Feeds

AOL to reform customer service after NY probe

Spitzer slams stealth retention scheme

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

AOL has agreed to reform its customer service operation following complaints that led to legal action by Elliot 'the Blitzer' Spitzer, New York's attorney general. In a settlement announced Wednesday, AOL will be obliged to remove obstacles US consumers faced when seeking to switch or cancel their internet service.

Spitzer’s office began an inquiry of AOL's customer service policies in response to around 300 consumer complaints from 2000 onwards. The investigation revealed that the net giant had an elaborate system for rewarding employees who succeeded in keeping subscribers who had called to cancel their internet service. In many instances, such retention was done against subscribers' wishes, or without their consent, it was alleged.

Service reps could earn bonuses of tens of thousands of dollars if they could successfully dissuade or "save" half of the people who called to cancel service. Consumer reps were expected to meet minimum retain or save percentages. This led to instances where workers failed to honour cancellations or otherwise made cancellation unduly difficult for consumers. Many consumers complained that AOL personnel ignored their demands to cancel service and stop billing.

Under an agreement with Spitzer's office, America Online (AOL) will alter the incentives it offers to customer representatives who seek to persuade subscribers to stay with the firm. It agreed to set up an independent monitoring auditing regime. The net service giant also agreed to pay $1.25m to New York State in penalties and costs. Lastly AOL agreed to provide refunds to New York consumers who claim harm based on improper cancellation procedures, with compensation of up to four months worth of service.

"This agreement helps ensure that AOL will strive to keep its customers through quality service, not stealth retention programs," Spitzer said in a statement welcoming the settlement. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
Soz, web devs: Google snatches its Wallet off the table
Killing off web service in 3 months... but app-happy bonkers are fine
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.