America Online practices
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 :
1). 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.
2). 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.
3). 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.
4). 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.