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Just Cancel the @#%$* Account! 483 483

An anonymous reader writes "PC World Senior Editor Tom Spring signed up for 32 online accounts. Then tried to cancel all of them. The most difficult to cancel: NetZero. The easiest to cancel: Consumer Reports Online and The New York Times TimesSelect. His experience was rated on a number of criteria, and highlights the hoops that commercial enterprises put in place to keep their 'customers'. From the article: 'I had a hard time canceling my $5 monthly Gold Classmates.com account, too. I couldn't find any information on how to cancel until I entered the word cancel In the site's search engine. Classmates.com spokesperson John Uppendahl confirmed that there is no other way to find cancellation information. But that was only the first hoop I had to jump through to cancel my membership. Classmates.com also forced me to click through several Web pages reminding me of the benefits I'd lose. Finally my clicking ended at a generic Member Support e-mail contact page containing a blank 'Your Question' field. Though the form said nothing about cancellations, I used it to request that the service cancel my subscription. The next day I received an e-mail message confirming that the service had accepted my request.'"
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Just Cancel the @#%$* Account!

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  • by holdenholden (961300) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:13AM (#17495450)

    This is precisely why I use virtual CC numbers. My bank (MBNA, now bought by B of A) allows me to set a limit on the amount of money that can be used, and the expiration date is usually two months in the future. A few companies (most recently Time Magazine) have tried the old trick "Submit a new card number to ensure uninterrupted service", but the truth is, they know that as long as they have a valid CC number they are in a much stronger position.

    On a different thread, I personally found Paypal to be the hardest to cancel. The link is buried deep in the Options menu, good luck finding it, aunt Mary.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:26AM (#17495520)
    On a different thread, I personally found Paypal to be the hardest to cancel. The link is buried deep in the Options menu, good luck finding it, aunt Mary.

    I just went to Paypal.com, logged into my account, and clicked on the "Profile" link. At the bottom of the "Account Information" window there is a link for "Close Account". From there it asked for the checking/credit card numbers linked to my account for verification. I didn't actually go through that process, because I don't want to cancel my account, but I'm assuming that will do it. Doesn't seem that hard at all if someone has basic skills of how to navigate a website. I wouldn't be suprised if it has been changed since Paypal has become a lot more user friendly as of late (which might not be saying much - but they have improved).
  • Consumer Reports (Score:5, Interesting)

    by honkycat (249849) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:34AM (#17495568) Homepage Journal
    It's interesting that he mentions Consumer Reports as the easy to cancel. When I was buying a car a few years ago, I signed up with them to read reviews and advice. Their term was a year. After I bought my car (a month or two after I signed up), I canceled the account and was credited the pro-rated cost of the time I did not use. It was so easy and honest that I couldn't believe it was really going to work. After it was done, I felt a little bad for canceling service with a company that got something so right from a customer point of view, even when it costs them money.
  • by Jeremy Erwin (2054) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:53AM (#17495682) Journal
    Apparently, they differentiate between cancellation, resignation, and suspension, so that they have a 66% chance of keeping your money. And if you ask your credit card company to stop charges, they can fine you $1000 It's all in the contract....

  • .Mac & iTunes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by R3d M3rcury (871886) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:54AM (#17495688) Journal
    I signed up for the free .Mac trial when I got my Mac. While I didn't get charged anything when I didn't sign up, my .Mac account is still buried within Mac OS X and it pops up from time to time when attempting to configure stuff (iChat, Mail, etc.).

    iTunes is the more entertaining one. When I set up my iTunes account, it filled in my .Mac account. When I didn't renew it, I set up another iTunes account. So I have a bunch of songs purchased with one account and a bunch of songs purchased with another account. This sometimes confuses iTunes and a batch of songs are unplayable until I reauthorize my computer with one of the accounts.

    (This is why I laugh whenever some MacHead tells me about how they "buy" their music rather than "rent" it. Cancel your iTunes account and see what happens to those songs you "bought".)
  • Re:Consumer Reports (Score:5, Interesting)

    by staticdaze (597246) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @03:56AM (#17495710)
    I'll second the great service with Consumer Reports. Last month, I bought a gift subscription for a family member. A couple weeks later, when I actually informed them of the gift, it turned out they already had a subscription. So I called Consumer Reports up, got through to a human in under a minute(!) and asked if I could get a refund on the gift subscription. After a few basic details (name, address, etc), she simply said "You will be credited within a week. Anything else?" I was in shock and even verified that the process was truly completed. First class service all the way.
  • by Leebert (1694) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:06AM (#17495758)
    I did the same thing, and a company that I tried to quit from sent the "debt" (that I did not renew and tried to cancel) into collection, which to this day shows up on my credit record.


    Order a free copy of your credit report from the Big Three (you can do it easily from http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ [annualcreditreport.com]). When you receive the three reports, dispute the debt on each of them following the procedures outlined in the credit report.

    The company reporting the negative information is then required to submit supporting documentation, which often doesn't happen.

    Sounds like you may have already tried this, but if not, it's not too time-consuming.
  • Re:Vonage (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Kid Zero (4866) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:08AM (#17495764) Homepage Journal
    I'd just like to "Amen" this one. I tried for days to get a live human on the oh the phone, but never did. When they'd call me, wanting their money I'd cancelled payment on (my bank is nice...), I told them I wanted to return their router, but they wouldn't let me do that, either.

    I still have it.

  • Cancelling Woes (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FalleStar (847778) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:11AM (#17495768) Homepage
    A few years back when I was hooked on Halo 2 I signed up for Xbox Live with one of those 3-month free cards you got with certain games. I didn't have a credit card at the time to register the account with so I called my parents and used their CC info. Towards the end of the 3 months I decided to cancel the account, so I called the customer service and they told me that the account would not renew once it had expired. I had even received a confirmation e-mail regarding the closure of the account, a few months later I got a call from my mother telling me that they were still charging her credit card every month. So after calling the customer service again they said that they needed to get confirmation from the person who the account was registered to, which surprisingly somehow was not me. Somehow the account had gotten my little brother's name on it and they insisted that they needed to get his confirmation before they would close the account. My brother at the time was 13 years old and I had to have my mother call up and put my brother on the phone to give the ok just to cancel the subscription. I've dealt with Xbox Live since and had no problems with canceling though so they seem to have fixed their problems.
  • by drfuchs (599179) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @04:15AM (#17495784)
    I used my credit card to pay for a relative's AOL account as a gift a long while ago. The relative lost interest, but my card kept getting charged. I called AOL to cancel, but they wouldn't let me without my knowing the login password to the account. "But it's not my account!" "You can't cancel it, then." "Fine, don't cancel it, but I do not authorize you to charge MY credit card any longer." "No, you can't change the credit card info on an account you don't know the password to." "But it's MY credit card and as the only person authorized to use it, I'm telling you I don't approve of the charge! Let me speak to a supervisor!" Amazingly, still no luck. I had to get the credit card company to cut them off. This was before they capitulated on a few class-action lawsuits: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AOL#Account_cancellat ion [wikipedia.org] and http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/06/04/aol_billin g_litigation/ [theregister.co.uk], so I don't know if it's better now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:02AM (#17495968)
    ServerPronto (if you don't know who they are, keep it that way), was a dedicated server host I used during the (I believe 2005) hurricane season that was active in Florida. I was worried when the hurricane came through, but I had no downtime, no nothing... until a month after the hurricane passed over. Then, the servers died, their support chat disappeared, no responses to email, and their number came up disconnected (yet I got a CC charge two days later). I called everyday for a week and emailed them for awhile before calling my CC company to dispute (for all of Bank of America's problems, they have a great dispute department). They had the same problems with disconnected numbers, so they found in my favor immediately and refunded my money. Two weeks later, mostly to ensure that the company wouldn't continue trying to charge me every month for what I assume was a company that had cut and run, I call and get through. I spoke to the most rude operator in the world at their company, who had the ***** to tell me that ServerPronto had not charged me money, and it went downhill from there before he hung up on me. He also told me that everything died when the hurricane hit, even though none of this had happened for a month after the storm blew over.

    He hung up on me, I called back, and ended up speaking with a generic operator who told me no one with his name worked at the company. Needless to say, I did receive my money back from ServerPronto, and got a nice apology letter in the mail.

    Almost forgot to mention that a check on their company in the BBB archives at that time revealed that their mailing address was for an office front only; their real operation is hidden away at a remote site.
  • by Lobster Quadrille (965591) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:07AM (#17495992)
    I can vouch for this one. The hardest cancellation I've ever had to do was with Gold's Gym.
    I had just moved back home from another state and wasn't sure how long I'd be here, so I specifically asked the salesperson about cancellation, I was told that it'd just be a $100 cancellation fee (even that is too much, but seemed reasonable at the time for some reason.) 6 months later, I tried to cancel only to find out that I have to show proof that I am moving more than X miles from any Gold's location, etc... They kept charging dues over the 3 months it took to cancel.
    Then the 4th month rolled around and guess what? There was a glitch in their system and I was still billed for another month. Only after yelling && cussing out the phone for over 2 hours was I able to get a refund for that, and it took 6 weeks to arrive.

    And this is exactly what a previous poster was talking about- not only will I never go back there- I will discourage everybody that I know is considering going there from signing up for their service. Crappy customer service, but they spend more on advertising than I do, so they'll probably win in the end. Fuck.
  • by KWTm (808824) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:19AM (#17496042) Journal
    The other day my US Postal carrier (mailwoman --but that would be an oxymoron) said to me, "I thought you moved --I'm getting all this mail from your address marked 'Return to Sender'(RTS)." I told her that, to teach these slimy junkmail-sending businesses a lesson, I was sending all their mail back. She said that any bulk mail marked "Presorted", which is most of them, is sent at a discounted rate that doesn't cover the cost of the RTS service; anything marked RTS is brought back to the mail processing plant and shredded. Ah, well. So the business never gets to see it. I guess I could still mark it RTS and get the US Post to shred it so I don't have to -- I don't like having recycled papers floating around in those public recycling dumps with my name and address on it -- but I guess I'm resigned to having to shred them myself.

    With regard to credit card offers, you can tell the US credit rating companies that you don't want any more credit card offers. There's a phone number you can phone, and they ask you, "Do you mean stop sending credit card offers for 5 years, or permanently?"

    At first I hesitated at permanently --what if I can't get more credit cards in the future even if I want to?-- but then I realized that I had successfully applied for one particular credit card without any solicitation. A friend told me about the good features --photo ID and signature printed on the card, 5% rebate on groceries and gasoline, 1% rebate on all else-- so I phoned and got approved. There was absolutely no downside to me being the one to take the initiative to contact them. In fact, only after I had gotten the card did I start getting offers from *that same bank* for all sorts of other cards. (Stupid bank, I just *got* a card from you! --why do I need more? Anyway, now that junk mail is blocked.)

    If you sign up for "permanently", you have to send them something in writing. I did that, and my mailbox has been mercifully free of credit card offers for the past year or so. I'm too lazy to Google for it right now, so whoever wants to do it can probably get his/her post modded up.

    As for the rest of the junk mail, I tried to ask my mailwoman to stop delivering them ("I just throw it away anyway," I told her) but apparently legally she is obligated to deliver it. There is a way to stop it, though; my wife tried it at her old address and apparently it worked.

    It does like this: by law, you may order advertisers not to send you unsolicited mail if it is sexually provocative. But what is sexually provocative? The Supreme Court has upheld a decision that only YOU can determine whether something is sexually provocative to YOU. So, suppose you decide that the SuperSaver Coupons logo in your junk mail is sexually provocative to you. Who's to say it isn't? Your post office has no authority to decide that it isn't, so if you say it is, they must stop delivering that mail.

    So, you can get this form from the post office that declares that you don't want the junk mail from that one particular source. You also need to bring a sample of the junk mail. My wife found it all on the web, so it's there, but again I'm too lazy to Google for it.

    Hope that helps!
  • Ebay and ISPs (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rumplet (1034332) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:21AM (#17496044) Homepage
    I signed up for an eBay business account last month, and it got locked almost straight away. I was accused of listing a load of crappy items like fake-ish looking perfume and sports goods, a few days BEFORE I signed up.
    After I cleared up the amazing time travelling junk listings, they admitted their dumb mistake but still wouldn't unlock the account. The only response was "We can't unlock the account because if we do then potential scammers will be able to optimize their scamming techniques. eBay works in mysterious ways" (Security though obscurity?)

    Even though there was no money involved since I didn't actually list anything, I was pissed because of course I had given them all my personal info, as is necessary with eBay. They gave me the option of giving them even more ID to reactivate (then close) the account, or else boycott eBay forever.

    A funny cancelling experience was when I tried to quit a UK ISP and the support guy asked me my password for a joke because it was about 60 random printable ASCII characters, and he wanted to see if I could recite it. I wasn't amused and asked why they didn't hash user passwords. Nice security guys.
  • Re:Starz (Score:2, Interesting)

    by RickPartin (892479) * on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:30AM (#17496350) Homepage
    At some point I'm sure I would have signed up for this service. Thanks for changing my mind.
  • by Shag (3737) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @06:38AM (#17496384) Homepage
    I signed up for MySpace (yeah. I know.) from an email address with a plus in it.

    Wanted to cancel, and the confirmation email never came.

    Tried changing my email address (to something without a plus) and the confirmation email never came.

    Wrote to privacy@myspace.com like MySpace says to in this situation... it's been 2-3 months and the account is still there.

    For a couple of those months the account's name has been the uncensored version of "F*** MySpace" and its profile has been a description of how broken MySpace is in this regard. This hasn't gotten it canceled either.

    Once I manage to move the account's few friends somewhere else, I think I'll have to update its publicly-visible goodness with some choice commentary on "Tom," Rupert Murdoch, barnyard animals, drugs, Al-Qaeda, minors, and whatever else, to see if that helps.
  • That's nothing. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bmo (77928) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @07:41AM (#17496614)
    When I tried to cancel my ebay account, which had no pending sales/buys in it at all, it took from early August of 2005 to October 2005 of acting like an ass to get them to cancel my account. I tried everything, including terms-of-service violations in public to get them to pay attention. I even sent email messages consisting of 1MB (or was it two or three?) each of "Cancel My Account!" It's amazing how much you can cut and paste into an ebay feedback dialog (I found out, because when they reply the quote the whole thing). And even when they finally got around to me, they sent me an email saying that it would take a few more weeks. Just how difficult is it to delete an empty account?

    Why did I want it cancelled? Fraud. Obvious out-and-out fraud that I wasn't the victim of, but saw happening, and when it was brought to their attention the silence was deafening. Ebay's utter lack of even basic business honesty really offends me. Microsoft looks like a shining paragon of righteousness standing next to them. Even thinking of it now, more than a year later, a pit of anger is forming in my gut.

    I can only think of one reason why they make it so difficult to delete accounts: that it inflates the user base fraudulently. Inactive accounts count as "members" and they make it that difficult to cancel hoping that the user just gives up, which is probably what happens most of the time. It really was insane how much effort I had to put into getting an empty account nuked.

    Ebay, as a result, is on my list as "Not Recommended"

    --
    BMO
  • by technothrasher (689062) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @08:13AM (#17496772)
    Let me advise you that this is not as good a defense as you think. I did the same thing, and a company that I tried to quit from sent the "debt" (that I did not renew and tried to cancel) into collection

    This is not a bad outcome (assuming you're in the right and don't owe the debt). As soon as it goes to the collection agency, you can send them a letter asking for any and all evidence the collection agency has to back up their claim they have a valid debt so that you can begin your lawsuit against them. Once you do that, they are legally obligated to furnish you with the information within 30 days, and they are not allowed to touch your credit report until after the lawsuit is finished. Unless it's some huge debt, they'd waste more money trying to prove it then it's worth to them, and so they'll fail to respond within 30 days and you're all done, credit report intact.
     
    I've done this on several occasions after companies tried to bully my into paying a fraudulent debt. Works like a charm. They only annoying part is that it's the innocent collection agency who loses here, as they've already paid the original company for the debt. But I guess that's a buyer beware situation for them.
  • by gb506 (738638) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @09:32AM (#17497062) Homepage
    I wonder what would happen if a subscriber didn't update their credit card info once their card expires to let the account lapse.


    I actually reported my card lost and had it replaced in order to get rid of an Earthlink DSL account a couple of years ago. Even though I (or anyone else) hadn't lived at the DSL location for 6 mos, and the phone line asociated w/ the acount had been disconnected for the same amount of time, they would not cancel the acount, so I did what I had to do.

  • by aplusjimages (939458) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:00AM (#17497220) Journal
    That sold websites to small to medium sized businesses, but they did it like a telemarketing company. They were told it would be a trial period and if they didn't like it then they could cancel at any time. The company made lots of money because a lot of the businesses totally forgot about the website and wouldn't know they were being billed until the next quarter when they saw the bill. Some businesses were billed through their business phone company and wouldn't even notice the charge. My friends in customer service said it was stressful because they were required to retain an insane amount of customers and the customers would just go off on them. The company got sued several times, so they ended up audio taping the customers saying yes to the website trial.
  • by theskipper (461997) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:03AM (#17497236)
    I'd like to add that the link is not "www.freecreditreport.com". Experian has been advertising this link on TV so people think of it before the correct one: http://www.annualcreditreport.com./ [www.annual...report.com]

    For example, in the past year two relatives called and asked me why are the reports $39.95 when it's supposed to be free ("freecreditreport" was burned into their brains). I had to point out the blue on blue text that looks like legalese on the left side. They totally missed it.

    Can't blame Experian for trying to hijack the process, but it's scummy enough where folks like us just need to spread the "correct" link.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @11:22AM (#17497648) Journal

    There used to be a saying along the lines of 'a happy customer will tell five people, an unhappy one will tell fifty.' In the age of the Internet, that number is a lot more; I've written articles about bad customer service that have had several thousand unique readers.

    If I cancel a service, it can be for any number of reasons. It might, for example, be that I am moving house, or going away for a while and will want a similar service when I get back. If it's hard for me to cancel, then when I want a similar service then I will go elsewhere. If a friend asks me for advice about what service, my opinion will be biased by how easy cancelling it was. When I moved to broadband, for example, I cancelled by dial-up account not because I was unhappy with the service, but because I no longer had a use for it. Other people, however, still asked me to recommend a dial-up provider.

  • by Mastodon (757726) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @12:11PM (#17497946)
    I wonder what would happen if a subscriber didn't update their credit card info once their card expires to let the account lapse.

    I actually cancelled the card. They kept sending me bills for AOL anyway. When I called the credit card company to complain, they said "We can't cancel that. They're providing you with a service." I said, "No they're not. That's the point."

    They finally turned it into a conference call with a guy from AOL on the phone. After insisting with a slightly raised voice that I really wanted both the credit card and the AOL account cancelled, they did it.

    I would have kept the card except that their "customer service" people made it clear that they had made some deal with AOL at my expense.
  • by xigxag (167441) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @12:24PM (#17498016)
    I just canceled a real Superpass account I'd been meaning to cancel for ages. It was dead easy. I told them I wanted to upgrade to Rhapsody. It so happens the memberships aren't directly transferable so they have to de-register you from Superpass and then you have to manually sign up for Rhapsody. So they canceled my Superpass but, of course, I never signed up for the Rhapsody. In fairness to them, I understand the Rhapsody service itself is pretty good as far as those subscription music plans go, and also it ties into one of the Sansa products. Their Superpass was also a decent deal (it included 10 purchased downloads a month) until they decided to tack on some useless bonus software as an excuse for jacking up the price. So I think they've got some decent offerings at their core, but if Real ever want to compete with iTunes, they're going to have to quit with the silly/sleazy business practices.

    One other thing. People here keep trotting out that VISA Terms and Conditions which says the merchant is not allowed to bind you to XYZ terms (e.g., they can't penalize you for using virtual cc numbers) But if you contractually agree to the penalty, I wonder if the Visa T&C will be a valid defense? After all, just because they've breached their contract with VISA doesn't mean you (necessarily) get to breach your contract with the merchant. Presumably your defense would be fraudulent inducement? Any case law on this?
  • by phantomlord (38815) <slashdot@@@krwtech...com> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @12:42PM (#17498128) Journal
    I recently managed a small family restaurant and two years ago, we finally relented and got a credit card machine service because so many people these days refuse to carry cash on them (sidenote, good luck if a disaster hits and you can't use your credit card for a while due to the electricity/communication systems being out of operation). We were a small 30ish person business with no real leverage to negotiate terms with a credit card company so we're basically told what we could take or have nothing.

    Generally speaking, there was a 50 cent charge for every credit card we swiped. Buy a $1.50 drink with a credit card and 33% of the price is that credit card charge. There was a 25 cent charge for invalid cards (account expired, was canceled, someone swiped a card type that we didn't accept, etc). Discover charged the merchants the 50 cent fee plus 3% of the purchase price (again, that $1.50 drink = 50 cent charge + 4.5 cents). American Express was 3% for a personal card and 5% for a business card. We were also charged a $1 service fee every time we ran a statement of how much credit we had been credited (so instead of pulling a credit receipt every time a drawer was counted, it was pulled once a day). There's also the added headache of having to keep signed receipts stored for a period of time just in case they were disputed.

    Short story, we took a loss on every credit card transaction under $10 or so. On very large purchases the rewards credit cards took a still pretty good chunk for themselves ($400 party paid for by a corporate AmEx card took $20.50 just for swiping that card). Someone has to pay for the cost the merchants incur for accepting cards and ultimately, it is the patrons who pay. Taking a 5% loss on every transaction and losing money on all transactions until $10 will put most businesses under if they didn't raise prices to compensate... and unfortunately, that means raising prices for cash payers as well (especially on lower end goods that you might by just one of like a 20 ounce Coke).
  • by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @02:25PM (#17499006)

    Order a free copy of your credit report from the Big Three (you can do it easily from http://www.annualcreditreport.com/ [annualcreditreport.com]). When you receive the three reports, dispute the debt on each of them following the procedures outlined in the credit report.

    The company reporting the negative information is then required to submit supporting documentation, which often doesn't happen.

    Sounds like you may have already tried this, but if not, it's not too time-consuming.

    This happened to me. I tried to open a checking account at my hometown bank, where I had previously had a savings and checking account. When they tried to open it they found through Chex Systems [consumerdebit.com], which is some sort of credit-like reporting agency that someone else had been using my social security number. I even had my SSN card on me, but they couldn't open an account for me. I tried to contact Chex Systems, but it was almost impossible to get through to them, to this day I don't know if it was ever cleared up with them.

    I also got my credit reports from the three agencies, and they all had a past due account for $100 something from American Express, and an address in the Bronx (I've never lived close to NYC). The account was opened before I was 18 and before I had ever signed up for a credit card. I also had a credit card account in good standing from American Express for a while before I found this info on my credit report and they had never contacted me about owing them money.

    I submitted requests to remove this info from my account, added a flag to my report, and added a statement to the account. One of the credit reporting agencies said they wouldn't take the info off because AMEX told them not to. According to the law, the agencies have to give you names and numbers of people contacted during the investigation, so naturally I asked for this info so that I could talk to whoever they talked to at AMEX, but I just got the run-around. Going through the normal channels at AMEX was no help either. Some of the agencies removed the info but then it just reappeared a few months later when AMEX reported the past due account again.

    It's one of the most frustrating experiences I've gone through/still going through. Whenever I apply for a loan, open a bank account, or apply for a job, I'm always wondering if they're going to see this information and I'll be denied. Just writing about it now and thinking about it gets me so angry because it's not even like someone stole my wallet, or I was careless with my info, but I still have to deal with all this crap because the credit reporting agencies are setup in the most anti-consumer way possible. Someone probably just picked a random SSN to use to open an account and it just happened to be mine... how they were able to open an account so easily with my info, while it's been so difficult for me is insane.

  • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @05:14PM (#17500604)
    That kind of thing is what happens when you give customer service reps bonus packages for retaining canceling subscribers [wikipedia.org].

    As a sidenote on the 13-year-old thing, it amuses me that Xbox fans will accuse Nintendo of catering only to children when it is their system that is played primarily by young Halo-loving teenagers while Nintendo caters to the mainstream adult crowd through their Touch Generation products and the Wii. I just find it funny.
  • by fishbowl (7759) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @09:13PM (#17502762)
    I once had a test account, first name "Test", last name "Account" turned over to a collection service by the company who I was doing the testing for. They actually pursued the collection, sometimes vigorously, sometimes dormant. It went on for years. It's not like I had any ability to fix it, and the company making the complaint was the party that initiated the transaction. Very strange. It's really funny to have someone obviously from an overseas call center, in all seriousness ask for a person by the name of "Test Account."
  • by Tony Hoyle (11698) <tmh@nodomain.org> on Sunday January 07, 2007 @10:36PM (#17503436) Homepage
    Oh and my all time worst? Time Life.

    They send you CDs through the post then bill you unless you send them back. Fair enough.. try cancelling.

    Wrote. No response. Phoned. Said they'd cancelled... CDs kept coming. Wrote again. No response. Got a solicitor to send them a vaguely threatening letter (also mentioning that any further CDs would be treated as unsolicited mail). They stopped! Woohoo.

    *18 months later* CDs started coming through the post every couple of days. Phoned.. no record of my account. Wrote. No response. Kept phoning and writing.. nothing. The simultaneously denied ever sending them and also sent threatening letters demanding payment.... At one point I had a stack of 50 of them unopened.

    The thing that finally worked? Sent the whole lot back with 'deceased' written on them. Wierd but true...

  • by bhiestand (157373) on Sunday January 07, 2007 @11:57PM (#17504052) Journal
    I had a similar issue with Sprint PCS a few years ago. They thought I owed them cancellation fees when, according to my contract, I didn't. I didn't hear about the matter from them until some collections idiots started getting a hold of my family asking them where I was. After sending some legal paperwork to three different sets of collections agencies, I ended up filing a better business bureau complaint. A very friendly lady from Sprint called me within days and fixed everything, even getting the credit report corrected.

    Speaking of Sprint, I do remember getting a bill for them when I canceled. I tried to login to my account on their website to contact customer support and let them know they were wrong, but my account was deactivated because I had canceled my account. When I tried to call them to discuss that problem with them, their automated phone system would not allow me to speak to a customer service rep because, you guessed it, my Sprint PCS Phone Number was invalid. So I wrote a letter explaining it all to them, stuffed it in their pre-paid envelope, and sent it back. 3-6 months later, their outsourced collections lawyers responded.

Sometimes, too long is too long. - Joe Crowe

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