This goes to provide the old adage: you snooze, you loose. In this case if you ‘snoozed’ on Skype for six months, you’d loose any money you might have put into your Skype account. Up until now, anyway. Skype was caught with its hands in your till, and has agreed to pay (some of) the money back.
It’s a simple thing really. Skype is cheap. Calls to land phones (SkypeOut) are about the only thing you pay for, but even those are cheap. Those who made such calls would have to first deposit money into their Skype accounts. Problem is, it’s really hard to spend even a pittance. So your money would sit--safe and secure, like in a savings account. Or so you thought.
If there was no activity on your Skype account for 180 days, Skype decided to assume your account was abandoned and would take the money. There one day, gone the next. But that didn’t sit well with a group of consumers who filed a class action lawsuit. The lawsuit was based on state laws regulating gift cards. Skype’s action was really no different from retailers who sold you a gift card, and later charged fees, or ‘expired’ the balance if it wasn’t used in a period of time. Unfortunately for Skype, many state laws forbid this, and these consumers alleged Skype was in violation.
It seems that Skype agrees, at least to the tune of $1.85 million, which it will put up to settle the class action. Skype users who purchased Skype Credit prior to December 31, 2009 are eligible for up to a $4 credit to their account if Skype took their money due to inactivity. (Which isn’t much solace if you had more than $4 in your account.) Skype has also said it’s discontinuing this practice--your Skype Credit is now safe, even from Skype.