Second Life: My first (truly) negative experience.

First things first–if you’re in Second Life, I highly recommend you avoid any land rentals from:

  • Xael Aeon
  • Rainbow Estate Land Sales
  • Communal Waters

Here’s why:

The short version: Xael Aeon is a greedy asshole.

The long version:

  • I paid L$20,000 to rent an Open Space Sim (OSS) from Xael Aeon on Nov 3, 2008 for the period of 29 days.
  • It was understood at the time of this rental that the re-pricing of OSS would change the rental price in January to between L$35-40K/month. It was also understood at the time of rental that the Sim would remain through at least Dec 31 at the current rental price.
  • Xael notified me Nov 15 that the rental would be ending at the end of the first rental period, and that I needed to remove my objects by Dec 1. I spoke with Xael at this time and indicated that this was understood, but that I did expect to continue to reside there until Nov 31.
  • Xael notified me by notecard (NC) on Nov 22 that the rental period was ending immediately. (This is 10 days early, fully 1/3 of the paid-for rental period.) The NC also indicated that he WOULD NOT return his resident’s items, even though the turnover of the sim was imminent, nor offer pro-rated repayment or alternate lodgings for the remaining third of the lease.
  • I immediately vacated the sim, successfully moving my store, residence, building, and SXL/OnRez boxes to a new location.
  • I did–in a moment of anger–change the Parcel name/description to “Xael Aeon is a greedy asshole” (or similar). I felt it was quite wrong to be evicted with no notice, and no recompense–not even an apology. Admittedly, changing the Parcel name was entirely unnecessary and childish. However, it was done knowing that only someone on the land would see that, not as a public bit of ugliness.
  • I replaced the link to my land in my Picks with a description of what had occurred (no profanity or abusive language), as a warning for other renters–a warning I very much wish I had received!
  • I received a series of IMs from Xael stating that he had reported me to LL for abuse, that I was hereby banned from all Rainbow Island sims, and evicting me from the Rainbow Island Land group. I did not contact him after these notices.

Commentary:

In general, covenants relating to rental land in Second Life are written in the interest of the land’s actual owner, and most contain caveats that allow the landowner to recoup the land at any time with no refund to the renter. I also understand, from the Terms of Service, that LL does not arbitrate second- and third-party contracts. This is why I did not seek renumeration through LL’s complaint system. Nor have I made a complaint in counter to his complaint. (Since, mostly, my complaint is that he’s being a jerk, which isn’t very actionable.)

The landowner (Xael Aeon) made it clear at eviction there would be no renumeration offered by Rainbow Island Land Group, even though an earlier notice clearly indicated the availability of land on their other full-size sims (Assumedly, that one would purchase in /addition/ to rental monies already paid.). He also ended our rental agreement fully 1/3 short of time paid for, with virtually no notice, and absolutely no compensation–in fact, I stood to lose a much larger amount of money had the sim been decomissioned before I got to it!

This may not be in violation of LL TOS or any other LL agreement, but is is contradictory to the verbal contract we entered into as a business transaction within SL’s economy, of which I have complete record. It’s also just plain bad business, in an economy that relies on word-of-mouth for success.

I am perfectly within my rights–even considering the LL TOS–to express, in my Picks, my review of Rainbow Island / Xael Aeon as a business organization / business person in SL, and about my experience with their offerings, good or bad, as long as my review is neither defamatory or abusive. So I did so.

Changing the Parcel name–though rude on my part–is also likely neither a violation of LL ToS or the rules of Community conduct. It was not in any way defamation since parcel names do not appear in search, only to those on the land, and the only person on the land would be myself or Xael. The land was also (a) rated mature, so even the relatively non-profane pejorative ‘asshole’ isn’t disallowed; and (b) slated for decomission, to be converted into a full sim immediately (so the Parcel name would vanish, though I imagine it’s been changed by now).

I’m not in any way seeking renumeration or apology from Xael. The time for that, now, is so over. I don’t care that I am banned from his lands or from renting from Rainbow Island Land Group–he can do as he likes, and I’d no intention of renting from such a poorly-run realty group again.

However, I am quite amused that someone who has insulted LL at every turn (at least in my dealings with him) is now turning to LL to interfere on his behalf with someone who merely had the audacity to complain about his unfair business practices. And I’m not about to sit quietly as he re-sells the land I’ve still paid the month’s tier for, to someone else, and profits off that resale.

One response to “Second Life: My first (truly) negative experience.”

  1. Llarian Ashbourne Says:

    I can only agree with you - my group and I rented a full-prim sim on April 1st, 2009 from Xael, for medieval fantasy roleplay. We set up in record time and opened after only 2 weeks of building. Yesterday, on April 24th, I received an IM from Xael that he sold the sim and we have 7 days to move out. I asked him, the new owner supposedly wants to use the sim for himself, but Xael is unwilling to give me the name of the owner, so I cannot enter into negotiations with him. Xael is still listed as the owner. Neither did he offer us the sim for sale at any point. At least I got the RAW file from him, so we could rent somewhere else and have this uploaded. Still - it’s 2 weeks of hard work down the drain, and I am seriously annoyed with the man. He is bad business!

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