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All Vincent Ferrari wanted to do was cancel his account with America Online. As anyone who’s ever dealt with the online giant knows that’s not always that easy.
So New York resident Ferrari decided to record his conversation with AOL:
CLOCK READOUT – 00:00
AOL REPRESENTATIVE: Hi this is John at AOL… how may I help you today?
VINCENT FERRARI: I wanted to cancel my account.
AOL: Sorry to hear that. Let’s pull your account up here real quick. Can I
have your name please?
VINCENT: Vincent Ferrari.
CLOCK READOUT – 00:30
AOL: You’ve had this account for a long time.
AOL: Use this quite a bit. What was the cause of wanting to turn this off
VINCENT: I just don’t use it anymore.
AOL: Do you have a high speed connection, like the DSL or cable?
AOL: How long have you had that…
AOL: …the high speed?
AOL: Well, actually I’m showing a lot of usage on this account.
VINCENT: Yeah, a long time, a long time ago, not recently…
CLOCK READOUT – 01:47
AOL: Okay, I mean is there a problem with the software itself?
VINCENT: No. I just don’t use it, I don’t need it, I don’t want it. I just
don’t need it anymore.
AOL: Okay. So when you use this… I mean, use the computer, I’m saying, is
that for business or for… for school?
VINCENT: Dude, what difference does it make. I don’t want the AOL account
anymore. Can we please cancel it?
CLOCK READOUT – 02:21
AOL: Last year was 545, last month was 545 hours of usage…
VINCENT: I don’t know how to make this any clearer, so I’m just gonna say it
one last time. Cancel the account.
AOL: Well explain to me what’s, why…
VINCENT: I’m not explaining anything to you. Cancel the account.
AOL: Well, what’s the matter man? We’re just, I’m just trying to help here.
VINCENT: You’re not helping me. You’re helping me…
AOL: I am trying to help.
VINCENT: Helping… listen, I called to cancel the account. Helping me would
be canceling the account. Please help me and cancel the account.
AOL: No, it wouldn’t actually…
VINCENT: Cancel my account…
AOL: Turning off your account…
VINCENT: …cancel the account…
AOL: …would be the worst thing that…
VINCENT: …cancel the account.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:02
AOL: Okay, cause I’m just trying to figure out…
VINCENT: Cancel the account. I don’t know how to make this any clearer for
you. Cancel the account. When I say cancel the account, I don’t mean help me
figure out how to keep it, I mean cancel the account.
AOL: Well, I’m sorry, I don’t know what anybody’s done to you Vincent because all I’m…
VINCENT: Will you please cancel the account.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:32
AOL: Alright, some day when you calmed down you’re gonna realize that all I
was trying to do was help you… and it was actually in your best interest to
listen to me.
VINCENT: Wonderful, Okay.
CLOCK READOUT – 03:39
"I’ve never ever experienced anything like that," Ferrari told CNBC. Then the AOL representative asked if his dad was home.
"I think I could’ve put up with everything, but at the point when he asked to speak to my father, I came very close to losing it at that point," said the 30-year-old Ferrari.
Ferrari then posted the call online. AOL sent him an apology. They also issued the following statement, attributed to spokeperson Nicholas Graham"
"At AOL, we have zero-tolerance for customer care incidents like this – which is deeply regrettable and also absolutely inexcusable. The employee in question violated our customer service guidelines and practices, and everything that AOL believes to be important in customer care – chief among them being respect for the member, and swiftly honoring their requests. This matter was dealt with immediately and appropriately, and the employee cited here is no longer with the Company.
"I’ve spoken directly to Mr. Ferrari and personally apologized to him for what took place. Many here have taken a strong interest in this episode – even going so far as to email all customer service representatives about it as an example of how we should never treat a member. We’re going to learn from this – and continue to make the necessary, positive changes to our practices. This was an aberration and a mistake, and we have to manage these incidents down to zero as best we can. That means improving our already strong safeguards in place today, and maintaining rigorous internal and external compliance methods. We can do better – and we will."