McGrath: Montana Reaches Settlement with Internet Service Provider AOL
HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath today announced a settlement with Internet service provider America Online, requiring the company to change the way it handles consumers’ cancellation requests and ordering the company to refund money to consumers.
The settlement resolves complaints in which consumers said cancelling their AOL paid services was difficult and confusing. Under the agreement, AOL must pay Montana $45,000. The total payment to the settling states is $3 million. The settlement included 48 states and the District of Columbia.
AOL had historically limited the methods available for consumers to cancel their accounts, so many consumers attempted to cancel by directly calling AOL. Customer service representatives received incentives for retaining or “saving” customers instead of cancelling services. Consumers alleged that cancellation was extremely difficult, if not impossible.
“Today’s agreement requires recording and verification of these telephone calls,” McGrath said. “The agreement also expands consumers’ options by allowing them to cancel services using a website.” The site address is https://bill.aol.com/changePlan/changePlan.adp.
The agreement also requires AOL to make refunds to consumers who have complained of unauthorized charges for AOL service. McGrath said that Montana consumers who file complaints with the Office of Consumer Protection or directly with AOL will be eligible for refunds.
Montana consumers who allege they were unable to cancel their AOL account or were billed for an account they did not authorize should file a complaint with the Department of Justice’s Office of Consumer Protection.