Arrogant AOL Rep Refuses To Cancel Service-ON TAPE!
06-22-2006 01:26 AM
Arrogant AOL Rep Refuses To Cancel Service-ON TAPE!
At AOL, 'cancel' just doesn't click
The Internet provider certainly isn't alone in its zeal to keep customers, but now its persistence has been caught on tape.
By SUSAN ASCHOFF, Times Staff Writer
Published June 22, 2006
All Vincent Ferrari wanted to do was cancel his AOL service. But tales of AOL's reluctance to let customers go are legendary. So Ferrari decided to record his phone call.
Audio of the six-minute conversation, recorded a week ago between Ferrari and an AOL customer service representative named John, has been making the rounds on the Internet. AOL has issued an apology and says the employee is no longer with the company. On Wednesday, the Today show's Matt Lauer interviewed Ferrari and asked if he felt bad that John was fired. Not so much, he replied.
Ferrari's Web site, www.insignificantthoughts. com, has been slammed with traffic. To listen to the audio, go to Putfile - AOL Cancellation. The transcript below, with minor edits for length, comes from digg.com.
Customer Service Representative: Hi, this is John at AOL. How may I help you today?
Vincent: I want to cancel my account.
CSR: Sorry to hear that. Let's pull your account up here real quick. Can I have your name, please?
Vincent: Vincent Ferrari
CSR: 'K, Vincent . . . All right, thank you very much. Okay. You've had this account for a long time.
Vincent: I just don't use it anymore.
CSR: Okay. Well actually, I'm showing a lot of usage on this account.
Vincent: Yeah, a long time ago. Not recently.
(Here the service rep asks about another user name that belongs to Ferrari's dad.)
CSR: Well, what's causing you to want to turn this off today? I mean obviously, I mean . . .
Vincent: I don't use it and he doesn't use it, so we're canceling it. . . . I don't need it. I don't want it. I just don't need it anymore.
CSR: Well, on June 2nd, this account was signed on. It's been on for 72 hours. On June 2nd.
Vincent: I don't know how to make it any clearer . . .
CSR: Last month was 545 hours of usage.
Vincent: I don't know how to make this any clearer, so I'm just going to say it one last time. Cancel. The. Account. Please.
CSR: Well explain to me what's, wha, why . . .
Vincent: I'm not explaining anything to you. Cancel. The. Account.
CSR: Wha, what's the matter, Vincent? We're just . . . I'm just trying to help here.
Vincent: You're not helping me. Helping me would be . . .
CSR: I am trying to help . . .
Vincent: Listen! I called to cancel the account. Helping me would be canceling the account. Please help me and cancel the account.
CSR: No, it wouldn't actually . . .
Vincent: Cancel my account!
CSR: Turning off your account . . .
Vincent: Cancel! The! Account! Ca-
CSR: Would be the worst thing that . . .
Vincent: Cancel! The account.
CSR: Is your dad there?
Vincent: My dad? I'm the primary paying, I'm the primary person on the account.
CSR: 'K, 'cause I'm just trying to secure . . .
Vincent: CANCEL THE ACCOUNT! I don't know how to make this any clearer for you. . . . When I say cancel the account, I don't mean figure out how to help me keep it, I mean cancel the account!
CSR: Uh . . . I'm sorry. I don't know what anybody's done to you, Vincent . . .
Vincent: You're annoying the s--- out of me! That's what you're doing to me.
CSR: And that goes both ways, my friend.
Vincent: Good. Could you please . . . ?
CSR: All I'm . . . all right. Someday, when you calm down, you're going to realize that all I was trying to do was help you, and it was actually in your best interest to listen to me . . .
CSR: And when that epiphany happens, why don't you just give us a call back.
Vincent: Okay. Yeah, great.
CSR: As I process your cancellation request, I have to tell you about a free benefit available for valued members like yourself . . .
Vincent: Don't want it! I know the drill, I don't even want it. Don't even bother.
CSR: If you want me to cancel this account, you're going to let me speak, and give this paragraph. Okay? . . . But, you're going to listen to me if you want this turned off. So. Can I speak now?
Vincent: Go right ahead.
CSR: Thank you! Appreciate that. As I process your cancellation request, I'd like to tell you about a free benefit available to valued members like yourself . . .
06-22-2006 02:17 AM
Went through this myself about 4 years ago with AOL. They kept charging my bank account and I couldn't get the damn service cancelled. Worst ****in company ever.
06-22-2006 04:49 AM
I got them to cancel mine a few years ago, without toooo much hassle, but it was a pain. It took me forever to find anywhere on their site on how to cancel, only to find that you have to call them. I hadn't used it in months, and they still tried numerous times to get me to stay on. How many times can you say 'I don't use it, need it, or want it'?? ...a few dozen in my case, but they finally did. Reconnect mailings offering special savings started coming in the mail not too long after that (of course they didn't come with the handy free cd/dvd cases).
Originally Posted by Jayhawkk
06-22-2006 08:05 AM
Morons just plain old morons.
I worked an ISP helpdesk for a year and it's a matter of practice to attempt to extend a client or provide some kind of compensation for poor service, personally i would cancel any account at the drop of a hat - just meant 1 last person would be calling for support.
06-22-2006 10:06 AM
Moronic rep but honestly, it's the company. The last company I worked for, left recently in fact, was responsible for monitoring service calls for companies and providing feedback, rating hard and soft communication skills, stuff like that. Unfortunately most companies don't give a **** about their service departments. The main reason is that departments are a short term loss no matter what, essentially it's their job to lose accounts and to extend free service for a time or discounts as compensation for ****ty service. Plus, they give these reps scripts, literally paragraphs long sometimes, that the rep has to read, word for word, regardless of what the customer is saying or demanding, regardless of the customer's level of irritation. If the reps don't get the scripts out, they fail on their ratings for the call and eventually lose their job after a certain amount of ratings. The companies feel a customer hang up is better than them not completing the scripts and rate along those lines. And yes, AOL was one of the companies we dealt with.
I worked for that department for a little while, got out as soon as I could. The way the ratings criteria are developed was ridiculous, managers often didn't pass when dealing with real customers. Companies basically are either so detatched from reality that they think giving their reps a book to read to customers before they allow any accoutn action is good, or just don't give a ****. Sometimes it's legal requirements too though, state and federal regs require the disclosure of certain facts before any action can be taken on accounts. Just basically a ****ty situation all around.
06-22-2006 11:07 AM
I was getting pissed off just listening to it!!
06-22-2006 11:47 AM
well what he was trying to do for vinny was this... if you call to cancel your account.. you are given the option to keep the account as is for only 4.95 a month.. but.. .he cannot go right out and say it... AOL wants to keep as many people as they can to look at the ads on their browsers.. thats where they make their money...
but holy F how annoying was that
06-22-2006 11:49 AM
I can't listen till I get home, but the transcript was great AOHELL at it's finest!
06-22-2006 12:27 PM
Them Jerks, I went thru something similar years ago, its run by nazi's
06-22-2006 01:21 PM
I'm no fan of new laws but I definitely support a law that requires immediate termination of contract upon a valid request to do so. Technically it's probably alread legally required, AOL just doesn't give a damn.
One strategy that works though is to call up, let them know you are taping the conversation, even if you're not, and then demand cancellation. The reps usually know how shady the practices the companies ask them to use are, and get nervous if they think they'll get called on it. Internal recording is viewed as a threat if they don't do what the company says, external records are a threat if they do do what the company says. They think they'll end up as a scapegoat fire, like this guy did. Doubtless had he not been recorded and publically exposed he would have gotten a high five from his supervisor and moderate to good call rating from the company, his attitude being the only thing that would have brought it down.
You want true examples of bad customer service over the phone, the Washington Mutual mortgage service line used to be ****, probably still is. Most of the reps couldn't tell you what a variable rate meant. CitiBank sucks too, especially since they outsourced to Mumbai(sp?) and you can barely understand the reps. Some of their centers are still in the US though, one is in Tampa FL and it's a sales service center where they pull **** like this guy did.
06-22-2006 02:29 PM
Went through a similar deal a few years back where they started charging my card again after 3 months...
My GF had just about the same experience as the one listed above. Hers was even better. After she thought it was cancelled, she cancelled the credit card it was being charged to. So a year later she gets a bill from Collections. When she called, she spoke to someone with an "accent" that referred to himself as "John Smith," and his manager was conveniently not available. It got to the point where they were just yelling at each other, and she got pissed and hung up.
I thought the same thing, this had to be illegal. She filed a report with the Better Business Bureau, and BBB sent her a letter a month or two later confirming that it had been dismissed
06-22-2006 07:26 PM
I experience the same problem three years ago. I wanted to go DSL with another company and AOL wanted me to keep their service. They were debating with me why I should keep their service. They were telling me about all their bells and whistles. They told me it would be a good idea to keep them and my new DSL service. They even said they will give me a price cut. He even said they didn't want me to leave the AOL family because I been in the AOL family for years. I felt like I was trying to get out of the MOB. I think my call last up to 15 minutes.
So, I can relate to that caller frustration.
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