The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

5 July 2006

Weasels we have heard on high

Make sure you must always buy. A particularly-heinous example:

I cancelled my AOL account over the weekend. The CSR was polite enough, although he got quite defensive when I said I wanted to make sure the account was actually cancelled, rather than just put on a suspended billing list for a while.

He told me that after I cancelled, I could still sign on via AOL's Web interface to check mail on that account. He then said that he would be sending an e-mail cancellation notice to that address, and specifically urged me to sign on to make sure I got the notice. I told him that I didn't want the e-mail address to remain active, because I wanted to make sure that my less-attentive friends who sent mail to that address got a bounce. He seemed sort of nonplussed, but admitted that the address wouldn't actually be activated until I signed on for the first time. He also said that I'd get a paper copy of the cancellation notice snail-mailed within a couple of weeks.

Then he transferred me to the boilerplate-bot, which told me that if I signed on to check my "free" e-mail I would be reactivating my AOL account and authorizing monthly billing.

So they tell you that it's free, urge you to sign in to make sure you've been "cancelled," and if you don't listen carefully to the disclaimer at the end of the call you wind up back in AOL's clutches. Verily, these are some wacky guys.

Not even Karl Rove in all his majesty was as devious as this.

Posted at 8:26 AM to Dyssynergy

What, you think Karl just lies around doing nothing on weekends?

Posted by: McGehee at 11:04 AM on 5 July 2006

Stories like this infuriate me beyond all reason. Not only for their ill gotten gains, but almost as much for the amount of "our" time they waste in the whole process. AOL is not the only one, you know. I could riff a few credit card companies and subscription websites with similarly scurrolous practices.


Posted by: Jennifer at 3:36 PM on 5 July 2006