AOL settles cancellation lawsuits, again.

Get your money back from AOL

In news that’s just the old being made new again, AOL settled complaints with 48 states yesterday, according to Reuters.

The resolution announced Wednesday was driven by a deluge of complaints from AOL customers who said they tried to close their accounts, only to be thwarted in their attempts or discover they were still being billed for services that they thought had been canceled.

The outcry triggered a multi-state investigation that would have culminated in a lawsuit if AOL hadn’t agreed to ante up and change its ways, said David Tiede, a deputy attorney general in California.

California was among the states that played a leading role in the settlement. New York and Florida were the only states that didn’t participate in the inquiry.

Terms of the settlement require AOL to pay $3 million dollars, with each state getting a small chunk of that sum (somewhere in the $20,000-$40,0000 range). This sum typically covers costs incurred for each state to have their Attorney General bring charges against AOL, and to pay court and paperwork fees.

AOL is now completely prohibited from paying commission to call reps (known as Retention Specialists within in the company). The terms of their settlement with New York, made in 2005, prohibited them from allowing call reps to receive commissions per “save”; today’s agreement requires call reps to receive no commissions at all. While I know most AOL call reps will quit their jobs after this announcement, it’s still great news for any lucky AOL members who can still find someone answering the phones.

Have you had a hard time canceling AOL? Please, let me know.

If you want to cancel AOL, again, new rules should work in your favor:

  • AOL is finally prohibited from paying commission to call reps, so it should be easier now to cancel your account, since there’s no financial incentive to “save” you.
  • AOL must issue refunds to anyone who can prove they were charged monthly fees after  trying to cancel.
  • As I’ve hinted recently, there is an online cancellation form for members who want to cancel their accounts, but up until today I couldn’t find it. The only problem is, you don’t know if your account is canceled until you get a Cancellation Confirmation letter perhaps weeks later, or you see AOL is no longer dunning your credit or debit card each month.

This is, where you can could find the online form to cancel – just click here to be brought directly to it (if you’re not signed in to AOL, you will need to do so, then you will need to answer your account Security Question to see the form). For my steps on how to cancel AOL online, click here. See my How-To section for every other way under the sun to get AOL out of your life.