immediate release -- Wednesday, January 29, 1997.
AOL Agrees to Refunds and Other Measures
General Tom Miller said Wednesday afternoon that America Online has agreed
to make customer refunds to consumers who had difficulty getting access
during December and January, and to curtail advertising and change cancellation
procedures in order to help solve the problem.
to Solve On-line Access Problems
"It's a big
step in the right direction," Miller said. "The problem isn't
over, but this will help reduce the problem and make it right for people
who haven't been able to get on-line."
Demand for access
to AOL soared when AOL moved to an unlimited access pricing plan for most
customers late last year. AOL has stated that it is making every effort
to upgrade its system to accommodate the high volume of traffic.
Miller said at least
35 states reached an agreement with AOL Wednesday afternoon, and that
other states may join as well.
Miller said: "Our
main objectives were that AOL should curtail any advertising that might
recruit even more customers, sharply improve its cancellation procedures
so people don't have to wait and aren't cut off, and to provide some kind
of fair refunds to customers who are unable to use the system effectively."
He said AOL is halting
several advertising campaigns until its network and system capacity can
meet expected demand. Any other advertising must conspicuously disclose
that "availability may be limited especially during peak hours."
be possible by fax and mail as well as by 800-number -- which many customers
had found frustrating. The toll-free telephone number for cancellation
is 1-800-827- 6364. The fax cancellation number is 801-622-7969.
Cancellations are also accepted by mail at: America Online, P.O.
Box 1600, Ogden, UT 84401-1600.
Refunds or credits
will be available to consumers who qualify under the following conditions:
To request one of the
graduated refunds for complaints about access problems during December and/or
January, consumers should call AOL at 800-827-6364or write
to: AOL Member Refunds, P.O. Box 511, Ogden, UT 84402-0511.
Consumers may lodge a complaint and request refunds for oneor both of the
- AOL has offered
a one-month "no questions asked" credit to any subscriber for future
use of AOL. Consumers interested in receiving the one-month credit should
write to: AOL, Box 511, Ogden, Utah 84402-0511.
- OR AOL has agreed
to provide graduated refunds to customers for December and/or January
billing periods depending on which plan consumers are on and how much
access they were able to use --
- For consumers
on $19.95 per month unlimited access plan:
- less than
2 hours of access -- full refund;
- 2 to 8
hours of access -- 50% refund;
- 8-15 hours
of access -- 25% refund.
- For consumers
on $9.95 per month metered access plan: less than 1 hour of access
-- full refund; 1-3 hours of access -- 50% refund.
- For consumer
on $4.95 per month metered access plan: less than 1 hour of access
-- full refund; 1-2 hours of access -- 50% refund.
Consumers may request
either the one-month credit or a refund under the above plan, but not
"AOL is making a
serious effort to solve the problem and provide appropriate restitution
to consumers," Miller said, "but we still will be watching this situation."