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  1. #1

    Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    I'd imagine you'd find this quite funny. I have reread it and laughed myself, but it is all too typical of the RoboHelp type Customer Service that is common place in the UK. Wouldn't happen in America would it.

    Anyway picture the scene. I have just logged on to email the office and seen this message about a surcharge. I have looked at the AOL faq's etc and decided I want to talk to a human (big mistake)....... this thing played out over 90 minutes and 35 pounds is about 50 bucks.

    ChatAgentUK014: Welcome to Member Help Interactive. Please present your
    question, and I will be with you in just a moment.
    ChatAgentUK014: Thank you for calling into AOL Chat. How may I be of
    assistance? I may be with some other members at the moment, so please state
    your query and I will be with you as soon as possible :-)
    Wookiz: Hello
    Wookiz: I am here in America and logged on to find that all of a sudden I am
    being charged extra for the privilege
    Wookiz: This seems to be a recent innovation
    Wookiz: and one that I am not happy with
    ChatAgentUK014: Could I please ask you to ring our freephone help line on
    0800 376 7444 so that a Customer Service Agent may help you further with this
    Wookiz: I am not in the UK
    Wookiz: so I can't ring the number
    ChatAgentUK014: Then please Email to Ukbilla@AOl.com in this regard.
    Wookiz: All I want is for the charges for this session to be erased from my
    Wookiz: I am going to log off once I have finished this chat session
    Wookiz: I do not aggree with the charges AOL have imposed for using the
    service internationally
    Wookiz: and I had no way of knowing these charges before logging on.
    ChatAgentUK014: Are you using AOl in US?
    Wookiz: I was about to
    Wookiz: Until I got the warning about the special connection charge of 2.50
    an hour
    ChatAgentUK014: Then AOL imposes additional Surcherge for using it outside
    Wookiz: Since when
    Wookiz: I don't accept this charge.
    Wookiz: I have only stayed online to complain to AOL about it
    ChatAgentUK014: From 02/01/02 to 09/01/02.
    Wookiz: I don't understand
    Wookiz: I have used AOL in the past abroad and not been surcharged - at least
    to my knowledge
    Wookiz: Are you telling me that my account has had such surcharge in the past
    ChatAgentUK014: Yes exactly.
    Wookiz: How much was I charged
    Wookiz: and when did AOL start surcharging for overseas usage
    ChatAgentUK014: It was 35.20 pounds.
    Wookiz: WHAT!!!!
    Wookiz: When did AOL start surcharging for overseas use
    ChatAgentUK014: For further information please Write to Ukbilla@AOL.com.
    Wookiz: Hang on
    Wookiz: You're not being very helpful here.
    Wookiz: I hope AOL are not going to surcharge my account for this session
    Wookiz: please don't tell me to email someone else\
    ChatAgentUK014: If you are using it abroad then you would be charged.
    Wookiz: hello are you still there
    Wookiz: how am I supposed to know that until i log on
    Wookiz: I am not using it
    Wookiz: i am complaining to AOL
    ChatAgentUK014: If not using it then you won't be charged.
    Wookiz: check when i logged
    Wookiz: I am online to YOU
    Wookiz: from the US
    Wookiz: I logged on and got this warning about a surcharge
    Wookiz: Try and be a bit more helpful please
    Wookiz: Are you surcharging me for making billing enquiries
    Wookiz: this is supposed to be member help
    ChatAgentUK014: You are logged on at 16:10.
    Wookiz: but the only place I have gone is AOL member help
    Wookiz: I have not visited any sites
    Wookiz: I have spent 30 minutes talking to you
    Wookiz: trying to get help
    ChatAgentUK014: Please Write to our Billing Department at Ukbilla@AOl.com and
    state your doubt's.You would be given proper explantion for your Query.
    Wookiz: I'll do better than that.
    Wookiz: I'll send a transcript of this discussion to them and to your
    complaints department to show how unhelpful you have been.
    Wookiz: What is the keyword for AOL customer relations please
    ChatAgentUK014: In the recent month there is no surcharge so please do not
    worry about it.
    Wookiz: You are not answering my question
    Wookiz: you have kept me online for nearly 40 minutes without any being at
    all helpful.
    ChatAgentUK014: No you are not charged for entering Billing or Tech Chats.
    Wookiz: You could have told me that 30 minutes ago instead of telling me to
    email someone
    ChatAgentUK014: No for that reason i did not tell you to mail.It is for your
    Communication Surcharge query i asked you to mail.
    Wookiz: Look here is my problem.
    Wookiz: I was in the US from December 15th to January 9th last year using AOL
    ChatAgentUK014: Ok go ahead.
    Wookiz: You are telling me that from January 2nd to January 9th I was
    surcharged 35.20 for overseas AOL usage
    ChatAgentUK014: Yes exactly.
    Wookiz: So that tells me that AOL introduced this surcharge on January 1 2002
    Wookiz: while I was still abroad
    Wookiz: Is that right
    ChatAgentUK014: No it was when it started it's operation in AOl Uk.
    Wookiz: I don't understand your answer
    Wookiz: How come I was not billed for usage between December 15th 2001 and
    December 31st 2001
    ChatAgentUK014: I mean to say it was not introduded from 1 january2002,but
    instead it was introduced right from it's inception in Uk.
    Wookiz: Does my account show usage between December 15th and December 31st
    ChatAgentUK014: No it is between 02/01/02 to 09/01/02.
    Wookiz: That is strange
    Wookiz: Well I don't recall seeing any warning about a surcharge for using
    the service from the US
    Wookiz: and you are saying that I should email UKbilla@aol.com about it
    Wookiz: and that I am not being charged for this session because I have been
    using member help
    Wookiz: have I got this right
    ChatAgentUK014: Yes not charged for this session.
    Wookiz: So my next problem is this
    Wookiz: I am in the US for the next 2 weeks
    ChatAgentUK014: Not only you all those who use AOlUk for accessing Internet
    outside Uk are imposed with this surcharge.
    Wookiz: If I email ukbilla@aol.com how am I supposed to get their reply
    without incurring further surcharge
    ChatAgentUK014: That's ok.But if you use Internet then again your account
    will be charged this surcharge.
    Wookiz: No no no
    Wookiz: you've not answered the question
    Wookiz: I'd have to read my mail to get their reply
    Wookiz: which means that I'd have to incur surcharge
    ChatAgentUK014: No emailing to Ukbilla won't help.As Surcharge is meant to be
    imposed for using AOlUk outside Uk.
    Wookiz: Well now I am confused
    Wookiz: As I see it
    Wookiz: I have just found out that I was billed 35.20 for AOl usage
    Wookiz: I do not recall ever seeing an AOL warning that I was being
    surcharged for using the service abroad
    Wookiz: and If I had I definitely would not have run up 35.20 in one week
    ChatAgentUK014: Look is will remove your confusion.The thing is that if you
    use AOlUK to access internet outside Uk then only your account is imposed
    with the surcharge and not otherwise.This charge varies from location to
    location.But roughly it is about 2.35 pounds per hours.
    Wookiz: Yes I have understood that now.
    Wookiz: But I didn't know this at the time
    Wookiz: because I don
    Wookiz: because as far as I can recall I never got any warning about being
    surcharged for using AOL abroad
    Wookiz: So like most people I am rather unhappy at charges appearing on my
    account for something I didn't know I was being charged for
    Wookiz: So I want to do something about it
    ChatAgentUK014: It is implied the day you joined AOlUk,that if you use it
    outside Uk then you are bound to pay it.
    ChatAgentUK014: It is not just for you but for all AOlUk users who use it
    outside Uk.
    Wookiz: Yes Yes I understand that
    ChatAgentUK014: Now is it ok.
    Wookiz: But I have a problem with implied charges that I do not receive
    advance warning of.
    Wookiz: So it is not ok
    Wookiz: The only charge I have authorised AOL to make on my account is the
    regular monthly one
    Wookiz: And if AOL warn me - as they did with this session that I will be
    surcharged then fair enough
    Wookiz: It's my choice to continue to surf and pay the surcharge
    Wookiz: But if they do not warn me - and that is what I am saying then there
    is a problem and i wish to refer it to someone who can resolve it
    ChatAgentUK014: Could I please ask you to ring our freephone help line on
    0800 376 7444 so that a Customer Service Agent may help you further with this
    ChatAgentUK014: Please ring on the above mentioned number.
    Wookiz: You have asked that before and i have told you that I can't do that
    because I am in the US right now and you cannot dial freefone numbers from
    the US
    Wookiz: Can you get me a supervisor please
    ChatAgentUK014: Ok. I am the supervisor here . I have read the above chat. I
    apologise for the inconvenience.
    Wookiz: That is good thankyou but I am nowhere nearer solving my problem
    ChatAgentUK014: You will need to ring or send a mail to ukbilla@aol.com for
    the problem.
    Wookiz: are you suggesting that I wait till I get back to the UK to resolve
    Wookiz: I can't ring 0800 doesn't work from the US
    Wookiz: and if I read my mail from the US I will get surcharged - right
    ChatAgentUK014: I wil give you another number.
    ChatAgentUK014: 353 51 333100
    ChatAgentUK014: You can call up on this number.
    Wookiz: Can you give me a number that is in the US
    Wookiz: a 1-800 number
    ChatAgentUK014: We do not have any number to call up in the USA.
    ChatAgentUK014: I am sorry.
    ChatAgentUK014: Windows and restart the AOL software.
    Wookiz: But I will have to get surcharged to read email from your billing
    department right
    ChatAgentUK014: I am sorry for the last message.
    ChatAgentUK014: Yes.
    ChatAgentUK014: You can try piggybacking from the USA.
    Wookiz: what is that
    ChatAgentUK014: You can use a Local ISP from USA and connect to aol.
    ChatAgentUK014: You will not incur surcharges then.
    ChatAgentUK014: I have an e-mail designed specificially for that problem.
    I'll send that to you immediately. Follow the instructions in that e-mail and
    if you have any further problems then please do come back to us.
    Wookiz: Can you recommend one
    Wookiz: But I'll get surcharged if I read it - right?
    ChatAgentUK014: Yes. you will incur surcharges if you read it using the
    current number.
    ChatAgentUK014: But if you try the mail which I have just sent, you will not
    incur them.

  2. #2
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    Don't kid yourself - AOL service is nearly identical in the US. It took approximately 5 phone calls from 3 different people to cancel an account recently. They've LONG been known for horrid service - and while I don't think that all are as bad as the confused soul you had; most are not much better...

    ** To affect the Quality of the day, that is the highest of arts ** H.D. Thoreau

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  3. #3
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    Basking Ridge, NJ USA
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    AOL has to have one of the worst customer service departments ever invented.

    Yet, people flock to it.

    JRica, CSTE
    Software QA Engineer Lead
    Senior SQA Analyst

  4. #4
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by JRica:
    AOL has to have one of the worst customer service departments ever invented.

    Yet, people flock to it.
    Yep, because they put their money into advertising and marketing, not product and service.

    Charles Reace

    web site | [url=http://www.ebookworm.us/[/url]

    [i]...Sound trumpets! Every trumpet in the host! / Sixty thousand, on these words, sound, so high the mountains sound, and the valleys resound.&lt;/i] (The Song of Roland)

  5. #5
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    When my wife cancelled her AOL account it took 5 calls from the credit card company and a letter stating that we intended to persue civil action before they stopped billing for the account.

    They removed charges 6 months in a row after she canceled but continued to charge us each month. Talking to someone there is like talking to a pull string pupper. No matter what you say to them you are just going to get the next answer in their 5 response que.


  6. #6
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    Atlanta, GA, USA
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    AOL has recently raised their prices.

    NOW, we get mailings of CDs that come in little tins.


    I don't do America On Hold. Everyone I know has had problems with it. So now their sucking more money out of people...and putting into marketing--not in CS, or their technology.


    BTW, there was another ISP that had billboards slamming AOL.

    "Their hold music is better than ours. It has to be."

    was the best one.

    WinAmp. Llama Tested. Mother Approved.
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    Qualitech Solutions, Inc.
    Jordan Gottlieb
    Senior Consultant, Orasi Software
    Twitter: @JG_QA

  7. #7
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    I work in the Dulles area in Virginia, and the AOL people are infamous for speeding north down Route 28 in the right lane or middle lane and at the last minute cutting in front of everyone in the left lane to make the left turn onto Waxpool road, where AOL is.

    Used to be, years, ago, it was BMWs and Benzes; now it's used SUVs. AOL stock options must not be that great anymore. Don't see many Netscape stickers in the windows anymore, either


  8. #8

    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    Meanwhile I was stupid enough to email AOL billing.

    I got 2 responses once was Ha ha (a la Nelson of the Simpsons) you didn't read the small print.

    The other was that I call the number in Ireland that the chat host had already asked me to call.

    So I asked seeing as all what they were telling me had already been covered in the chat transcript, why couldn't they simply forward on my email and transcript to the relevant dept/person in Ireland. Why must I call and endure this again.

    Silly me eh.

    Oh and they had the nerve to thank me for my patience.

    GUI automation is GUI automation. It is not testing.

  9. #9
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    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    Because at some point you are just going to give up on your 30 pounds and drop it. That is there business plan I believe. Charge as much as you can only remove charges after it becomes cost prohibitive to continue misdirecting, redirecting, and deferring you. In the end you will likely find out that AOL UK is not the one charging you but rather AOL USA is charging AOL International a surcharge which AOL International is charging back to AOL UK to your account. Of course if you get confirmation of this from anyone at AOL within the next 60 days my surpise will likely be exceeded only by your frustration level.

    At some point you will be probably be told you have to contact AOL USA to discuss the bill. When you contact one of them they will say you are an AOL UK customer and so they can not talk to you about your account or any charges which have been incurred. You will get more pull string answers as to why you would get the charges but no confirmation that they actually charged for your use or that you should or should not have been charged.

    AOL International is probably just a shell company for shuffling money and charges. There are likely no actually employees of AOL international except for the Board members (you know the guys making 1mil+ a week) and that all questions about AOL International must be submitted to Sheister, Huckster, and Gimmel LTD of Switzerland. If you write to them you will probably get a nice form letter stating that your charges have been reviewed and are accurate any further questions about the charges should be addressed to AOL UK.

    Alternately you could just try and cancel your account now. Explain that the reason is that you feel that they have intentionally overcharged you and have made no attempts to rectify the problem. They will likely make your charges go away and probably give you some free time. Of course the charges will probably show back up at some later time.

    I am sorry if this sounds like I am making light of your situation but I assure you that is not my intent. I am just drawing my conclusions from the BS I watched them try to pull on my wife.

    The best solution for the short term I can recomend is try to find a local ISP and get a short term connection for your stay in the US. In the future I would try to plan for this connection ahead of time.

    [This message has been edited by CCoulter (edited 05-08-2002).]

  10. #10

    Re: Grrrrrrr where\'s that ex moderating AOL chat host

    The main reason I didn't plan for this is because once upon a time I had an AOL USA account and had been told that I could use it abroad (no mention of surcharges so I assumed there'd be none). In the event I closed the AOL US account and later opened one with AOL UK and made the same assumption......

    Anyway yes you're right in your conclusion. I'll probably threaten to close the account when I get back - I don't use any other AOL facility like email etc so I'll see what happens then.

    GUI automation is GUI automation. It is not testing.


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