How do I cancel my America Online (AOL) account?
Just for fun, I recently signed up for an AOL account through one of those ubiquitous free CDROMS, and now that I've poked around a bit, I've decided to shut it down. It's time to return to the real Internet. But I'm a bit stymied. How do I cancel my AOL account?
My first words to you are: good luck. My experience in this regard has been terrible. For what are obvious reasons AOL doesn't make it easy for you to quit their service. For example, there's no "Cancel My AOL Service" option on the "Help" menu. Probably too many people would use it!
To answer your question, I thought it would be fun to share exactly how I tried to cancel my own AOL account. Fair warning: it's not a pretty story...
I started out by logging in to my AOL service. The logical next step would be to try Keyword "cancel" or "quit", but "cancel" pops up a "not yet available. Come back soon" message (which is weird) and "quit" produces a full blown search of the Web.
Buried in those search results, however, is what I seek: Cancel AOL Account. Click on it and -- amazingly -- "The area you have reached is not yet available on this version of AOL. Please try back again later."
Which leads to the question: how do I cancel my $#&@*$(& AOL account??
My next attempt at a solution is to use AOL Help, then click on "Chat With Us: Billing Support".
Five minutes of seeing a "Loading Java Applet..." message later, I'm convinced that it's another dead end and quit.
So how about the "Billing" area? Nope. No way to quit through that avenue, but I am prompted to create a "security question" which I do so by indicating my favorite film.
To heck with it! I'll call them on the phone and cancel my account the old-fashioned way, since it appears there's no way to accomplish it electronically. But that's not so simple either. Look at how they cunningly word their phone help information:
To contact AOL by telephone
To speak to a customer support consultant or use our automated telephone system, please choose a toll-free telephone number from the list below. Selecting the most appropriate number will help you get the support you need as quickly as possible.
- To get an access number to sign on to AOL: 888-265-8005
- Help with your AOL account, connection or other technical issues: 800-827-6364
- Customer and technical support en español: 866-885-5117
- AOL TTY service for the hearing-impaired: 800-759-3323 (to use this service, you must have TTY-enabled equipment)
What don't they tell you that they offer? You guessed it: billing support via telephone.
Since I don't need an access number, I'm trapped having to call the second number, 800 827-6364. I call in at 7:07pm and meet their automated attendant. First step: I have to state what I want from a small list of options (access numbers, billing, support, cancel, ...). I say "cancel" and then get a 60 second advert for all the new AOL features, then it asks me for my phone number, my account name and the answer to my new security question (which I had to set up while logged in, trying to cancel in the first place. Makes me wonder what would happen if I didn't have a security question set up). After all that "your wait will be greater than ten minutes" for a task that should take their operator about 15 seconds once we're connected.
Ah, welcome to the electronic age.
While I'm on hold, I'll observe that smart companies recognize that a departing customer is still a potential customer and that if you make the cancellation process easy and offer a final "don't leave us" special bonus then maybe they'd be able to hold on to more customers. If an operator came on 20 seconds after hearing this terrible hold music and said "Looks like you've only just joined AOL, Dave. We hate to see you go. Can I offer you an additional three free months of service?" I might well say yes. But if I have to just sit on hold for ten minutes, I guarantee that they'd have to pay me to stay a member after wasting this much of my time doing something that should be pretty darn easy, all in all.
Ah, an operator! 7:24pm. He has a thick, difficult to understand Indian accent and the first thing he asks for is my screen name. Typical lack of information coordination: why did the automated attendant ask for all of this information if I'd be asked for it again as soon as I was connected to a customer service representative? First and last name, and my security question. Asks from a script "What is causing you to give up this account" at least four times. I finally say "I don't want to go through your questions. I want to cancel my account." and he skips ahead and gives me the all important cancellation confirmation number: "426167951-43".
I'm not quite done, though: "To finalize your process, please listen to the following legal disclaimer about canceling your account." and I'm off to one final waste of my time, a recording that informs me that "We're sorry you have chosen to cancel your account. Your cancellation is effective as of today. You are responsible for all accumulated charges, however, and we'd love to welcome you back to AOL. For a limited time you may reactivate it, keeping your current screen names, by clicking on AOL and signing back on. Thank you for choosing America Online"
Done. Elapsed time on the phone: 22 minutes. Time actually talking to someone: 73 seconds. Overall elapsed time including trying to cancel my account through AOL's software or help system: 50 minutes. Likelihood that I would reinstate my account after that terrible customer service experience? 0.
And that, my friends, is how you cancel your America Online account. Save yourself the effort and just don't sign up in the first place...
Additional helpful AOL tutorials, in case you decide to stay with them:
• Get rid of AOL popup ads!
• How to create new AOL screen names
• How to delete an AOL screen name
• How to change your AOL account password
And a final tip: if this feels like too much hassle, you can also cancel your aol account by using the cancel wizard service. Just click on "cancel your aol account" to learn more.
More Useful Computer and Internet Basics Articles:
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Computer and Internet Basics
Written by Dave Taylor
america online, aol, cancel america online, cancel aol, cancel aol account
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Reader Comments To Date: 648
thanks - i was able to cancel aol after only 15 minutes. i have tried off and on for months with no success. getting the correct phone number was key.
Thanks to your tips I was able to complete my cancellation today in 11 minutes 11 seconds! Got to give them credit for trying to keep you but if your persistant in telling them you just want to CANCEL you will eventually prevail. I was a paying customer for 11 years.
Thanks again for the help!
I just had a reminder from you that you had problems processing my last two billing transactions. I have been off AOL for the past 2 years and I am with Sky broadband. If you have been billing be, plz ensure that all payments taken from my account is reimbursed. You can contact me via email.
i have tried for three months to cancel they tell me it is then i get another charge to my card STAY AWAY from them they have people on phone you can not understand if you are lucky enough to get one very pi%$#@ jcpayne email@example.com
I want to delete aim.com and aol.com asap
I wanted to cancel AOL and wasn't sure what to expect after reading ASK DAVE. I used the toll free number 800 827-6364...got an agent pretty fast. I told her that I wanted to cancel. She basically told me a couple ways to make aol faster for me..that was one of my complaints. I interupted her whenever she started telling me things I could use/pay extra for. She even told me that I could get AOL for $3.99 a month....not 5 minutes on the phone with her and I am done with AOL....good riddens AOL.
Over 2 years ago I cancelled an AOL account. In Dec. 2009 I realized that AOL had been charging my account all that time. I called my bank immediately and reported the fraud. They cancelled my debit card and issued a new one. I had to go in any change all bills that were being paid automatically on that card. The bank was able to refund 4 months but nothing else. I called AOL and blew a gasket. They insisted that I had never cancelled the account. A month later I received a nasty letter stating that I owed them for the money my bank refunded. This went on for months until I finally agreed to pay them a lesser amount just to get rid of them. During all this time I am repeating over and over to cancel the account. This morning I logged into my bank account and see that AOL is AGAIN charging my account. I immediately called my bank only to be told that AOL was using my new debit card number and had charged 4 months on it. They put me thru to their fraud dept. and when I told them I had never give the new card to AOL, they advised me that AOL has a way to get the new debit card # if you use your old PIN number on it. They are taking care of the charges again and reissuing another new card. Again I called AOL and was finally put thru to their fraud dept. who denied and denied that they have any way to get the debit card # without me providing it. I finally got a reference number to use should they ever claim again that I never cancelled the account. I will hang on to it for the next 10 years.
All the conversation seems to be about canceling payed accounts. I did that years ago, but want to cancel my free acount. I have not used it in years, but somehow it is sending out e-mails to people who were/are in my aol address book. I didn't send these e.mails, don't know how they are being sent. Has anyone had this happen? Any ideas of how to close the free aol account?
Ah AOL ! Left them a month ago and so far they have stolen £150 from my account. Be very careful about how you close the account,still trying to actually get hold of them.
bye bye good luck never again been with you too long thank you again but never again. you never worked after 3 years bye bye bye hayxxxx
Am trying to cancel a free account right now, and it's a nightmare. Note that you cannot use the phone number to cancel a free account - you have to upgrade your plan to get live support. The way they say to cancel is to go to: https://bill.aol.com/SPortal/jsp/change_price_plan_home.jsp?originator=cancel, login, and in the list of numbered options on the side, you'll see "How do I cancel my free member account?" You'll get a popup screen that gives you the option of printing a form and faxing/mailing it, or submitting online. I have tried both, to no avail. Note that if you choose to try the online form, you'll be routed through a confusing screen which tries to sell you service - just click "continue" on the bottom and you'll get to the actual cancellation form. BE SURE TO CHECK THE BOX AT THE BOTTOM IF YOU ARE CANCELING A FREE ACCOUNT. I hope this works for someone. I submitted it online, waited "3 business days," like it said to, then faxed the form, and my account is still active, and loaded with the 100 spam messages I get each day. I will try submitting a few more times and then just walk away, and let their server overload from all this crap mail.
AOL has been billing me for three years.Also I have called 3 times and yet they still charged my account.Just called today agin hope it is all over.Please Please Please......
I cancelled my AOL Account months ago and you are still taking £9.99 out of my Bank Account Debit Card??? WHY??
Alexander M Forman
Thank you, Dave, for the Cancel Aol Account Wizard website. I used that today, 10-4-2010. First I called the 1-800-827-6364 and was asked, through a recorded speaker, to repeat my screen name 3 times since he didnt understand it? Well how could he, he is a recorded speaker phone guy. Then since he didnt understand, he said he would redirect me to an agent. Did that work? Well you can guess. The next thing I knew after hearing i had a 2 minute wait, I was hung up on!!!! Yea AOL needs to go down!!!!!!!
please close all on my accounts if i have more than one because someone is hacking into all my email by sending my mail to other email account . they are hacking into my bank account and using my domain please stop or close all my accounts
If you're having trouble canceling over the phone you can just convert your paid account to a free account thus no more charges. You will need to know the answer to your account security question before converting. Go to http://changeplan.aol.com
cancel.aol.com as long as you can remember your security question you can cancel there. But I guess it's a lot easier to bitch about it than to ask.
Please cancel my suscription. Thanks. Or show me the way to this end. Thanks.
I have just spent 4 hours trying to cancel a free account There is no form to this that pops up on my older mac with firefox - seems that the site all works just fine - but the form to cancel does not "pop up". I have never used this account. MY PRIVACY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED and I desparately needed this closed tonight. AOL has no other toll free numbers to help. I am disabled and cannot get out to mail. I think there needs to be a class action lawsuit about not being able to contact this company to close a free account. I believe I will suffer damages from not being able to get this done in a timely manner as the website states.
I did not open an aim account - but I see thats what I got for a free account. aim accounts cannot be cancelled? My information stays in AOL - its not deletable.
This is horror.
Thanks so much for this, it saved me a bunch of time:) Appreciate it!
Just called AOL. Chose the option to change address. Gave them my old phone number where i was still paying for AOL. Told them i needed to cancel as I moved from the address 2 years ago. The lady put me on the phone to some guy who asked why, told him i moved 2 years ago but forgot to cancel the account. He said OK, this has now been done.
Was pretty easy. UK call answered by someplace in Ireland. No complaints other than the fact that the operators sounded moody. Typical call center attitude.
Easy way to Cancel call 1800-827-6364 when asked for your name give one that is the same last name but different First and when they ask to speak with you tell them that the account holder has passed away they do not require any proof only apologize and cancel without trying to keep you.
2 months ago my AOL account started spamming everyone on my address list so I have canceled the account. Yesterday it suddenly started sending spam to everyone on the old address list, including my NEW GMAIL ACCOUNT. I am SPAMMING MYSELF. With a CANCELED ACCOUNT.
the web link from william johnson above (Go to http://changeplan.aol.com) worked great. got a confirmation in minutes my account was changing to a free acct. and billing would stop at month end. I can still use all my screen names and all of aol's software i want, or access the site from andy web browser. I think aol heard all of you...i will re-post if troubles starts...
I phoned and cancelled my AOL account 2 years ago due to moving house, just found out they havent cancelled and have been taking payments all this time, they claim no record of my cancelling and only hold phone call details for 180 days so cant trace my call! convenient or what.. 2 years later they still expect me to still have my cancellation letter, email or 4 digit pin so i'd advise anyone to keep this info...forever!!
I am some sick of those F$#$%^& A$$&^%^&!!! Let me tell you what to do. Someone got my name and starting spaming me, with my name on it as the header. I need that aol email closed right now. So after reading that they are a bunch of A$$^%$@# by everyone, like thousands of people. I signed up for everything free, news letters, products, coupons, business at home, money investments, ads on Craigs list, personal/business. Let it fill up and crash out, I come up with new sign up ideas everyday. In my case, someone got my personal information, so when it gets full, that spammer's email will just bounch back, because mail box is full. I will post later how many days it takes to get filled up. Remember, those sites send email everyday. Any junk/spam emailers out there, my email is:
firstname.lastname@example.org, I tried the whole cancellation thing threw the home page, they just don't care.
I just don't need to buy but keep my free account.
Also in 2011 your information is still highly appreciated, from overseas (France)!
Thanks to your detailed information I managed to cancel a 7 year old AOL account (I'm sorry MEMBERSHIP - what's in a name if you're billed anyway each month) of which we didn't remember the account nr, nor info regarding address it was registered on (we were on a holiday in USA 7 years ago, and -unfortunately- needed access to internet. We tried on other occasions to cancel the AOL subscription.
But today thanks to you in one go (in about 20 minutes) to cancel the subscription stating the one -ONLY- AOL related information we had: billing information which ofcourse had to be known as AOL charges each month.
Hi how can I put out my AOL fomr my computer?
If you just had a stop thing for the AOL to stop on any computer that would be nice many people are so having a very hard time understanding how AOL is runing on there computer I for one don'tcare for Aol I was thinking if stoping any way.
If I put the AOL in my computer than there has to be a way out to get it out of my computer I don't know if you understand what I'm trying to ask for you to do okay?
I will be happy if I can get my facebook account up to going right for me they has me to go to some E-mail and fix my Facebook up I can't do that it will not let me do that so I'm feel sad right now and it's not funny when people think that I did some thing to be up setting to some one no I did not thing to any one I'm a nice person that just need's some facebook back so I can E-mail people again.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you can help me from your friend Paul Gerard Mazzola.
Thank you so much for the information. I having been trying to call all the numbers on the website and none of them worked. I got a number from this page and was finally able to close my account. THANK YOU very much.
Thank you so very much. I used the 877-773-4621 number given above, pressed 1 to get a person immediately, and my free AOL accounts, which have been spewing Viagra ads and other such nonsense for months despite the fact that I haven't used that account for years, were immediately cancelled. Yea! Thanks to all for your help. Merry Christmas
I want to cancel my account
Good luck all. I am currently still trying to cancel mine and dealing with a collection agency they sent me to for not paying the bill for the service I not only cancelled but never actually asked for!
AOL is the worst.
AOL has been the absolute worst company I have ever dealt with. I got behind on my payment but they kept my service on,then they finally shut it down. I figured that from the point they shut it down there would be no reason for me to keep accruing fees on my account. I then had to leave home to work out of town and I called them up from out of town and explained the situation and I told them I wanted to pay for any service I owed them and cancel cancel my service. The person on the other end of the phone looked up my account, begged me (in a thick Indian accent)to continue service and continually insisted that I owed them nothing in back fees. I told them that I was going to be working away from home for 3-4 months so there was no point in my paying for an internet service that I could not even use and they still kept trying to get me to agree to keep subscribing to their service. They finally agreed to cancel my service and gave me a subscription cancellation number which I unfortunately misplaced. Now fast forward about 8 months and I start getting bill collector notices in the mail insisting that I owe them for many months of service. Their claim was that if I logged onto their AOL internet service even once I would automatically re-activate my account and the billing and thus I would owe them for service every month from then on out. Well I spent a lot of time on the phone making it clear to cancel my service and I never authorized continued billing. On top of that they claimed that I was logging on to my home computer and using their service when I was working out of town 400+ miles from home. At the time I was a truck driver by trade and kept all of my drivers daily log books and I told them that there was nobody in my home using my computer and I could prove that I was not at home according to my drivers daily log books. They ignored me and threatened to damage my credit, they kept sending me bill collection notices, which were not from an outside bill collection agency by the way, they were from AOLs in house AOL owned collection agency. In other words they are scamming so many people that they have to have their own in house collection agency to screw people over. If they had been nice I would have willingly paid them for one month of service, but when I have some idiot on the other side of the country looking at a computer screen claiming they had proof that I used their service on a date that was after I cancelled my subscription and was not even home to log onto the internet and use their service when they claim I did that pissed me off so bad that I paid them nothing and I will never as long as I live have anything to do with anything that says AOL on it. Ironically when I first cancelled and they assured me that I owed them nothing I was seriously considering signing up again once I returned home from working out of town.....
Please unsubscribe my e-mail email@example.com from America Online, because I am not using this e-mail anymore and I want to cancel my this e-mail to the new e-mail which is now on Earthlink website, called firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks and take care.
May I just say first, I think askdavetaylor is one of my favourite sites :). But still,people complaining about 10-15 minute hold times make me laugh. Here in Britain when we call our Indian cousins, we wait upwards of an hour for the privilege, premium rate. As for cancelling AOL in this instance it seemed easier than cancelling my broadband contract, with good old Pipex who kept billing us for 3 months after we cancelled and sent baliffs too.
my BANK called and canceled my AOL account,i have a cancelation No..297476993, BUT, i'am STILL
on.. Don't these people know that "WE" pay there wages,can't they (AOL) abide to "OUR" wishes?? I will tell you that I "WILL" cancel my DEBIT card tomorrow, (05/02), and YOU can take "THAT" to the bank.
Dave Burdick .. kawbiketrash69
I live in Britain and i'm trying to cancel my aol who we have been with for 12 years. They say we have to pay £136 as we are breaking the contract. We never agreed to this contract. How do we cancel aol without having to pay this fee? They have been charging us too much for the last few years as it is.
Thanks for the horror stories and the number 1-888-265-8008 to cancel my aol service. The support person tried to tell me I had $700 some dollars for free computer problems, malfunctions, etc. Huh, years & years I have paid on this & I never heard anything about it before now. I held my ground. She (David) said there will be no more bills and no more deductions and I hope it will be this easy. Thanks for the recommendations & support. I made it through in about 5 minutes.
im in proccess of cancelling my aol and find it nearly impossible. they have upped my subscription twice in 4 months without notifying me and when i wanted mac number to transfer they said it will cost a £160 disconnection fee. ongoing
I BEEN CALLING XXXXXX AOL COSTUMER SERVICE FOR 5 YEARS TO CANCEL MY SERVICE AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE A XXXXXXX EXCUSE MOTHERSXXXXXX MAN
Thanks Dave. I am embarrassed to say how may years I've been saying I need to cancel the membership but everytime I try, it was so hard that I just convinced myself that $34 needlessly coming out of my account is not such a huge amount! I just cancelled successfully thanks to you!
comment virgin here. god i hope this helps someone. easier to pay aol than to cancel, i know. i got a new credit card, and aol couldn't process my payment! genius,lol. phone # to call 1-888-723-7909. go thru their bs and when you finally reach a person from India DO NOT let them transfer you. they will try and then you will be told how hours of operation are M-F 8am to 1am EST and they are closed even though you are calling within the right hours. i finally got the confirmation # to cancel after 5 phone calls and 35 min. also did not settle up my outstanding balance, not giving my new credit card #, am sending a check. good luck
just found out aol been charging my account every month and i havent used that account in years. i called 87777334462 and i got a representative on the phone in 3 minutes. i spoke with rep. john anderson and i told hm i am recording the conversation. there was no pitch for any discounted services. i asked for my confrimation number and got it. thanks for this blog. i might still be trying to get through!
So about two years ago, I went on aol and cancelled an screen name. After finding and reading all this I decided to see if it was still good. I had always heard after many months with out activity, it was closed. WRONG! Two years after cancelling, I went right in using it. AOL is very creepy.
Hi, thanks for the info. yes they do make it hard to cancel, however I called the 800 number you provided in Tampa and cancelled after 15 years in on 7 minutes on the phone, I think calling at 11am CT helped. I have been putting it off for years and forgot they were charging me $25 month too.
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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