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> Here's the story: my grandmother was a victim of identity theft about a 
> month after she signed up for an account at earthlink.  She moved up with 
> my parents and forgot she had the account amidst all the other actually 
> important stuff you have to deal with when your identity's been stolen.  
> No clue what the password is.  
> Naturally the cc she used to sign up has been cancelled.  Now, she never 
> used the account after the first 2 days when I was testing it, and 
> certainly not after the 3 month free trial ended...but they sent 
> collection emails and now a collecitons agency has become involved.

> I don't mind paying the bill, but I want to speak to a human being who has 
> sufficient access to call off the creditors and cancel the account and deal with this 
> mess.  Does anybody have any contacts at Earthlink who can help 
> me get this nastiness resolved?  The customer service numbers and other 
> normal entry points are not doing any good at all.
1. Have your grandmother (i.e., you write the letter in her name and
   she signs it) to the collection agency saying:
   Cease and decist all communication with me.  I will deal directly with
   Earthlink.  This will stop any phone calls or email from the collection
   agency.  Don't even waste your time trying to talk to the collection
   agency and don't pay any attention to any "extra" fees that they
   have made up.

2. You did not say how long you've allowed this matter to continue.  You
   imply that it's been more than three months.
   
3. Recall that Mindspring tracks hours of use so it's easy to show that
   the account has not been used.  Recall too that the offer probably
   says that if grandma doesn't cancel she's obligated to a contract for
   some amount of time, possibly upt to a year.

4. It's bad for a business's reputation to sue little old ladies.

5. EVERY business is VERY afraid of getting a bad mark from the
   Better Business Bureau.  ***THREATENING*** to file a complaint
   with the BBB is more effective than actually filing the complaint.

Thus:

Call Customer NoService and ask for the number for the accounting
department and try to talk to someone there.  Failing that, look on
their web site for Corporate information and contact the President's
office.

Explain the situation and offer to pay a month's fee to resolve the
matter.  Tell them that you'll file a complaint with the BBB
(www.bbb.org, btw) if they will not be reasonable.  Point out too that
you think Clark Howard, the Atlanta consumer advocate talk show host
that has a large following would be interested in the results of this case.

Accept up to two months of fees to pay.

If they won't back down, send a certified letter to the president of
Earthlink (address it to him by name at their corporate headquarters)
again stating your case and asking them to either accept a month's fee
and insist (politely) that they accept it.

I followed a similar tactic when my Pager company cheated me and the
President decided simply to drop the entire matter.  Unlike your case,
where Earthlink seems to have a legitimate case, my Pager company had
committed Breach of Contract and, probably, fraud.  Still, they were a
huge company and backed down.

Tell us how it goes.

> Thanks, as always
> jenn

> -- 
> Jenn Taylor
> jtaylor at onlinea.com

Bob Toxen
bob at verysecurelinux.com               [Please use for email to me]
<a  rel="nofollow" href="http://www.verysecurelinux.com";>http://www.verysecurelinux.com</a>        [Network&amp;Linux/Unix security consulting]
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Quality Linux &amp; UNIX security and SysAdmin &amp; software consulting since 1990.

&quot;Microsoft: Unsafe at any clock speed!&quot;
   -- Bob Toxen 10/03/2002

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<li><strong><a name="00754" href="msg00754.html">[ale] [OT] earthlink - results</a></strong>
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