Earthlink Pisses Off a Long-Time Customer

Earthlink pisses me off

Earthlink pisses me off

I've had an Earthlink dial-up account since 1999. My email addresses were @mindspring, from back before Earthlink bought them out. For a long time, my dial-up service was my only means of getting online; there was no high-speed internet where I live. I got satellite internet back in around 2003, but the satellite connection was unreliable — especially all summer long here in Florida, where our daily thunderstorm activity was guaranteed to knock out my satellite internet connection. So I needed dial-up as a backup, which I used frequently. Then a few years ago, DSL came to my neighborhood, and I couldn't sign up fast enough.

I still kept my Earthlink account active though. Lots of people still have my old Earthlink email address, even after years of trying to get them to nuke that old address. Plus, when traveling, I might occasionally be somewhere that there was no wi-fi, and I would need an old-fashioned dial-up account to get online. And dial-up has been my "safety blanket" for so long, it was just hard to let go of it. I would experience mild panic at the thought of not having it. And I can't ignore the effects of inertia. It was simply easier to do nothing than to cancel the account.

Just recently I finally cut the ties to Earthlink altogether. The crew installing new water pipes out there along the road has cut my phone line several times in the past month. When my phone line is cut, my phone service is down, my DSL service is down, and my dial-up access is down. I realized that now that I have DSL, dial-up is simply not a suitable back-up, since no phone = no DSL = no dial-up. I can't remember the last time I went anywhere that my only means of getting online was dial-up. (And now that I have an iPhone, I can always at least check my email and do basic surfing.)

So I called Earthlink to cancel my service. They make it very very difficult to find out how to cancel your service. Everything on the Earthlink website is automated, except for cancelling your service. I had to actually call them.

It was bad enough that it was obviously outsourced foreign customer service with a rep that I could barely understand, but the customer service rep's aggressiveness in trying to keep me from cancelling my account was overwhelming.

Me: I want to cancel my account.

CSR: May I ask why?

Me: (Explained why I no longer need it. Still friendly at this point.)

CSR: I'll be happy to give you two months service for free.

Me: No, just cancel it, please.

CSR: Would you like to keep the same service for $9.95 a month?

Me: No, just CANCEL it. (I'm now feeling somewhat irritated. Not only is he resisting canceling my account, but I realize that I could have gotten my monthly fee reduced years ago, if I had tried to cancel sooner.)

CSR: Would you be interested in keeping your email accounts for just $5 a month?

Me: No, just CANCEL the $*&#$$%^& thing. I want to CANCEL it. CANCEL MY ENTIRE ACCOUNT. (I'm feeling pretty darn annoyed now. How many times do I have to tell them to cancel my service?)

CSR: There's; you want to cancel that? It will be completely disabled, and you will no longer be able to receive email at that account. You won't even know who is attempting to send you email at that account. And there's; you want to cancel that one? It will be completely disabled, and you will no longer be able to receive email at that address. And there's; you want to cancel that one? (He insisted on reading to me every email address set up in my account and verifying that I wanted to cancel each one.)

Me: Yes. Yes. All of them. Yes, that one. Cancel it. Cancel them all. Yes, that one too. Yes, every last goddamn address, shut it the f*** down! Yes, that one too. And that one. And that one. All of them! (By now I'm feeling extremely annoyed and pissed off.)

Geez Louise! I finally got through the cancellation ordeal and got a confirmation number. You can bet I saved that! And you can bet I'll be checking my Visa statement very carefully next month, to make darn sure they cancelled it.

We Value Your Feedback

And then.... I got an email from Earthlink asking me to complete a survey about my experience with their customer service department. "We value your feedback and we'd like to ask you a few questions about your experience. Please take a moment to fill out our brief survey. It will take about two minutes to complete." Yes, I'll be delighted to fill out your survey, Earthlink.

So I followed the link in the email. I completed the standard Likert scale questions, then typed a fairly lengthy message in the freeform text box, telling them how unpleasant they had made my experience and pointing out that while I would, previously, have been happy to consider Earthlink again in the future should I need their service, their horrible cancellation process changed my mind and I will never again consider using Earthlink for anything. I truly hope they read these things and reconsider their approach to cancellations.

I finished the survey and hit the "Submit" button. It posted to a non-existent page which gave me a 404 page not found error. Lovely.

I was so pissed off that I went back to the Earthlink website and found their well-hidden "send us your feedback" form and sent the same message to them there that I typed into the survey. It probably won't do any good, but it made me feel slightly better. Telling the world about my experience helped even more. Thanks for listening. And stay away from Earthlink, if you think you might ever want to cancel your account.


  1. Can not tell says

    He we go again the old Deltacom (what EarthLink bought out) are at their old tricks as what I here the let go some more of their help and are going to contract out most of their work in the us . This is the same company model theat deltacom used wish they would have the the old deltacom management go . If we think service is bad now just wait until we get a parts changer at our site who had only worked on cars his whole life .

  2. I’ve been with earth-dink since late 90s i think? So entrenched with them I thought it’d take forever to exit and not miss any important contacts on all of my email accounts… reading everyone’s complaints across the web, and my own issues, i’ve decided to just bite the bullet and do the hard work.
    I had been paying $12 more a month to use earthlink as my cable provider instead of going direct thru RR in tampa bay – for almost 10 years!!! wasn’t until my friend moved into my complex and got her internet up that i realized i’ve been over paying to the tune of $1000s of dollars. Even if i went with the $5.00 a month keep-my-emails- plan, I would’ve saved a bunch. Now I think i’m just going to let them go without wasting time and effort to step down a little at a time. UGH. what a job.

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