Almost any complaint against AOL can be resolved if you keep good records and are persistent enough. Stay on top of it. Keep calling AOL and telling them you are writing honest online reviews about them until you know the issue is resolved. Important: Keep a paper trail with notes about what was said during phone calls, hang onto cancellation confirmation letters and/or bills received after you cancel and, if possible and legally permissible in your state, tape calls to AOL. If you can’t legally tape your calls or simply don’t feel comfortable doing so your next best bet may be to live-blog or quickly recap and post your conversations with AOL to your Twitter and/or Facebook page.
Your paper trail should include:
- Time and date of your calls to AOL.
- Master Account AOL screen names you’re canceling.
- Names, email addresses, clock numbers and/or shift numbers of AOL reps and supervisors you spoke to and brief notes about what was said.
- Your cancellation confirmation number. If you don’t have one but you did try to cancel you can still file a complaint.
- Any reason AOL reps and/or supervisors gave you for refusing to cancel your account.
You should also have on hand:
- Copies of letters asking AOL to cancel your account.
- Copies of any audiotapes of your calls to AOL.
- Your cancellation confirmation letter. Expect one within 2-10 days of your phone call or letter; if it doesn’t show up you can still file a complaint.
The BBB resolves most complaints they get about AOL (see this BBB Reliability Report for stats) but they won’t enforce law, impose fines or sanctions, or file a lawsuit for you. You’ll see that the BBB’s complaint form asks, “What steps would you like [AOL] to take to resolve this situation?” Say that you don’t want AOL to resolve it with free service or reduced rates. Say that you simply want your AOL account canceled, then list any refund AOL owes you for over-billing or over-payment.
You should also file a complaint with your State Attorney General’s Office. Your state’s AG can get your AOL account canceled and get your money back for you, too! It’s come to my attention that any Attorney Generals who get “enough” complaints about AOL also may take action (that is, they may file a lawsuit against AOL) in the future.
The FTC is also good to complain to, but make sure you complain to the BBB and your State Attorney General first since the FTC doesn’t step in on a case-by-case basis. If the FTC gets enough complaints about AOL, they are likely to file suit on every AOL customer’s behalf, just as they’ve done before.
You can also use the following contact info to file a complaint with AOL’s Program Director Heidi Jongquist (she’s in charge of AOL Customer Service dispute resolution):
Attn: Heidi Jongquist, Program Director
Regulatory Order Compliance
PO Box 65571
Sterling, VA 20165-8806
Further Reading: See my How-to Section for more ways to get AOL out of your life.