Ah, la vie Parisienne! Quel excitement! One never knows what might happen next. For instance, yesterday I turned on the television, only to discover that all the channels mysteriously have been transposed. If in the last five years you've come to expect BBC News to appear on Channel 31, suddenly it's moved to Channel 61. And Channel 31 is now "comedie," as in "ha, ha, bet you didn't expect this." And that's the thing: nobody expected it and no one was forewarned. The only way to determine where your favourite channels have gone is to look at the electronic menu on-----you guessed it-----Noos France's new main channel, one that has now decamped to a location unknown. This is part of some bizarre French logic that Americans and Brits just don't understand.
The same thing happened with our computer broadband service. For several days, it was taken out of service, prompting an onslaught of calls from furious customers. So what did the company do? Re-direct the phone number reporting service disruption to one that required waiting in a queue and paying to ask what was wrong. When one finally did get through to an actual person to inquire about the trouble, the answer was, "We're disrupting the service to make improvements." Asked when one might expect normal service to return, the merry answer was "We don't know." But did they think of informing their customers in advance? Obviously not. And was there any adjustment in the bill, to compensate for the service disruption? Of course not! This is France, after all. No advance notice required.
It's over! I'm leaving you. I've tried to understand, I really have. We've been through a lot together these past few years: moving from one country to another; changing names when I got married; remaining steadfast through all your changing versions and upgrades. I've put up with your little quirks like Computer Check-Up working once, then never again; tolerated your inane celebrity-based polls and photos and news "lite;" endured long waits for technical support and assistance, which still didn't solve the problems and gritted my teeth through so-called "improvements" that actually slowed your service.
So imagine my surprise upon learning that-----behind my back-----you provided the U.S. Department of Justice with personal information about me (and all your subscribers). Funnily enough, you forgot to mention this betrayal of privacy! When I wrote to ask what that was about, you ignored me.
Then the media started reporting a new money-making scheme you've adopted, making me wonder if my loyalty had been misplaced. At first I couldn't believe you could be so thoughtless. Charging big corporations to bypass your own spam filters, while regular e-mail senders i.e. friends and family are short-changed? What is the point, other than lining your pockets? Unlike Yahoo and GoogleG-mail users, we pay monthly fees for reliable email service and to avoid spam. Then you go and circumvent your own customer protections! Where does this leave us, other than with mailboxes overflowing with unwanted mail from big business and a distinct loss of confidence in AOL? When the Electronic Frontier Foundation and MoveOn.org started protesting your scheme, you claimed the new fees being charged to big corporations will help deter spam. This seems disingenuous at best.
Really, AOL, I don't know what's got into you. You're acting strangely and avoiding communication. Guess you're finding it difficult to face your subscribers, after behaving so badly. Could it be that you have a conscience, after all?
Alas, it's too late for us. Now that we're parting, I expect others will follow suit. Of course there's still a chance for you to mend your ways and listen to your customers. Sadly, I don't hold out much hope, as money----- not customer satisfaction----- appears to be your raison d'etre.