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Old 08-20-2011, 04:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Warning! Avination keeps deleting paid regions

Well, I thought I was done with Avination when I made my final payments and abandoned my own sim there a month back, but it appears that The Almighty Avination Grid Goddess Melanie's ego didn't permit. I posted the below, "Warning! Avination continues deleting paid regions", on their forum today 2011-08-20, but expect it to be censored. For a background, see also my post "Avination deletes paid region" 2011-07-08.

Quote:
Saturday 2011-07-09, I made a PayPal payment for the sims Sweet Hideout and Sweet Retreat, and notified Avination, according to previous agreement, as below:
"I've paid the tier for the Avination sims Sweet Hideout, due 2011-07-31, and Sweet Retreat, due 2011-07-22, via Paypal, Unique Transaction ID # XXXXX. That should keep them going until 2011-08-31 and 2011-08-22, respectively."

I received confirmation on the payment from Melanie herself the same day:
"Dear XXXXX@XXXXX,
We have credited the sims.
Best regards,
Melanie Thielker
Avination Support Team"

Since I had enough of Avination management after their previous deletion of a region I paid for ( https://www.avination.com/about-avin...%5Btid%5D=1397 ), I had decided to leave Avination but wanted to make good on a previous promise to the leasers of those regions to keep them up until late August, hence that final payment, made against what I now know was better advice.

Despite the payment, and despite Melanie's personal confirmation, I was informed by a leaser on Friday 2011-08-12 that the region Sweet Retreat was gone, and confirmed it myself. I posted a support ticket about it the same day, requesting the region to be put back online, referring to the payment and Melanie's confirmation. So far, that support ticket has been ignored, just as with the previous deletion of a paid region.

Wednesday 2011-08-17, I contacted a law firm to get advice on how to deal with the situation, since it's obvious that Melanie is doing this with malicious intent to harass me, having decided to turn my criticism against her management of Avination into some kind of personal vendetta. I was advised against pushing a law suit, owing to the small sum involved, the financial risk with losing a law suit, and the Avination Terms of Service, specifically paragraph 1.6: "Avination is subject to scheduled and unscheduled service interruptions. All aspects of the Service are subject to change or elimination at Avination Virtual Limited's sole discretion." You better read it, folks, since it basically says Melanie can take your money, screw you over and don't deliver one bit of the services expected, and then laugh all the way to the bank.

The law firm did however suggest an alternative route, used successfully to take down malicious Internet services on several occasions before, by submitting the proper information to the proper entities. Since I already spent the equivalent of some USD 400 on the consultations, I decided to spend the additional amount required to let the law firm handle this, without any additional hassle for me. According to previous experience, the first effects of the actions are usually seen within a few weeks, while the final takedown may take anything from a week to half a year.

Friday 2011-08-19, I got confirmation from the law firm that there seems to be no obstacles to that second route, after them having scrutinized the legal status of a virtual world compared to a web host (a first for them). They also confirmed it was OK for me to use available channels to inform investors in Avination that the enterprise is turning high risk (advising me to rephrase quite a few things from my first, steaming draft of this), thereby permitting them informed decisions on new or continued investments in an enterprise that will possibly be out of business within a few months. I know not many users of Avination are reading these forums, but I'm afraid it's the best channel I can come up with, since I doubt Avination management themselves would disseminate this information.
And yes, I'm pissed off enough to waste a number of hundred dollars on taking Avination down, even if I realize it's a really stupid use of good money.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I know that there's nothing that I can do to take away your frustration at this behaviour but I hope your tenants manage to get their stuff back at least. This kind of thing isn't what people need.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I posted this there in response, I'll repeat it here:

Quote:
No reputable law firm is going to say it's "OK" to go public and "inform investors". If anything they would advise keeping quiet and allow them to do their job.

Since regions aren't transferable from resident to resident rather than doing you a favor and allowing you to pay on regions where the actual owner has fled they should have just flipped the switch but then you would be complaining about that. Only thing this serves is for management to not allow those type of arrangements in the future.

The only legal case I see here is Avination against you. Your statement that they "could possibly be out of business within a few months" is actionable.

Find a different law firm to file against this law firm for bad advice.

I personally doubt you are even a small blip on their radar but if it strokes your ego to pretend that they would risk their investments to go after you because of criticism go for it. I'm sure it's therapeutic.
Good luck with those windmills.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If being ripped off on the internet then be sure to file a complaint with the FTC. If enough complaints are registered then they investigate. If the investigation turns up enough evidence then the FTC will publish a consumer warning and/or take further regulatory action.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Autumn Osterham View Post
Good luck with those windmills.
I suppose I should point out that we're talking European jurisdictions here, the UK (Avination) and Sweden (me), where governing laws differ substantially from the US ones. The reason I decided to consult a reputable law firm I've worked with before professionally, with a division specializing in Internet law, and representation in the UK, was partly to make sure I have my back covered, partly out of laziness. That's also why it took three days and a rather big bundle to handle what really is a routine matter, because of consultations between the Swedish and UK offices.

From what I know about US law, I suspect you can get sued for publishing correct and relevant information there. In the UK and Sweden, good luck! Also, as stated, I'm not initializing a law suit here, since that would most probably be a lost cause, but simply using an attorney, who is more experienced than I am, to deliver the proper information to the proper entities. Avination knowledge about that will not affect the process.

Regarding fighting windmills, sure, the law firm was quite honest about not being able to guarantee any results. But with the information I collected before leaving Avination, plus their recent behavior, they believed there was a good chance action would be taken. To me, that's a good enough shot to prevent Avination from continuing deceiving and harassing people.

Last edited by Magnuz Binder; 08-20-2011 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Adding comment about windmills.
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Cris needs to change the name of this forum to "Come bitch about other grids here"
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Old 08-20-2011, 08:51 AM   #7 (permalink)
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@Magnuz: you still don't address the fact that they didn't have to allow you to do what it is you are complaining about.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:29 AM   #8 (permalink)
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@Magnuz: you still don't address the fact that they didn't have to allow you to do what it is you are complaining about.
I made an agreement with Melanie: I pay, the sims stay up. The agreement was mutual. I didn't hold a gun to her head or something when we made the agreement, but asked politely if it was possible. She said yes and gave me instructions I've followed to the letter since. I still have the e-mail exchange about it, if proof is needed.

If she knew or suspected she couldn't handle it, she could simply have said no, and I would have accepted it (not much choice), although a bit sadly. She hasn't notified me about any cancellation of the agreement. I honored my part of the agreement and paid. She didn't honor her part of the agreement and kept the sims up, but violated it blatantly twice, deleting sims and ignoring support tickets about it. In the first case, she ignored it for 5 days, until I made it public on the Avination forum, when it suddenly got solved within a day. In this case, she ignored it for 8 days so far, and I no longer care if it gets solved, or I wouldn't have taken the actions I have.

The first case was a few days after we had "differences" about her appearance here, "explaining" JCool. If you believe that's a coincidence, especially after the Redgrave / Mimi's Choice "incident", I have a bridge in Brooklyn you may want to buy as well.

You may think this latest case has to be too stupid to be on purpose. After all, she had already "won". I had paid my bills, abandoned my own sim and left Avination, stopped sitting here whining or publishing "hurtful" metrics, analyses and opinions about Avination. But there are reasons for it, which I however have been recommended not to publish here. My sincere apologies for doing so in the first place.

Last edited by Magnuz Binder; 08-20-2011 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Removed personal information.
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:58 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sure those personal attacks on her are helping your case. Or not.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:15 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Autumn Osterham View Post
I'm sure those personal attacks on her are helping your case. Or not.

I'm pretty sure Magnuz stated somewhere that there is no case (personally) anyway and that the larger matter was going to be handled by the appropriate agencies. It's not a law suit, there is no personal 'case', it seems to be a matter of a company ripping people off that has been reported to an agency that handles these issues, in which case, Magnuz is free to talk all the smack they want about the company without endangering any regulatory case. What's your stake in this company? Or do you just believe that people should simply roll over when they get ripped off?
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Last edited by Fox Stirling; 08-20-2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: typo: probably only one of many
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:23 PM   #11 (permalink)
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What's your stake in this company? Or do you just believe that people should simply roll over when they get ripped off?
She's an avination supporter and sells stuff there. So I guess she feels anything negative said about the place affects her.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
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She's an avination supporter and sells stuff there. So I guess she feels anything negative said about the place affects her.
Ahhh, gotcha.. So it's more like a "Throw ethics to the wind (as long as it doesn't effect me or my business), I gotta make a buck" thing then..
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fox Stirling View Post
I'm pretty sure Magnuz stated somewhere that there is no case (personally) anyway and that the larger matter was going to be handled by the appropriate agencies. It's not a law suit, there is no person 'case', it seems to be a matter of a company ripping people off that has been reported to an agency that handles these issues, in which case, Magnuz is free to talk all the smack they want about the company without endangering any regulatory case. What's your stake in this company? Or do you just believe that people should simply roll over when they get ripped off?
I'm gonna assume you made this post after Magnuz removed the personal attack and amateur mental health diagnosis on the owner of the grid and leave the first part alone.

As for my stake? The same as anyone that has put a lot of time and real life money into a grid. I don't think people should roll over when they get ripped off but then I don't think that is what happened here. Can never be really sure though because we are only hearing one side of the story. My own experience on that grid as far as billing management goes has been one of no problems at all.
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:40 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ahhh, gotcha.. So it's more like a "Throw ethics to the wind (as long as it doesn't effect me or my business), I gotta make a buck" thing then..
Yeah that's it. You win.

You don't know me at all.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:10 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm gonna assume you made this post after Magnuz removed the personal attack and amateur mental health diagnosis on the owner of the grid and leave the first part alone.
You're really amazingly multi-talented. First you prove to be an expert on EU legislation, specialized in the UK and Swedish Internet branches of it. Then you prove to be much better than a Swedish professional board in evaluating a friend of mine with more than 20 years of experience. We could also discuss if explaining people's seemingly irrational behavior is a personal attack or not, but I'm more interested in knowing what else you're an expert at? How to dance a gig?

You should have seen enough of me by now to know I deal in facts, and when my own competence isn't sufficient for it, I tend to bring in competence that is, be it a law firm to handle legal matters or professionals in other areas. But I guess the latter is hard to grasp for someone as multi-talented and self-sufficient as you are.

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My own experience on that grid as far as billing management goes has been one of no problems at all.
And considering your previous whining about problems with creating, inventory and losing 90% of your business, I guess that's about the only thing that works for you in Avination...

Last edited by Magnuz Binder; 08-20-2011 at 03:41 PM. Reason: Removed a few vague personal references according to recommendation to comply with board rules.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:34 PM   #16 (permalink)
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You should have seen enough of me by now...

Indeed.
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Old 08-20-2011, 01:37 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I do dance a pretty good jig but am by no means a expert at it.

I guess me "whining" about Avination's faults takes me out of the Fangrrrl category, thanks.

Well I wish you good luck in whatever you choose to do.
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