And You Thought You Had A Hard Time Cancelling!

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If you’ve already hard about the guy who had the worst time ever cancelling his AOL account… and recorded the entire conversation, then skip the rest of this post. Otherwise, turn down the volume in your office cubicle and watch this:

I have never had a CSR this bad before, and I’ve cancelled hundreds of things. He does employ my usual tactics though. The answer to any question is “[Please] Cancel My Account.” Usually quickens things up considerably.

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  1. I saw this earlier this week, funny but not surprising. I actually used the aol free time for a month last year when I my cable connection was down for awhile. When I tried to call to cancel it took a long time and and was pretty frustrating. I realllllly wish now I had taped the conversation like this guy.

    The guy I spoke with for over 10 minutes wasn’t as rude but he was as persistent. I think I ended up arguing with him for several minutes about how great and useful the aol software was. Obviously, I did not agree with his assessment. I do remember having to repeat over and over like this guy to cancel before he finally went into the mandatory paragraph they have to say before they actually cancel it.

  2. Costumer Service is not longer that, it has turned into Company Service… Companies, Banks, etc do not longer worry about thier clients but only about “their” needs.

    I just had an awful experience at Bank of America with a Client Service Rep at thier office. He made me so mad that I ended up closing the account. Although it has been a hassle (swithcing) my direct deposit, bank to bank transefers, automatic debits) etc… I am glad I did. I have very stong convictions and by no means am I going to stay some place they don’t treat me with respect….

    It is sad, but I hope that companies come to their senses soon and figure out that if they don’t treat people with respect, they might just leave… I know I am not going to make a big difference in BoA P&L but I feel good about making my point.

  3. That’s the key, never answer any of their questions!

    “What didn’t you like about the account?”

    “Nothing, I just want to close it”

    Otherwise, it’s just an ‘in’ to talk some more. Now, if you actually want some sort of retention bonus, then you may want to say something more thoughtful. For example, if you complain that the annual fee is too high, they may just lower it or even waive it for you.

  4. Why don’t they go to the root of the problem. In this case, AOL. What is thier policy? Do they penalizes CSRs if they get a certain # of cancellations?

    Its too bad the guy got fired…but was it really his fault? Did he perhaps near his “quota” and just was hoping this guy hung up?

    I wonder.

  5. AOL must be real desperate to keep people now lol

  6. I always tell them that I’m moving overseas and I’m never coming back to the states. You can’t believe how fast it’ll take if you say that.

  7. thanks for posting this. i didn’t know about it (this particular one. aol problems = yes, i knew…).

  8. Interesting comment about how the guy ended up being fired: “he brought it on himself.” True on some level, I’m sure, but I wonder what AOL’s internal policies are for their reps that would make them act this way in the first place. If his job description just told him to be nice and give the customer what they want, I don’t think he’d be that aggressive trying to prevent the cancellation. So ultimately AOL probably fired him for doing exactly what they told him to do… but being so unfortunate as to be recorded doing it.

  9. I think both AOL and the guy should share the blame. AOL most likely measures performance by the number of cancellations, but this guy clearly went a bit on the rude side.

    I’ve cancelled AOL myself oh, about 10 times. 🙂 I used to sign up every year for the free Six Flags tickets they offered members. But I never had it this bad. Or maybe AOL is getting more desperate, as I haven’t signed up in a few years.

  10. Try cancelling from Vonage……There is NO option on faqs or the emails they send you for “account cancellation”:

  11. My first internet service provider was aol,I cancelled my account in writing,I did receive a confirmation letter a weekl later,I put it in my file folder. Yes they did try to call several times but I screened the calls,eventually it stopped.

    What I also find annoying is those aol trial cd’s that they mail to you,I can’t believe that they are still in business with the staggering amount of subscribers that they have lost in the past few years.

  12. CR guy was a scapegoat of aggressive AOL policy. Applying the incentive theory here, I dont think CR would haggle so much with the customer without any incentive which means AOL promotes the culture of making it harder for customers to cancel. It would be interesting to see how easy it has now become to cancel your AOL account.

  13. Hey, MSD. I’m going to try your method the next time I try to cancel a service over the telephone!

  14. What is the problem here? Wow, I guess I have become desensitized to this type of experience. I consider this the NORM when canceling via a customer service rep. Especially, if they are based overseas.

    I, like some others, think the rep was just following AOL policy and got fired because he was unlucky enough to have been recorded and the caller took his case to the media. You know I still don’t know what his problem was with the rep.:-)

  15. I?m so pleased by this blog on customer service. I have been having such difficulty with what should be the most simplest of things. I had to have my address and phone number changed with the Bank of America two years ago and I recently found out that this information was not current (at the same B of A branch!). I had to change my information again, and upon receiving our new checks, the information was incorrect. I must have spent an hour on the phone listening to automated systems and speaking with customer service reps. With all the hype on security and identity theft, if someone were to have hacked into Bank of America in order to steal my information, they wouldn?t have obtained the most up-to-date information.

  16. Bigmouth says

    American Consumerism is 2nd to none in the universe. Have you guys ever tried to return something or cancel a service agreement “overseas”? Even in Canada?

    My brother tried to return a HP All-in-one printer brought from Future Shop (kinda like BestBuy in Canada) only a week after he purchased it and couldn’t get the driver working on his laptop. The store clerk gave him a lot of suspicious looks and made him feeling guilty. They made it sounded like he went way out of the line by trying to return an open item…

    So, American consumers, count your blessings while been amused by this video… (my name is not John)

  17. Anonymous says

    Bigmouth, that’s why we live in America and not Canada. 😉

  18. I actually worked at AOL several years ago. I did technical support, but the “Saves” department was on the same floor.

    There was tons of pressure to retain the customers calling in to cancel. Those reps were expected to save 2 out of every 3 people that called to cancel and it became common practice for the reps after failing to convince a customer to stay, to just give them a free month and not cancel their account as they said they would. Their stats showed a “save”, and they kept their job.

    It’s always been AOL’s business plan. Make it as easy as possible to sign up (how many AOL disks have you received?) and make it as hard as possible to cancel.

  19. There are a quite few CSRs as bad as this “John” out there. How can one be so sure that this “John” was actually fired for this? He may have left the company for other reasons. Or he may have received promotion for his effort to retain a customer. Who knows?

  20. I’ve had the interesting experience of calling to cancel and getting offered a free month because their “computers were down” and they couldn’t finish processing my request to cancel. The next time I called, same thing (“computers down. . . but, we’ll give you a free month and you can call back again to cancel”). Clearly, they’re doing what it takes to get a “save” . . . but, after pointing out that the computers seemed to be down every time I called (and asking to speak to a supervisor), they magically had no problem canceling. I think the CSR could tell i was perturbed and that I knew the procedure. There are extensive writings posted around the internet about people having abnormal difficulties canceling their AOL account. It’s probably smart business on AOL’s part, but it pisses off customers something fierce. . .

  21. I am sure this is something the NYS Attorney General would like to know about. NYSAG sued AOL and their settlement included new cancellation and “save” policies (however, it doesn’t cover the TRYING to cancel process).

    I still think the NYSAG might want to know though:

    120 Broadway
    New York, New York 10271
    (212) 416-8433

    The settlement document is on their website somewhere.

  22. Fatwallet thread for hard to find numbers

    Get human DB:

    These might help ppl that hate the automated system.

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