An anonymous tipster sent us AOL’s 153 page internal collections guidebook for prying money out of delinquent account holders. The guide shows that AOL is following some of the debt industry’s most egregious collection tactics by encouraging agents to deceive and lie to customers. After the jump we present AOL’s scare tactics, tricks to negotiating a substantial discount, and the full collections guide.
AOL lies to their customers and has a policy of refusing to escalate to supervisors:
Apparently the trick to getting an actual supervisor is to pretend like you want to pay your bill. If you haven’t used your account for more than three months you can receive up to a 40% discount, perfect for those who have tried and failed to cancel your account.
If you refuse to pay your bill, AOL will threaten to ruin your credit (with AOL):
You can practically see AOL’s lawyers cackling with glee as they drape their cloak of legal protection while daring representatives to choose between ignoring the guidebook and failing to scare consumers into paying their debt.
AOL’s abusive relationship with its “members” is not new, but it is surprising how enthusiastically they have embraced the standard lies and deceit peddled by the debt collection industry. According to our tipster, the guide is from 2006, but the tactics and policies remain unchanged.
The only way to fight back against scummy collectors is to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Read AOL’s full collections guide, complete with other despicable practices, here.