened (such as an item being lost in inventory or failing to arrive). Sending a notecard with details about your problem and the purchase you've made is a great way to help ensure your message is seen (a notecard will arrive even if they receive so many messages that their offline IMs are capped).
- Although nobody enjoys waiting, it's best to give merchants a few days to get back to you. They might be in a different timezone or have real life responsibilities that prevent them from answering immediately. 48-72 hours is very reasonable, and most merchants respond in a timely fashion.