Wednesday, April 25, 2007

How Not To Treat Your Customers, We Want Action -- Not Lip Service. by Walt Barrett

Don't run your business like this one below, and do be readily accessible to your customers. Don't be a nameless, faceless person hiding behind your web site. I'm getting fed up with it. My name, address and phone number are on our web sites. I have nothing to hide or escape from.
Please read about our problem below with a major web provider.

We have been writing to AOL for months regarding the placement of flashing banners, and other ads on our paid e-mail service pages where we have to read mail and respond. They are very distracting and annoying! We have received nothing but lip service from AOL. All we get is canned messages and suggestions like using a third party e-mail service. There are many features about AOL that I like to use, or I would drop the service altogether. If they don't solve our problem soon we will drop them anyway!
I am telling you all this because it is an excellent example of how to lose customers. Also, personally, I am going to boycott every single advertiser that appears on my private e-mail pages.
I also want to know if AOL is sending our information from my computers to third parties. There is a person on the Internet making this claim.
The moral to my story here is that if you want to keep your customers you have to give them More than lip service and canned messages on auto responders! See the boring details below and also the tecnobabble instructions if you can stand it!!! The responses are so pathetic they are almost humorous. I may even send them to Jay Leno. We want action, not lip service

Good morning Dove:
Thank you for responding to my complaint. We realize that certain parts of AOL have to have advertising on it. However, we are a business, and the flashing ads on our incoming and outgoing email are a total distraction to our employees. They also take up considerable screen space when we are trying to read our mail.
We are a paying customer and feel that there is no reason (other than pure greed) for you to place flashing or other banner advertising on our private mail pages.
I am tired of complaining, and your policy on this subject makes your company look very greedy and unconcerned about the businesses that are using your service. AOL is obviously ignoring our complaints. We should not have to reconfigure anything. Please stop advertising on our private e-mail pages that we are paying for.
We have filed a complaint with the FTC and our Congressional Delegation, and we advising everyone we can contact to boycott the businesses that are advertising on what should be our private space until you stop. We have also contacted the consumer protection people at the major networks.
We not going to put up with it any more,
Walt Barrett
Incident Number: 2272833

Dear Walt,

I understand that you have complaints regarding the Advertisements on e-mail.

I know how do you feel about the situation. Please accept my deepest and sincerest apologies for the inconvenience this has caused.

We use feedback like this to take corrective action and make improvements to the service. The more we hear from members, the more we know what you think works, what should be improved and what you'd like to see next.

I have already forwarded your e-mail to the appropriate Department here in AOL who handle members feedback and suggestions.

Please continue to share your thoughts on how we can make AOL an even better service for you.

Should you need additional assistance and prefer a real-time response to e-mail communication, you can chat online with an AOLC Customer Care Consultant. Please go to: Representatives are available 24 hours a day to assist you in a secure, one-on-one session.If you have other concerns or questions regarding AOL, please do not hesitate to contact us in the future. We are always ready to answer questions and do whatever we can to make your online experience even more enjoyable.DoveCustomer Care ConsultantAOL LLC AOLC Keyword: Help can help you get answers quickly. This searchable online reference area provides detailed information and printable, step-by-step instructions to help you get the most out of the great features on AOL. On the Internet, you can visit

--- Original Message ---From: WBarrett1@aol.comReceived: 4/21/07 7:21:33 PM CSTTo: MiscTechHelp@aol.comSubject: Re: Other Issues/Don't know/Other
Dear Cassie:
Will the use of the open ride software eliminate the flashing banner ads that are on the emails at the bottom that is distracting our employees? We pay for our AOL service and we do not want flashing ads on our email boxes.
We have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission as AOl has repeatedly ignored our request to remove these ads from our paid email services. We are speaking of the large banner ads at the bottom of the email forms both in and outgoing. If we wanted ads we would use free email. We don't want these ads.
Thank you,
Walt Barrett

In a message dated 4/21/2007 6:40:34 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time, MiscTechHelp writes:
Incident Number: 2272833

Dear WBarrett1,

Due to a maintenance that we had with our system, the time it took to respond to your e-mail has been delayed. Nevertheless, I appreciate your patience and hope you find my e-mail informative and helpful.I understand you have concerns about the free services that AOL offers appearing at the bottom part of your outgoing e-mail.I would like to thank you for bringing up this issue to our attention. The short message that is now included at the bottom of your emails is a reminder of AOL's free services, including AOL email. We considered the addition of this message very carefully, just as we will consider your feedback. We highly value what our members have to say. We use feedback like this to make improvement to the service. Many of the changes made throughout the years have been the result of ideas offered to us by members just like you.On the other hand, I have also provided a couple of alternatives. Check to see if they work for you. A. Use AOL OpenRideAOL OpenRide e-mail application does not include the e-mail footer that the AOL 9.0 software and below version now have. This software offers a breakthrough, all-in-one design with a 4-pane user interface that eliminates the need to jump from one window to another. Everything you need online is right there in front of you the moment you need it -- saving you time and effort online. For more information about AOL OpenRide, visit AOL Keyword:
OpenRide On the Internet, go to:
To download and install the AOL OpenRide software, simply click the DOWNLOAD OPENRIDE NOW button, then follow the onscreen prompts. B. Use other e-mail applications with AOL's Open Mail AccessAnother way to prevent the AOL advertisements in your outgoing e-mails is through the use of a third party e-mail program. You can send and receive your AOL e-mail using any e-mail program, as long as it supports the IMAP protocol. You get all the great features AOL e-mail has to offer, and the flexibility to read and send e-mail via a third-party e-mail client. The incoming e-mail server is an IMAP server. You will need to ensure that your e-mail application supports the IMAP protocol and will have to select IMAP at some point during the setup process. The outgoing e-mail server is an SMTP server. The SMTP server requires authentication, and you will have to select this feature at some point during the setup process. Using an authenticated SMTP server means that in order to send e-mail you must log in the SMTP server with a user name and password. The user name and password are the same as your AOL screen name and password. Setting up access to the AOL Mail servers is relatively simple, and the settings are similar for most e-mail applications. The basic information that you need is as follows: Your e-mail address is Be sure to include suffix. The Incoming mail (IMAP) server address is: The Outgoing mail (SMTP) server address is: In addition, you need to change the outgoing mail (SMTP) port number to 587. For step-by-step instructions about setting up many popular e-mail applications, please go to AOL Keyword:
Open Mail Access.If you need more assistance configuring your e-mail software, check the program Help files or visit the Manufacturer's Web site. You should be able to find the assistance you needThank you for your patience and understanding.
CassieCustomer Care ConsultantAOL LLCAOL Keyword:
Help can help you get answers quickly. This searchable online reference area provides detailed information and printable, step-by-step instructions to help you get the most out of the great features on AOL. On the Internet, you can visit
--- Original Message ---From: Received: 4/19/07 1:33:59 AM CSTTo: Subject: Other Issues/Don't know/OtherWe are a place of business and we need to know how to remove the distracting and annoying advertising on our E-mail pages. We are paying for our service, and if we have to put up with advertising we may as well move to a free service.
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