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May 13, 2005

AOL WARNING!

-- by Dave Johnson

I want to let everybody know about the danger of using AOL: You can't start an account without giving them a credit card number, it is nearly impossible to cancel, and if you cancel they continue to charge your account anyway and won't refund your money.

I had the misfortune of trying a trial account in November for reasons I don't want to get into. I didn't like it, and tried to cancel. You can't cancel online. I called, did the whole half-hour's worth of nonsense they put me through, and finally cancelled. That was in November. Guess what?

I noticed today that they are still charging my account $25 per month. (Remember I just moved, so I hadn't been checking the charges on my account for the last couple months. The charges started in March.) I called. Several times I was told to call different numbers or was transferred to incorrect departments. I encountered severely hostile people. I encountered people who reminded me of timeshare-condo sales in Mexico, trying to talk me out of cancelling.

In the end I (think I) was able to cancel again and got a promise that SOME of the charges will be reversed - in 3 to 5 days - but then they told me that I have to write to a special address to get the rest of my money back! Is this fraud, or what?

AOL is the most fraudulent company I have encountered, next to MCI. MCI used to regularly somehow switch my long distance away from the carrier I had signed up with over to them, and in the process would charge me more than triple what the other service had been charging. They were just as hostile on the phone and difficult to get my money back. Three times. Let's see how many times I have to repeat this cancellation process with AOL.

I'm writing this because I am pissed off and because I bet AOL didn't think about how blogs can get the word out to lots of people.

Update - See AO-Hell. And see this. And The long goodbye...

Warn everyone you know to stay away from AOL!!!

Posted by Dave Johnson at May 13, 2005 7:22 PM

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Comments

I honest to G-d had to cancel the credit card to get rid of them and I filed complaints with every state and Federal agency I could think of, to no avail.

Trying to get a postal address out of them to send them a notarized, written statement that the account had been cancelled was worse then pulling teeth.

Posted by: Bryan at May 13, 2005 8:06 PM

The only time you can ever get anyone on the phone in customer service who speaks perfect English, without a trace of an Indian accent, is when you call to cancel.

I was paying with a checking account and had to close the account to get rid of them.

Posted by: fdtate at May 13, 2005 8:53 PM

Hey it could be worse.

Years ago, I signed up for NiftyServe on my credit card. It was a major rival to AOL in Japan, I only signed up because it was the only place I could download some updates for some obscure Japanese software I owned. I downloaded what I wanted, then I sent a cancellation order before the first month's service was up. I got charged again the next month. I tried to cancel every way I knew, but I kept getting charges each month on my card. So I called the credit card company and cancelled that card and had a new card issued. I figured that if the card was dead, they'd try to bill me, get rejected, and cancel the account for nonpayment.

The next month, I got two credit card bills, one for the old number, one for the new. The old one had another monthy NiftyServe charge. I figured, OK, well this is the last bill I'll ever get, maybe they got in under the wire. Wrong. The next month, I STILL got a bill on the old card and the new card. So I called up the card company, I reminded them I did NOT want to accept charges from this company, it's why I cancelled the card in the first place.
Next month: no bill from NiftyServe. Finally.

Posted by: Charles at May 13, 2005 9:20 PM

I have not had AOL for years but see their handy work when I work on other peoples computers. You can't get it all out and I usually have to reformat the hard drive. It's like a virus

Posted by: Ron Beasley at May 13, 2005 9:45 PM

They nailed me a few years back, they're busy cheating my poor mom right now, AND they donate 60% to Republicans!

There is a woman in Great Falls, Mt. who was able to sue them--there is a website, sorry I don't remember what that shares how they did it.

Posted by: grannyinsanity at May 14, 2005 1:39 AM

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