What happened to my points?

Where are my purchased points? And why should they expire?

According to a description on the Points page, any unused points are supposed to expire after THREE MONTHS without any prior notice to the memeber. Does this apply to your case? I think it is too soon.

→ to the member

The phrase “without any prior notice to the member” is not included in the original sentence on the Points page.

Thanks, YutakaM, but I want to know is why points should expire in the first place. My money did not expire. Why should LingQ determine when I use up my PURCHASE? I bought points using legal tender, as it were. It makes no sense to me that points have an expiration date. If I buy a book and don’t read it in three months does the bookpolice come around and take my unread book? So, now I have to contend with someone else using the points I PURCHASED, making use of my hard-earned money spent! And all because I was too busy with academia to study on LingQ! This ‘points expire after three months’ is just plain old shabby treatment.


The points expire for several reasons.

First of all, when you buy access to a service, there is often a period of validity. If you buy a ticket to an event for Saturday night and you will not be able to use it on Sunday or any other day. If you pay to go to a school in the coming semester and quit half way through, you may not get your money back.

In the case of LingQ, we used to have a monthly charge at the predecessor to LingQ, called The Linguist. Many many people paid every month and did nothing. On the other hand, the fact the there was a monthly charge, was, for many people, an incentive to do something, just like signing up for a course. Overall, there was more activity since people has already paid. We feel some kind of gentle pressure is need to make sure people keep active. We do not want people hoarding points. We want them in circulation.

We decided to change our system, to make it more flexible. People now have three months in which to use their points. The confiscated points are used to compensate people who provide content, which all members use free of charge. If you know you are not going to be active for a while, you can down grade for a period. This was also not possible in the earlier system. You can also book discussions ahead.

I am sorry this caught you by surprise. However, this has been part of our system for a long time, and all in all, I feel this is fair.

Steve, 645 points were taken from my account that I purchased with my Visa. 645 points were taken from my account that I paid for to use in my own good time. Hoard? No. I should spend my points when I am ready to spend my points, after all I paid for them.

Those were my points. If money does not expire, if the lessons do not expire, then my points should not expire. You have wrongfully taken my points and given them away. You have decided that my points are of no use to me, but that they are entirely useful to someone else! I think this is unfair.


If you really want to respect members’ rights, you should send a prior notice before expiration. You are likely to receive the same messages from the members in the future. Besides, three months is too soon. Why can you not wait for at least five months?

The fact that the points expire in 90 days is clearly stated on the page where points are purchased. These are the clear conditions that attach to points.

Yvette , I am sorry you feel that this system is unfair. Money does not expire, but any service you purchase is subject to the conditions placed on that service by the vendor. This is not wrongful, it is simply how the system works. It is much fairer and more flexible than the system we had before, which simply charged all users a monthly fee for the use of the site.

Yutaka, yes, I am sure that members would like to receive prior notice, and would prefer that the points were valid indefinitely or for a longer period of time. However, this how we have chosen to operate for the reasons I provided in my earlier post.

I feel that three months is plenty of time to use up the points. I also do not think that prior notice is necessary.

“We feel some kind of gentle pressure is need to make sure people keep active.”
But, if we are “too active” and there are no points to be “confiscated,” how will you compensate people who provide content.

Yutaka, in the highly unlikely event that there were no points do distribute in a given month, or even for several months, our content providers would receive no points. I suspect that most would continue to contribute to the community.

We did not come up with the points confiscation as a means of compensating content providers. We decided that we wanted to put a limit on the points to ensure activity at LingQ. It is human nature for people who sign up for a class, that if there is no urgency, if they can go this semester or next semester or next year, eventually people put off going. Having decided to confiscate the points we decided not to keep them, and instead decided to use them to compensate content providers.

I don’t know if your psychological explanations of “human nature” are very persuasive for the members who have been confiscated their points without any prior notice after three months, for not being active.

Yutaka, I have explained our system and the reasons for it. Some people will understand and accept it and others will not.

I do appreciate you active participation here, and I appreciate your gallant effort to defend Yvette.

Not everything we do will meet with unanimous approval. That is inevitable in any undertaking.

I understand the system here at LingQ, although I certainly do not agree with the business of usurping points. What it really boils down to is one member paying the cost for another’s benefit. Such practice stripes away trust, dismisses the language needs of its members (i.e. flexibility), and undermines the purpose of this language site, which to my mind, was a refreshing and much needed alternative to language learning: innovative, indeed.

Steve, in one of your language clips you said something to this effect, ‘tell your teachers how you want to learn, tell them that you want to be able to choose material that interest you’—as if such a request would do more than raise eyebrows. Challenges from mere students to a pedagogic system, practically written in stone, would fail to bring about effective change to accommodate language learners.

Similarly, a challenge from a mere (now former) basic member to your ‘points system’ fails to mean anything. This points system at LingQ is in place, unyielding, intolerable—written in stone. Fine.

The matter is closed—for me in any case. I have stated my complaint. I thank you very much for listening.

Thank you, Yutaka for your time and well appreciated input. And thank you Steve for your time and thoughtful attention to this matter.

Yvette, I want enthusiastic members at LingQ, and I think you are such an enthusiastic member. However, this is not the first time this issue has come up. It comes up regularly. Other complaints also arise from time to time. Where we can we make changes in what we consider to be the interests of the whole community.

We simply cannot change our way of doing things every time one member expresses dissatisfaction about some aspect of our program. I respect you for expressing your views. Not every discussion can, or has to, end in agreement. I hope your down grade will be temporary and that you will again become a basic member.

I admit this system and I think it’s rather fair.
But I have a question: I started tutoring since April, I earned some points in April, some points in May, and I hope to earn some points in June because I like tutoring, and maybe my students can feel it.

However, I don’t want to loose all at once points that I would have earned for three months. I understand if I loose in July only the points that I earned in April by not using them, but not the points earned in May and July.
Perhaps, it is a question to the administration: how does it work?

1 April: +10 000. Balance: 10 000
10 April: - 500. Balance: 9 500
1 May: + 15 000. Balance: 24 500
10 May: - 500. Balance: 24 000
1 June: + 10 000. Balance: 34 000
10 June: - 1 000. Balance: 33 000
20 June: - 2 000. Balance: 31 000
30 June: - 1 000. Balance: 30 000

debit transactions for period 1-April – 30-June: 5 000

1 July: 10 000 (balance on 1 April) - 5 000 (sum of debit transactions for 1-April – 30-June) = 5 000 will be lost.

Sakura, I’m sorry, I didn’t understanf anything from these numbers.

The system checks if you received points 90 days ago. If you did, it then checks how many points you have spent since then. If you have not spent all the points you received, the remainder are expired.

I somewhat agree with Yvette. I just lost 1424 points… it’s impossible for me to know 90 days in advance (let alone a few days!) if I’m going to have time for a couple of conversations (yes, my schedule is really that hectic). Perhaps it’s just me, but I think the points tend to disappear just a day or two before new points are earned…(I have often missed the opportunity to book a Skype session since the points from shared content haven’t arrived “in time”).

I guess I’d better spend my remaining points n o w.