NetZero Locks Me Out Of My Account, Charges By The Minute To Get It Back

Matt has an issue with NetZero’s e-mail technical support. “Wait,” you might be saying. “People still use NetZero?” Well, Matt does. His e-mail address on the service is very old, but he just hasn’t got around to changing the places where it’s his e-mail of record. So he keeps paying for it, year after year, importing the messages into Gmail. At least, he did until he was locked out of his account, and couldn’t reset the password. NetZero charges by the minute for tech support, but Matt was assured that he wouldn’t be charged for a simple password reset. This was incorrect.

Now he’s calling the service’s tech support a “scam,” which is something of an overstatement. But it’s still pretty infuriating.

I’ve been clinging to an old e-mail address, one I’ve had for years and years. I’ve been meaning to wean myself off of it, but have been too lazy. But now I’ve got the ultimate reason, the provider is running what appears to be a total scam. For some reason, I went to login to my account (I typically don’t interact directly with the Netzero Webmail interface, I’ve been checking it via one of my Gmail mailboxes. When I went to login, it wasn’t accepting my password. So I went to the reset password link, where I should enter some basic identifying information, then be given a security challenge question. Problem is, the password reset function wasn’t working (see attached pic). This left me no choice but to call their support number to have it reset by a support technician…. and they charge $1.85/min for this, you have to enter a credit card to even get connected to one. Again, I had no choice. I needed to get to my e-mail (still confused as to why my password suddenly stopped working). So I get the usual uber-slow run-around on support, but finally get them to reset my password. And after explaining to the technician about the self-service password function not working, he assured me I would not be charged.

And surprise, surprise, I did get charged. For a password reset. $5.85. I know it’s not much, but it’s the principle. I’ve had a lengthy e-mail exchange with their member services department, who stand by the legitimacy of their charge. The real hero in this is American Express, I called them, and they are issue me a credit, regardless of what NetZero does.

But seriously, I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but if they have hundreds of customers all calling in for password resets and being charged, that can add up.

I really was very reasonable with them in asking for them to reverse the charges, but all they kept doing was saying it was legitimate and referring me to their ToS.

At any rate, at best, this is ineptitude and poor customer service… at worst, an overt scam intended to bilk subscribers out of money.

Before you laugh at anyone who would still be a NetZero customer, remember that they recently came back from the almost-dead to offer free-ish mobile broadband if you buy their device. Just keep in mind that you just might be getting exactly what you pay for.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.