AOL - One simple phonecall?

By Spike · 19 replies
Jun 1, 2005
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  1. After much calling of tech support in aol for an issue that's been going on for 6 months, I had enough and told them I don't want to use them any more. that was three weeks ago. I'm so upset with them that I thought I'd give an account of what should have been one simple phonecall this afternoon. It seems to be a pretty standard account of aol customer dis-service every time I call them, and so stands as fairly normal.

    All I want to do, is to get them to take their adsl flags off my line for me to sign up with another provider. Unfortunately, each of the three times the've done so, they've put it back on without my permission for some reason.

    The following is an account of this evenings attempts to get something done. It's worth noting that the fact that it ended on a promising note tonight is pretty darned unusual. I've been at this issue along with my housemate for three weeks now....

    AOL Support Calls Record – Cancelling Broadband…

    1) 01/06/2005 15:57-

    Called AOL broadband tech support on 0800 376 4406 – Call answered at 15:57.

    Speaking to Level 1 technician named Brian Armstrong. We were told that a new note had been placed by himself on he account containing some manner of cancellation code, and that the problem is that the account is not completely cancelled, contrary to what we have been told previously. However, apparently the account can now be cancelled completely with the use of this code if we call the AOL cancellations department. Unfortunately, this would not resolve the issue we had called about on its own, as we have been told by BT retail that BT wholesale had received both a Cease and a Provide order on the AOL line the previous evening. Requested to speak to a level 2 technician to investigate this and hopefully resolve the issue so as not to result in AOL getting the line re-ordered against our express wishes and consent.

    We were advised of a 13 minute delay to speak to a level 2 technician, and that there were already 10 calls in the queue, and we requested to be placed in the queue in light of this. The call was answered at 16:55, after we had spent a full 36 minutes holding in the queue.

    We were then passed through to the level 2 technician by the name of Jason. At 17:09 we were still arguing with him as to whether or not a problem even existed. He said that the system was showing no orders on the line at all and that the current line is active, insisting that there is nothing wrong in spite of the evidence of notes on their system and of the time it’s taken for us to get this far, and still we’re calling to try to get something done (3 weeks!). Also, he denied that it was possible that British Telecom could have told us earlier in the day (which they did) that there was both a CEASE and a PROVIDE instruction on our phone line for the ADSL service. BT’s advice also ties up with a phone call to an AOL supervisor made on the previous day and the promised action of phoning BT Wholesale and requesting a CEASE order. (The PROVIDE order should never have been given to BT Wholesale by AOL, but if AOL denies its existence, it’s hard to get them to cancel it!)

    The level 2 technician (Jason) put us on hold for no stated reason at 17:19. We were on hold for 10 minutes.

    At 17:29 the level 2 technician finally accepts and understands that there is in fact a problem, but he doesn’t know what it is. He recommends writing to the complaints department, claiming that only they would have the technical ability to investigate the issue. He suddenly became a lot friendlier in tone, and went looking for a manager to transfer us to, and seemingly became far more helpful than he had previously been, before putting us on hold for a further 9 mins.

    On his return, he told us that a manager would call us back within 1 hour. He was then asked to ensure that the manager was aware that the issue was of a high level of importance, and that any time waiting for the call is incredibly valuable to us, to which the technician agreed.

    Call ends 17:39


    No call received at 18:39, so a new call made to the previous number at 18:39, answered by a Lvl 1 advisor at 18:46. We demanded transfer to a manager, complaining that the promised phone call FROM a manager was not made. Placed on hold at 18:47 to await transfer and held for 5 mins until 18:51. The advisor then returned and tells us that we will be transferred to a supervisor. We advise that this is not sufficient and that we need to speak to an actual manager, not a supervisor. We are then cut off completely at 18:52.


    New call made to same number at 18:53, and answered by a lvl1 advisor at 18:57. An immediate transfer to a manager was strongly requested. The advisor told us to hold the line at 18:58 (by which time things were getting really upsetting and frustrating, and the holding music wasn’t helping the situation much). The advisor returned 4 minutes later at 19:02 and refused to transfer us to a manager, even after explanation of the situation, as managers apparently only work until 19:00, and it was now 5 minutes past that time. We demanded a supervisor instead, seeing that a supervisor would appear to be the best we could’ve possibly expected (even though we had been promised a manager would call us). The supervisor took the call at 19:07, and his name was Justin. We find that Justin is a supervisor we have previously spoken to and recalled that he has been proficient at resolving a complicated issue for us in the past. None the less, we have to explain the whole situation (again!). We then explained how badly we have been treated in terms of not only customer service, but also in terms of basic individual respect, and proceeded to explain the current situation with the Cease and Provide orders on out ADSL line.

    Justin was incredibly helpful, and agreed that he would go down to the technical office immediately, with a colleague, and investigate the systems, do his utmost to get ALL the relevant/required information from BT by whatever means possible, and take off the Provide order from our line. He said that after doing so, he would call us back to update us on the situation and leave a message on our BT answering service (1571) so that we could continue to use the dial-up internet in the meantime.

    Call ended 19:16.


    So, as you see, the situation is still unresolved. If you were thinking about using AOL despite the fact that we all know how bad they can be, then consider these phonecalls and think again. It seems that treatment like this is the norm!

    Edit: Finally, it seems, the problem has been resolved. (yes, we recieved a phonecall from Justin the supervisor!). Apparently everything is now in order, and the AOL codes will be finally off the line on the 8th of June, never to be put on again. This does remain to be seen, but there's hope! Thanks Justin! ;)
  2. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    This is extremely common - AOL make it stupidly hard to cancel, to the point where some people CAN'T cancel, as they're not pushy enough.

    However, my cable company, who are financially screwed as it is, were willing to let me cancel over the phone in under 5 minutes.. however, three months later, they haven't actually cut me off yet...
  3. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    Hello spike.

    I have found that the best way of dealing with morons like AOL, is to either write, or send them an e-mail, making sure that you keep a copy.

    If it`s a letter, send it by recorded delivery.

    Tell them that you are giving them one months notice to cancel your services.

    If after the month has expired, they still haven`t cancelled your services then done pay them any more money and cancel any direct debits.

    Believe me they`ll soon cancel. If they don`t and start to threaten you with court action. They wont have a leg to stand on because of the letter/e-mail you sent them.

    Regards Howard :grinthumb

    BTW welcome back MYOB not seen you around here for a while.
  4. hello.. have you not heard of the term CONTRACT

    people like you seem to think its acceptable to cancel just because
    of pc problems...

    so if your tv explodes does that give you the right to cancel a
    12 month sky television contact? no it certainly does not.

    a BT line provision costs about 150 uk pounds which is why you
    are tied to such contact.. it wouldnt make much business sense
    if you were able to cancel at any point wouldnt it ?
  5. Didou

    Didou Bowtie extraordinair! Posts: 4,274

    If AOL's side of the contract hasn't been fufilled, why should he keep paying ?
  6. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    That is obviously crap. If that had been the case they would have said it is to run its minimum duration.

    Spike, If you're still looking for an ISP will show you the other side of the coin.

    No connection other than a very satisfied customer. 1 year only a small prob or two which were handled with great efficiency.
  7. howard_hopkinso

    howard_hopkinso TS Rookie Posts: 24,177   +19

    No one mentioned cancelling due to pc problems.

    He just wants to cancel the service, which seems to be proving difficult.

    A contract is a two way agreement. If the service under the contract is not fulfilled, then even if the minimum term of the contract has not expired, It can legally be cancelled.

    Please get your facts correct, before automatically assuming the cutomer is at fault.

    Regards Howard :suspiciou
  8. Spike

    Spike TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 2,168

    lol. Someone here seems to work for AOL at my best guess.

    FYI, The contract on my side had already been fulfilled. The contract on their side however was not. Furthermore, as if more evidence of AOL's attitude were required, the reason it took three weeks of phonecalls every other night that were largely like the log above, is because of the shoddy customer service given by people who only know what's in their scripts, but are bgotted enough to asume the person they are talking to knows nothing about computers and it's all their fault. The second level technicians are usually pretty good - when you can eventually get through to one, as are some supervisors. However, the MANAGERS that were spoken to were rude, cendecending, and unhelpful.

    For your FURTHER information, I have recieved a WRITTEN apology from aol for the way I was treated and the way the situation was dealt with, no doubt as a result of the complaint I lodged with OfCOM and the grievance lodged with the ISPA of which AOL is a member.

    Further again, I'm happy to let you know that while I'm by no means an expert, I'm fairly competent with operating and maintaining a cmputer, certainly far more so than your average person - hence the fact that I built and currently maintain PC's for 3 friends, and quite regularly fix problems on other peoples such as virus and spyware infestations, diagnosing faulty hardware and bad setups, etc. - some of whom I'd never met previously. With this in mind, combined with my constant learning in terms of Windows, internet and IT in general, not to mention the fact that I'm a real person in the real world at 23 years old, I know darned well when the problem lies with AOL and when it lies with my machine. I may not always know what the problem is, but I'm quite capable in most situations of knowing where it lies.

    I'm just glad that there are at least some people like Justin the supervisor working there.

    Out of interest, would you be prepared to give me your department and employee, extension or logon number? after AOL issued me an official apology, I'm sure that they'd like to hear of an employee making things difficult for me with reference to that which they apologised for. Lets face it, either you work for AOL, or you just enjoy making judgemental remarks about people without reading their posts properly (aka trolling), or perhaps your just fanatical about AOL for some bizarre reason and assume you know it all. I don't mind which, but one way or the other it's not looking very good.

    Anyways, thankyou all for your help and support. AOL is now off the line completely! yay!

    As for ISP's I've signed up with for their broadband premiere service, and it's due to be turned on on Thursday. :) I've posted a link in the isp recommendations thread just a little way down the forums atm.
  9. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    In all my (many) years of computing, I have yet to meet the first person who is happy with AOL!
    I tried it out years ago, one of their many freebie-coasters with version 3 or 4 on it. Rubbish to install, even harder to get it all off again after major disappointment.
    Sock it to 'em!
  10. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    It is designed for the computer illiterate and I think they get by OK with it. Too much bagage for me to have ever considered it.
  11. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    I TOTALLY agree with Spike. The ONLY reason I used to have AOL in the past was because my wife liked it. Said it was "easy to use." I hated it! I only used to it for connection. Then used Firefox to browse. Well when AOHell would stay connected.

    Everytime my neighbor would try to cancel his service. They would give him 3 more months FREE. This was when they had their own dsl. He received free dsl for almost a year before they finally stopped it.
  12. get a grip mate... im speaking from a purely technical/long term internet user
    POV... not the comments of the company which i work for and for whom
    i do not represent.
  13. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i loathe aol. i hate everything from it's moronic commercials to the way honest people get screwed over by thier smartass support department. they even force thier own crappy browser and half-wit virus 'protection' on people. and thier service is pure garbage, especially when affordable 6mb cable is widely available michigan, illinois, indiana, and ohio. if you ask me, aol is the closest thing to sh**-on-a-disc i've ever seen advertised for.
  14. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    What AOL don't seem to have heard of is a free market - even when your contract is expired its well nigh IMPOSSIBLE to get the bastards to stop charging you

    I know someone who's still on AOL dialup from 1998 or 1999 or so. AOL pulled out of Ireland... they still have a local call dialin for Dublin for a few customers.

    The only reason they haven't left is that they don't know how - they spent a good 10 hours or so on the phone over two or three days and never got through to anyone who'd let them cancel

    These people have DSL. They're just too scared to tell the credit card company to stop paying AOL.
  15. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    If they stop paying AOL will contact them and then it will be possible to start the termination process.
  16. MYOB

    MYOB TS Rookie Posts: 492

    Thats what I've been telling them for years. Do they listen? Nope. They get worried they'll get a bad credit rating or something...

    Then again, they are *****s. I'm forever cleaning their machine of spyware, etc (and getting paid..)
  17. IronDuke

    IronDuke TS Rookie Posts: 856

    They're credit card should expire soon. Maybe this will kick thing off.
  18. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    the problem with simply not paying the bills is the impact on your credit history/record.
  19. RealBlackStuff

    RealBlackStuff TS Rookie Posts: 6,503

    Registered letters with a 30-day notice do wonders!
    You cover your A S S at the same time.
  20. zephead

    zephead TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,569

    i probably should have added: most middle-aged people in this country are downright paranoid with thier money/credit record (among other things) and telling them "just don't pay the bills" isn't going to provoke anything good on account of thier fear(s).

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