Customers Still Paying for Free AOL Service

LAS VEGAS - More than three million people still use AOL dial-up. Millions more kept their e-mail addresses. Many who thought they had the free version, however, are actually paying for it, and it's costing them big time.

Angela lives in Summerlin. In 1995, she and her family signed up for AOL. Back then, it was their primary Internet service provider. In 2006, AOL started offering its services for free.

Millions of people took advantage of that, but millions more like Angela assumed they were no longer being charged.

Since they never canceled their automatic payments, they have been unnecessarily giving AOL $17.95 a month for six years.

"I approximated about three thousand (dollars) since 1995," she said.

Angela would have kept paying it, if she hadn't closed a bank account and started getting letters from bill collectors.

"The first couple times, I kept getting e-mails from AOL saying, ‘You are in danger of losing your AOL account. Please contact us with your correct bank info,'" she said. "I ignored them thinking it was a phishing thing, because I didn't think I paid for AOL anymore. The last one came saying, ‘You are going to collections if you don't pay.'"

8 on Your Side is working with Angela and AOL to get that last bill of $17.95 cleared.

If you currently use AOL or have in the past, you can take steps to ensure you aren't paying for a free service. Go to AOL.com and look at your account settings. Go to billing and make sure you're utilizing the free account.

A lot of people thought they had to pay AOL to keep their e-mail address, but that's not the case. The e-mail address is free.

You should also monitor your credit card and bank statements. If you see an AOL charge, you can easily call them and cancel it.


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