Trying to disconnect AOL

Monday, July 28th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Last week, the Washington Post reported AOL, America Online, had lost nearly a million dial-up customers between April and June.

Monday, News on 6 consumer reporter Rick Wells talked to a Collinsville woman who thinks she knows why.

Tammi Ramey: "I feel like I've been stolen from." Stolen from by her former on-line service America Online or AOL. Here's what happened. Back in December she called AOL and canceled her service. She signed up with a less expensive service, JUNO.

AOL told her they'd send her a cancellation letter. “I got the letter a couple of weeks later and I called the bank in January to make sure they had not charged me." And they hadn't, so she relaxed. AOL was off her computer and that was that, or so she thought.

“This is February where they started charging me again and it went all the way until July." At that point she discovered $240 in overdraft charges on 12 bounced checks. She has bounce protection so merchants got their money, but $240, she raced to the bank. "One lady at the bank said, oh yes I've heard it's impossible to cancel your AOL." Not impossible but apparently they make it difficult.

Ron Acree, RCB’s bank operations VP said the same thing happened to him. Took lots of phone calls to get it straight. "Gosh half a dozen easy, it just kept happening. Finally I had a list of names."

A list of names of people he'd talked to. Finally it stopped. His advice as a banker and former customer, keep everything and check your account often. Tammi Ramey acknowledged she's busy with a house full of kids she cares for every day, but should have caught the problem earlier.

She's complained to the Oklahoma attorney general's office and we'll try to help her get some of her money back too. So far, no response from AOL.

Legally, in situations like this, customers have only 60 days to dispute a charge once it appears on a statement. We'll let you know how it comes out.