Get me out of PeoplePC
September 24, 2008 8:28 AM   Subscribe

PeoplePC, a cut-rate ISP, known for making it very difficult for people to cancel their accounts, is, as might be expected, making it difficult for a relative to cancel his account. The task has fallen to me. I've googled a bit about this, but wonder if anyone here has experience or knows a good way of getting this cleanly and quickly done. Thank You.
posted by DarkForest to Computers & Internet (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tell them you're moving to Estonia.
posted by moift at 8:41 AM on September 24, 2008

Worst case scenrio is to call your credit card company and tell them you've tried many times for them to cancel and they wont. Tell them you want a chargeback on any charges you didnt authorize and that all future charges from them be blocked.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:44 AM on September 24, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could telephone them and be clear and insistent - don't be afraid to repeat yourself.

At some places they evaluate their telephone operators on the basis of the fraction of accounts they don't close, so if the operator is unhelpful ask to be transferred to their supervisor.

As DDA says, check your credit card statements, and if they keep charging you after your call, contact your credit card company.
posted by Mike1024 at 8:51 AM on September 24, 2008

I do a lot of tech support for older people for whom I sometimes make the tech support phone calls. I find that in order to actually solve the problem [i.e. close the account and not give myself a stroke] a few things are helpful.

1. lie and say that I am the person in question. If they ask for persnal info I don't have, I just say I don't know it and then call back when I have it. No one at a cut rate ISP place is tracking this stuff. Verizon doesn't even track this stuff

2. stay as calm as possible with the understanding that as soon as you have pissed off a customer service person they will be less inclined to help you

3. repeat things as if maybe everyone is a little slow without being condescending. repeat, repeat some more

4. keep notes of everything. Everyone's name, the time you called, what they told you, what happened. This can be helpful if they know it as well "okay thanks [$name], I have been trying to do this unsuccessfully for a while now and I appreciate your help"

5. always treat the customer service person you're talking to as if they and they alone are going to solve this terrible problem for you. I don't think you have to be creepy or disingenuous but just explain you've had trouble, you need this solved, you have some important reason [Estonia move, hospitalization, death of subscriber] adn thanks so much for them helping you.

The page you linekd also suggests "Give me your name, then connect me to your Supervisor. I wish to get from him the name of your Corporate Attorney so that I know whom to send the paperwork to. My family is pretty much the entire law-enforcement and prosecutor in this neck of the woods." I have found that in extreme examples, asking to speak to the legal department actually does wonders if you really feel that you are being stonewalled.

But first just call up as if you are the smiling unflappable buddha and give them a chance to make it right with you, then start ratcheting it up tactics-wise, but try to remain calm. I really do think it helps get the problem solved.
posted by jessamyn at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2008 [4 favorites]

I just went through this canceling my younger kid's cell phone contract (in my name). After she turned 18 she opened up her own account (actually with the same company) to get a free iPhone. The customer service guy was actually *not allowed* to cancel the account -- his script (which he accidentally shared with me) told him he had to transfer me to another person. That person wanted me to get my kid to cancel her new account, turn in her iPhone, then get a new iPhone through the original account. He wanted me to tell him if I had any friends or family who wanted the account. He implored me to think of the lost rollover minutes. I kept saying no, no, no, she won't do that, no, eventually it was cancelled. I looked at my phone, it was 27 minutes. So just keep saying no, no, no, calmly, keep repeating, "I need to cancel the account," and be prepared to spend at least 1/2 hour or more. Good luck!
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2008

I've never had a problem getting a company to cancel my account when I tell them I'm about to leave on a military deployment. When I've said that, the customer service rep has immediately stopped trying to 'retain' me and just gone ahead and canceled the account. I've never dealt with PeoplePC though, so YMMV. In my case, I actually was deploying but the various companies I was dealing with had no way of knowing or confirming it.
posted by macfly at 9:22 AM on September 24, 2008

I cancelled a PeoplePC account about a year and a half ago. They will definitely try to keep you paying, so you just have to be firm and clear that you want to cancel everything and you do not want to be charged anymore. When I cancelled, the customer service rep kept saying things like, "Okay, well we have a service where you can still use your PeoplePC email address for only 4.95 a month, so I'll just switch you over to that..." Just keep saying, "No, thank you, I don't want that." Make sure at the end of the call that everything in cancelled.

Also, make sure to write down the names of anyone you talk to, and any confirmation numbers they give you, just in case. Good luck!
posted by Nedroid at 9:34 AM on September 24, 2008

Thanks for your help. I guess it was *only* one and a quarter hours on the phone and 5 operators. But I think it is accomplished. I think I only burst a few blood vessels in the process. Sorry, but buddha like calmness was not achieved. The main problem was actually getting someone on the phone. I doubt they staff their "cancellation" number at all. You have to call their "setting up a new account" to get any response at all. And yes, you have to make sure to get a cancellation number in case they try to continue charging you.

"Business ethics" is an oxymoron these days, isn't it? The funny thing is that AARP seems to be promoting PeoplePC to the elderly, the very people least likely to fight through the cancellation process. I need to talk to them about that...
posted by DarkForest at 9:50 AM on September 24, 2008

I had a problem canceling my AOL account last century. Finally I just called the credit card company, disputed the charge, and told them no new charges from AOL were authorized. It was a heck of a lot easier than trying to deal with bullheaded customer "service" reps.
posted by porlockian at 10:16 AM on September 24, 2008

What about writing them a certified letter, and then instructing your credit card company to refuse further charges from them?
posted by profwhat at 10:53 AM on September 24, 2008

writing them a certified letter

Someone else suggested that too.

Will that really work? Does it have any kind of legal force?

I really like the idea, since it avoids having to deal with their phone nonsense.
posted by DarkForest at 11:52 AM on September 24, 2008

*lose* your credit card and get a new one, you would be amazed at the *subscriptions* we got rid of that way!
posted by Relly70 at 1:31 PM on September 24, 2008

Watch out for that "cancel your credit card" trick. The credit card is just how you pay your bill for the Internet service. A lot of companies don't cancel your service if you don't pay; they just continue to bill you. If you don't cancel the service, these charges can continue to accumulate, and since you are not paying them, they will quickly become past due. You may not know this is happening if you have e-billing and stop checking that account's e-mail.
posted by kindall at 2:18 PM on September 24, 2008

Even if they tell you they've cancelled the account, don't believe them. Keep watching your statements, because they may suddenly start billing you again in a few months. My husband spent hours on the phone trying to get them to cancel a few years ago. Each time they'd say it was done, then a month or two later they'd charge him again. They finally (after over a year) truly cancelled it, but we were about ready to close the checking account they were drawing from.
posted by belladonna at 4:26 PM on September 24, 2008

PeoplePC is the worst ISP I've encountered (and, unfortunately it's my current one). I'm assuming monthly payments were automatic via credit card? When I was forced into my current account, I did a little research on their practices and decided to pay by check every month to avoid this problem. It's a pain, but I'm HOPING that that will prevent canceling troubles in the end. Anyway, I just wanted to say that I sympathize. Their customer service is unbelievably bad.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:29 PM on September 24, 2008

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