The New Tactic: Turn a Cancellation into a Renewal AOL Style

Did you hear one about the guy who wanted to cancel his AOL account? It took him 15 minutes to get to a real human, 2 minutes of "cancel the account" saying it one word at a time, being subjected to upteen assertions of how much he uses his account, accused of being obstinate and not appreciating how the rep was trying to help him since keeping the account was in his (whose his?) best interest. (I heard this conversation on the Bill Carroll show on CFRB. The video is on the Today Show website in the list at the bottom of the page -- sorry no direct link.)

Smart man he taped the whole conversation; wonder if he'd tried before?

It reminds me of when I tried to cancel the Toronto Star. The first time I called and said I wanted to cancel because of poor delivery service, I was told no problem. The nice customer rep went on to say that she'd have the manager call me (the manager who's in charge of the carriers). Little did I know that was code for no cancellation! Next time I called to cancel, I was savvier, so when the nice rep said he'll have the manager call me, I said, that's great, I still want my paper was cancelled. My paper was cancelled. (Hey! I just heard Bill say that when he cancelled the Star, he got 3 months free!! I wasn't given that offer; then again, I wouldn't have taken it cause that would have been 3 more months of being woken up at 5:00 am. Just because it would be for free wouldn't have made it better.)

Then there's Bell's version. You can do everything on-line EXCEPT cancel a feature. You can't even do that via the Live Help. Bell forces you to go through voice mail hell in order to cancel the feature. Once you get a human, they give you a bit of the AOL-type grief, but at least they didn't turn it around into making me the bad guy for insisting on cancelling. I don't know what I'd have done if I'd had to deal with a rep like the one at AOL. One wonders why we don't all unplug from telephone, newspaper, cable, web companies en masse until they start serving us!


Aaron said…
Crazy stuff.

The worst for me was a couple years back when I subscribed to so I could watch live baseball games. The technology wasn't ready, and probably still isn't today.

Anyway, when I decided to cancel, and go back to only listening to games; for a nice cheap yearly fee, I waited hours on several occasions, and I was one of thousands. I eventually found out how to do it via the website; under subscriptions, click live chat or whatever.

Then I blogged the experience and helped others.

I still find it odd that you can't just cancel services but that's Mr. P -- Mr. Perfection -- speaking again. LOL!

Hope the air is great where you are. In Saint John, N.B., I can breathe better than I could in Toronto and Montreal, but we have a smelly pulp mill; though it doesn't smell as much as when I was last here a decade ago, and it's supposedly going to get cleaned more one of these years.
"I still find it odd that you can't just cancel services"

I think me and the rest of the continent are with you on that!

Blogging about how you solved it is a help to others, I find, but it's also great to vent the frustration of the experience. One of the great benefits of blogging I've found! :D

The air was great yesterday; today hot and thick. Ugh. I haven't been to Saint John in years and years but remember the smell. Hopefully they'll clean the mill sooner rather than later.

Thanks for your comment!