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 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.

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