To make a long story short, Oregon resident Erin (LJ username redscorner) needed a series of brain surgeries that were both expensive and life-saving.
I suffer from two neurological disorders (Chiari malformation and cranial lesions) that will require a combined total of 2-4 brain surgeries. I'm unemployed and uninsured and the state I live in is so broke, they have strictly limited who qualifies for Medicaid. Because I have no children and am not pregnant, I don't qualify.
To Erin, MegaUpload's download reward program must have seemed like a godsend. For five million downloads, Erin would recieve $10,000, enough to pay for her brain surgeries.
The file to be downloaded was a small
In December, Erin reached her first milestone — 100,000 download points, listed on the reward page as paying out $100. Instead of waiting until the five million mark to cash in, Erin decided to claim her $100 reward, just to make sure MegaUpload really meant business.
Instead of her reward, Erin received an e-mail from MegaUpload stating that they would not pay her.
Our apologies for the late reply, our rewards staff was not in during Xmas.
We have decided not to pay you because of fraud. Your reward points were earned through small 2 KB txt files which were downloaded many times from the same IP's. This against our terms of service and reward rules.
Megaupload Abuse Department
Aside from being wholly unprofessional, the e-mail is not even consistent with MegaUpload's own Terms of Service regarding their rewards program, which state:
What is a qualifying download?
Up to one download per IP address per file per day will be counted. Downloads from certain countries or territories do not qualify. Click here for the current list of qualifying countries.
Absolutely no fraud
You will be disqualified and banned if you try to manipulate the results. Automated mass downloads are easily detected and strictly forbidden.
Only files up to 100 MB
Files larger than 100 MB do not qualify for the Rewards program.
The ToS do not state that files must meet a minimum requirement. They also do not state that multiple downloads from the same IP address on different dates are fraudulent and against the rules.
Erin is considering filing suit in small claims court, but since MegaUpload is allegedly based in Hong Kong, little to nothing might come from legal action.
MegaUpload's rewards program was more of a last-ditch effort than anything for Erin, and he whole situation should reiterate what most of us already know — if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."