Monday, 7 November 2011
This blog post can be read at 5tth.blogspot.com
Her hours at work have recently been cut and the family need to tighten their belts, as I'm sure many in this country can relate to so she had been going through their bank statements to see what could go. She spotted the AOL direct debit at £30 a month, and mentioned it to me whilst I was trying to fix the printer. I pretty much fell off the computer chair. "£30??? You are paying £30 for dial up?" "Yes, I hadn't thought about it but we have been paying AOL that amount for years and years. We know we can't get broadband, no-one can round here, so I'd never really thought about it, until today after coming to Cyberbarn, and then seeing it on the bank statement."
"Cancel it right now," was my advice. "I'll find you a better solution in the next day or two." It's a promise I intend to keep. And I am now also going to leaflet every house in that notspot and tell them to check the amount they are paying for dial up.
But the ISPs should be deeply ashamed of themselves. I know AOL have a huge number of customers, but a company that size must know that they have long-term customers, to whom neither they nor BT are able to offer a 21st century product like ADSL broadband, and should be ensuring that every single customer on dial up is being treated fairly and not being completely ripped off in this manner.
Yes, there are many of us guilty of not checking our statements to make sure we are not paying monies we needn't, chasing up a better deal on our utilities etc, but some of the onus should fall on the companies too to NOT RIP PEOPLE OFF like this. There is absolutely no excuse for a company to maintain customers on age-old tariffs which are clearly over-priced and bear no relation whatsoever to the service being offered.
Let's keep this 'Give an Hour to Help People Online' going. If you know ANYONE still on dial up, go and ask them how much they are paying and help them contact Ofcom to report their service provider so the extent of this problem can be seen and dealt with, and help them to find a better deal for their connectivity.
And if you are an ISP and still have dial up customers, especially those who must have been with you for at least most of this millennium, then give them a free year to make up for the ludicrous and immoral over-charging which has been going on for far too long.
Dial up should be free anyway - it's no use to man nor beast in this day and age and it costs peanuts to provide. Shame on you AOL and the rest of you running the same scam, check your customer records and start sorting this disgraceful situation out immediately.