Thursday, August 05, 2004

Don't Sign up for Netzero! (or AOL)

I had this Internet provider for about a year and canceled my account several months ago when I went broadband. The monthly charge for Netzero disappeared from my credit card bill for three months and then suddenly reappeared on it last month. It had been a hassle cancelling it the first time because Netzero requires you to call and wait a long time to talk to a human in order to cancel your account. You can easily sign up online but they make canceling as difficult as possible. AOL did the same thing to me last year.

When I called back tonight to re-cancel I got a lady with a heavy Indian accent that I could barely understand. She denied that I had canceled my account and had, in fact, only asked for a two-month suspension of my account. When I insisted I had canceled my account she transferred me to cancelations. I waited 20 minutes on the phone until a polite fellow canceled my account again and said my credit card would be credited - in a couple of months. I'll believe that when I see it.

Is Netzero using this disappear and reappear tactic knowing many credit card owners don't check their bills every month? Are they counting on the difficulty of calling and waiting on the phone for long periods of time to discourage customers from getting around to the hassle of canceling - again?

When will these corporations like Netzero and AOL start treating customers with the courtesy to make cancellation of services as easy as signing up? For this reason I avoid automatic deductions from my credit card accounts if at all possible.

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