T Nation

AOL

Anyone else have any issues with AOL?

I am making it my mission to do everything in my power to take business away from AOL. I have never felt so mis-lead and blatantly lied to as I do right now after getting off the phone with their customer support. For a brief synopsis, read on:

I had an AOL account, which itself, was fine in spite of all the annoying crap they cram on your system. I called to cancel my account in September simply because I rarely used my home computer. They gave me the ususal line about reactivating the account in a month if I wished. Fine. Done deal, or so I thought.

A week later I attempted to log on, mostly out of curiosity to see if my account had indeed been canceled. I was able to log on and received no prompt about reactivation or anything like that. This didn’t surprise me too much. Technically, I had time left anyway since I cancelled in mid-billing cycle. I haven’t touched it since…

October goes by - no charge from AOL on my credit card. Good, it’s cancelled.

November - I get a monthly service charge. I assumed that I HAD reactivated my account unintentionally. I send an email to AOL explaining that I may have reactivated the account and that I would like it cancelled. Despite their promise of a 24 hour response, I received nothing and frankly forgot about it.

December - I got billed again! I call and get this response: Apparently my initial call to cancel in Sept never actually cancelled my account. Their story is that I was given one free month of service (thus no bill for October) at the end of which I would have to call AGAIN to REALLY cancel. I swear on my life that this was never conveyed on the phone! I was given every reassurance that my account was cancelled.

While on the phone, I ask the cust service rep to AGAIN cancel my account, which he does. He then transfers me to another department to get charges reversed. Oddly, he gave me a direct number in case we got disconnected. This is strange because at this point I was on the phone for a LONG time and had been transferred to many people, none of whom offered this information.

Naturally, I was disconnected. I called the number given to me and explained the situation and, surprise surprise, my account was STILL active. The guy said there was no indication that I had called and cancelled today. I made him cancel it and I FINALLY got a confirmation number. Then he basically hung up on me.

I alledge that AOL is intentionally misleading customers, especially those trying to cancel accounts. They take advantage of people who do not check each credit card charge carefully. I believe they count on people being too lazy to call back numerous times (hence my convenient disconnection - had I not persited, I would still be incurring charges!). Finally, there is really no evidence of any of this, which is real convenient for AOL. No record of what was actually said on the phone, no response to my mail, nothing in writing. That is why I am writing in here and not to the Better Business Bureau.

My apologies for the rant. If you are using AOL, I would strongly encourage you to consider an alternative.

Again, if anyone has had any similar experiences, please reply!

Nick

AOL = Always Off Line

I used to use AOL when I had a dial-up connection, because of the free time they give you. When it came time for my free period to end I would call to cancel. They would offer one or two months free and tell me if I still wanted to cancel I could at the end of these free months. So I would call again, and again they would give me free months.

Basically, I had AOL for over 2 years and I think I only paid for 2 months. I forgot to call before the free billing cycle ended on those months. AOL is expensive compared to other dial up companies, but you can’t complain if they’re not charging you. You can call AOL and pretty much say whatever you want and they will give you at least a month or two free. I once said I was having money problems and they gave me four free months.

So I can’t complain much about AOL, just that they are persistant when it comes time to cancel. I do believe that they prey on those that are lazy and forget that they are paying for AOL still. I’m sure there are hundreds, probably thousands, of households that don’t even use AOL that are still paying for it.

But, really, this is the same thing that most gyms and fitness centers do. You pay; you go the gym. You stop going to the gym; you still pay. I don’t expect any gym, or AOL, to call anyone up and say, “You haven’t used our service in over six months, but you’re still paying for it. Do you want me to cancel your membership?” Not going to happen. And that’s the consumer’s fault and their loss.

You were smart enough to be aware of your finances and caught the situation. Unfortunately. most people aren’t.

Trying it free for 45 days,
Toddy

Good points, Malone. I just wanted to give a “heads up” to any unsuspecting users out there.

Nick