Monday, February 16, 2009

Premium Account Suspended?

Recently I convinced Second Life® entrepreneur Peter Stindberg (Web) to convert his free resident account to a premium account with the argument that such a move would provide more paths for recourse if the account was suspended by the Governance Team (AKA GTeam; Web). So I was rather surprised to see Luc Aubret, Creative Director aubreTEC Labs (SLurl), Tweet that his account was suspended without any contact from the Lab for allegedly impersonating a Linden. "I was never contacted in any way and asked about the infraction," he blogged (Web), and added that "If you’re going to issue a warning, fine, but suspension or banning without so much as providing the accused with an opportunity to speak in their defense."

Luc is listed as the owner of the group that has the deed to his land in Everlite and his profile shows Payment Information on File, so I imagine he has a Premium account. That leaves the question as to why he was not contacted but I believe it shows that his status as a Premium member prevented may have protected him from an outright cancellation. I'm not sure if that would have been the punishment for his alleged crime so I could be wrong about the protection.

But back to the question and adding to it ... Luc is a prominent member of the business community, well-known by those in the virtual armaments and gadgets trade, so wouldn't a courtesy be a consideration in this instance? Or added detailed notes on his account so the Help Team could actually help when he contacted them? The lack of contact leads me to assume that either the GTeam rushed this one or they have the ability to check any and all chat/IM records grid-wide to investigate issues. If the former assumption is true, then shame on the process and the infrastructure behind it. Such a thing should not happen. Conversely, if we the latter assumption is correct then contact should have been made or records should be available to the Help Team. I have seen or used several different customer account management products and such ability to manage accounts is available.

As Linden Labs® becomes more old-school business and less cutting edge upstart perhaps it needs to learn some lessons about customer service. Or better yet, blaze a trail to improve on customer service. My dealings with the Lab have always been quick, efficient, and have left me with a good feeling, contrary to the frequent reports I hear of residents in Luc's situation. Let's hope this is really just an aberration.


dandellion Kimban said...

Two things are very bad here:
1) Premium and basic accounts should not differ to the matter of suspending. Breaking the ToS is kind of "crime" and if justice system is to be a good and working one, then any resident should be equal before it. One either break the rules or not, it doesn't have anything with type of the account.

2) Suspending an account without notice and explanation is wrong. Once again, it is wrong whether account is basic or premium one.

Peter Stindberg said...

Thanks for spelling my name right this time :-)

I had business with Luc once and in my case he came across a little bit arrogant. While that was just a momentary snapshot of course, I wonder how low the threshold for some people might be to issue abuse reports or any other action in such cases. I am pretty certain those get used as weapons on occasion.

Uccello Poultry said...

@ Dandelion: We'll have to disagree on this one. Premium accounts should have a priority or some other benefit with Customer Service. Proven commitment should have a reward.

@ Mr. Stindberg: It's a hard name! P-E-T-E-R. But did you notice that I went back and corrected all of the other oopsies some time ago?

Luc helped me with an upgrade issue on one of his products and was very courteous. I guess we all have good and bad days.

Peter Stindberg said...

Yes, that is why I said it was just a snapshot. And thanks for correcting it :-)

dandellion Kimban said...

Sure that premium accounts should have benefits, what would be the point of paying for it otherwise. But that benefit should not consist of "looking through the fingers" when it come to ToS breach. Premium should offer more services, like (already existing) possibility to own piece of mainland, 24/7 support and some even more useful like those that Vint Falken recently suggested.

But that doesn't include breaking the ToS, nor excluding basic's right to defend in the case of AR or not sending an automatic email in the case of suspension. It sounds almost like an extortion: you pay for premium or we treat you as a second grade citizen without basic rights and we can ban you if anybody of paying customers even think that you did something wrong.

Uccello Poultry said...

No account should have a Get Out of Jail Free Card, Premium or otherwise. My point was that people who pay for service should expect something better than those who don't. In this case the Customer Service team should have been able to discuss the details of the case with a person who helps pay their salaries.