When AOL launched it dial up service more than 20 years ago, most of us were happy to pay the money to be connected to the Internet and pay for the privilege of the slow connection and weird noise when connection was made.
Unfortunately today thousands of people are still paying $25 a month for their AOL dial up connection even though they don’t need it since they have cable or DSL Internet service.
That is what David Reik of Farmington discovered when he went over to his parent’s East Hartford home recently do his work.
Despite having cable Internet service for years, Reik said he found out that James and Cynthia Reik were still paying AOL $25 each month.
He immediately called AOL on behalf of his parents – who are in their 80s – and cancelled their dial up service. He said he asked AOL for a refund for some of their past wasted payments, but of course he was refused.
“I talked to my father about this morning. He said something like, “Explain this to me: What is ‘dial-up service?’ ” But he was aware of the The New Yorker quote about the majority of AOL’s current subscribers being older people who were paying for something they didn’t need” he wrote me.
Did you see the article on AOL in the January 24, 2011 New Yorker? Reik asked me. The article contains this passage:
“The company still gets eighty per cent of its profits from subscribers, many of whom are older people who have cable or DSL service but don’t realize that they need not pay an additional twenty-five dollars a month to get online and check their e-mail. ‘The dirty little secret,’ a former AOL executive says, ‘is that seventy-five per cent of the people who subscribe to AOL’s dial-up service don’t need it.’ ”
No wonder AOL doesn’t send out notices to its customers to stop paying for dial up service when they don’t need it. AOL also failed to respond to my questions on this issue.
“The big issue for me is AOL’s policy regarding people (not just my parents) who are paying for dial-up service but are not using it. AOL doesn’t seem to be making any effort to let these people know that, unless they are getting on to the Internet via a telephone number, they don’t have to pay AOL $25 a month,” David Reik said.
It’s not just old people that don’t understand that AOL dial up service is unnecessary. After my wife and I moved in together a few years ago and started sharing our finances I discovered she was paying a $10 monthly fee for AOL email which then available for free.
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