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AOL to reform customer service in Spitzer pact
August 24, 2005

NEW YORK (Reuters) - America Online has agreed to reform the way it handles customers who want to cancel service, effectively ending "stealth retention programs," New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said on Wednesday.

Breaking News Alerts Spitzer, announcing settlement of a lawsuit, said AOL is also required to provide fee refunds for up to four months of service to all New York consumers who claim harm based on improper cancellation requests and pay New York state $1.25 million in penalties and costs.

"This agreement helps ensure that AOL will strive to keep its customers through quality service, not stealth retention programs," Spitzer said in a statement.

Spitzer's office, responding to about 300 New York customer complaints, conducted a probe into AOL's customer service policies and procedures. AOL, owned by media conglomerate Time Warner Inc. , serves about 21 million subscribers, of which 1.9 million customers reside in the region.

With the settlement, AOL, the world's largest Internet service provider, agreed to alter incentives it offers customer representatives who try to dissuade customers from canceling their subscriptions.

It also agreed to eliminate customer service quotas on the number of subscribers dissuaded from canceling before paying a bonus, and to record all cancellation requests.

Actions taken on cancellation requests will need to be verified by a third party monitor by June 2006.

Customers seeking refunds will need to submit claims to either AOL or the attorney general's office within 120 days.

"AOL is pleased to have reached an agreement with the state of New York on customer care practices that we believe will increase quality assurance and assist with the verification of certain member intentions online," an AOL spokesman said.

Time Warner shares fell 10 cents to $17.71 on the New York Stock Exchange.

© Copyright 2005 Reuters. Reuters content is the intellectual property of Reuters or its third-party content providers. Any copying, republication, or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
     
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Theft from my account :(
Posted by on
I have had AOL as my internet provider for more than two years. And I have never had a problem with them until recently.
I had unlimited dial-up for more than a year, at $14.95 for unlimited use.
Then I added a high speed modem from my local cable provider.
In May I bought a house and no longer could use my modem, the cable company does not serve this area.
I called AOL and told them. They told me that by cancelling only my Broadband connection I would still have unlimited access to dial-up for $14.95 a month.
More or less that my bill would pick up where it had left off ... $14.95.
So in June I found on my checking statement that AOL had taken $50 from my account.
So, I call AOL and get the issue resolved, they refund my money .... 10 days later (it didn't take them 10 days to take it).
My July bill was okay, $14.95.
Now suddenly I get my checking statement for the month of August, and they take another $50. And the unexpected $35.00 they took, caused me to bounce a check... $25.00 to the bank... $25 to the company I wrote the check to.
So I call and get a lady that I can't understand and who obviously does not understand me. But she finally got tired of me talking slow for her and decided to give me my money back.
So today I get online w/AOL support and tell them I no longer want them to take auto withdrawls from my account and I want to be billed to my home (as I have before).
The support person then tells me that I have to keep letting them take money from my account because they no longer allow payments from any other source.
What crock !!
So now they say they are willing to give me back my $35.00, but that now doesn't cover the other $50 that I have been charged for that bounced
check. And Aol sure didn't want to pay that!!
I have already talked to my credit union and will have to file an affidavit stating that I've told them.
I printed the IM correspondence between myself and the tech, and will be going to my credit union first thing tomorrow.
I know of at least one other person they have done this to recently and she never received her $95 back that they scammed her out of.
They have done this to so many people for too long somebody needs to file a class action lawsuit against these jerks and make them pay for the damage they are causing people.
     
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Ponie on 2005-08-21:
I've heard so many horror stories about AOL, and I fail to see how they get away with it! Although a bit pricier, I'm with Comcast. Cable TV and ISP totals $84/mo. ($40 cable, $44 ISP) Since I work out of my home, when that computer is turned on in the morning, it stays on until I go to bed at night. Had humungous problems with them the first 6 weeks they moved into our area, but that was because they bit off more than they could chew and I wasn't charged for those annoying 6 weeks.

I'd certainly do some shopping around for a better ISP. Good luck!
Ms.Consumer on 2005-12-24:
AOL's billing practices are horrible. Throw away all those CDs they keep mailing you. It's not worth it.
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I tried to cancel AOL for six months
Posted by on
LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY -- I write regarding the recent attempts to close an AOL account. This account was the account of my elderly father who is age eighty-six and has not been able to use the Internet for nearly one year now. I, as his estate manager, have been trying to close his account and stop the monthly billing ($23.90 + $2.90) from his debit card for about six months now. My sister and I have been calling AOL Customer Service during these six months only to encounter various excuses for disconnecting this account. Four of our calls were "hang-ups" when we mentioned our reason for calling.

I was finally able to supposedly close this AOL account on Sunday, August 14, 2005. I am only hoping it was a valid cancel request.

My complaint, I have been trying to cancel this account for six months and encountered endless excuses. Examples; "We can't find his account under that screen name.” "You must call from his home number to cancel the account."

AOL customer service department must understand that not every customer has just one home. My father owns several homes in various regions of the country. It was impossible for me to call from each of his homes. When he leaves each home for extended time the home phone is inactivated to vacation mode.

It amazed me that AOL couldn't find his account during the many times I called but found his account each month to bill him during his final year of service. His account was inactive for nearly one year.

I regret that I did not document all the calls and time I spent over six months in trying to close this account.

I've since reviewed AOL complaints on the Better Business Bureau site (www.bbb.org) and see that my complaint is common & that AOL settled a class-action suit over this matter. I've filed my own complaint.

What I find a bit odd/funny is that an Internet service provider (AOL) seems to request a member cancel via postal or fax. I'm repeatedly told by AOL Customer Service Reps. that it's not possible to cancel via e-mail.

Thanks for your time.
Sincerely,
Jeffrey

     
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KenPC on 2005-08-17:
Why not contact the bank and put a blanket Stop Payment order on th eelectronic withdrawals? That will get their attention!
They suck!
fazie on 2005-08-17:
I recently called to cancel my AOL also, before doing so I read comments about how hard it was to cancel so when I called I insisted on a confirmation number. they disconnected me but I called right back and got my confirmation number and have not had a charge since, good luck!
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Cancellation of AOL service
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GEORGIA -- I do not believe what I just went through while trying to cancel my account by phone at AOL. The person I was talking to ended up being unbelievably rude. At first things were OK. She asked my why and to which ISP I was switching. She kept giving me reasons to stay with AOL and I kept telling her that I had studied the situation and decided to go with another company. She kept hassling me to stay with AOL and I told her I did not want to discuss it anymore because I had made up my mind but she started talking back to me. I am shaking so badly that I can hardly type this letter. She kept bringing up stuff and trying to make me feel stupid. This went on for several minutes and she would not acknowledge that my account was cancelled so I hung up and ended up canceling by letter. This is totally unacceptable. I wrote a letter to management about this but they never apologized for the bad experience.
     
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Packman2 on 2005-03-21:
Fishrowe,
Be prepared to continue fighting w/AOL to get your service cancelled. Check your credit card statements for the next few months. It took several months, and phone calls to AOL to FINALLY get service cancelled. I remember several times in numerous conversations with AOL reps asking them, "what part of no" and "What part of cancel my service do you not understand?"
Good luck
ali on 2005-03-24:
The exact same thing happened to me when I cancelled my AOL account a few days ago. I guess AOL figures they are about to lose you as a customer anyway, so it doesn't matter if they hassel or upset you.
Anonymous on 2005-03-25:
Don't they allow you to cancel online anymore? When I cancelled AOL, I went to keyword 'cancel' & that took me through the process. I must have been lucky, because I managed to dump them without a problem at all. Then again, it's been close to 9 years since I've dumped them, so maybe now they're more of a pain to get rid of.
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AOL fails to cancel online service
Posted by on
Please whoever reads this, take note! When dealing with America On Line be very careful and make sure to follow up any cancellation phone call or e-mail with a second one.
I had a free trial with AOL for several months after I purchased my Dell computer. After the free trial I continued to use AOL until I decided to switch to Road Runner in March 2003 due to my lack of overall satisfaction with AOL and its services. At the time I activated Road Runner I called AOL and told the agent that I wished to cancel my services with AOL.
AOL failed to cancel my service, and it wasn't until several months later that I realized that AOL was still billing my bank account. Unfortunately I did not monitor my banking statements as diligently as I should have, hence I would have noticed the $23.90 charge to my account for those months. Make Sure you follow up any cancellation you make with AOL or you could find yourself in my situation with service you did not want, as well as a bit less money in your account. From what I have read on other sites, this does not seem to be a rare occurrence. Be careful who you do business with.
I called and cancelled it again. I'll just have to wait and see if this time they actually do what I requested.
     
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sanford31031 on 2004-03-22:
LWRHPS:Is there a gibberish translator in the house? I can't make head nor nail of that uber-babble you flung onto the screen during your latest spasmodic seizure. Clearly, you spend way too much time in darkened rooms in front of your seven-year-old computer turning a whiter shade of pale. Go outside once in a while and breathe, before your brain starts to rot from all that festering stagnation and cognitive dysfunction.
alltruckedup on 2004-03-22:
Yes, they are snakes alright. Same thing happened to me. My husband went to Earthlink and cancelled AOL. We assumed it was taken care of . But months later It is still on my aol bill. After calling to say we don't have aol and we haven't used it, they finially give me a confirmation number. But they wait three day to cancell it and it comes on my credit card for another month. They are snakes!!! They will never refund any money, just say you can use the service for another month. Well I DECLINE! I don't want you bells and whistlers and stupid happy faces. I'm getting rid of Aol credit card also. What can I do with the 7000 award points I have. Nothing?
Slimjim on 2004-03-22:
AOL has a rep for being exremely unhelpful when cancelling and constant overbilling. I would also recommend when done with AOL not only to check your CC statements or bank account in following months, but to make a note of time and day you cancel and the CSR you spoke to. Oh BTW LWRHPS, you state above you "never buy anything from them" but you gave us an address to buy your book at LWRHPS@aol.com. I guess that email is as real as the book.
sarahnkrystal on 2004-03-30:
They did the same thing to us, but the AOL withdrawal bounced, and we were charged $25 for this. AOL better pay that as well. AOL is a dirty, dirty company!
LASHAWNE25 on 2004-03-30:
JMJ on 2004-04-01:
They are criminal for sure, There is a class action suit that you can sign up for. The same situation happened to me. I purchased 2 new Dell's in 8/03 with the free 6 month AOL trial. That is where the scam starts. They take your CC#, and start billing inmmeditely. I received one bill for over $800.00!!!!
Then after they negotiated that deal, they started billing my Company cedit card! Then, of course they negotiated out of that one. AOL is making millions and millions of dollars through this practice! They even somehow, which I can't still figure out, tapped into one of my old Company CC and started billing that!!!!!!
Get in on this Class action suit NOW!
One would think that after all of these huge corporations falling like bricks after screwing their customers and shareholders that this would STOP!
No Way. Corporate greed is alive and well in the good ol' USA!
Matt Jewell
rosellini23 on 2004-04-03:
I realize that you're upset about your billing, and I would agree that if you were provided with proof of cancellation, I'm assuming you got that when you discontinued your service, the company should not have continued to bill you. However... why on earth wouldn't you check your billing to maintain your month to month finances? Had you done so you would've caught the error immediately like I did with MSN.
Zakk on 2004-04-25:
"Unfortunately I did not monitor my banking statements as diligently as I should have...." Ahh, you got it, and you have defined the problem. People, STOP allowing strangers access to your bank account if you are not going to review your bank statements.
ep617 on 2004-06-19:
Oh No! sounds like we're in for a fight, we cancelled AOL last year and just received a collections letter for unpaid services! What services? Time to contact the attorney general...
gamefanx on 2004-07-31:
I called AOL, received a confirmation number. It was the same day I first used AOL. Only used for 2 hours, then cancelled. Is this going to ensure I won't be charged?
Valorous on 2004-10-14:
I encountered this exact same problem. I went to my bank, and they told me that AOL is notorious for this and pre-empted any further deductions from my account. I would advise anyone in this situation to bring their bank in on the situation andlet them handle it. I also folowed up with a phone call, I was not very happy to speak to someone in India who could hardly understand me.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- Why is it when I try to post a complaint about Obama or Washington on Huff Post it gets censored then deleted however when I go on Facebook all I see on a quarter of the page are political smears from one party or the other? Mostly Democrats attacking the GOP. I didn't request these ads and don't want them. While even though I never swear my post are continually censored and deleted because I don't like Obama or his administration.
     
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madconsumer on 2013-06-15:
looks like aol has your account flagged to review all your posts due to your political outlook.
voiceofreason on 2013-06-15:
Probably your views are not valued since you just overall "don't like Obama". Sounds someone just decided he doesn't the President without really having a logical reason. Sounds like someone has been watching the Fox "News".
BigAl on 2013-06-16:
You may not like my answer but you did ask why. First of all "cookies" are your problem. Cookies track which websites you visit. When Facebook looks at your cookies they suggest articles that you appear to like since you frequent those type of sites. When you are at a liberal site and you constantly demeanor the author and other posters you are considered a troll. The moderators on these sites will let you view your opinion but if you are rude or constantly posting the same type of thing without adding any insight to the articles you will lose your credibility and become a liability to the site. So the bottom line is --If you want to be heard make sure what you are saying is worth being heard.
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Inability to resolve problem
Posted by on
The last 2 days & 4 different agent I still cannot delete my old screen name from my computer!!! Over an hour each call, too !!!!
     
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Alain on 2011-10-27:
If you can't fix the problem you may want to switch providers.
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Loss of phone connection
Posted by on
My phone line has been out since 8th October, numerous phone calls to your "call center" has meant with a I don't care answer, you AOL is supposed to ring BT and get them to look into this. Can you supply and answer to what is happening. Surely someone in the company has the brains to put this right.

P Mander

THIS IS NOW GETTING BEYOND A JOKE.
     
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MRM on 2011-10-17:
You'll need to contact your phone company, not AOL, to troubleshoot your phone line.
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I cancelled my AOL service over a year ago, but someone is using it. Cancel "fourofakin@aol.com"
Posted by on
My friends and my self are receiving unknown e-mails from someone using my old "fourofakin@aol.com service. Please cancel this account.

Thank you.

Jerald W. Smeck
     
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Sparticus on 2011-07-15:
I wonder if they recycle email addresses? That would be odd if they did, but it might explain what is happening. Perhaps after you cancelled someone else registered that handle?

Be curious to know how the re-activation process works for an old AOL account. I remember Hotmail used to let me re-activate my old hotmail account and pick a new password.

Are the emails directed towards you? Is the person sending inappropriate content, or threatening content?
trmn8r on 2011-07-15:
I don't know all the details of your situation, but I can tell you one thing - AOL is not going to act on an account change request filed through a third party website. You will need to contact them directly.
Ponie on 2011-07-15:
Can't you just block receipt of these emails? I have to admit, I really don't understand this complaint. How are your friends involved?
MRM on 2011-07-15:
It may be a spam as I have received this kind of email.
CharlesInCharge on 2011-07-15:
When I canceled my AOL account years ago the rep told me that the primary on the account would still have access to their email account. My guess is that your old email is active and someone hacked into the account. Your best bet is to call them and explain the situation.
madconsumer on 2011-07-15:
I hated aol. when I cancelled my service with them many years ago, was the best day of my life!
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Adding Huffington Post was a big mistake
Posted by on
I have been with AOL forever. Until now. Huffington Post is not user friendly. Too many windows that don't line up, too many tabs to punch to move about. If you punch the wrong tab, your stock account is closed and you have to reload. The windows you pull up like news, entertainment, etc., takes too long to load. I have to cancel 50 % of them and try something else. I don't want to learn a new system but there is to much work to Huffington post. I will be changing to Goole Chrome. jhc.
     
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jktshff1 on 2011-06-03:
AOL is just too "busy". I have had an account there for years (free e-mail) that I use on occasion as a "stuff" e-mail. I've noticed that it's longer loading and slow.
ChuhBaca on 2011-06-03:
I didn't realize AOL had any active users left! I thought they were hanging on by giving inactive users such a hard time about leaving them.
madconsumer on 2011-06-03:
when I tried to cancel my aol account, they basically refused to do so. it took me saying "I no longer care to have aol and all the spam associated with it". there answer was, we block spammers. in any given day, I would get 50 spam emails.
trmn8r on 2011-06-03:
I remember using AOL back in, oh, 1997. It had an incredibly busy and complicated interface then - sounds like it is the same today.
Anonymous on 2011-06-03:
I did not know AOL was still around lol.
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