Remember my old rants about how America Online basically lied to me? Well, they’re still at it. And I’m not sure why they keep doing this. Their dial-up members are leaving in droves. It doesn’t really help your brand when you keep deceiving people like this.
A story in the Chicago Tribune describes how a man was persuaded to keep his AOL account for just $4.95 a month which included unlimited access but ended up getting charged $1,595.69.
I didn’t get ripped off for that much. I got ripped off for one month’s membership which was around $20 at the time. What happened to me was kind of similar though. Basically I wanted to cancel. After a lot of back and forths with the service rep, he said he’d give me 3 months of free service as gratitude for being a member for so long and after that the account would be cancelled. Lo and behold after those 3 months they charged me again! At the time I was a bit less knowledgeable about credit card transactions and didn’t know about chargebacks. After much hassle, I was able to cancel the account.
So in summary, AOL still sucks. They are still basically lying to customers who want to cancel. I for one, am never going to use any products or services from AOL. With one exception though. I still use AIM to stay in touch with some people. But even with AIM, I’m not online that much anymore. The only reason I’m still on AIM, is the network effects. AIM, as an IM client actually sucks, when you compare it with Yahoo, MSN, GAIM, Skype, etc. Feature-wise, it’s so behind. I installed the newer version and had to switch back to an older version. I actually kind of prefer MSN Messenger, but not a lot of my peers are using it.