Email Turns to Blackmail For Some With AOL/Time Warner?

July 8, 2009

US (ChattahBox) – An interesting story on WSJ today detailing the experience of a former Time Warner Employee who got more than he bargained for when his employer gave him a free AOL email account.

Jason Zweig is a columnist who generally writes what he calls an ‘intelligent investor column’ once a week. This week, however, he chose to write about his battle with an Indian collection company that swears he owed money for a free account he received when he worked for Time Warner.

He had given his wife the account, which she used for several years, before finally switching over the Gmail a year ago. The AOL email was left untouched, but apparently not forgotten. Zweig began receiving phone calls from a collection company that said he owed $103.60 for ‘automatic’ upgrades that he had never been alerted to, or authorized.

Zweig explains what happened next:

I replied that we had never received a notice that it was going into effect. We had never gotten a bill, either.

“A bill was sent to your AOL account,” said Caller No. 4.

Would that be the AOL account that we hadn’t used in almost a year?

“Well, it was sent to you,” she insisted.

Please send a printed bill to my home address so I can formally dispute it, I requested.

“I am sorry, sir, but we cannot do that.”

Why not?

“We are not authorized.”

This is more or less the tone for the entire article, which describes his many attempts to reach someone who could explain the charges, or at least send him an actual bill.

But this is not the only experience such as this to hit the net in recent months. Hundreds of reports of unauthorized charges, debit card withdraws, closed accounts, and more have been flooding consumer watchdog groups, all against Time Warner, and AOL specifically.

Could it be that AOL has become nothing more than an Internet scam? Or is it all a big misunderstanding?


One Response to “Email Turns to Blackmail For Some With AOL/Time Warner?”

  1. Old Man Dotes on July 8th, 2009 1:22 pm

    AOL has a long history of fraudulent billing, going back to at least 2000. Here’s a record of AOL billing a customer’s credit card for SEVENTEEN MONTHS after the account was cancelled:

    Google for “AOL billing fraud” to see amazing stories.

    And they wonder why AOL is bleeding customers like a burst dam.

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