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One man’s attempt to cancel his America Online account is reverberating across the U.S. and world after the customer recorded the conversation and then posted it on his blog.
Vincent Ferrari tried to end his membership with AOL, but dealt with a company representative who apparently did not want to lose his business.
Ferrari had been told previously by others in the blogosphere that AOL customer service could be troublesome, so he recorded his conversation with a representative named John.
A partial transcript of the audio reveals the frustration Ferrari experienced as he simply wanted to end the five-year account:
AOL REPRESENTATIVE: Hi this is John at AOL … how may I help you today?
VINCENT FERRARI: I wanted to cancel my account.
AOL: Sorry to hear that. Let’s pull your account up here real quick. Can I have your name please?
VINCENT: Vincent Ferrari.
CLOCK READOUT – 00:30
AOL: You’ve had this account for a long time.
AOL: Use this quite a bit. What was the cause of wanting to turn this off today?
VINCENT: I just don’t use it anymore.
AOL: Do you have a high speed connection, like the DSL or cable?
AOL: How long have you had that …
VINCENT: Years …
AOL: … the high speed?
VINCENT: … years.
AOL: Well, actually I’m showing a lot of usage on this account.
VINCENT: Yeah, a long time, a long time ago, not recently …
CLOCK READOUT – 01:47
AOL: OK, I mean is there a problem with the software itself?
VINCENT: No. I just don’t use it, I don’t need it, I don’t want it. I just don’t need it anymore.
AOL: OK. So when you use this… I mean, use the computer, I’m saying, is that for business or for … for school?
VINCENT: Dude, what difference does it make. I don’t want the AOL account anymore. Can we please cancel it?
CLOCK READOUT – 02:21
AOL: Last year was 545, last month was 545 hours of usage…
VINCENT: I don’t know how to make this any clearer, so I’m just gonna say it one last time. Cancel the account.
AOL: Well explain to me what’s, why …
Vincent Ferrari appears on ‘Today’ show to relate his attempt to cancel his AOL account (NBC)
VINCENT: I’m not explaining anything to you. Cancel the account.
AOL: Well, what’s the matter man? We’re just, I’m just trying to help here.
VINCENT: You’re not helping me. You’re helping me …
AOL: I am trying to help.
VINCENT: Helping … listen, I called to cancel the account. Helping me would be canceling the account. Please help me and cancel the account.
AOL: No, it wouldn’t actually …
VINCENT: Cancel my account …
AOL: Turning off your account …
VINCENT: … cancel the account …
AOL: … would be the worst thing that …
VINCENT: … cancel the account.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:02
AOL: OK, cause I’m just trying to figure out …
VINCENT: Cancel the account. I don’t know how to make this any clearer for you. Cancel the account. When I say cancel the account, I don’t mean help me figure out how to keep it, I mean cancel the account.
AOL: Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know what anybody’s done to you Vincent because all I’m …
VINCENT: Will you please cancel the account.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:32
AOL: All right, some day when you calmed down you’re gonna realize that all I was trying to do was help you … and it was actually in your best interest to listen to me.
VINCENT: Wonderful, OK.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:39
Ferrari was finally able to cancel the account, and after he posted the conversation on his “Insignificant Thoughts” blog, he received many comments from others frustrated by AOL.
He eventually received an apology from Nicholas Graham, executive vice president of AOL corporate communications, who said in an e-mail:
“Vincent, thank you for returning my phone call. I appreciate hearing from you and being able to talk to you – and to personally apologize for your experience. At AOL, we have zero-tolerance for customer care incidents like this – which is deeply regrettable and also absolutely inexcusable. The employee in question violated our customer-service guidelines and practices, and everything that AOL believes to be important in customer care – chief among them being respect for the member, and swiftly honoring their requests. This matter was dealt with immediately and appropriately, and the employee cited here is no longer with the company.”
Ferrari is already getting national television publicity, as his story has appeared on CNBC and the “Today” show.