I began using AOL on active duty around January of 2000. I used their service with no problems until August of 2001 when I deployed with the Marine Corps. I let them talk me into keeping my account active while I was deployed, so that I could utilize their services when I returned to the states. This proved to be useful although I was hesitant.
In early 2003 it was time for me to again deploy with the Marine Corps and I again wished to cancel my account with AOL, this time I was sure I needed the account closed because I no longer owned a computer, and would no longer need the services of an internet provider. After a long, frustrating conversation, my account was closed and I parted ways with the AOL business. I was assured that the checking account I was using to have automatic witdrawals to pay AOL would no longer be charged. I opened a new checking account with a new bank and informed my old bank I would be coming in as soon as possible to close my account.
My military status caused me to leave early for afghanistan, and I was there for about 4 months before I started recieving forwarded mail form AOL. The statements were informing me that my account was still active and in good standing.
I immediately contacted AOL via email, explaining my situation and demanding my account be closed. After apporximately 2 weeks I recieved a reply stating my account could not be closed unless I wrote a physical letter or called the company. Do to my location, I could not call them company so I wrote a letter included my screename, account number and signature and demanded my account closed.
A few weeks went by and I recieved a letter from AOL stating they were sorry to lose my business and my account had been closed. I thought this was the end.
In mid 2006, I accessed my fisrt credit report online. I found that I had a collection in my name for over 3 years. After extensive research I found that my old bank had a collection out for me for a overdrawn checking account. After contacting the bank, I was tols a certain company had been withdrawling monthly service fees; you guessed it AOL. I contacted the collection agency and told them my situation and asked for a few weeks to figure this out. They agreed.
Once again I contacted AOL and spoke with a lady by the name of Rachel (15 Feb2006) who worked in the billing department. After explaining my situation to her, she assured me it was a mistake on AOL's behalf and it would be corrected at no cost to me. I was assured the money would be payed back and my credit report would be exponged of the record.
The next day (16 Feb 2006) I again contacted Rachel via her aol.com email address to verify any progress. No repsonse. After another email with no reply I was forced to contact via phone. I explained my situation to a gentleman named Manuel who also worked in billing. His response was that AOL was not at fault and tat nothing could be done. I asked him about Rachel and her information and he said there was no record of that coversation!
I immediately demanded to speak to a manager and was told " the manager will talk to you but he is going to say the same thing." I was put on hold and never connected to the manager! Even after calling back and asking for a manager, I was never connected, I was on hold a total of 1 hour anf 45 minutes.
I had to pay back my bank, and my credit report is absolutely demolished by this record. I contacted the BBB and after a few weeks I received a letter from AOL saying they could do nothing for me. I can not beleive AOL can get way with this behavior, especially to those who serve.