Local News

States Settle AOL Billing Practices Dispute

Posted July 11, 2007 2:53 p.m. EDT

— AOL has reached a $3 million settlement with North Carolina and 48 other states over the company’s cancellation, refund and billing practices.

The settlement resolves allegations that AOL made it difficult and confusing for consumers to cancel the company’s Internet service. The settlement also provides refunds to consumers who complained about unauthorized charges.

In the past, AOL limited the methods consumers could use to cancel their accounts, which resulted in the majority of consumers calling AOL directly. Once on the phone, AOL customer service representatives often tried to talk the customer out of canceling. AOL gave its representatives incentives for retaining customers who called to cancel, and consumers complained that cancellation was difficult if not impossible.

“Consumers told us that it was virtually impossible to cancel their Internet service, even when they followed the required steps,” North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said in a statement. “Now they can cancel without getting the run-around.”

The Attorney General's Office has received 137 complaints from North Carolina consumers about unauthorized AOL charges, Cooper said. Those consumers will receive notification from AOL about the status of their refunds.