All Aboard The AOL Customer Retention Expert Conspiracy Bus

One of the more incredible results of the Vincent Ferrari AOL Cancellation fiasco is the outpouring of support. Oh, not for Vincent! For AOL.

It seems like every binder-quoting customer retention monkey has taken to the Internet to start flinging feces at Vincent and rah-rahing AOL. We covered a few of these guys on Friday.

But one AOL Customer Retention Expert was so incensed by the exposure of Vincent’s ordeal that he wrote a blog post to unofficially comment on the fiasco. Some of it will be pretty clearly called into question when Ben posts his expose of the AOL Customer Retention Manual.

But one thing our anonymous AOL Customer Retention Expert claims is that the AOL rumor is that Vincent called over 170 times to get a CSR as nasty as John. In other words, he was fishing for a fiasco.

What sort of Electric Kool Aid AOL Test do you need to be on to believe that? It just stretches plausibility wafer thin: Vincent Ferrari called 170 times in a row, tried to cancel, then when he was able to cancel easily and efficiently, resubscribed, hung up and redialed.

Now that AOL is looking to go entirely free, are these guys really so desperate to keep their jobs that they have to mount an internet campaign to disprove Vincent’s recording? And isn’t there a single guy working for AOL who can come up with something less idiotic than unproven mumblings of a Ferrari-led conspiracy?

AOL Unofficial Clarification of Policies

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  1. Vinny says:

    I just ignored his e-mail. He sent it to me also.

    I particularly enjoyed the part where he told me that all would be made clear if I would simply release the records of my account to the general public.

    Give me a damned break.

  2. RandomHookup says:

    Gee, it sounds awfully suspicious. Undoubtedly Vinny is motivated by the millions that can be made as a Consumerist poster boy.

  3. ModerateSnark says:

    I think Vinny had to say “cancel the account” about 170 times during the one call before John/Jon did it, so perhaps that’s where the figure came from.

    How many people have noticed that, as long as the call was, Vinny didn’t even let Jon get to the first of the “three great offers” he was required to offer Vinny before he let him cancel? And they fired him (or claimed to) for not following company policy? Ha! Put Jon’s picture in the dictionary under scapegoat.

  4. Amy Alkon000 says:

    Sorry, but I called just once about a problem with AOL a few weeks ago, and was hung up on, not helped, not helped again, not helped again, on the phone with people in India who knew nothing, transferred, dropped my calls repeatedly into the ether…you get my drift. Unfortunately, I’m a Mac user, and they’re woefully inadequate in that department, and even have the wrong info up in their “how to sign on” message – except in rare cases, you’re supposed to have TCP/IP checked, not Airport, as your connection method. One techie said, “I keep telling them they need to correct that.”

    PS Unlike Vincent, who seemed merely motivated to cancel, I was desperate to be helped. DESPERATE. I lost a writing day from the time spent and upset caused by my interaction with AOL.

    In the end, *I* led them to figure out what the problem wasn’t (after telling the third tech, Sharonda in Tucson, I wasn’t going to reinstall AOL’s software for a third time, since that has proven useless with the previoius two techies), inspiring her to figure out it was probablycorruption in their servers…they told me they wouldn’t know when it would be fixed (they’d look at it within 72 hours), and that I’d get no notice that it was. Nice! For days, I had an annoying AOL Help screen covering my Welcome screen that irritated the crap out of me. (AOL as a laxative…hmmm.)

    Without any notice, they managed to drop my syndicated column send address from their whitelist, and led me to get knocked off AOL for an apparent terms of service violation…causing me to need to call back again…and then be hung up on by a lady in India after I said I couldn’t understand her. Her response: “Call back when your hearing improves.” Nice!

    Vincent’s experience was a walk in the park compared to mine. The only difference is that I’m still a member — mainly because I’ve been on AOL since the early 90s and I can’t fathom changing my address.

  5. drsmith says:


    You should rename this site to AOLsucks.com – 90% of the material posted over the past week is about this stupid story. Isn’t there any other examples of bad customer service in the world? Or is it true that AOL really should have been awarded the Worst Company in America award?

    Seriously, it’s time to let the dead horse rest.

  6. Gee, I only had to call once, not 170 times, to be treated like Vincent…go me.

    Also, I don’t think this story is a dead horse yet, in fact, until AOL has gone hoof up it’s important to keep this issue in the light. AOL has a worse track record than Saddam Hussein with the UN regarding making supposed changes to policy and then reneging.

  7. Vinny says:

    Five bucks says drsmith came in on a Netscape, AOL, or SBC IP.

  8. Yes, and I have serious doubts regarding his qualifications as a doctor…

  9. drsmith says:

    Vinny & crayonshinobi, I’ve never been associated with any of those providers. I was on the net when most of you didn’t even know what it was or why it was important.

    I don’t like AOL any more than the rest of you, but I’m sick of the consumerist milking this story while probably passing over more important(and more interesting) content.

    Finally, I never said I was a Dr and I don’t play one on TV.

  10. AcidReign says:

    …..I’ve never had anything but very polite incompetence out of AOL tech support, either via the phone, or chat. Accents aren’t such a problem for me, I can always ask them to repeat what they just said!

    …..I’ve found that hunting through the AOL tech forums will solve most problems. And AOL has gotten better, bugginess-wise. As to TOS issues [Ms Alkon], change your password and see if that helps. My wife opened up a new screenname once, and used the password “suspire.” It was cracked in hours, and someone was sending spim on her new screenname. Our clue was that she kept getting bumped offline with a message that she had been signed on from a different location. Moral: use a more secure, less dictionary-method-hackable password! And that goes for routers, online finance sites, accounts, and pretty much everything!