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  1. John Stracke says:

    I don’t think they can do that. If you have an AOL account, you’re responsible for what’s done with it. Leaving it open is a liability; it could be hijacked by a cracker and used for, say, posting child porn. If you tell AOL you don’t want that liability, and they secretly leave it in place, that’s a Bad Thing.

  2. EmilyBeth says:

    I opted for Free AOL a few days ago & it was amazingly easy, so easy that I’m very, very suspicious. Because of your post, I just went to the “Change Plan” option to make sure I had indeed been changed over. This is what I saw (the XX’s are mine):

    Primary Billing Contact: EMILY XXXX
    Payment Method: XXXXXXXXXXX
    Expiration Date: XXXXXX

    Member Since: 11/16/2000
    AOL Membership Fee: $0.01 /month
    Price Plan: Free AOL
    Billing Date: 16 September

    What’s that? A .01 monthly charge for a free service? What are they going to do, debit my account for a penny a month or just bill me .12 at the end of the year? Could this be just the beginning of their scheme to make sure free is not free?

  3. Ben Popken says:

    It’s probably just a placeholder value b/c their system won’t allow $0.

  4. TheDTHawk says:

    No, they probably used floats in some calculation and it came out wrong. Apparently this kind of thing was, and still is to some extent, common among things like credit card companies. A CSC professor of mine claims to have had his credit screwed up for an extended period of time until it could be fixed due to a string of non-payments for an account balance of $0.00.

    (The system was keeping the real value as something like 0.004679 due to a calculation error and saw it as a positive number, so it sent out a bill.)

  5. jc4sue says:

    When I received my bank statement for 10/2006, I saw that AOL billed me twice for this month out of my account. The only billing information I ever gave them was for my banks debit card for $25.90/mo. The second charge was for $30.90. I checked my billing information I filled out at AOL, and they DO NOT have my checking account or my banks routing number. I called AOL about it, they told me that a $25.90 charge means it came out of my debit card #, and a $30.90 charge means I gave them my direct checking account number. I then spoke with a supervisor by the name of Willie, he also told me the same thing, and that in order for AOL to look this charge up to see if this is an error, I would have to give them my direct checking account number. I told him I WILL NOT give them that personal information. He said: “…then there was nothing AOL could do to reverse that charge”. I checked with my bank and both charges came through my debit card. Something fishy is going on. It is virtually IMPOSSIBLE for AOL to bill my checking account directly. This is totally unbelievable that AOL, a big corporation, has a computer system that is designed with only one way to look up account charges: only by the a direct checking account number. Something is seriously wrong. AOL has ripped me off totally and they have no way of seeing there error except by forcing a customer to give them very personal information that they never gave them in the first place. There is no guarantee that next month won’t be the same scenerio. I turned in a dispute with my bank, but depending on the information they receive from AOL, that charge may not be reversed and could continue each month. The only option for me is to completely close my account, which will cost me more to order all new checks, ect.., and the time and hassle involved to change my debit card information with my other bills I pay that way. I live from paycheck to paycheck so this extra $30.90 charge by AOL has put a strain on my finances. There must me something that can be done about these scam artists! I am cancelling my AOL services, but I cannot trust them to not keep billing my account after finding out they are not a company of integrity and trust. Does anyone know of any resources where I can file a complaint or any other souces where I could let this wrong be known to the public to hopefully save someone else from being ripped off? AOL should not get away with this. Please email me at: