I have some advice, as someone who worked for AOL, on how to handle them as far as cancellation issues are concerned. First of all, NEVER EVER get off the phone with these people without writing down your cancellation number!!! This is your only leverage!! After that, there are some steps to follow. Just accept the fact that this is going to be a game. The name of the game is retention at any cost. You will be transferred to the wrong department. This is intentional. Do not let the representative transfer you. You may yet again hit the wrong department.
Also, as an aside, many of the cancellations representatives have been annexed to India and speak rudimentary English. This is not an insult, only a fact. Do not state your intention to the representative. Demand, nicely but firmly, to speak to a manager three times in a row. They are required to seek assistance after three requests.
Make sure they have the manager come to their phone; do not let them transfer you to the managers' phone. You will be cut off. Make sure, also, that you are speaking to the department coach and not a point-of-contact on the floor; they do not have any authority to take action and will only argue with you. Get the coach's name, and call center location.
Demand that your account be cancelled. Do not let them transfer you. All coaches know how to access and cancel accounts. Once again, repeat yourself three times in a row. Do not let them cycle your account out; this leaves your account open for easy reactivation. Demand immediate termination. GET YOUR CANCELLATION NUMBER. (Sorry to yell but you really, really need this!!) Record the time and date of the account termination. They will process and send out a termination letter that day. You should receive it in five days.
Request the address of the legal department. Again, do not let the person on the phone transfer you. All representatives have access to the AOL directory. If you let them transfer you to legal, you will get an answering machine to take your info but give you none in return. They will never get back to you. Compose a letter of formal termination to the legal department. Put your cancellation number at the top of the letter and several places throughout. This is/was your account number and will serve to identify you.
Send it certified mail. Send copies to your banking institution/credit card company. When you get the cancellation letter from AOL, send those as well. This serves as your legal notification to these institutions that all indebtedness to AOL has ceased.
If you have not received the cancellation letter in five business days, you will have to call them back. Repeat steps 1-3. Believe me, everything that is done to your account is recorded in it and your demeanor and handling of the last call will be there as well. There should be much less hassle. Above all, stay calm. AOL has instructed its employees that they may terminate calls if they feel the caller is abusive. Never threaten a lawsuit, because if you do, your account will be blacklisted and you will only be referred to the answering machine in the legal department. Nothing will ever be accomplished.
If the account is still open, demand it terminated immediately and demand a written log of all activity on the account. They have to give you that. The full names of all employees handling the account will be listed by their actions. This has to go through legal first, and believe me, they will take serious action on that one. They have gotten in trouble for that before. If they say the account is cancelled, make them give you the cancellation number. Compare it to the one you have. Make sure they match.
Once this is settled, still be on guard!! Place stop-pays on your accounts if they are being withdrawn from your bank. Place the stop on the COMPANY, not the AMOUNT. If your account has been tampered with they may have changed your billing amount. Inquire. If they try to draft, smile and let the bank handle it. Your account number/cancellation number from AOL will be part of the draft. With the letters you furnished them, they will have ample evidence for fraud.
The stop pay protects you, and the bank does not take fraud lightly. Neither do the credit card agencies. Above all, never have anything to do with AOL again. They are all about the bottom line and do not care what they have to do to maintain it.
So I called back again to get the same response and they couldn't give me a phone number for the people that choose to delete your accounts and she told me I needed to write a letter, but this time I got a different address and she said she had no clue why the 1st lady told me the wrong place to mail it. So I mail the 2nd letter (another $20.00). I could have sent it regular mail but all my banking, credit card statements, notifications, etc. are emailed to my AOL account. Guess that does me no good now!!!
What a joke that someone can delete your account of over 7 years, I mean if you were sending out spam, etc wouldn't you have been doing it the 1st part of the 7 years?? Funny you can write a letter but no way to contact them directly. AOL should realize you can get online and email for free, they should treat the people that pay a little better!!
Cancelling your account is not impossible, I went through the "games" with AOL when I tried to cancel my account. They were very rude when I told them I wanted to cancel (my customer service rep started yelling in a different language when she figured out I wasn't going to stay), and even after giving me confirmation numbers still charged my account. If you need to stop them just file an Affidavit of Disputed Charges with your bank/credit card company. They will put a stop to them real quick. Hope this helps those of you who have trouble in this area. :)
For those who are interested, here is some info on AOL, and their fraudulent tactics. Seems Trilegiant Corporation has teamed up with AOL? Or is a division of AOL? Either way they are frauds at best, and here is some reading material. If you have already come across this info, accept my apologies.
http://www.trilegiant.com/ (I had to laugh when I read this on Trilegiant's site) "We offer consumers a risk-free opportunity to sample and join our programs. We stand behind our programs with a generous free trial and a money-back guarantee." Keep in mind that Trilegiant heads up the AOL Credit Alert (Privacyguard.com), AOL Netmarket, Shoppers Advantage, and scores of other completely useless sites & "offers/memberships". So now I am at a loss how to get a refund, but I know I never will.
It was a battle just to get the AOL service cancelled, and every time I call to cancel the Netmarket or Credit Alert, they go on about how great it is and how I need it "blah blah blah blah". I "think" I got the "Great Fun" cancelled, and for my "inconvenience" he said,"we'll give you a 20-dollar food voucher" - only problem with that is it signs you up right back where you started. I am now signed up on Netmarket...AGAIN!! I tried to cancel once again, they finally cancelled after I gave them hell, but once again they try to sign me up on that "free 20-dollar food voucher".
So while they attempt to transfer me, I just hang up, but I can only imagine that a company as fraudulent as this, will keep on charging my card. As of right now I think I have got the Great Fun, and AOL Credit Alert cancelled, but I can't get Netmarket cancelled, although I did mail in cancellations to the aforementioned 3, and also attempted to cancel by phone, so we'll see how this hellish battle plays out. I can't fathom how these people sleep at night, "knowing" they are such thugs. Here is another site.... **. Another person's personal hell of AOL/Trilegiant.
ARIZONA -- From reading your complaints about AOL Internet service, I appear to not be alone. I received six months free dial up service with my new Dell computer. I had lots of problems with the service primarily due to a language barrier in Tech Support communication by phone. Therefore at just over four months I told them to cancel my service. Then the REAL nightmare began. After the six month period they charged my VISA account with the months service. I complained to AOL and VISA and the amount was canceled from the VISA account. I continued to get information from AOL and the service was not canceled.
Every so often I logged on to AOL only for the purpose to see if it were canceled. AOL could see that I had logged on and took the position that I was still using the service and wanted to charge me for that month's service when in fact I had not used it other than to check to ascertain that it was no longer in service. This went on for a period of time and I refused to pay for their insistence that it not be canceled.
Then I began getting letters from a collection company which I also ignored. Shortly thereafter I stopped receiving such notices and as of now I only assume that the service has been canceled as I had requested far in advance to all of this happening. I would never recommend AOL for Internet service. I believe that a big step to AOL improving their service would be to employ Americans that can speak fluent English to communicate with their clients.
My story is very long but to make it short I had a 6 month free trial to AOL and when I cancelled they billed me anyway! I've since filed a complaint with the BBB and we'll see how that goes. My question to you all is have any of you ever been told by AOL that you did not call when you in fact did?? I have been told this three times and they even lost the record of me calling to cancel. The rep rudely told me that if I had called there would be a notation on the account and there is no way AOL could lose or not enter a record of a call! And I KNOW that is not true! I'm just wondering if it happened to any of you. It happened to me AND my neighbor as well!
DO NOT SUBSCRIBE TO AOL! AOL are into fraudulent business practices - BEWARE. The hundreds of complaints on this site should tell you how corrupt they really are! Also one tip to get them to quit billing you... not only should you dispute it with your credit card company but after that is finished get a new credit card number!!
KANSAS -- A few years ago, I got one of those free AOL CD's that supposedly gave you 1088 hours of free internet. I had a problem finding a local number that didn't charge me long distance, so I called one of their support lines and got a sales person. Since they couldn't find a local number for me, the sales guy tells me that there is an old international number (which charges by the minute) I can use for free. He said it's no longer being used for that purpose. Wrong!! I got a bill for $175.00 dollars!!! For using their free online CD!
I called them up and got some guy in India! After finally getting some dude in America, he refused to listen or believe me on my side of the story for why I used an international number, even though I live in Kansas. He refused to compensate me on the bill. I had to use my credit card company to battle the bill, and you know what? They took my side, so I didn't have to pay Stupid AOL their scam money. AOL sent me a letter, explaining how they were going to report this to a credit agency. What a rotten company!
GEORGIA -- I have had a "Group" on AOL for several years, which allows me to send group mail, post pictures, resources, etc. Apparently, AOL did some "redecorating" beginning last Fall, and I (and many others) have not been able to send "Group mail" to our Groups since last December ('06). Despite repeated complaints, including a *snail mail* to Randy Falco, the CEO of AOL, which was never acknowledged, I have never received anything other than form emails in response ("We hope to have this problem fixed soon."
Is nine months anyone's idea of soon??? Go to: ** to see what others are saying! Paying $26 a month to have no working "Group" and no reasonable response to a customer complaint, especially from their Corporate Headquarters while continuing to stay with AOL borders on insanity. Goodbye AOL!
NEVADA -- AOL bills on a yearly basis. I contacted AOL and asked them to cancel my account. They did so in March then sent me to a collection agency who told me that I had to pay the whole year, they would keep the money for 2 months, then refund the balance. I find this horrendous business practice and harassment vs someone from AOL calling me. I had an account with them 10 years and had I know they would act like this, I would have cancelled it earlier. I never have paid late, have excellent credit. I will send them the money but if they do not refund the remaining portion, I will take them to small claims in my state. I will never deal with them again.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- I cancelled my AOL account when I started broadband service with another company. Evidently, it was never cancelled and they continued to charge me. I was never billed for any charges but almost 2 years later received a letter from NCO Financial Services. The amount was the ever-popular $95.60. I made approximately 50 attempts to contact NCO at the number they provided, 866-372-8498. This is not a working number. I contacted AOL and explained the situation to them and agreed to pay half of that amount. They took payment over the phone and assured me that they would notify NCO that the debt had been satisfied.
I will follow up on this. I have read numerous complaints regarding NCO. I will never do business with AOL again because of their poor customer service, poor record keeping regarding the cancellation of service, failure to bill prior to sending it to collections, and for using a company such as NCO for their collections.