Rep Won't Let Customer Quit AOL

(I figure I might as well post this to the Pit and save the mods some work.)

That’s about on-par with my experiences with AOL.

Thank God I got rid of THEM.


The rep was just trying to save Vincent a lifetime of regret and sorrow over his illogical cancellation of his AOL account that he doesn’t use. Is that so bad?

Heh, that’s pretty much what happened to me when I was canceling my XM radio account. She kept going on and on about trying three free months and I had to keep telling her that I hadn’t used it for five minutes for thelast year so why would three free months benefit me in any way. She finally cancelled it when I started to get irate. (and pretty much assured that I will never get XM again. If I try satellite radio again, it will be Sirius.)

There must be some sort of compensation based on persuading customers not to cancel.

I think it’s sad that they fired the representative. This is far from the first time that I’ve heard of someone being unable to cancel their AOL acct. Usually they will just keep tacking on free months until you hang up and promise yourself that you’ll call back and cancel after your free 4 months are up. I’m pretty sure it’s part of their strategy and a call center-wide practice.

They should fire the guy who decided it’d be a good idea to train their representatives to frustrate the living pieces out of their customers.

yes, but did they cancel his account after that? note the article only stated they “apologized” and fired the rep…

…something tells me his account is still active… :wink:

That sounds just like my experience with “Traveler’s Advantage”… We signed up for it just so we could save the $20 on a hotel stay. To get the hotel coupon I was supposed to receive it in the mail and take it with us when we checked in. They never sent me anything in the mail. When we returned from our vacation I was still getting e-mails from them so I decided to call and cancel. First I called an 800 number that said the number had changed and it gave me another number. I called the second number and it was for a British Cruise Line?

So I called the first number back and hit 0 a dozen times until someone spoke with me and I asked her to cancel my account. She needed my account number that I received in the mail. I told her I never got anything. She said that that meant that I didn’t have an account with them then. I told her I was getting e-mails from them. She searched by my name and address and said I did not have an account.

All very well, until I get my Visa statement and they have charged my card. So I call again and ask them to cancel the account and reverse the charge. The guy starts rambling/mumbling all of this stuff about how they will just send me a coupon book valid for 100s of resorts worldwide, up to 50% off stays, plus coupons for spa treatments, blah, blah, blah and I’ll keep my account.

“No thanks,” I say, “I’d like to cancel the account and have the charge reversed.” Then he goes into another long spiel about how they will send me a companion plane ticket, where I can buy one ticket and my companion will travel free. Worth up to $500 and doesn’t expire until 2008, and I can keep my account.

Now I was quite cranky and raised my voice and said, “NO! Cancel the account and reverse the charge! What don’t you understand?!” and he finally gave in and said he would cancel it. It was bizarre though and took a long time.

I guess I should count myself as lucky since at least he didn’t ask to speak to my father - unbelievable!

Yep, I had exactly the same experience when I tried to cancel AOL. Except worse: the rep actually lied to me and said I needed to provide information that I didn’t need to provide. She said to cancel the account, I needed to give her some info off my credit card statement, which I didn’t have handy at the time. I had to call back after I got my next statement. Which, conveniently, meant paying for an additional month of AOL. When I got the statement and called back, a different operator canceled the account without ever asking for the information from the statement. But I did get the same run around twice, so that was nice.

Oh, and uninstalling AOL didn’t actually uninstall AOL. Some bit of it was left on my system, and would take a couple seconds at every boot trying to find the AOL files I’d deleted. The AOL techies couldn’t figure out how to make it stop, although I suspect that had something to do with the fact that I was no longer a customer of theirs. Finally I posted a thread to the SDMB asking for help, and somone told me how to finally kill that damned thing inside of two posts.

Ended up filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau over the matter.

And they said, “Oh, AOL? Here, let me give you the toll-free number to the Shitty Business Bureau. They handle all the AOL complaints.” :smiley:

I think that it is fairly standard practice at a lot of companies. At places I have worked out- banks and cable TV there were special departments specially that you had to talk to if you wanted to close a credit card or cancel cable TV. The people who worked in those departments had to try especially hard to stop people closing their account.
The companies know that keeping a customer is easier than getting a brand new customer.
The AOL rep in that story sounded like he was reading from a script. I would like to Pit AOL for firing that guy for doing his job following a script.

I must be the only person in the entire universe who’s conversation with the AOL rep when I called to cancel it went like this:

Me: I’d like to cancel my AOL account.
AOL: Would you like a few free months to see if you really want to cancel?
Me: No.
AOL: Okay then, you’re account is cancelled. Have a nice day.

Maybe I got someone on their first day.

The department is generally called Retention, and that’s exactly their purpose.

That was the name I was looking for. Thanks. I am surprised that other people have not encountered ‘retention’ before.

My banker suggested it would be easier just to change bank accounts.

I’ve never been an AOHell member, but i remember some Dopers saying, in earlier threads about this issue, that a good way to close your AOL account is to start using profanity and being abusive on AIM or other AOL chat accounts. Apparently, that will get you banned and your account closed pretty quickly.

Not sure how true this story is, or how easy it is to be banned using this technique.

When I left AOL in 1996, they sent me a huge, colorful mailer called “The 10 reasons to come back to AOL”. I don’t remember them all, but one of the ten reasons was “The helpful toolbar on the browser!!!”

For those of you who weren’t on AOL in 1996, the browser did indeed have a helpful toolbar on the browser. There was a “Back” button, a “Stop” button, an address bar where you could type the URL of the site you wanted to go to, even an icon that, when clicked, would bring up a list of your bookmarked favorites. The mailer included a picture of the helpful toolbar, in case I’d forgotten what it looked like.

That struck me at the time as a pretty clear statement on how bright AOL thought their users were.

Or contest the charge with your credit card company. I did that once. When Master Card and your bank start telling AOL to drop an account, they do it.

You’re missing the idea of the retention department. What that AOL fruitloop did wasn’t retention, it was blatantly refusing to assist a customer. Retention departments will do anything in their power to get you to stay, including offering free months, but after refusing them once they (mostly) will close the account anyway. They have to try and retain by offering something the customer may not be getting, or may not be aware they’re entitled to, not force a retention through completely irritating the customer to the point where they hang up.

And yes, I have to do retention as part of my job (when I’m working the dial queue). Like in **Lord Ashtar’s ** example, it mainly consists of offering a discounted rate or a free month or two, if they’re both declined then the account gets cancelled. Usually takes about two minutes. That rep went over, above, beyond and shitted on what retention is, and IMHO should have been given a formal warning, if not gotten fired.

I’ve never been an AOLer either (well, except for six of my ten free hours in 1995), but I’ve always heard that a good method for a painless cancellation is to tell the retention idiot that you’ve lost your job and had to sell your computer to make ends meet.

It would be pretty tough to convince someone to continue using AOL when they’re physically incapable of doing so.

He did.