Cancelling AOL

I’m late to this one – it’s been doing the rounds for over a week – but it’s fully deserving of the exposure it’s getting.

The story so far: Vincent Ferrari rings AOL to cancel his account. Knowing of their reputation, he decides to record the experience. Then the masterstroke, he posts it on his blog, insignificant thoughts.

AOL: “I’m just trying to help here”

VF: “I called to cancel the account. Helping me would be cancelling the account.”

AOL: “No it wouldn’t”

There’s a mirror of the recording here.

It gets picked up by blogs and on forums and by the local and national media including CNBC.

AOL issue an apology and sack the employee concerned, presumably the fact that he was rude ( not that they wouldn’t have scapegoated him anyway, but he made it easy for them).

What they fail to acknowledge is that is that it’s not until 3’34” that “Jonathan” crosses the line. It’s the first 3’34” that AOL should be ashamed of, when Jonathan is doing his “job”. Their response should have been a change of policy and a major retraining programme for their customer service staff. Or even just putting cancellations through to customer services rather than sales. They disregard the complaint as an atypical one-off glitch in their customer “service”.

All the same, it may do some good for these companies to know that the appaling disregard they have for their customers’ time and intelligence can so quickly gain widespread coverage. Another hooray for the internet!

About Simon Wood

Lecturer in medical education, lapsed mathematician, Doctor Who fan and garden railway builder. See for more...

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