Hapless AOL subscriber Vincent Ferrari’s ‘hear what AOL did when I tried to unsubscribe’ story and recording, is currently zipping around the blogosphere.

For instance, Tracy Coenen, whose The FRAUDFiles blog’s turn it is this week to experience the LinkedIn Bloggers boost, has a link to the recording.

On first hearing the recording, the situation seems pretty open and shut – guy tries to cancel his AOL account, waits online (as you do), then gets through to a person named John, who behaves as if hearing impaired or just plain stubborn and eventually John is disconnected, apparently without getting his account closed. You have to listen to the recording to get the bizarre flavour of it.

Tracy’s comment “And they wonder why people don’t like AOL anymore” is typical of a lot of comments on sites covering this story.

But there are some layers of inference-drawing here.

A WNBC interview with Vincent Ferrari concludes with the interviewer reading out an AOL apology, which includes the statement that the AOL guy on the phone, John, has now been fired.

I wonder, was John’s mistake in being difficult with the customer, or just being inept in how he tried to retain a customer? Even Vincent in the interview acknowledges that in his own work he tries to keep customers.

In other words, was John just doing his job as he had been taught to do it? Or was his mistake in not knowing John is a blogger, was recording and would publish, and the blogosphere would pick up this juicy story and do some rapid transmission?

I think if I had to be an account cancellation person for an ISP and believed or was told that I had to try and talk people out of cancelling, I would want to ask: (1) are you recording this? and (2) are you a blogger or do you have friends or family members who blog?

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