Linden Lab Gave Me Over Five Thousand Dollars... And I Gave It All Back
I and a handful of other Second Life users had a very eventful Monday this week, when we logged into our Paypal accounts and noticed something not quite right with our balances. They were a little it off. For some, only by a few hundred dollars; for me, by a few thousand.
It turns out we had more in common than just our unexplained windfall. We'd all been cashing out our account balances through Linden Lab's Credit Processing system, and our transactions were being handled within a very narrow window yesterday right around when Process Credit was taken down for unscheduled (read: urgent) maintenance. These payouts were then repeated randomly, in my case almost thirty times over.
If you're an underemployed 20-something like me, it's the worst kind of cosmic tease, because of course you can't keep the money. It's not yours, it never was, and unlike a wallet found in the street there won't be any potential rewards just for being a good samaritan.
Thankfully Linden Lab seems to be on top of this issue already, as they should be considering how much money might be at stake for them depending on exactly who was cashing out when. Their response to my support ticket read more like a form email to send out to less observant (or less honest) users affected by the issue, and you'd be amazed at how quickly my ticket was addressed even though I don't currently have premium membership.
Even if Linden Lab wasn't on the ball with this, PayPal is. It's their business to be. When I first contacted PayPal support to see if there was simply some sort of display error happening, they shrugged and referred me to LL. However, this afternoon I received a phone call from a PayPal representative about the repeat deposits (no doubt the transactions had been flagged as suspicious). He offered to reverse all but the one correct payment so I wouldn't have to go through one by one refunding them myself. It saved me some time, and spared me from looking at that massive tease of a balance again.
So here's a word of advice: If you're waiting for a payout yourself you might want to take a look to make sure the same thing hasn't happened to you -- and if you're tempted by the idea of keeping it, I doubt it's worth the trouble. PayPal certainly doesn't shy away from freezing accounts suspected of anything even bordering on fraudulent activity, and Linden Lab is no different. If you've been affected by this billing blunder it will certainly add a little extra complication to your week, but the sooner you sort it out the better. You can contact Linden Lab's Billing support line here for immediate 24-hour assistance.
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.