Second Life has my credit card and won’t let go

OK, OK, I’m partly at fault here. But, hear me out.

Last year at Gnomedex I had my son demonstrate Second Life up on stage while I was hosting a panel discussion. Someone from Linden Labs (the folks who make Second Life), Beth Goza (she now works at Microsoft), saw that, and told me and my son to knock it off. People under 18 aren’t allowed in Second Life.

So, what did I do? I just told Patrick never to go into Second Life and I didn’t go back into Second Life either.

Problem was, my credit card was being charged $9.95 per month by Linden Labs. I didn’t bother stopping it cause I thought I’d go back at some point.

Well, I just tried to get back into Second Life to cancel my credit card. Problem is, I can’t get in. Someone changed my password.

The other problem? I can’t get my password. I think I signed on with my Microsoft address.

I hate how hard it is to cancel accounts like these. Companies are perfectly willing to charge you forever, even if you don’t use the service one bit.

I think I’ll just call my credit card company and change my card number by saying I lost my card.

Sigh.

UPDATE: I guess banging on Second Life is in vogue this weekend. Valleywag did it too and has tons of comments.

Published by

Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, Scoble travels the world looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology for Rackspace's startup program. He's interviewed thousands of executives and technology innovators and reports what he learns in books ("The Age of Context," a book coauthored with Forbes author Shel Israel, has been released at http://amzn.to/AgeOfContext ), YouTube, and many social media sites where he's followed by millions of people. Best place to watch me is on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble

Comments

  1. You could contact your Credit Card supplier and tell them to not authorise any transactions from that company. That way you don’t have to go through getting a new card.

  2. Why should Linden Labs bear the responsibility for a service that you failed to cancel, you failed to provide accurate contact information, and you aren’t willing to spend any time to resolve?

    You say you’re partly at fault. What part isn’t your fault? Why can’t you pick up the phone and call the phone number for Linden Labs that is probably on your credit card bill?

  3. This is a classic real life example of the need for VRM as outline by Doc. Credit Cards are 100% aligned to support vendors, and the Banks who issue the cards (I am a Banker btw) do nothing to improve this scenario. Re Dallas suggestion above, I will be surprised if that works. The concept of ‘stop payment’ is foreign to credit cards.

  4. This is a classic real life example of the need for VRM as outline by Doc. Credit Cards are 100% aligned to support vendors, and the Banks who issue the cards (I am a Banker btw) do nothing to improve this scenario. Re Dallas suggestion above, I will be surprised if that works. The concept of ‘stop payment’ is foreign to credit cards.

  5. Why should Linden Labs bear the responsibility for a service that you failed to cancel, you failed to provide accurate contact information, and you aren’t willing to spend any time to resolve?

    You say you’re partly at fault. What part isn’t your fault? Why can’t you pick up the phone and call the phone number for Linden Labs that is probably on your credit card bill?

  6. A better company would note that Scoblolio wasn’t using his SL account and would not charge him. A company like that would find it easier to get users to try it out. Come to think of it, maybe SL is charging me $10 per month too, because I tried it out once or twice and I think you have to give it a credit card to even get in once. Bastards!!!

  7. A better company would note that Scoblolio wasn’t using his SL account and would not charge him. A company like that would find it easier to get users to try it out. Come to think of it, maybe SL is charging me $10 per month too, because I tried it out once or twice and I think you have to give it a credit card to even get in once. Bastards!!!

  8. “Adam: you think anyone is there on a Sunday evening?” fair call – but in my defense, it was the monday lunchtime for me (Australia)

  9. “Adam: you think anyone is there on a Sunday evening?” fair call – but in my defense, it was the monday lunchtime for me (Australia)

  10. I think this points out the largest failure second life will have, denying access to the under 18 crowd.

    The social media frontier is being inspired, built and populated by this age group. Denying them access not only halts their interests, but denies alot of the facets that empower such websites and a significant proportion of webhits.

  11. I think this points out the largest failure second life will have, denying access to the under 18 crowd.

    The social media frontier is being inspired, built and populated by this age group. Denying them access not only halts their interests, but denies alot of the facets that empower such websites and a significant proportion of webhits.

  12. Funnily enough Robert, Microsoft is just as bad as anyone in doing this (xbox-live) and after 2 hours on the phone the other night and 5 transfers ( incl. overseas),and every new person not having my case history, I finally got them to stop charging my card., although they couldnt migrate my ‘other’ (and still valid) yearly subscription to my new account due to ‘techincal limitations’. Worst support ever. :-(

  13. Funnily enough Robert, Microsoft is just as bad as anyone in doing this (xbox-live) and after 2 hours on the phone the other night and 5 transfers ( incl. overseas),and every new person not having my case history, I finally got them to stop charging my card., although they couldnt migrate my ‘other’ (and still valid) yearly subscription to my new account due to ‘techincal limitations’. Worst support ever. :-(

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  15. Or of course, you could wait until they are open, and talk to them like a grownup. Explain what happened and work with them.

    Now, that would have been better BEFORE you pitched your little hissy fit. Right now, I’d not blame them if they said “Sorry, you agreed to the terms, your account is canceled, thanks for the money.” But that’s classic blogger entitlement syndrome. Instead of going through and solving the problem, THEN blogging about it, you do it the other way.

    Of course, now, you don’t even have the blog as a possible lever to use in the negotiation, because you’ve removed it as a threat. You’ve already hammered them in your blog, what else have you got?

    Nothing

    Oh, and on the whole “dispute the charges” thing? Well, you agreed to the terms, and you can’t show that you’ve as of yet contacted Second Life to resolve this problem. They have their phone number clearly posted. You could have called at any time. You chose not to. That’s your fault, not theirs. If you don’t watch your cable TV for a month, do they stop charging you? No. You agreed to subscribe to that service. Your choice to not use it does not change that agreement. Your fault, not theirs.

    To quote a friend of mine “Suck it up Princess”. Call them on Monday, and hope they’re more mature about business deals than you are.

    Then I give you another bit of advice: Try to not burn your bridges before you cross the river.

  16. Or of course, you could wait until they are open, and talk to them like a grownup. Explain what happened and work with them.

    Now, that would have been better BEFORE you pitched your little hissy fit. Right now, I’d not blame them if they said “Sorry, you agreed to the terms, your account is canceled, thanks for the money.” But that’s classic blogger entitlement syndrome. Instead of going through and solving the problem, THEN blogging about it, you do it the other way.

    Of course, now, you don’t even have the blog as a possible lever to use in the negotiation, because you’ve removed it as a threat. You’ve already hammered them in your blog, what else have you got?

    Nothing

    Oh, and on the whole “dispute the charges” thing? Well, you agreed to the terms, and you can’t show that you’ve as of yet contacted Second Life to resolve this problem. They have their phone number clearly posted. You could have called at any time. You chose not to. That’s your fault, not theirs. If you don’t watch your cable TV for a month, do they stop charging you? No. You agreed to subscribe to that service. Your choice to not use it does not change that agreement. Your fault, not theirs.

    To quote a friend of mine “Suck it up Princess”. Call them on Monday, and hope they’re more mature about business deals than you are.

    Then I give you another bit of advice: Try to not burn your bridges before you cross the river.

  17. Now Jonese, you know that’s not how Snap-On does things.

    Reading.

    Research.

    Getting facts.

    Pfffft. A Snap-On cares not for such things. The Snap-On whines in his blog, and the world jumps to make him happy.

    That is the way of the Snap-On.

  18. Now Jonese, you know that’s not how Snap-On does things.

    Reading.

    Research.

    Getting facts.

    Pfffft. A Snap-On cares not for such things. The Snap-On whines in his blog, and the world jumps to make him happy.

    That is the way of the Snap-On.

  19. “I paid them $80 to write this post. I felt like whining. Sue me.”

    This is a big reason why I went from reading your posts daily to just scanning your feed every couple weeks. The last time I checked in here the top post was you whining because other blogs weren’t linking to you enough. I see some other interesting posts here, but frankly I’m not sure I want to step on another needless whine mine.

    Perhaps place a small round cartoon bomb icon atop your whining posts…something to tell us that, hey, if you read this post your respect for Scobleizer will shatter. If that image is too violent how about a piece of candy, then, telling us this post has no nutritional value and reading it will make your teeth fall out. Then we can carefully step around them while preserving your bully pulpit.

  20. “I paid them $80 to write this post. I felt like whining. Sue me.”

    This is a big reason why I went from reading your posts daily to just scanning your feed every couple weeks. The last time I checked in here the top post was you whining because other blogs weren’t linking to you enough. I see some other interesting posts here, but frankly I’m not sure I want to step on another needless whine mine.

    Perhaps place a small round cartoon bomb icon atop your whining posts…something to tell us that, hey, if you read this post your respect for Scobleizer will shatter. If that image is too violent how about a piece of candy, then, telling us this post has no nutritional value and reading it will make your teeth fall out. Then we can carefully step around them while preserving your bully pulpit.

  21. Robert : call them up. Thousands of people had to when Linden changed everyones password after a security hoo-haa.

    Big PITA for lots of people a while ago.

    1-800-961-6851

  22. Robert : call them up. Thousands of people had to when Linden changed everyones password after a security hoo-haa.

    Big PITA for lots of people a while ago.

    1-800-961-6851

  23. A tip of the hat to Colin for his honesty. Having recently resolved and automatic withdrawal dispute, I know exactly what he is talking about. If the consumer relies on the bank that issued the card handling the matter, he will end up with no telling how much in fees in addition to all the money he loses from the merchant he is trying to stop over a long period. I was only able to stop the abuse and get my money back after I reported the bank to the federal agency that regulates it. I knew about that because of my legal education. Most consumers would not. There is no easy way out of the situation Robert is now in. The merchant may take the hard line John alluded to. My future practice will be to avoid automatic withdrawal agreements. For example, my new EVDO card will be prepaid for a year,

  24. A tip of the hat to Colin for his honesty. Having recently resolved and automatic withdrawal dispute, I know exactly what he is talking about. If the consumer relies on the bank that issued the card handling the matter, he will end up with no telling how much in fees in addition to all the money he loses from the merchant he is trying to stop over a long period. I was only able to stop the abuse and get my money back after I reported the bank to the federal agency that regulates it. I knew about that because of my legal education. Most consumers would not. There is no easy way out of the situation Robert is now in. The merchant may take the hard line John alluded to. My future practice will be to avoid automatic withdrawal agreements. For example, my new EVDO card will be prepaid for a year,

  25. 4 and 21: What you describe is correct for SOME vendors. After not being able to find the terminate service page for a dial-up ISP several years ago I called the credit card company who told me I would have to contest each monthly charge separately. They could not, or would not “stop payment”.

    On the other hand MOST reputable companies do not want to continue billing you for a service you are not using. I’m quite sure that if Robert made any effort at all he could get his account terminated (heck I bet *I* could get it terminated without his lifting a finger, and I don’t work for the company).

    SL is not in the same category as (for example) Netzero, and at one time AOL who both had hard-to-impossible termination procedures. This is a load of sour grapes in my opinion.

    PS: To resolve my problem I did more of less what Robert is talking about, I canceled the card. In my case I really didn’t want a continue relationship with the card company who was so “helpless” to help me. But if it had been a card I wanted to keep, I think I could have prevailed with the vendor eventually, and I’m sure Robert can too (on a weekday during business hours).

  26. 4 and 21: What you describe is correct for SOME vendors. After not being able to find the terminate service page for a dial-up ISP several years ago I called the credit card company who told me I would have to contest each monthly charge separately. They could not, or would not “stop payment”.

    On the other hand MOST reputable companies do not want to continue billing you for a service you are not using. I’m quite sure that if Robert made any effort at all he could get his account terminated (heck I bet *I* could get it terminated without his lifting a finger, and I don’t work for the company).

    SL is not in the same category as (for example) Netzero, and at one time AOL who both had hard-to-impossible termination procedures. This is a load of sour grapes in my opinion.

    PS: To resolve my problem I did more of less what Robert is talking about, I canceled the card. In my case I really didn’t want a continue relationship with the card company who was so “helpless” to help me. But if it had been a card I wanted to keep, I think I could have prevailed with the vendor eventually, and I’m sure Robert can too (on a weekday during business hours).

  27. Linden Lab changed the passwords as a security measure several months ago. I just ran up against that myself when I returned after a long time away. It was intended that subscribers just go ahead and make a new password at that time. You can either get them to resend a new password to your registered email address or give them a call. When you joined Second Life as a subscriber, you agreed to the terms of service agreement that you were not a minor or alowing access to the Second Life service to a minor. It’s true that nobody ever reads EULAs and terms of service agreements, but if nothing else, Second Life is best viewed as a community for adults. There is a speecial teen grid for minors aged 13 to 18 and it is perfectly free with your verification that the account is, in fact for a child. You could have your account transferred for your son or open him his own in a place where he would very likely fit in better.
    As for getting charged for all these months, you’ve been getting the Premium Account stipend, all along, which you can either spend in world, sell for “real” money or trade for currency in another game, so if you look at it that way you are probably breaking even for monies spent.

  28. Linden Lab changed the passwords as a security measure several months ago. I just ran up against that myself when I returned after a long time away. It was intended that subscribers just go ahead and make a new password at that time. You can either get them to resend a new password to your registered email address or give them a call. When you joined Second Life as a subscriber, you agreed to the terms of service agreement that you were not a minor or alowing access to the Second Life service to a minor. It’s true that nobody ever reads EULAs and terms of service agreements, but if nothing else, Second Life is best viewed as a community for adults. There is a speecial teen grid for minors aged 13 to 18 and it is perfectly free with your verification that the account is, in fact for a child. You could have your account transferred for your son or open him his own in a place where he would very likely fit in better.
    As for getting charged for all these months, you’ve been getting the Premium Account stipend, all along, which you can either spend in world, sell for “real” money or trade for currency in another game, so if you look at it that way you are probably breaking even for monies spent.

  29. I had a similar problem with a web hosting company. I had a $6 dollar credit for a year and when I asked for a refund they told me that they don’t give refunds. I could buy something else to get rid of the credit?!? I decided to change web hosting companies after that and I still have a $6 credit.

  30. I had a similar problem with a web hosting company. I had a $6 dollar credit for a year and when I asked for a refund they told me that they don’t give refunds. I could buy something else to get rid of the credit?!? I decided to change web hosting companies after that and I still have a $6 credit.

  31. I’ve got my own issue. Im UK based, so can’t just, ring them up. I wanted to cancel my account in May 2007 but couldn’t. I couldn’t remember my password so asked for a password reset.

    Despite receiving the links by email and entering my confirmation information correctly, I was returned to the SecondLife Homepage and not logged in.

    I received an email in September advising that they were unable to take payment from my card and therefore my account would be cancelled if I didn’t provide up to date payment information. Finally, the nightmare is over. I sent them an email by reply to say Go Ahead, Cancel the account, I want you to.

    November, they bill my credit card – how, I don’t know.

    December I still can’t log into the website to cancel my account. Going to the support section, you have to be able to log in to the website to ask for support with logging into your account!

    Even their support system is flawed. You ask to Preview the call, it logs a new ticket and doesn’t give any option to edit it!

    Im with the OP on this one.

    Cya
    Simon

  32. I’ve got my own issue. Im UK based, so can’t just, ring them up. I wanted to cancel my account in May 2007 but couldn’t. I couldn’t remember my password so asked for a password reset.

    Despite receiving the links by email and entering my confirmation information correctly, I was returned to the SecondLife Homepage and not logged in.

    I received an email in September advising that they were unable to take payment from my card and therefore my account would be cancelled if I didn’t provide up to date payment information. Finally, the nightmare is over. I sent them an email by reply to say Go Ahead, Cancel the account, I want you to.

    November, they bill my credit card – how, I don’t know.

    December I still can’t log into the website to cancel my account. Going to the support section, you have to be able to log in to the website to ask for support with logging into your account!

    Even their support system is flawed. You ask to Preview the call, it logs a new ticket and doesn’t give any option to edit it!

    Im with the OP on this one.

    Cya
    Simon

  33. hi, i have cancel my account. i don’t give my credit card number but they told me that for cancel the account i must pay 9 dollars….so where they can get that money??

  34. hi, i have cancel my account. i don’t give my credit card number but they told me that for cancel the account i must pay 9 dollars….so where they can get that money??