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Agent of Lucifer

Over the past few month, I've been making a concerted effort to cut down on the credit card spending. One of my tactics is to not use my Amex and only pay cash, or use the MasterCard linked to my checking account.

Imagine my surprise when I went online this afternoon to pay my Amex bill and saw a buttload of recent activity. Putting on my Encylcopedia Brown hat, I did a little sleuthing and found AOL had charged me $707.30 for September and $719.20 August.

How in the hell do you get that high of a monthly charge from AOL?

Why do you even have an AOL account in the first place? Well, if you must know, sometimes we like to look at the chatrooms and see how the dirty people live.

After sitting on hold about the same time I ran my last half-marathon (why have a boombox in your office when you can listen to hideous hold music on the speaker phone?), I eventually talked to Dan, one of the charming customer service morons reps. After much investigation, and more bad hold music, he informed me that the charges were because I'd been using long-distance dial-ins on my second AOL account ... the one with screename HP15xxxx.

"Oh, that would be my Hewlitt Packard account?"

Trust, sarcasm is lost on these heady creatures.

"Are you saying that is an unauthorized account?"


"Well you'll have to talk to our fraud department. Call them at 800.307.7696 and they'll take care of it." Click.

So I called said number, sat on hold for another eternity, talked to Pamela for a minute who then said "hold on" and proceeded to hang up on me.

Redial is fun. Got hold of Bill and explained the whole thing to him. He said he'd file a fraud report but would have a hard time crediting me for the charges and suggested I call my credit card company. He put my card on a "hotlist" so new accounts couldn't be opened with it.

I thanked him for his generous assistance and advice.

Called my friends at Amex and they were more than helpful. Downright pleasant and cheerful. All bad charges disputed and will be taken off the bill.

Amex good.

AOL bad.

Sam honey, don't drown the kittens ... hunt down the asshole who stole my Amex number.