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'Unlimited' AOL access costs man $1,600

UPI News Service, 05/31/2006 

A Chicago man who thought America Online was rewarding him for 10 years of loyalty received a $1,595.69 monthly bill for an "unlimited access" plan.

Jeffrey Kriv said he had been paying $14.95 a month, and planned to switch to broadband Internet access in March. When he called AOL to cancel his account, he said a representative talked him out of it, and offered him unlimited access for $4.95 a month. He agreed to it, and left his computer logged on all the time.

When his bill for April arrived, Kriv was astounded at the $1,595.69 total, and called AOL. He was told the $4.95 plan only covered the first three hours of Internet time, and then he was being billed by the minute.

The company at first said it would refund the total, then backtracked and said it would only refund $200, prompting Kriv to contact The Chicago Tribune's consumer advocate.

AOL spokeswoman Sarah Matinsaid denied the company ever offered Kriv unlimited usage for $4.95 per month, as it "is not one of our regular plans that is offered to members."

Kriv has since received a full refund and switched to broadband, the newspaper said.

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Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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