Monday, June 26, 2006

AOL wants to keep dead people on the Internet

It isn't easy cancelling an AOL account, not even when the account holder is dead and can't use the service any longer:

My mom had AOL, but on February 21st, she was killed in a car accident. On February 23rd, I called AOL to cancel her service. I wish I could have recorded the conversation for you. It was unbelievable. After explaining that my mother was killed in the accident, the rep told me that he was sorry that my mom was unhappy with the service. He then suggested lowering the number of hours per month to reduce the bill. I said "she was killed." The rep then said, "I understand what you are saying, I'm just trying to come up with a solution." He actually got snippy with me. AOL finally told me that my mom would have to call and cancel the service herself (even after I provided the coroner's ID number for the incident, etc.).

("My mom had AOL"... sounds serious. What's that, like having MS or something?)

I don't see the big deal. If 181,000 dead people can vote in American elections, then I don't see why they shouldn't enjoy the exciting Internet experience provided by AOL.

Speaking of the dead and elections, by now just about everyone has heard this true story, but I just never get tired of telling it: back in 2000, John Ashcroft (later appointed U.S. Attorney-General) was beaten for a seat in the Senate by a dead guy, Mel Carnahan. Apparently Missouri voters preferred the chance of one of their senators becoming a brain-eating zombie to giving Ashcroft any national responsibility.

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