The AOL List: Flash Flub

David Cassel (
Mon, 31 Mar 1997 06:02:56 -0800 (PST)

			  F l a s h   F l u b


AOL's mis-billed 70,000 of their members, according to an article in
today's Washington Post.

In the story headlined "Digital Flubs," the Post reports that many
subscribers who selected AOL's pay-in-advance plans in December were still
billed at the more-expensive month-by-month rate.  If the Post's numbers
are correct, the problem affected one out of every 114 AOL subscribers.

Ironically, the same issue includes an interview with company president
Robert Pittman.  "A lot of people now think that AOL is not as customer-
responsive," the interviewer observes at one point.

And a third article notes that at least one subscriber has cancelled their
account in protest over AOL's refusal to cancel a web page promoting the
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.  "AOL's New Knightmare", reads the

It's a damning incident.  As a private company, AOL creates their own
"Terms of Service"--which have a reputation for being notoriously strict.
("You may not use, or allow others to use, your AOL account [to] transmit
any unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory,
vulgar, obscene, hateful, racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable
Content," one section reads.) 

Yet the Klan account remained.  Despite the fact that the rules also say
AOL can "immediately terminate membership without notice" for any member
who "in AOL, Inc's sole discretion" uses the service for unlawful
purposes--even for inhibiting another users enjoyment of the service.

	        David Cassel
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