The Renaissance Man (unixronin) wrote in suggestions,
The Renaissance Man
unixronin
suggestions

Allow synchronization of account billing

Title
Allow synchronization of account billing

Short, concise description of the idea
Add additional options to the billing pages so that a paid account and festures such as additional userpics can be synchronized to come up for renewal at the same time. Optionally, also allow synchronizing renewal of multiple paid accounts.

Full description of the idea
Since I purchased additional userpics at a different time than I renewed my account, my account and my userpics expire at different times. I've managed to get the expiries about a month apart, but cannot get them any closer with the current billing structure. I'm sure other people are in the same position. Likewise, there are people/couples/families who have more than one paid account.

I propose the addition of a "Synchronize Account Billing" feature in the gift shop. This would allow you to select multiple accounts that you own, and with a single click extend the paid time on those accounts and all of their extra features to, perhaps, the beginning of the first month after the last one would expire -- or perhaps to the beginning of the next three-month period. Suppose, for example, I have three paid accounts, one expiring August 19 with extra userpics expiring July 12, one expiring September 4 with extra storage space expiring November 18, and one expiring February 3 with no additional features. I select all three accounts, I click "Synchronize", and the system looks at the dates and decides the next sync point is April 1. So it calculates the total cost of extending all those accounts and their features up exactly to April 1, and tells me, "Expiration on these accounts and features can be extended until April 1 for $48.50. Continue?" I click the Continue button, and bam, all my accounts are now synchronized -- everything will come due for renewal next April 1.

An ordered list of benefits
  • Simplifies users' keeping track of when different accounts and features are due for renewal.
  • Helps avoid forgetting to renew features.
  • Avoids losing paid extra features if your paid account expires before the paid feature does.

An ordered list of problems/issues involved
  • I don't see a downside.

An organized list, or a few short paragraphs detailing suggestions for implementation
  • Things to be borne in mind:
  • People should not be allowed to synchronize accounts they don't own. This means the sync tool needs to verify ownership of each account I want to synchronize -- unless I can create a synchronization group object which I and my family members then "subscribe" their accounts to.
  • What if I synchronize my accounts, then someone sends me a gift of paid time? There should probably be an option in this case to spread gifts across an entire group of synchronized accounts. This means keeping track of which groups were synchronized, though. It's added complexity that may not be worht the trouble. However, if I've got a single synchronized account, and someone sends me a gift of paid time, I probably would want that gift spread across the account and the features on it, as well. So a $6 gift would extend expiry of an account with no features by six months, or extend the expiry of one with extra userpics by four months and extend the userpics to match.
Tags: account management, automatic payments, business, gift shop, § historical
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