AOL Hell: Part II (and final)

When does “cancel” mean “continue”? That would be when someone has an AOL subscription they no longer want.

You remember this post back on Dec. 15th, don’t you?  After much seaching I finally was able to find a phone number – yep, a phone number to call, as in… you know… a telephone - in order to cancel my account with AOL (which stands for America On Line – not America On Phone).  That’s when I transcribed my conversation with an AOL representative as best as my memory served five minutes after I hung up with them.  Here’s how it all started…

AOL: “Hi, this is Amy… how can I help improve your online experience today?”

Me: “By cancelling my account.”

The conversation went on until ‘Amy’ finally disclosed that she couldn’t cancel my ‘online experience’ with AOL because her ‘system was down’ and I ended the conversation in a huff.  My free subscription ends on January 7th, so after I blogged about it, I just put the matter on the back-burner until after the holidays.  But today I received a letter from AOL which opens with this …

“Dear David Hoggard


On behalf of America Online, Inc., thank you for agreeing to continue your subscription with AOL.  We look forward to providing you with the highest quality of service.

This letter confirms that on l2/15/2004 you agreed to continue your AOL Service. Your service will continue and you will be charged $24.95 per month as agreed.

Monthly charges will resume after the following account credit expires, unless you contact us to cancel your subscription before February 07, 2005…”

‘Agreed to continue…’, my ass!  That AOL customer service witch signed me up for and additional month of free service.  On and on the letter goes until the last line gives us their “out” which they will certainly use as their defense against unfair business practice charges.

“…If our records are incorrect and you wish to cancel your AOL membership, you can fully complete and send the cancellation form on the reverse side of this letter to America Online, Inc. P.O. Box 17175 JacksonvilIe, FL 32245-7175 or fax it to us at 1-866-892-7493. We will mail you confirmation of your cancellation within fourteen (14) days of receipt of your request.


Thank you for choosing to stay with AOL and giving us the opportunity to show you how the AOL experience is now better than ever…”

I knew I would have a hard time getting rid of AOL after my initial conversation with them and then reading about similar experiences others have had, but now think they are out-right fraudulent in their dealings with their customers.  If I, a pretty smart, web-savvy, determined person, has this much trouble dumping the son-of-a-bitches – imagine the hell some first-time computer newbie (which is their main source of new customers) would be subjected to.

I have filled out the cancellation form they provided, lets see how it goes from there.  If anyone ever deserved to be under a class-action lawsuit, it would have to be AOL.


Update 11:00p: I got my cancellation from Roger at AOL.  After posting the above and receiving a comment below from my brother in Kentucky, I thought I’d cut to the mustard and call them up again to just see how far they would go.  They went pretty far.

After Roger answered and I got his initial greeting and about 5 minutes of “Did you know about…” and “We have several pricing plans…” sales banter I said, “Roger – do you have internet access?”Yes, we’re AOL.”, he answered indignently  “Well then, would you type in, that’s where I’m having the most problem with AOL?“  “I can’t right now, what kind of problems?” Roger asked.  “It says there that it’s almost impossible to cancel AOL and there have been some class-action lawsuits against you guys because of it… did you know about that?”, I waited for a reply and the line clicked.  “Hello, Roger… are you there?“, I thought he hung up on me but the line finally clicked back in.

Mr. Hoggard, your cancellation number is 0488890968, thank you for trying AOL.” there was defeat in his voice.  “Thanks Roger“, I was sincere, “please let me repeat that number back to you (I did), and could you tell me your employee ID number and where you are located?” “Yes sir… “, he was down-right meek, “that would be #4034 and I am in the Washington State Call Center.”

“Thank you Roger.”

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