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On Tape: Rep Won't Let Customer Quit AOL
NBC | June 22 2006
An incredible video from CNBC shows an AOL customer trying to cancel his account, but a phone rep won't let him do it. What customer Vincent Ferrari got when he tried to cancel his account was a lot of frustration.
It took him 15 minutes waiting on the phone just to reach a real, live person.
And, what happened next was recorded by Ferrari on audio and lasted about four minutes:
CLOCK READOUT - 00:00
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...
AOL: ...the high speed?
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: Okay, 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: Okay. 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: 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: Okay, 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: Alright, 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, Okay.
CLOCK READOUT - 03:39
"I've never ever experienced anything like that," Ferrari told CNBC.
He recounts how the AOL representative - as a last resort even asked if his dad was home.
"I think I could've put up with everything, but at the point when he asked to speak to my father, I came very close to losing it at that point," said the 30-year-old Ferrari.
Ferrari then posted the call online, and the response was tremendous.
AOL sent him an apology and said the customer service rep was no longer with the company.