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Hello, am I getting through?

We've all heard horror stories of just how bad AOL's Internet service and customer service are, but one man recorded a conversation with an AOL CSR that is enough to make even the most tolerant person pull his or her hair out.

Vincent Ferrari simply wanted to call in to cancel his AOL account, but his request to cancel the account simply resulted in over 5 minutes of nonsense as the CSR tried everything within his power to keep Vincent as a customer. Here part of the transcript courtesy of MSNBC:

Ferrari: I want to cancel my account.
AOL: OK. I mean, is there a problem with the software itself?
Ferrari: No. I don't use it. I don't need it. I don't want it.
AOL: Last year, last month it was 545 hours of usage.
Ferrari: I don't know how to make it any clearer. So I'm just gonna say it one last time. Cancel the account.
AOL: Well, explain to me what is wrong.
Ferrari:  I'm not explaining anything to you. Cancel the account.

According to MSNBC, Vincent has received a verbal apology from AOL and the CSR in question has been fired. “At AOL, we have zero-tolerance for customer care incidents like this - which is deeply regrettable and also absolutely inexcusable. The employee in question violated our customer service guidelines and practices, and everything that AOL believes to be important in customer care - chief among them being respect for the member, and swiftly honoring their requests. This matter was dealt with immediately and appropriately, and the employee cited here is no longer with the Company,” said AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham.

One must ask how any Vincent was even able to tolerate AOL service for more than five years?

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By shortylickens on 6/21/2006 3:27:52 PM , Rating: 3
"employee in question violated our customer service guidelines and practices".


Looking at the conversation it sounds like he was following a script. I wonder if AOL canned the poor guy to counter the bad press.

By matthewfoley on 6/21/2006 3:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
I've tried to cancel twice for my parents and can attest that it was exactly the same with me. It also seemed to me at the time that it was a script.

By Trisped on 6/21/2006 3:38:35 PM , Rating: 2
We should find more people to record their cancellations. If we get 3 or 4 more then that would be really bad press for AOL. "And what is this, you already fired someone because he was caught following your script?"

By Squidward on 6/21/2006 3:46:37 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure he was following a script he was forced to say everytime someone wanted to cancel, so what does he get for trying to do his job? Canned. Then a few months later a drunken and belligerent John is going to come back to AOL with a semi automatic weapon and tragedy will ensue.

Sad part is it could happen.

By haelduksf on 6/22/2006 1:33:34 AM , Rating: 2
It seems to me that firing someone for following a script is a fasttrack to a wrongful dismissal suit (if you have those in the states, by some name). I don't konw that they would take that kind of risk.

By mrbdm99 on 6/22/2006 9:48:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, assuming he really was fired and not moved to a different position or let go and brought back, most states have an "at will" employment policy. This simply means that they can fire you, at will, for almost anything they want. Some things, like race, religion, sex, etc. are protected, but if you walk in and they don't like the way you look that day, you can be let go and you can't do anything about it. I know that when I was a teller for a rather large bank while I was working on my masters, they literally told me that since we are an at will state (MS), if we show up wearing baggy pants and they don't like it, then they can let us go for just that. Now, just b/c the state has the policy, doesn't mean a company will follow it, a lot will have you sign contracts or put you in an excempt position that will give you a little more staying power. I personally think it's great as it forces you to comply with dress codes, company policy, and just generally good manners and hygene! :)

By delta53 on 6/21/2006 4:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
The same thing happened to my father. He tried twice to cancel his account before he called master card to stop payment. MC didn't really believe him so he did a three-way call to AOL. Since AOL, for the third time, would not cancel the account MC said they would stop payment to AOL. I think this is written policy and they probably get commission if they can get people to stay.

By m1ldslide1 on 6/21/2006 6:55:23 PM , Rating: 2
I used a free trial CD I got in the mail years back and when I called to cancel before the billing kicked in, the CSR had all kinds of tactics to try to hang onto me. Finally when she asked what it was I didn't like about AOL, I said "Well it's slow as hell and the browser sucks". She replies "...what's a browser exactly?". At that point I just felt really bad for her and tried to stop laughing while explaining it. She let me cancel after that.

By Trisped on 6/21/2006 3:35:27 PM , Rating: 3
My thoughts exactly. I don't know what AOL's business plan is, but they don't have much of a future now that dial up is finally dieing.

From this I can guess what it is though...

By dmcanally on 6/21/2006 3:37:33 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, do you think? I wouldn’t be surprised if these CSR actually get rewarded for each customer they prevented from canceling their account. I know when I sold computers for a large OEM we were told its all about providing the customer with the best experience possible. To me that meant making sure they got exactly what they wanted and some technical help if needed. In the end it ended up being all about selling the most computer I could in the shortest amount of time.

By andrep74 on 6/21/2006 7:26:08 PM , Rating: 3
How do you know that the guy was really fired?

By AbelIAN on 6/22/2006 12:29:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's better, for AOL, to fire the guy than keep him - less risky that way, and it's not as if the guy was irreplaceable. Really, a shame, but at least this negative PR is just going to hasten AOL's demise (I mean, when is it going to get to the point that the AOL brand means nothing at all to Time Warner?)

By Master Kenobi on 6/21/2006 3:06:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ah........... OWNED.

By flexy on 6/21/2006 3:50:35 PM , Rating: 5
i am almost 99,999% sure that those AOL @%$!&s have a policy that their CSRs *have to* push customers to keep their accounts and convince them not to cancel, or at least try their hardest.

IRONY that they blame the CSR then, just shows that their management is even worse.

The CSR is always the one getting the **** from the customer, and now in this case he is also getting the **** for bad PR.

By JWalk on 6/21/2006 5:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
I went through this exact thing when I canceled an AOL account a couple of years ago. We went round and round in circles with me constantly telling the guy to cancel the service. Then at the very end of the conversation, after he said the account would be cancelled, he gave this rehearsed speech about how for “my convenience” my service would continue for 3 more months free of charge to allow me to transfer all my contacts and back-up mail.

This sounded like an okay thing, until he very quickly said that after that 3 months they will go back to charging my credit card and continue my subscription unless I cancel again! He then said “have a nice day” as fast as he possibly could, and was about to hang up when I yelled NO and told him to cancel and close my subscription immediately! He then said, “Yes sir, your service is now cancelled. Have a nice day.” Un-Be-Lievable. lol

By xlmussel on 6/21/2006 5:23:22 PM , Rating: 4
I also had the same problem. I tried to cancel 3 times, each time they tried to keep me by offering a free month, each time I could tell they were reading from the script because they all said the same thing. Finally I told them I was addicted to porn or soemthing along that line. anything to get them off the script.

By shaw on 6/22/2006 3:50:10 PM , Rating: 2
LOL! Too funny of an excuse! Need to get off AOL to cure your porn addiction, haha! Did the rep keep their face straight?

By vingamm on 6/23/2006 1:39:57 PM , Rating: 2
Man I have to say this. I had a friend who litterally had a free AOL account for over 2 years because everytime he called to cancel they gave him 3 months free service to think about his choice

Still Employed
By Araxen on 6/21/2006 5:07:27 PM , Rating: 2
I for one bet that the associate is still employed with AOL. The odds of getting that associate again to figure out if they were or not is pretty steep.

RE: Still Employed
By cochy on 6/21/2006 5:43:30 PM , Rating: 2
If he indeed was fired, I hope to God that he sues AOL for this bit of public relations BS. Anyone with half a brain would realize that if a CSR isn't told to use up extra time time on the phone with a client in order to keep them as a customer, then they would promptly fill out the clients' request as fast as possible in order to move the call queue along. Does AOL think people are stupid...I guess they do.

RE: Still Employed
By fic2 on 6/21/2006 7:21:58 PM , Rating: 3
Does AOL think people are stupid

Uh - they pretty much built a huge business around that very concept....

RE: Still Employed
By TheLiberalTruth on 6/21/2006 8:10:17 PM , Rating: 4
Does AOL think people are stupid?
Uh - they pretty much built a huge business around that very concept....

Stupid people are the only reason AOL exists. Who would pay twenty-some dollars a month for buggy software mated to unreliable, slow connections?

RE: Still Employed
By MrSmurf on 6/22/2006 7:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
You can't sue someone just because they fired you.

RE: Still Employed
By ThisSpaceForRent on 6/22/2006 8:16:54 AM , Rating: 2
You can't sue someone just because they fired you.

You're kidding right?

RE: Still Employed
By rushfan2006 on 6/22/2006 10:40:39 AM , Rating: 2

You can't sue someone just because they fired you.

You're kidding right?

Why would he be kidding? As far as I know AOL is based in the USA, I think they are out of VA and to my knowledge VA is an at-will state. Actually I think all 50 states are at will now.

But anyway, "at-will" means a your employer can fire you for any reason and for no reason at all. Just like you can quit your job for any reason or no reason at all.

The only exceptions to these terms this is A) An employer can not fire you out of any discrimination (sex, race, religion, etc. etc.), B) An employer can not fire you because you witness said employer breaking the law, the law is on your side in this case (just make sure you didn't break the law yourself..LOL), C) If you are a contracted employee and specific "protections" of your employment are spelled out in the contract, and the contract has been signed by proper corporate executive management OR if you are part of a union -- in union's employers have to watch just out firing you.

Aside from those three classes, and mind you it is often extremely difficult to prove discrimination (unless the employer is incredibly sloppy and stupid) employer can fire you for whatever they want.

AOL could of told this CSR -- "You are fired"...and that's it..they don't need a reason.

And guess what, unless the CSR falls under one of those conditions I named above -- AOL is completely within the law to have fired him, the CSR can't sue.

Saying he was fired for following a company script to the letter -- meets no legal standard for him to sue AOL.

By gramboh on 6/21/2006 3:57:02 PM , Rating: 2
I'm willing to bet that the CSRs, even if they aren't directly rewarded for this type of thing, part of their annual/quarterly evaluation is customer retention and it plays into their raise. Why else would someone working at a call centre even bother trying to keep a customer? Pride? Yeah right.

What would be cool is if someone working their stole the employee code and scanned it/posted it online to call out AOL.

If any kind of service provider tried this crap on me I would say cancel it and if it continued, hang up and reverse the charges on your CC/bank account and file a complaint to Better Business Bureau.

By rushfan2006 on 6/21/2006 4:18:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sad thing is some credit card companies are a pain to get them to stop charges, even if you have a good case like with this AOL example. I know some cc companies even ask the permission of the MERCHANT if you can stop payment on them. Imagine that, the company who refuses to cancel your account...needs to give ITS PERMISSION to your credit card company before payment is stopped...That was with discover card btw, and its also why I left Discover card 7 years ago.

By Kirou on 6/21/2006 4:22:16 PM , Rating: 2
Actually I can assure you that AOL works in the way you suspect - I was offered a job with them a couple of years ago (over here, in Germany) and declined because of this policy. They even do have a special department which takes care of people wanting to cancel their accounts and you get a nice bonus if you keep the customer.
On the other hand I have to say that my own cancellation of their service was pretty easy, took me about 2 minutes because I had a reason they could not dismiss - forcing me to use a dial-in software which resulted in a bad performance in comparison to other dial-up services.

If there is anything that can be learned from Mr. Ferrari - if you do not have to, do not get into AOL.

By MonkeyPaw on 6/21/2006 6:40:22 PM , Rating: 2
I left Discover as well. They are just as bad about canceling, and they like to push unnecessary services on you when you are with them (like "The Register"). I will never own a Discover card again.

As for the CSR getting fired, I wonder if that even happened? Chances are they got relocated to another cubicle. Even if the CSR got canned, it's not that surprising. Customer Service jobs have a very high turnover. That's one of the reasons why there are scripts to begin with. The company can pay people practically nothing, and very little independent thought is required. I'd imagine they have CSRs going postal from time to time.

By MrSmurf on 6/22/2006 7:16:31 AM , Rating: 2
They also it commission for saving customers.

i can empathize...
By One43637 on 6/21/2006 6:15:47 PM , Rating: 2
a while back when i was waiting for my DSL activiation i used that free coaster that everyone gets in the mail from AOL. when i tried to cancel i went through a similar experience with the guy. it's like... no means no, mmmkay?

RE: i can empathize...
By TheLiberalTruth on 6/21/2006 8:06:12 PM , Rating: 4
I had a similar experience while cancelling my cable service in favour of satellite. I literally had to argue with the Adelphia CSR for over 45 minutes before he even asked what my account number was so he could actually cancel my service. It was then another 15+ minutes of me asking him to cancel my service while he badgered me about how good their service is before he finally canceled my account. During the time he even tried to sway me away from my DSL in favour of their "high speed" cable internet while I was trying to cancel all of the services I had with them already. He even argued with me when I told him that cable was slower than DSL in my area, no matter what speed is promised by each of the services, because Adelphia loads too many people on the same loop.

I only wanted to try satellite (free for a month), but now I'll never go back to Adelphia.

Me Too
By Nik00117 on 6/21/2006 8:18:41 PM , Rating: 3
I had this problem, my friend worked for AOL though and After 2 attempts I called them up and teh convo went somthing like this.

AOL: Hello
Me: Hello STFU I got the extact same sciript in my hadn that you have (reads script)
AOL: Sir are you upset?
Me: Not as much as you will be with my lawyer sends in the court papers. CANCEL MY ACCOUNT
AOL: Yes sir

Get rough and tough with them and be like hey listen STFU IDC

It was quickly canceled. I then recieved a call and a lady asked me what she'd need to get me to stay with AOL. I told a BF would be a good start, along with you guys paying IDK my rent and i'll stick with AOL. She was offended by my comment (as expected) and hung up. Personally i'm a type of guy that I will get rough on the phone with telemarkets or stuff. Just get rough and mean with them if they don't listen to you the first time. Or jsut take some enjoyment out of it.

RE: Me Too
By MrSmurf on 6/22/2006 7:21:14 AM , Rating: 3
So basicly you were an ignorant asshole. They were probably happy to get rid of you.

Stupid AOL Story
By TallCoolOne on 6/21/2006 10:06:54 PM , Rating: 2
I used to get free floppy disks from AOL. That's right, free! A long time ago before they started mailing out samples of their doftware on CD it came on floppy. I just formmated them and used them for storage.

Now here's the stupid part: I lived in St. John's, Newfoundland at the time where AOL had no local dial-up number! At least I got free floppies... :)

RE: Stupid AOL Story
By rupaniii on 6/22/2006 1:09:42 AM , Rating: 2
It took me 22 minutes to cancel my AOL Account back in 2004. I think it may have been the same jackass. ... notes.. Yes, have them. OK.
Me: 'Yes, Hi, I am cancelling my account today due to the fact that I no longer have a job that requires me to use AOL (don't ask what that was).
Ass: 'Well, what features of AOL don't you want to use anymore? Email, Movie Listings, Chat, EZ Keyword searches, '
Me: 'Internet Access. I no longer wish to access the internet using AOL Services. In Fact, I already don't, as I have an AOL For Broadband account. I don't need that anymore'
Ass: ' I see. You are, ofcourse, aware that AOL protects you from viruses and all email is scanned prior to your downloading'
Me: 'My Primary Email account is I don't need AOL. I had it as a requirement from some jackass who wouldn't listen to reason at my job. I actually have never Wanted AOL'.
Ass: 'So, you have found our Services for Broadband are an advantage for your workplace, why is that?'
Me: 'It was of no advantage. the Jackass was 52 years old and the only internet he knew how to use was AOL and he forced me to get an account. Now, I have stated that you are to cancel my account. Do so now'.
Ass: ' I tell you what, let me offer you 60days of Free AOL and our new Movies and Dating service access for free during that time. I think you are selling the services you have used while working short. We have many things to make ones life easier and more rewarding'
Me: 'I tell you what, Cancel My account.'
Ass: 'Ok, let me ask you a few questions'
Me: 'No, you've done that already, remove my bank account from your records and lose my account, my email address, and anything remotely connected to my account'.
Ass: 'Sir, let me put you on hold, don't hang up, or you will prolong what I have to do'
Me: 'No, I don't need to be on hold' :Music Starts'
Ass'Boss: 'Sir, Hi, this is AssBoss. Ass has told me that you wish to cancel your account. Please tell me about this. What have we offered you that has not met your expectations
Me: 'Customer Service'
AssBoss: 'How so, has Ass offended you in any way? Did you find any content on our site offensive'
Me: 'No, my problem is this. You haven't cancelled my account'
AssBoss: 'No Sir, we haven't cancelled your account, I show it active. Were you having trouble accessing your account. Were you really calling because your account wasn't working and you couldn't get resolution online'.
Me: 'yes, I was calling because I was unable to resolve the issue online, that is correct'
AssBoss: "Ok, so there is a misunderstanding!"
Me: 'Well, no.'
AssBoss: "What are we straight on?"
Me: "that there is a misunderstanding'
AssBoss: 'I'm sorry?'
Me: 'I'd like to accept your apology, but I can't. I've been trying to cancel my account for 15 minutes, and 4 hours if you count how long it took me to realize that I couldn't do it online. "
AssBoss: 'Sir, I am still troubled that you told me Customer Service was a problem you had with our services, what problem do you have with our Customer Service'
Me: 'Ok, is there anyone there who speaks Chinese Mandarin or Russian?'
AssBoss: 'Sir, i'm sorry, which of those is your native tounge?"
Me: 'English, but they might understand what I'm saying. My only issue with AOL customer service has been that I'm still trying to cancel my account. I want to cancel my account because I want to cancel my account. There's no great issue here. I don't give a damned about your services. I have already stated that I want you to stop taking my money beginning next month and in exchange I won't use your services anymore, this is simple!'.
AssBoss: 'Well Sir, May I ask you a Question?"
Me: 'Sure, it seems to be the trend!"
AssBoss: 'What could we do to make AOL a better way to access the internet. What could you not do with AOL that you would like to see changed.
Me: (having had enough... ). 'well, ok, to start, Maps. I was upset that it didnt' register the correct name of a landmark at 5225 Figueroa Mountain Rd, Los Olivos, CA 93441. Also, it doesn't let me see 'Pictures'...
AssBoss: 'Oh sir, we could fix that... have you updated your AOL Software?'.
Me: 'Sure'.
AssBoss: 'And you still haven't been able to view these pictures? Do you know what file format they are?
Me: 'bitmap, Jpeg.. '
AssBoss: 'That's unusual.'
Me: I get to see other 'Pictures', but these don't seem to come up. Some of the pictures I see are those formats, but your searches don't seem to return the 'Pictures' I want.
AssBoss: 'Ok, I am entering a report about this... What is the Landmark that the mapping service you were accessing failed to use.. in fact, what was the mapping service?'
Me: 'Oh, I don't know if it was AOL maps, but the landmark was Neverland Valley Ranch. Now, can you finally find some reason to cancel my account or am I going to have to drive 2 hours from Baltimore down there and Violate you like we are stuck alone in a dark locked room at that address. Fucking cancel my account you bitch because I have better things to do than this such as Jerk Off to pictures of Pamela Anderson I got while happily surfing the web on Comcast. Cancel my account, send me a note about it in the mail, or I 'll get my lawyer on your retarded ass.
AssBoss: "Sir, that was a good one. You seem upset. Would a free 2 months of AOL and free services convince you to stay with AOL to be sure you no longer want to use it'
Me: 'No, just cancel it'.
Ok, I will do that now. You will recieve your notice in the mail in 7-10 business days.

After this, he got into 5 minutes of legalese about recording this, and By this I agree, etc...


RE: Stupid AOL Story
By MrSmurf on 6/22/2006 7:22:50 AM , Rating: 2
I bet you wasted more time actually writing that out and I bet no one actually read it.

You probably enjoyed the 22 minutes of human contact that day! lol, just kidding.

How odd.
By stmok on 6/21/2006 3:26:07 PM , Rating: 3
Here in Australia, when you try to cancel your account with an ISP, they will generously offer you things to keep you to stay. (we're talking about slashing your monthly bill, more usage or even increase your speed by 40% without paying anything extra).

But none are like this AOL. They aren't pushy or have any intentions of cornering the customer for a reason of cancellation. That's just plain wrong.

RE: How odd.
By MulLa on 6/21/2006 6:03:54 PM , Rating: 2
What is this said ISP? I might threaten to cancel mine and get a free upgrade :)

By TomZ on 6/21/2006 4:26:48 PM , Rating: 2
One must ask how any Vincent was even able to tolerate AOL service for more than five years?

Anyone who has put up with AOL doesn't deserve to be able to cancel!

By dice1111 on 6/21/2006 4:40:16 PM , Rating: 3

On AOL Customers care line, service cancels YOU!

AOL users...
By DigitalFreak on 6/21/2006 6:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
are E-TARDS!

RE: AOL users...
By DigitalFreak on 6/21/2006 6:56:13 PM , Rating: 1
AOL stands for Assholes On-Line.

RE: AOL users...
By Bonesdad on 6/21/2006 7:42:08 PM , Rating: 2
AOL is going to die the horrible, ugly, bloody death it deserves. Users (even noobs) have matured way beyond AOL. It is time for it to go away.

By AncientPC on 6/21/2006 4:34:22 PM , Rating: 2
I feel bad for the CSR. Everyone knows that companies will try everything to stop a customer from cancelling.

RE: :(
By GTVic on 6/21/2006 6:21:44 PM , Rating: 2
If they lied about this not being a policy who says they aren't lying about firing the guy...

By syne24 on 6/21/2006 9:45:25 PM , Rating: 2
By RallyMaster on 6/21/2006 10:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
jeez...that IS annoying. good thing AT&T hasn't put me up to that BS yet.

They killed my credit...
By seamonkey79 on 6/22/2006 11:19:50 AM , Rating: 2
I tried to cancel, lo these many years ago (98 or 99, can't remember)... at the time, I had my checking account attached to the AOL account, I was still in the 30 days, hated their crappy service and decided I was going to cancel and go with a local ISP. I call AOL up and ask them to cancel my account, I go through about 10 minutes of "we'll do blah blah blah," and finally get an "Ok, we'll cancel the account."

Fast forward two months, and my checking account is down to -$298 because they've been attempting to get money that wasn't in it that they shouldn't have been trying to get... my credit still hasn't recovered from that, and the bank told me that since I didn't have a recorded conversation, I was SOL.

RE: They killed my credit...
By rrsurfer1 on 6/22/2006 2:45:36 PM , Rating: 2
I had the same problem. I cancelled, AOL attempted to charge me, a number of months later. Went to my bank and they told me since I had no proof, it would be hard to contest. I got angry and they contested it anyways. I guess threatening to have the whole family close their accounts had something to do with it...

get in control
By derdon on 6/22/2006 3:58:57 PM , Rating: 2
The thing you have to do is to get in control of the talk. If you're answering something which is not directly related to cancelling the account, then you're doing something wrong.
Don't answer that! Repeat your wish or ask a question such as "What data do you need to cancel my account?" Be focused and stay focused, do not get yourself taken away.

Apart from that, I think it's strange to cancel by phone. Sure it's more convenient, but normally you'd do this by ordinary mail.

RE: get in control
By rcc on 6/22/2006 4:42:43 PM , Rating: 2
With AOL, Never with ordinary mail. Certified, Register, and perhaps Escorted. Otherwise it will hit the trash on opening, guaranteed.

Reminds me of
By irwinMfletcher on 6/21/2006 4:26:25 PM , Rating: 3
We're not here to help fix your computer. We just want to get you off the phone. A tech-support slave tells his hellish tale.

By WileCoyote on 6/21/2006 5:14:16 PM , Rating: 3
I think it's funny that this story is being reported by MSN who is AOL's biggest competitor. Yeah, no bias there.

5 years?
By Tsuwamono on 6/21/2006 3:10:57 PM , Rating: 2
Jesus i spent about 5 MINUTES at my friends house that had AOL and i was ready to cancel it FOR HIM. I dunno how this guy needed 5 years to figure out they are terrible.

By Chiisuchianu on 6/21/2006 4:48:44 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's hilarious when companies try to save face by proclaiming the firing individuals who have been pointed out in public, as if they acted upon their own free will. It is clear as day that this is AOL company policy. Hell, you can't even find what to do to cancel your account on their website. I think it should be illegal for companies do manipulate people into keeping their account or brushing it aside at the hope that they might forget and be charged.

Every single time I've called AOL to cancel my account over the past few years (two trials - about five calls in total because I hang up out of annoyance) they ALL act the same exact way. One guy was even a cynic towards me, he said "So you signed up just for the sake of signing up" (since I hardly used the service at all.)


Vic your back...
By bob5820 on 6/21/2006 5:01:14 PM , Rating: 2
Here's a useless bit of information stuck in my head, Vic Ferrari was Latka's (Andy Kaufman's)pompous alter ego on the TV show Taxi. Not hear to defend AOL by any means, just find it kind of funny. I have no doubt that this is AOL's practice, what I have a hard time believing is that they think they can fool anyone by blaming it on the CSR.

Normal practice at AOL
By xstylus on 6/21/2006 6:22:04 PM , Rating: 2
At AOL it's tough as nails to cancel an account. Representatives are given bonuses for each customer they salvage.

Those of you former AOL users out there, how many more months did they bill you after you called to cancel? Yeah, that's right.

Is Earthlink any better?
By breethon on 6/21/2006 7:21:31 PM , Rating: 2
I noticed when you buy a dell they throw in a free 6 month subscription to either AOsmelL or Earthlink. Wondering if they are any better? Otherwise, don't buy a dell, or you may be screwed based on this article!

Normal at many ISP's
By GreenEnvt on 6/21/2006 9:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
I worked at a call center for 4 years, for clients including Comcast, @Home, and TW Roadrunner.

We always had customer retention policies, like offer a free month. This CSR does take it too far though, our policy was always to offer once, but if they asked again, to go ahead and cancel it.

An Idea
By pata2001 on 6/21/2006 9:36:39 PM , Rating: 2
How about every single person that wants to cancel AOL, record the conversation just like that, and send it to their local news. This will expose that the CSR conversation is actually AOL's company policy. In fact, how about everybody start signing up using the free CDs, and than record the conversation when cancelling. With hundreds of news like this, let's see what AOL will do.

Army Of Lamers
By Griswold on 6/22/2006 5:06:21 AM , Rating: 2
Still fits.

By Staples on 6/22/2006 7:51:31 AM , Rating: 2
Ever time I have ever called AOL to cancel I have had to deal with crap like this each time. I love how the leter says that it was an issolated incident. If this customer had called and wanted to cancel and it was then cancelled without question asked, now that would be an issolated incident.

An easy way to cancel accounts
By AncientPC on 6/22/2006 10:05:47 AM , Rating: 2
I've always avoided dealing with cancellation hassles by simply stating that I'm moving to a different city/state/country.

Ironically, when I've tried to cancel TimeWarner Cable they don't try very much to keep my account.

AOL Saves department
By rcc on 6/22/2006 1:27:31 PM , Rating: 2
When my soon to be ex moved from CA to MO, she asked me to cancel her AOL service since she had no phone. Being far to nice a guy, I did, well, I tried.

It took about 15 minutes, along the lines of the conversations reported above. When asked why, I told the CSR "because she moved into the country and has no phone or any other way to connect to the service. After a little more BS they agreed to cancel.

Several months later I received a letter from AOL to the Ex for late payment (she had canceled the credit card) on the canceled account.

I called them up and explained that the account had been canceled, etc. And got oh no, that's not possible, there is nothing in our records that shows you called, and the account was used last month. If you don't pay the bill promptly, we will have to suspend your service and send the bill to collections.

Evidently when one of the kids was visiting Grandma she logged into the account on a secondary screen name, and it let her. So they back billed for the intervening months against a canceled credit card.

So after arguing with her for a while, I gave up and hung up on her.

More months down the road, and another notice from AOL threatening to turn this "delinquent" account over to collections. I called again, no doubt because I hadn't had enough frustration in my week. During this call I insisted on talking to a manager, and after being told several times that there was no manager on duty, they finally found one.
They still insisted that there was no record of my first call, furthermore, there was no record of my second call either. After about 45 minutes the best I could get was an offer to reduce the amount "owed" by half.

I shipped the whole mess to the Ex and told her it was her problem. I told her not to get it in the first place.

I was a charter member of AOL, when I canceled that account, it took 2 minutes and was quite pleasant. Obviously things have changed a bit. I guess once you rename the customer service department or cancellation department the "Save" department, it's all down hill.

By liofun on 6/23/2006 2:24:03 AM , Rating: 2
I'm gonna cancel my aol account tomorrow and see what happens, I think I might play the audio of that guy's conversation in the'll let y'all know what they do

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