I received a full year of AOL free as part of a beta testing program at work. Yep, free for one year. In case you didn’t get that, no charge for one year. I couldn’t turn down free. I just had to accept it. It was free! Free!
OK, I am with you, even free AOL blows. I feel dirty fo accepting a free AOL account. Next time I feel the urge to accept anything free from AOL, I will take up crack smoking instead.
Yesterday, I tried to cancel my free account. I thought to myself, "Self, we should cancel our freaking worthless AOL account." I replied, "Yeah, it sure would make me feel better about myself in the online world. I fee so dirty with AOL on my computer." So, I tell myself, "Self, let’s find the cancellation page." I searched for "cancel this crappy service" and it found the link that I wanted. I clicked on the link and it says that the only way to cancel AOL is to:
- Call the 800 number (it is really an 888 number) and let them grill you and provide additional peer pressure (everyone is doing it, AOL is OK, just ask your friends) to try to force you to keep the account
- Mail your request to a snailer address (haven’t they heard of freaking email?) and they will cancel the account after reading it and evaluating your ability to use a spell checker
- Fax the request (again, haven’t they heard of email?)
In all three situations, you must provide:
- Your AOL screenname
- The last four digits of the account used to pay the bill (wait…, I never received a bill. What number should I pretend to use?)
- The answer to the account security question (no, they don’t give you the link to ask yourself the question)
Hmm, odd, AOL will let you sign up for AOL online, but they won’t let you cancel it. WTF is that about? One of the largest organizations in the world that makes its revenue by connecting confused and ignorant people to the Internet doesn’t allow those people the ability to cancel their accounts online. I guess AOL users are so bad at using the Internet that they have to use a phone, the US Postal Service, or a Fax machine to cancel their accounts. I guess faxing has been around long enough for even AOL users to know how to use a fax machine. Maybe you get a bonus refund if you use a fax machine.
So, being a royal pain, I decide to see how far I can push it and see if I can get them to cancel my account while online. I manage to get a billing expert in chat and tell them that I want to cancel my account, and I can’t use the voice activated menu (I really did have problems with it) because of my accent (I don’t have one, I was just eating ice cream at the time). So the billing expert very nicely explained to me that I must follow one of the three processes as the people in billing do not have the necessary training to handle cancellations. I guess they hire AOL users for their billing department. How much training can you possibly need to cancel an account?
Anyways, after about 20 minutes of screwing with the AOL billing specialist (I guess he had training in reading bills online and was really good at cutting and pasting answers), I finally gave into the man and cancelled AOL via the phone.
I feel so good now! It is like a 400 pound gorilla has been taken off my back. I apologize to each and every single person on the Internet for actually trying AOL. I really feel bad about it, and I promise to do my best to warn others of the evils of AOL.