Dead Defeat AOL

“Polynice,” I said, “that’s just part of it that I can’t believe. The zombies in such cases may have resembled the dead persons, or even been ‘doubles’–you know what doubles are, how two people resemble each other to a startling degree. But it is a fixed rule of reasoning in America that we will never accept the possibility of a thing’s being ‘supernatural’ so long as any explanation, even far-fetched, seems adequate.”

“Well,” said he, “if you spent many years in Haiti, you would have a very hard time to fit this American reasoning into some of the things you encountered here.”

–From Magic Island, by W. B. Seabrook (1929).

Polynice could very well have been talking about an AOL call center, what with their propensity for voodoo, feasting upon mort flesh, and demanding the reanimation of dead relatives in order to effect cancellation requests.

Reader Yvette sends in a twist of the dagger on our previous post, “AOL Wants to Sell “Internet” to the Dead.” This time, Yvette sent out a mass email on her dead mother’s AOL screename to inform friends and relatives of the memorial service. AOL kicked her off immediately and blocked the account, as the recipient list was too large.

Only the finger of her mother from beyond the grave could reactivate the account… in order to announce her own funeral.

But Yvette didn’t let the nightshade cloak of the grimmest of reapers stop her. Read how, after the jump…

She writes:

“To Whom It May Concern:

I recently read a story you posted about a woman who unsuccessfully tried to cancel her mother’s AOL account after her mother was killed in a car accident. Well, I have a very similar story!

In September 2005, my mother died of cancer. I attempted to send out a large email from my AOL account to inform people about a memorial service we were having for her. I was immediately kicked off and was told to call AOL. Being the honest person that I am, I explained to them what had happened. They immediately told me that only my mother, (being the main screen name on the account) could reactivate my account because I had sent out the email to too many people. I explained to them once again that she couldn’t come to the phone because she was dead. They would hear nothing about it and insisted that only she could reactivate my account.

After much frustration, I was finally transferred to a supervisor who explained to me that if my mother couldn’t come to the phone herself, the only thing that could be done was for them to mail me a form to fill out and mail back to them with a copy of my mother’s death certificate. It would take them 10-14 days to mail me the form and then upon receiving the proper paper work, another 10-14 days for it to be processed and my account reactivated. I asked if there was any way to fax me the forms, and I was told absolutely not. I then explained that I relied heavily on my email account and was now stranded for a month without email. They couldn’t care less, telling me that this was policy and unless my mother called, nothing could be done but wait. Of course I called back multiple times and was told the same thing. My family finally decided to have “my mother” call.

My sister-in-law called, told them she was my mother and was able to activate the account. They obviously believe people can come back from the dead. After creating a new account with gmail, I then called AOL myself, pretending to be my mother and cancelled the account. When they asked me why, I told them the reason was that their customer service stunk and because they were disgusting and quite unhelpful to my daughter when her account was frozen.

My mother must have been cheering up in Heaven, she never let anyone get away with screwing over her children!

I think this story should be posted as well!

Yvette Braunstein”

Merci for the letter, Yvette. Our condolences for your loss. Your mother’s spirit lives on in a better place: Gmail.

AOL Wants to Sell “Internet” to the Dead
AOL Wants to Eat the Dead


Edit Your Comment

  1. DeeJayQueue says:

    My sincere condolences on your loss.
    I agree that AOL are scum. How they’ve stayed in business this long is beyond me. Impersonating your mother got you the result you wanted, but it wasn’t the smartest move, and really only helps cement AOL’s position on their cancellation/reactivation policies. To them, they don’t know the difference on the phone between you, your mother, your sister in law or the lady who delivers the mail.
    Once you told them your mother had died, and then had ‘her’ call back to fix things, they had a record that you lied about her death. If people start to use the “the account holder died” line to get out of their accounts because it works then AOL gets jaded to the line, thinking it’s just an excuse. Then when people actually DO pass on they don’t want to hear it.

  2. desonos says:

    Yeah, I can see that logic, but it doesn’t make AOL’s stance less redonkulous, and it doesn’t make there an easy way to deal with them. What else was she to do? She couldn’t access her e-mail, and all because what, she sent an email to too many people??

    Stick with gmail, it kicks ass.

  3. Morgan says:

    Interesting theory, DeeJayQueue, but people shouldn’t have to say they’re dead to cancel the account. If AOL weren’t asses about retention (as shown in recent stories), no one would have any reason to lie about it AOL employees could respond appropriately to someone who’s suffered a loss.

  4. BostonBum says:
  5. DeeJayQueue says:

    Morgan, I agree, people shouldn’t say they’re dead to cancel an account. I mean, is it really any secret that AOL has pitbulls working for retentions? It’s gaining limelight because of a few incidents that have been recorded and captured media attention, but it’s not a new thing.

    If I wanted to get out of my cell phone contract withough paying the term fee, it’d be easy to “lose” the phone and then say it was stolen, file a police report and then take it to the store and cancel the account. Most places used to let you get away with that, but it’s dishonest, prone to abuse, and some companies don’t want to hear it anymore. How now for the people who get mugged on the subway and have their RAZR stolen, only to have to fork out for a new one just to keep a phone plan?

    Same applies here. AOL needs to stop being a pain in the ass to cancel. People need to stop lying in order to cancel AOL. AOL can then go back to making it a little easier on the loved ones of lost people by letting them easily cancel on account of death. In that order.