An AOL account is like an axe-murder from some bad 80's slasher flick - It just won't stay dead.
I stopped using AOL back in 2000, but kept the service around for my parents to use. This last Fall AOL claimed that my card had been refused (again), despite the fact that it was working for everything else other than AOL. I decided to kill it and mail in a check for the difference I owed - $77.70. I convinced my parents to make the leap to broadband and forgot all about it- Everything's done, right? Wrong.
About a month later I get another request from AOL for the $77.70. I send 'em the cancelled check and a short note suggesting that they stick that cancelled check up their collective asses and quit bothering me - Now everything's done, right? Wrong.
Today I just got a bill from a collections agency, on behalf of AOL, for (you guessed it) $77.70.
I tried calling NCO Financial Systems (the collections agency) 7 times.
5 times I got voicemail, one time I got some barely audible Indian gent and then was disconnected almost immediately, and one time I got right through to a loud shrieking noise followed by a dial tone.
I tried the AOL billing number and got caught a first-hand tour of Dante's automated telephone assistance inferno. It kept turning me around to where I'd begun, all the while asking me to repeat myself and enter in another zip code, phone number, screen name, etc.
Then it suggested that I renew AOL account to better reach the billing department. F-U-C-K Y-O-U... Do you understand that Mr. disembodied telephone voice?
After about 35 minutes I realized that I was screaming obscenities at a recording, so I calmed down long enough to hear the recording say "goodbye" - That's when I fucking lost it. I might have broken my toe when I was kicking the filing cabinet and wildly throwing papers around. We'll have to wait and see on that one.
As a last ditch effort, I called my bank to see what my options were and (if need be) get another copy of the cancelled check.
I've had annoying problems with Wachovia (my bank) in the past, but today they were my saviors. I somehow managed to get through to the best customer service rep in the history of the profession. She is so my new automated telephone girlfriend.
The Wachovia rep listened to my whole story, said "That doesn't seem right", got through to AOL on her end, and then bore witness for me on the AOL billing line for 47 minutes.
We got some AOL retard that spoke in Ebonics and who's every response was either: "Don't disrespect me.", "Please, let me finish.", "That's not what our records say.", or "So, You want me to reactivate the account or not?".
AOL made both of us jump through endless hoops for almost 50 minutes to get this (apparently) simple billing issue resolved. The Wachovia rep had to repeatedly interrupt the the conversation to tell him that the bank had a cancelled check for the transaction that he was claiming that AOL had never received. While on hold, both me and the Wachovia lady were making fun of AOL's incompetence.
After giving ALL of my information for the fifth time and spending 15 straight minutes on hold, my patience was wearing thin. The final straw dropped after the third "Let me axe you something." I lost it and said "ASK, A-S-K, it's pronounced ASSSK... idiot." We then got put on hold for another 8 minutes.
Finally, the AOL guy came on and said that the records had been "updated" and that they would contact the credit agency. We said goodbye to AOL, and the Wachovia rep and I started in on a "Can you believe that shit?" conversation. While we were debating on whether the AOL rep was retarded or not, we heard a little voice say "I'm still here, I can't disconnect until you hang-up."
The Wachovia rep said "I'm sorry." and I said "I'm not", then I launched into a 'You-Dirty-Motherfuckers' rant that would make EdP blush. After I got all of that all out, I told the AOL guy to go fuck himself, said goodbye to the (giggling) Wachovia rep, and hung-up.
Hopefully now that beast is dead and buried, but I'm sure that this is not the end of it. I'm fulling expecting to get another bill from AOL and/or have to fight tooth and nail to get that blemish removed from my credit record.
I'll bet you $77.70.