I needed to put out a reminder to our customers that InWorldz, per it's TOS, is a pre-pay service. That means, you are pre-paying for your region for the following month(s) with each payment you make.
Over the years, we've done our level best to work with customers who are struggling economically, making sure they don't lose their regions and items, and we feel we're pretty strong in this area. However, over the years we've also seen some gaming of our compassion, so this morning I needed to make a hard decision and I really don't like having to do these types of things.
Every month, a vast majority of our region owners happily pay their region tiers without quibble, every month we work with those we can in order to keep their regions going while they have health issues, unexpected life issues, etc. Sometimes, they will transfer their region to another owner, which we work with them on as well. What happens when that new owner does not make the payments as required by the TOS? Well, eventually it falls into our laps to take down the region. As it goes into default, the previous owner will come back and say they wish to take the region back. We're also good with this, but we also must state to them, that the region is in arrears with us and due for takedown. Rather than paying the arrears, they let the region go and then buy a brand new one at a discounted price, letting us eat that cost of the arrears and the discount.
We're a business, not a charity. We work hard to keep you on your regions, but we are no longer going to allow this portion of activity to happen. If this happens, and a region owner attempts to just let us eat the cost, then we'll refund their new region purchase. Somehow, that payment needs to be made because InWorldz did not cause the default. We can even work on helping the region get caught up, but there has to be an agreement between InWorldz and the owner, that the past due must get reimbursed. And if that seems unfair to the region owner, then I hope they understand that we have salaries to pay, servers that cost money, and costs of doing business every day. If I default on something with any one of those services, and I want (for example, our servers are a prime asset) those servers back, I have to pay the arrears. If I attempt to just start a new server, I will not be allowed to until the arrears are paid.
For most of our customers this is never a problem, but I think it's important that we remember that InWorldz is a business, no matter how helpful we try to be, and when customers sign up, they agree to the TOS that their region is a pre-paid service, and it needs to be handled that way.