Rep Won't Let Customer Quit AOL

I don’t get it. You are the king of your bank account and credit card. Just call them up and tell them that you don’t want to get charged by AOL anymore. Done.

Different lines to the dame company are almost always staffed by different people. They may not even be in the same call center… or country for that matter.

Hell, even within the same call centre you won’t always get the same queues. I’m currently manning an ADSL2+ queue, one of two teams here (in this state) who does that. We’ve got free time between calls of up to 5-10 minutes. You call us, you’d be getting through straight away.

Directly across the aisle from me, there’s a team who’s taking calls for the dial/ADSL1 queue. They’ve got a phone queue wait time of approximately 5 minutes at the moment. You’d be holding if you called their number, but we sit right next to each other.

Upstairs, there’s faults management. They’ve got an hour’s worth of wait time on their queue. You better grab a drink and a good book, because you won’t be speaking to them anytime soon…

It’s even easier than that. When asked why you are cancelling, simply say that you’d prefer not to state. They ask for a reason so they can counter it with one of their arguments, but they’re not entitled to one. And if you don’t provide a reason, the script gives them few options.

What an asshole! And you know… you can’t spell “asshole” without AOL. All you’d have is a SSHE.

I can’t wait to quit this fucking service. After years of pestering, my family is finally willing to listen to me on this issue because we’ve been temporarily banned three times in the last two months, all because of things my 13-year-old brother said in chatrooms or AOL boards. “My father” (me, lying; it’s not like they ask for any detailed info) spent 20 minutes on the phone with them last night to fix this crap. None of the things he said were ban-worthy, even if some were stupid, and it’s absolutely infuriating. The last one happened because he said “13 m ny” in a chatroom with friends.

When we quit AOL, it’ll actually be worth the trouble of the bannings- wouldn’t happen otherwise, I’m sure. Plus yesterday’s events inspired a nice short rant from my mother. :smiley: She said something about “the brain police” and “it’s like being online with George Bush.”

2 years ago my cable provider had a problem that prevented me from a live Doper draft for fantasy football. In a panic I signed up for AOL just to try to salvage a mediocre draft.

Signed up for the free trial, got killed that season for not having a decent speed to get enough talent, and spent the next 6 months calling AOL to cancel, and the bank to have the charges cancelled.

Seriously. I spent 6 months calling AOL every month to cancel, got assurances it was cancelled, and called the bank the next month to reverse the previous month’s charge. Even though I was back to cable internet 16 hours later. Finally it ended, but what a fucking hassle!

If anyone from AOL were to say the sky is blue, I say we fund a study to prove it’s pink, as nothing stated by any rep of AOL is to be trusted.

And no, I don’t believe the guy was fired. More likely the retention department kept him on as CEO.

Okay. Here’s a silly question. Say you call them up and tell them: “Cancel my account right now. Don’t give me the spiel. Just cancel it. I’m also informing my credit card company to not make any more monthly payments to you because I just cancelled the account.” What will happen?

Here’s a Consumer Affairs story from yesterday about AOL’s “retention” practices.

Last year, the company was fined $1.25 million in New York for what the New York Attorney General called “stealth retention programs.”

There’s not only something familiar about AOL’s business practices, but also about the company’s response to criticism.

When the company was fined by New York last year, AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham apologized and, speaking about the fine, said that “The cost is secondary to doing right by our members.”

This month, in CYA mode after the Vincent Ferrari case, Graham said: “At AOL, we have zero tolerance for customer care incidents like this – which is deeply regrettable and also absolutely inexcusable.”

Yeah, right.

Based on what others have been saying here, AOL’d most likely just call your bluff and assume you weren’t cancelling, then when the payments were declined by the card provider they’d come after you for amounts in arrears?

Graham was telling the absolute truth. AOL does have zero tolerance for incidents where their terrible customer care is publicly exposed.

IANAL, but I’d think they’d find it impossible to collect. Unless the customer signed some special kind of contract promising to have a minimum length term of service. Otherwise, any customer should be able to terminate their service with AOL and then call their credit card company and tell them that they’ve notified AOL to stop providing service and to not pay them any more money. At that point what can AOL do? For them to try to sue you for an amount in arrears after you explicitly told them you don’t want their service would be like a car salesmen dropping off a car in your driveway and then insisting you had to pay for it.

Very true, but then if AOL have “no record” of your call to terminate in the first place, and you simply cut off your credit card then I wouldn’t put it past them to at least start collections proceedings to scare some more money out of someone. Again, based on the horror stories I’ve seen it would seem to be something right up their alley.

Which is exactly why you need to record the call. If AOL is too dishonest to keep records, keep your own.

Why do so many people sign up for automatic payments out of their bank account? Why would you give authority to some company to take money out of your account? Do people actually read these agreements? I assume not.
The ones I have seen always have fine print saying ‘…under certain circumstances you authorize us to take any amount out of your account at any time…’
I am only going by my experience in non-American countries. Maybe it is different in USA.

My ex-wife works for a company that sells monthly subscriptions to various on-line services. All of their subscribers are billed automatically. They make a great deal of money from people who forget to turn off the payments when they are done using the service. Unlike AOL, their policy is to immediately cancel when someone requests it and to immediately credit anyone for months when they claim not to have used the service. They don’t offer the refund but they give it when asked. They’re making way too much money to get hassled by the Feds over upset former subscribers.

The funny thing is that people expect to be treated like they are when they cancel AOL and other services. Many of them will call up all furious and start yelling at the CSR right out of the gate demanding that their service is cancelled and their money be refunded. They are so suprised that they can barely respond when the CSR says, “No problem, Sir/Ma’am, just give me your credit card number and we’ll take care it.”

Wait, so if I forget to cancel a subscription to a porn site, I can just call them up and ask for a refund?

I forget to do things like that. I’m stupid.

Long, long ago, when I was young(er), and foolish, I tried to get AOL to cancel my account. For three months, I tried. Each month thereafter, AOL would have billed my credit card, again.

I then called Citibank to get AOL blocked from making charges to my card. At that point in time, Citibank apparently had many instances of this occuring with AOL, so they waived whatever their usual fee for blocking was, and took down my information to add to the others they were fighting AOL on for fraudulent billing (their words).

Next month, AOL left messages on my answering machine warning me that somehow my credit card was invalid or expired, and that unless I acted immediately I might lose my valuable AOL subscription. They left messages every day for a week.

About six months later I got a form letter from some Citibank department or other (loss prevention? legal?), telling me that they’d reached an agreement with AOL about “fraudulent charges”.

I’d’ve thought in the years since that AOL would have been forced to stop their shennanigans, but apparently not.

Not porn, I’m afraid. If it was I would actually use the free username/password that the ex gave me.

Shouldn’t people with houses worry? I mean, all AOHell has to do is have a lawyer file for a judgement in court, where you are never notified to appear. The judge grants them a judgement and they put the amount as a lien on your house. (You’d never see it until you sell or refi your house.)

For $15? What do you think the lawyer’s fees would be for that? What judge in the world would let AOL put a lein on your house for a montly membership fee?

I wouldn’t worry.