Leave AOL? Over its dead body!

Consumerist has a find today that's weirdly compelling, completely appalling, and perversely funny: "highlights" from an AOL customer-service manual in which the company teaches its reps to go to extreme measures to discourage customers from terminating their accounts. (I don't know for a fact that the manual is legit, but it sure looks real; Consumerist doesn't mention when it dates from, so it's unclear whether it dates from before the company got into a legal tussle with the state of New York over its response to cancellation requests.) http://consumerist.com/consumer/exclusive/aol-retention-manual-revealed-188005.php

In the wake of last month's amazing audio recording of an AOL rep browbeating a customer who was trying to leave, the company reiterated that it's cleaned up its act. But it hasn't done the one thing that would instantly make this a non issue: Allow customers to cancel online without having to deal with a human being at all. (In case anyone wonders: Yes, PC World subscribers can cancel on our site if they so choose.) http://insignificantthoughts.com/2006/06/13/cancelling-aol/

Legal tussle details are available at: http://www.oag.state.ny.us/press/2005/aug/aug24a_05.html

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Harry McCracken

PC World
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