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BY ONLINE AUTHORS
Rated: E | Book | Other | #101
Explanations and instructions of all things Writing.Com.
#698654 added June 16, 2010 at 8:13am
Restrictions: None
When Your Paid Membership Expires...
So, you got yourself a paid membership on Writing.Com. Congratulations and thank you for supporting our community!

Beginning five or six weeks before your paid membership expires, you will receive weekly reminders to extend that membership. You should take certain actions whether you decide to renew or not. If you choose not to renew, or to downgrade your paid membership, please consider the following to avoid any loss of your important work.

This documentation has been created to help you understand what happens when your paid membership expires and to help you prepare in advance for that expiration. All active members are entitled to a free account, but your portfolio must fit within the limitations set for both the number of items your portfolio can have and the types of items you can host.

Frequently Asked Questions

When do paid memberships expire?
Your paid membership runs out at noon on the preset date. That date is always listed on your My Account page. Immediately after noon, you will no longer be able to access any of the paid membership features.

What happens when my paid membership runs out?
Your portfolio will be automatically downsized to the ten items allowed for Free memberships. Free accounts are limited by both the size of their portfolio as well as the type of items they can host. The items in your portfolio that fall outside the free account limitations will be locked from view and editing. For specifics on what items are allowed in free and paid membership levels, please see "Compare Free and Paid Membership Benefits.

What counts as an allowable "item" in a Free membership?
Each individual item in your portfolio, including folders, counts as one item. Items are readily identifiable by an assigned six- or seven-digit item number. Because every item has a unique number, there is no way to "hide" items within a portfolio using folders. A folder with seven items within it still counts as eight total items--the folder plus seven items.

Which ten items remain in your portfolio after the locking process happens?
The system does not consider folders as lockable--thus folders remain open in your portfolio. However, the contents of these folders may be and will be locked if the number exceeds the ten items allowed by a free membership.

The following examples better illustrate which items may remain after the locking process (for purposes of these examples, "other" items encompasses all items other than folders):

*Bullet* Your portfolio has 15 folders and 32 other items: All folders will remain unlocked, and all remaining items will be locked.

*Bullet* Your portfolio has five folders and 32 other items: The five folders and the five oldest items as determined by their creation date that are allowed under the free membership limitations will remain unlocked. All remaining items will be locked.

It's critical to remember these examples are what the system does to your portfolio immediately after your paid membership expires. If you wish to retain control over what remains in your portfolio, you must act before your membership expires.

What happens if I'm unable to renew before my paid membership expires and my portfolio items are locked?
Writing.Com provides for a four-week grace period before purging items over the Free membership limit. During this period, items outside the limit of a free account are locked and not accessible by you or anyone else. After this grace period runs out, all locked items are deleted. There is NO way to recover deleted items.

The grace period allows time for you to still make a payment and keep your Writing.Com portfolio active. Once your payment is processed your items will be restored to you. Keep in mind if you renew at a lower membership level only those items that follow the system's membership limitation guidelines will be restored.

Although you now have no control over those locked items, you can still export your entire portfolio to your hard drive using the Portfolio Export option located under the Writing.Com Tools in the upper left-hand corner menu. Please read the instructions located at http://www.writing.com/main/tools/action/port_export to be sure this option is right for you. Again, this export must be completed within the grace period.

Your remaining options are either purge the locked items from your portfolio yourself using the Purge the locked items from your portfolio link found on your My Portfolio page, or allow the system to do so after the four-week grace period.

We highly suggest that you do NOT wait for your membership to expire as you will not have control over which items are locked and purged. Every member is entitled to a Free membership on Writing.Com and you can preempt the locking and purging system by cleaning your portfolio BEFORE your paid membership expires.

How can I avoid having my portfolio items locked?
*Bullet* Renew your paid membership before receiving the notice to do so.
*Bullet* Renew your paid membership when you receive the first reminder.
*Bullet* Renew your paid membership before it expires.
*Bullet* Borrow gift points from a friend, but only if you know that you can pay them back.
*Bullet* Inquire at the many forums set up within the community that help with upgrades.
*Bullet* Enter contests or review members and earn gift points to keep your paid membership active.

Do not solicit members you do not know for gift points to renew your upgrade. Be responsible, and know when your upgrade expires. My Account shows your current expiry date at all times.

I have a Authorized Secondary Account (ASA). What happens to this account when my paid membership runs out?
A primary paid membership (of Upgraded or above) is required to maintain an ASA. If the primary membership expires, you will not be able to use the secondary account again until you renew that primary paid membership. The system verifies the existence of an active primary paid membership before allowing you to log onto the ASA.

If the ASA paid membership expires, the same procedures and limitations that pertain to expired primary accounts apply here as well. Again, you will be unable to use the ASA until that membership is renewed.

For more information regarding ASAs, please see "Authorized Secondary Accounts (ASA).

Remember that each portfolio size is based on the membership level of that account; this is especially important when downsizing from Premium to Upgrade status. For exact amounts please see "Compare Free and Paid Membership Benefits.

When can I renew my paid membership?
You can renew your paid membership anytime up to the final day of your four-week grace period. However, if you are sending your payment in by mail, your payment must reach the office before your expiry date. If you are using PayPal or paying by Gift Points, the renewal should be instantaneous. In any case, be sure to allow some time if there is a glitch and your order requires manual processing by our staff.

What happens if my payment is late?
If your renewal payment has not been received by your expiration date, your portfolio will be downsized to the ten-item limit and the items past the limit will be locked away from viewing and editing.

As a precaution for late payments, Writing.Com provides a four-week grace period before purging items over your membership limit. During this grace period, items outside the limit of a Free Portfolio will be locked and not accessible by you or anyone else. When your payment arrives and is processed, your portfolio will be restored. After this grace period runs out, all locked items are deleted. There is NO way to recover deleted items.

How soon can I renew my paid membership?
You can extend your current paid membership level at any time. Any additional paid membership time purchased will be automatically added onto your existing expiration date. For example, if your paid membership expires on March 15th and you purchase three additional months, your new expiration date will be on June 15th.

If you decide to pay in advance for a lower level paid membership, the new level will be implemented immediately after your existing higher level membership expires. Remember to take steps to downsize your portfolio to meet the limitations of your new lower level BEFORE it takes effect.

If you decide to increase your level of paid membership, your new level becomes effective immediately after the membership is processed and you will receive a refund of the remaining time on your current membership level in the form of Gift Points. In this case, no steps are required to adjust your portfolio.

For complete details on this process, please see: "Increase Your Paid Membership Level.

I know I won't be able to renew my current paid membership level. How can I prepare in advance for downsizing?
First, look over "Compare Free and Paid Membership Benefits for the most current set of limitations for each level of membership on Writing.Com. Then, delete or store any items that would not be allowed under the membership level you plan to embrace. Ensure your portfolio is sized within the limit of total items allowed under your new membership level.

Note: If you delete items, remember to click the Purge Recycling Bin link on your My Portfolio page to clean out your recycling bin. Items in that bin still count toward your portfolio total until you have purged.

Once you have removed those items you cannot keep, review the creation date of your remaining items. Only the first ten items you created will remain in your portfolio. Determine which items you want to have in your portfolio. Again, delete or store the remainder of your stories or poems on your hard drive, disk, or CD to avoid losing them altogether.

For a complete listing of what is available to each Membership level, please see "Free and Paid Membership Benefits and "Compare Free and Paid Membership Benefits.

To review the cost or to purchase your upgrade with Gift Points:
          http://www.writing.com/main/my_gifts

OR

To review the cost or to purchase your paid membership with Credit Card, PayPal, Money Order or Check.
          http://www.Writing.Com/main/shop

Acceptable methods of payment for your paid membership include Credit Card and eCheck online, as well as Checks and Money Orders sent via postal mail. Please visit "Our Shop" and proceed to the check out area for complete instructions on making a payment.

I was gifted a paid membership from someone (or anonymous). Will I have to pay when the gift runs out?
No, you do not have to pay. A free membership is always available to you.

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