N.H. to receive part of $3m AOL settlement

New Hampshire is among 48 states that will receive part of a $3 million settlement with Internet service provider AOL.

An investigation by New Hampshire and the other states, as well as the District of Columbia, alleged that AOL provided few options for customers to cancel their Internet service, primarily by telephone, and that AOL continued to charge customers for Internet services even after the customers had canceled their agreements with the Dulles, Va.-based media company.

In a statement released July 11 by New Hampshire Attorney General Kelly Ayotte, the settlement alleged that AOL customer service representatives received incentives for retaining customers, making it exceeding difficult for customers to cancel their AOL Internet service.

New Hampshire will receive $45,000 from the settlement, said Connie Stratton, spokesperson for the attorney general.

The agreement, in which AOL did not admit any wrongdoing, also requires the company to issue a refund to consumers who complained of unauthorized service charges as well as to make changes to its disclosures regarding reactivation of terminated accounts.

“Consumers who purchase a service and later follow the prescribed steps in an effort to cancel it should not be frustrated in their attempts to do so. My office will examine the practices of any businesses using these practices which come to the attention of this office,” said Ayotte. — CINDY KIBBE

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