TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: AOL to Reform Customer Service in Spitzer Pact

AOL to Reform Customer Service in Spitzer Pact

Reuters News Wire (
Wed, 24 Aug 2005 10:25:10 -0500

America Online, the world's largest Internet service provider, has
agreed to reform the way it handles customers who want to cancel
service, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said on

Spitzer, announcing settlement of a lawsuit, said AOL is also required
to provide fee refunds for up to four months of service to all New
York consumers who claim harm based on improper cancellation requests
and pay New York state $1.25 million in penalties and costs.

Spitzer's office, responding to about 300 New York customer
complaints, conducted a probe into AOL's customer service policies and
procedures. AOL, owned by media conglomerate Time Warner Inc., serves
about 21 million subscribers, of which 1.9 million customers reside in
the region.

With the settlement, AOL agreed to alter incentives it offers customer
representatives who try to dissuade customers from canceling their

It also agreed to eliminate customer service quotas on the number of
subscribers dissuaded from canceling and to record all cancellation
requests. Cancellation requests will need to be verified by a third
party monitor by June 2006.

Customers seeking refunds will need to submit claims to either AOL or
the attorney general's office within 120 days.

"AOL is pleased to have reached an agreement with the state of New
York on customer care practices that we believe will increase quality
assurance and assist with the verification of certain member
intentions online," an AOL spokesman said.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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