Well, it seems news over the correction in one aspect of the ongoing SL Marketplace listing enhancements debacle (itself merely one part of the overall Marketplace debacle) was premature.
No sooner had the Commerce Team announced they were refunding people for the mess-up over payments, that automatic debiting for enhancements resumed, with the same level of confusion as to what is actually going on, and people unable to determine exactly what they have or have not been charged for. How this came to pass is unclear, although I do tend to agree with Darrius Gothly’s assessment of the situation, vis:
When your staff went through and refunded everyone, you should have AT THAT TIME tested to be sure your code modifications would not immediately undo everything just done. But did you? Nope. As a result it went through and lickety-split re-billed everyone .. not only for what they’d just been refunded but additional charges too. Pardon me but .. WTH?!? By dint of your lack of attention you have just completely undone everything your staff did .. by hand .. at great expense to your employer. You have WASTED a very large amount of money. Wasted because you could not or did not want to bother testing your changes.
It is perhaps bad enough that people have seen refunds enter their accounts only to evaporate once more. But it would also appear that people are again getting charged for enhancements they cannot cancel due to WEB-2974 (an issue now some two years old, and resolution of which was “on hold” as of July 2012).
This state of play is, frankly, ridiculous. While mistakes can and do happen, what has been going on within the Marketplace and on the part of the Commerce Team long ago reached a point of farce. Even the simplest of tasks appears to be beyond their capabilities (or the capabilities of the software they manage). Remember the change to the sales notification e-mail address I mentioned as being rolled-out on September 26th as a part of my last general SLMP update? Guess what was rolled back just 48 hours later, only to be rolled-out once more on October 4th?
One has to question a) the level of competence within those responsible for managing and coding SLMP; and b) the overall condition of the Marketplace code itself, as it seems utterly incomprehensible that even the most basic issues within the system appear to be beyond LL’s grasp to fix.
In his comment on the matter of listing enhancements, Darrius concludes:
Communication from your team to us is a major issue. I’ve no doubt why this is the case. Most people have a very difficult time going to others with the need to say “We’re sorry, we screwed up.” With the number of times you must begin a blog post in that manner, it’s no wonder you don’t post very much at all. So here’s an idea … stop being lazy, stop short-cutting things and rushing changes into production, stop screwing up .. and STOP having to begin every post with an apology.
While I agree with his point of view, I’d go a step further.
It doesn’t matter as to whether or not these issues are only affecting a “small number” of merchants (as the Commerce Team have repeatedly stated); it also doesn’t matter as to whether LL regard L$ as “real money” or “tokens”.
What matters is that the company actively encourages people to get involved in their platform’s commerce engine, and to invest time and money in it – and they promote the Marketplace as a major means for people to do so. People have taken LL at their word, and for many of those affected by all the Marketplace screw-ups over the years, it very much is the case that real money is involved, and real stress and real upset.
As such, it is time for someone within Linden Lab to recognise this, take responsibility and step forward with a sincere apology for the manner in which the entire litany of mistakes, errors and mishaps going back as far as at least 2010 has been handled. They then need to go on to ensure issues are managed in such a way that people are kept properly informed on progress, and that issues are not exacerbated by what appears to be either flaws in internal processes – or carelessness.
Simply saying people are busy “crunching numbers” doesn’t really cut it any more.
As it is, a decent projection as to when LL will “have a fix” for Marketplace problems, would appear to be, “Around the 12th of Never”.