We've a had a couple of instances of a purchased niches being rejected by the Tribunal. The niche owners purchased the niches after they were approved by the community, so it is not fair to penalize them after it is later determined that the niche should not have been approved.
Thus, we are changing our policy regarding refunds of niche ownership fees. If a niche is rejected by the Tribunal (for any reason), the niche owner will be entitled to a pro rate refund covering the canceled period.
For example, if I owned a niche for six months and then the Tribunal voted to reject my niche, I would be entitled to a refund of half of the niche ownership fee that I paid (since half of my term was canceled). I would not have to return any niche ownership rewards I collected, either.
We still encourage all prospective niche bidders to perform proper due diligence before bidding/purchasing a niche, but the fact is that the onus is on the community in general to properly vet each new niche and it is not fair to penalize the purchaser (who should rightfully assume that the the niche is valid once approved by the community vote).
If anything, the people that voted on the improper niche should be the ones who are penalized (and they will be, from a reputation standpoint).
We'll be investigating to see how many Tribunal-rejected niches are due refunds so far and we will contact those niche owners, as necessary, over the next few weeks to arrange refunds. During the alpha, all such refunds will be for the full amount, because we have not launched yet.
Also note that if you pay by credit card, the 15% processing fee will NOT be refunded.