AOL - AOL Billing - billing plan changed from unlimited to base plus charge per minute - resulting in $ 484.00 bill for one month

Posted on Sunday, May 26th, 2002 at 12:00am CDT by a66de67a

Company: AOL

Category: Internet Services

The following has been submitted to the Indiana BBB, the Allen County Bar Association, 20/20, Dateline and 60 Minutes II from myself about my horrific experience with AOL Billing and Fraud Department: I have a story that you may be interested in. I know that you probably receive all kinds of emails with stories that viewers want to be seen or heard, so all I can do is hope that maybe this rattles someone's interests there. My story is about the absolute horrible experience that I have had with AOL.

Just cutting to the basics. I was given a computer in 11-01 by my father. I started with AOL's $23.90 Unlimited Access pricing plan. In the end of 1-02 I lost my job. I am a was now a single, unemployed mother of two children (5 and 2 yrs of age) I called AOL in 2-02 to cancel my online account. They gave me the opportunity to stay online with them for two months free "until I found a job." I agreed. In 5-02 I had to set up a payment arrangement with my mortgage company due to a pending pre-foreclosure. After that huge fear, I started to see the end of all my "issues" and really started to feel I was going to be OK. Until 5-20-02 , I went to my bank to make my house payment and noticed that my account was very low. I had the bank print out a history upon where I found a checking debit from AOL for $484.29. Of course. I was shocked to say the least. I was afraid somehow I had put some type of information online and someone was stealing money from my checking account. I immediately returned home and got online with AOL's billing department. The first email transaction from AOL basically stated that "I submitted an online request on 3-6-02 to change my pricing plan from $23.90 Unlimited monthly access to $4.95 for three hours and $2.50 for each hour over that time. "I demanded a copy of such request and was told that online requests were "confidential to AOL" that I could not have a copy. I was told this by three representatives of AOL's billing department. I then called AOL and demand resolve.

My question to them in requesting resolve (Full Reimbursement) was as follows: looking at my history of online use from 11-01 to present why on earth would I knowingly or intentionally make that change? The $484.29 charge is for approximately one month of on line use with AOL. They gave me the famous "Oh, I agree, we'll have a manager contact you within 24 hours for resolve." After 24 hours I had received absolutely no contact from AOL, so I called again demanding to speak to a supervisor or manager. There was obviously a huge mistake that needed to be corrected immediately. That manager agreed to give me two months of fee buy down, basically 2 months free but that a refund was out of the question "because every time that you log off of AOL (the lower left hand portion of the screen) will tell you how many minutes you've been online and what your pricing plan is."

My response to this was "If I am under the impression that I am on an unlimited plan and have been for five months why would I pay attention to that." To which their response was, "Sorry we have already collected your money there is nothing more we can do." The CSR that hand original took the call "off the record" advised me to go to my bank and fight it. I did go to my bank they were more than will to cash back the $484.29 to AOL after hearing my story. I returned from the bank furious to say the least. I called AOL again, while waiting on hold for a department head the CSR told me that my AOL file had notes that AOL's Fraud department had attempted to call my on 5-17-02 because my bill was so high. I was so relieved, they obviously were aware there was a mistake and I had just been dealing with the wrong department. I called AOL's Fraud department. I was told some scenario about "if I put my credit card number online and then I give my brother my password and he charges something to my account I am responsible for his charges." I asked what the outcome of their attempted contact to me on 5-17-02 was (I have previous Call Center/Customer Service experience and a very familiar with a Call Log.)

AOL's respond to this was, we do not keep record, our record just says we attempted to contact you, you do not record beyond the attempted contact. My response was "How could you contact me when I have been told by 5-7 AOL employees that my phone number was not attached to my file?" Their response was "Well, it is now!" I have absolutely no recourse here. I have contacted the Indiana Allen County Bar Association and the BBB. They both agree that AOL is in the wrong, but again I am a single, unemployed mother of two I have no means of hiring an attorney that would be willing to "take one" AOL over $484.29. What AOL has done to me and I am sure others is not right. I'm not so sure it is even legal. All I asked them for was to keep their one month payment of $23.90 and refund the remaining immediately and in so many words was told "it is our word against yours, you gave us your account information to allow us to do this." Any suggestions, any advise, any help at this point would be life saving! I am dumbfounded to say the least. They have even so much as to make me doubt myself. "Am I not getting something, did I miss something along the way, could they possible be right?" I am a faithful viewer and am very desperate to stop this practice of AOL as I am sure I am not the only victim. Thank you for your time.

Jill


1 Comment

0b0ade22, 2008-01-06, 03:45PM CST

i would contact the attorney general of the state in which you live and see if you can file a compaint; also, the FTC, federal trade commision.

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