I used AOL for many years, but nearly three years ago I realized that I wasn't using it much at all. I didn't use my AOL email anymore, and I certainly wasn't using AOL's browser or search. Eventually, my most frequent interaction with AOL was the monthly deduction from my checking account--which was always for the wrong amount.
In the early years, I'd had a feature that took messages when I was online, but I'd switched to DSL a couple of years earlier and never been able to get AOL to remove that feature from my billing. So when I moved and opened a new checking account, I simply didn't transfer my billing. I closed the checking account they'd been billing and figured that, while they might not be willing to close my account over the phone (anyone ever tried this?), they'd surely close it when they found out they had no one to bill.
They fooled me though. Not long afterward, I started hearing that AOL was now free. Months after I'd abandoned the account (and stopped paying for it), I logged in and, to my surprise, found my account still active.
That was about two and a half years ago. Every once in a while, for different reasons, I'll log in and find that my account is still active...and that a boatload of spam has accumulated in my absence. I always assumed that it was because AOL was now free, and the account would just sit there indefinitely--or that at some point I'd go too long between log-ins, and then it would disappear.
And then, this month, I got a bill. Apparently, I owe AOL $20.11. They really liked having me as a customer, and they hope that I'll clear up this past-due balance so they can reinstate my account.
And really, that would be quite a deal, if I wanted AOL...2.5 years for $20.11.
Except that I logged in a couple of weeks after I got the bill, and my account is alive and well...and filled with 770 pieces of junk mail.