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AOL-CompuServe / Bad business practice

1 United States

I have only had a computer in my home since June 2005 and since that time my one and only legitimate internet service provider has been Massillon Cable in Massillon, Ohio. I live alone so I know for certain that "no one else in my household" has ever signed up or registered for internet service with either AOL, CompuServe, or any other online service provider. But somehow, both AOL and CompuServe had active and open accounts with my name and my correct address their databases.

Likewise, I know that both credit cards used by AOL and CompuServe are in my name with no other authorized users. Neither card has ever been stolen, nor have there ever been any other fraudulent or unauthorized charges on either account. I was unable prevent repeat charges from occurring on the Visa account until I had no other option than to close it altogether. I had much better success with my American Express which was only charged once by AOL on 3-19-06. So, after that one single charge was credited back to my account and resolved in a dispute by AmEx, I saw no need to change the account number. Only now am I finding that was a mistake.

Of course last Spring AOL insisted that I must have signed up for the service and forgotten about it, OR, they said someone else outside of my home fraudulently signed me up for the service. But why would anyone do that? I knew that neither scenario was true. My belief at that time was that AOL had obtained (or somehow purchased) my personal information including my name, address, and credit card numbers through other legitimate transactions I had made, perhaps with one of their sister-companies or through associations with their parent company, Time Warner.

But now, this latest AmEx charge from 12-19 by CompuServe for a third unsolicited account substantiates this belief.

The unauthorized, unsolicited openings of these accounts cannot be described as anything but fraudulent and ILLEGAL. I have searched the Web and found dozens of similar complaints associated with AOL-CompuServe. Granted, I have been reimbursed the $101.60 from the first four charges and currently I have a dispute in for this latest charge, but what I want to know is this:

Who is going to reimburse me for the countless hours I have spent on the phone with my credit card companies, and fighting with the AOL fraud department, and completing and mailing back forms to prove my case against these unauthorized charges?

Who is going to reimburse me for my frustration and for all the inconvenience?

And how is it that a company like AOL-CompuServe and even Time Warner can continue to get with away these types of blatantly abusive business practices against the public who is, unbeknownst to us, apparently ready and available for addition to their new customer list? (Of course, this is only as long as we don’t look to close at our monthly statements.)

Much more than being reimbursed for the total of any and all charges, I'd like to see action taken by our Government to prevent companies (and this company in-particular) from continuing with these types of devious and underhanded business practices.


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