Rep Won't Let Customer Quit AOL

Again I make with the unclearity :slight_smile:

I did read that he got fired, my intent was more that if they hadn’t already fired him, he definitely should have been on a formal warning for that crap, coz it is inexcusable.

Every time I get those $10 checks* in the mail that obligate you to sign up for some idiot credit “protection” program from my credit card, I deposit it and then wait for the first sign of anything in the mail, then call up and cancel. They always either give you a free month or let you get a refund for the first month.

I once spent about 40 minutes on the phone with the person because I was bored and, after a few minutes, decided to see how long I could keep this going. I said very little except “No thank you” when asked to sign up at a reduce rate, or for some other stupid program, “I don’t want it” when asked why I was cancelling, and “it costs money” when asked why I didn’t want it. After each round of “it costs money,” the phone rep would launch into what I assume was supposed to be a stirring list of all the “protections” the plan offered. This spiel inevitably ended with some kind of question-as-statement like “so I’ll just sign you up for that?”

After about 15 minutes, I could tell that the rep was getting frustrated, because she started asking why I was cancelling with such vigor, and she started varying her end of spiel questions (I suppose in the hope that I’d be confused and give some sort of positive or ambiguous answer). After about the sixth time through, she ended with “doesn’t that sound like a good deal?” I responded that I didn’t think so, but maybe if she explained it to me a few more times I might be convinced. There was a pause, and then, very coldly: “I’ve cancelled your account. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Here’s a transcript of my other favorite call:

“Hi, I’d like to cancel this credit protection thingy.”
“Can I ask why you’ve decided not to keep the service?”
“Actually, I never had any intention of keeping it. I just wanted the 10.” “Well, you know that this plan protects your interests if you should ever have a life emergency and need to–” “No thank you. Just cancel it.” “Would you be interested if we lowered the rate to .49 per $100?”
“No, but if you give me another $10, I’ll sign up for another free month.”
“It’s been cancelled, sir. Thank you for calling."

Well ma’am, what we can offer you, so you don’t lose your beloved screen name, which you can never, ever get back if you completely cancel your account, is switch you temporarily to our “email only” account for $3.95 a month. Then you can still send and receive emails, which will be very important in your job hunt!, by logging on to AOL’s website from any computer anywhere, such as a library or a cafe. Then, when you can afford to buy a new computer with your new job, you can just switch right back to the full version with access to all of our unique and exclusive content, and still be known as neutro5846!!" :stuck_out_tongue:

I know it’s frustrating, but try not to get mad at the representative. They’re just doing their job. I once had a similar job and I can tell you that it’s pretty miserable to be shouted at all day.

  1. The reps can’t change the policy.

  2. They have to nag, or bribe or plead (whatever the call center has decided as their tactic). The bosses often listen in secretly on calls. (I was once chastized for taking “no” for an answer.)

  3. Phone centers are often in economically depressed areas and require no higher education. They’re often staffed by people who don’t have much to chose from when it comes to having a job.

  4. Politeness doesn’t take that much more time, and I think makes the world a tiny bit better. Keep repeating “No, thank you” in a polite but firm voice. I had three prepared “rebuttals” that I had to recite if the customer refused the offer, and after the third, I was free to give up and end the call. From my experience being on the recieving end, three “rebuttals” seems to be the norm. You can say a polite, “No, thank you,” three times, can’t you? (Karma, my friend.)

  5. Your interaction with them is a few minutes long. They have to listen to angry people all day. It’s a shitty job. Why make it shittier for them? They’re just trying to earn a living, and have feelings, too.

More likely it was their last day.

Sorry, but I don’t buy that for a minute, at least not as far as AOL goes. These stories are so common that these responses have to be company policy, or at least policy at particular call-centers. As such, I feel sort of sorry for the putz who got fired, as he’d probably been specifically instructed to give customers the run around, and only got fired because this time to save face for the company as a whole. If he’d just done what the guy wanted him to do right away, he’d probably have been fired for that, too.

Sure, AOL. I have no problem believing they’ve got some crazy-ass corporate bullshit about fucking customers around until their heads explode.

Blinkingblinking was specifically referencing retention departments in any company, though. And while retention can be annoying when you just want to say “I quit” and get off the phone, there’s very few companies who ascribe to the AOL customer “service” model. Most of 'em want to give you some options, but if you still say no then they let you go.

All I can say is that I’m glad AOL didn’t get the stranglehold over here that they wanted. They tried, and failed, and we’re all better off for it.

You can listen to the entire call here, including the part where the rep asks him if his Dad is there. There’s also more implication from the rep that the caller is a liar after he says he doesn’t use it anymore - around the 1:10 mark.

You will also notice at the end he then goes through the usual “retention” spiel, so it seems as though the first part was the rep’s own improv-like creation. Wow.

If there even is a ‘John’ and if that guy was actually fired.

What’s to stop AOL from saying ‘Oh, yes, we fired that rep.’ without ever having fired anyone? How would the ex-customer know?

Oh, and be sure and listen closely at around the 4:00 mark of the full call I linked to above. He actually tells him that if he doesn’t let him finish his “retention-speak” paragraph, he won’t cancel his account. :eek:

I worked in a customer service call center, and we were required to give the customers the runaround frequently. When they wanted a supervisor, we would have to “push back,” as the Supervisor would say. The supervisor could usually give them what they wanted, so it was our job to prey on the slow and weak, ensuring that only the utter assholes got what they wanted.

Oh no, my favorite part is where Vincent tells ‘John’ that ‘John’ is annoying the shit out of him and ‘John’ replies that it ‘goes both ways.’ Also around the time with the rentention-speak paragraph ‘John’ threatens to make the call last all day, and ‘start it over’ as a means of dealing with people like Vincent

Listen to the recording in the new link and you will get a better flavor of what happened. The CSR was out of line beyond any asshole policy that AOL has.

I hate retention.

If I know a company has a retention department I take advantage of them. I’ve gotten much better rates on my credit cards by calling to cancel even though I had no intention of cancelling.

Earthlink pulled this shit on me years ago. I called them to cancel and got a message of 2 hours + wait because their call center was so “busy”. On a hunch, I hung up and called the number to sign up and got to someone right away.

If you think they actually did so, I have a timeshare in a beachfront property just outside Flin Flon, Mantoba that might interest you…

I did listen to the call. I still don’t think that there is a ‘John’ or that he was fired.

Lord Ashtar and I must have gotten the same rep. When I called up to cancel my AOL account, the entire transaction lasted under a minute. Admittedly, he did ask me why I was cancelling my account but apparently my answer (“I moved to an area where you don’t provide any local dial-up connections” - which was true) was good enough that he didn’t bother arguing with me.

My suggestion therefore would be to lie to these people if they refuse to disconnect you. Tell them your home was burglarized and your computer was stolen and you can’t go online anymore. Or that you’re moving out of the country next week and are disconnecting all of your utilities. Or that you’ve joined a Luddite cult and now realize the internet is Satan’s workshop.

Well then a) The laws in that state and country are pretty shoddy or b) If the laws are in place, someone need(s/ed) to report that company (and other companies that do the same) to the relevant ruling body.

One of the good things about working in AU is that it’s actually prohibited for a company to prevent a customer from speaking to a manager/team leader if they request it. If a customer wants an escalation, by golly you escalate that call or the relevant Ombudsman will be coming down on your and the company’s heads with fines that range up into the thousands for the rep, and the hundreds of thousands for the company. So even if the company wanted us to fuck customers around, we couldn’t do it on a legal basis.

Sure, if a customer wants a TL for a technical issue, we can notify the customers that the TLs are not technically trained and will not be able to give assistance, but if the customer still wants to speak to them, they’ve gotta be put through, or someone has to call them back.


Just wait next month and see if you are still getting billed. Here’s a hint - You will be. They are extremely agreeable the first time you ask to cancel and they say no problem.

Because they are lying like cheap rugs. They are no more going to stop billing you than the man in the moon. The pain free way is to cancel, then change your bank account number.