Following talks with the attorney generals of 37 US states, America Online has staged a dramatic climbdown and will offer universal refunds to any subscriber who has been unable to access its service since it introduced an unlimited access payment scheme in December.
Any subscriber who has been met with constant busy signals when trying to log on to AOL will be able to request refunds for December and January or credits for one month?s free online access. AOL chief executive Steve Case, who last week was defiantly insisting that there would be no universal refund, issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon, saying: "The events of the past few weeks have visibly reminded us of the responsibilities we have as a service that 8 million members rely on each day."
Refunds will be based on a sliding scale of how many hours subscribers have been able to get online: Customers who managed less than two hours during either or both months will get full refunds of $39.90. There are 50 per cent refunds for those who clocked up less than eight hours, while those that accessed the service for between eight and 15 hours get 25 per cent. Anyone who got on for more than 15 hours is not eligible.
AOL also plans to make it easier for customers to cancel their accounts online as well as cancelling advertising designed to attract more members to the already oversubscribed service. Future adverts will carry a disclaimer warning subscribers that they may experience delays in accessing the service.
Illinois Attorney General James Ryan told a press conference in Chicago that AOL has to report back to the attorney generals on its progress on giving refunds, accepting cancellations and its latest advertising. The climbdown came less than 24 hours before the Thursday deadline imposed by the New York Attorney General?s office for AOL to promise refunds to customers.
Indonesian overclocker Ivan Cupa (with the aid of a lot of liquid nitrogen) achieves record overclock on AMD's latest Threadripper
Ssupermassive black hole is so big it corresponds to four per cent of the galaxy's total mass
Imminent attack will target a single bank with cloned cards used to fraudulently withdraw millions over one weekend
Using photocatalysts to convert carbon dioxide into usable energy such as methane or ethane