Print 66 comment(s) - last by vingamm.. on Jun 23 at 1:39 PM

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?)

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