In the Sunday, Chicago Tribune (February 8, 2009, Section 4, Page 7), Jon Yates wrote about a case in which America Online kept charging a woman for her monthly AOL service for two years after her debilitating stroke. The problem as described was that the woman's daughter could not get a person at AOL to help her. She was continually told that she had to login with her mother's user name and password, but this was information she did not know and her mother could not tell her.
The daughter took the issue to the Chicago Tribune Consumer Watch. With the newspaper's help, she got AOL to send her their power of attorney proof forms that had to be completed to get the account stopped by a third party. Apparently no customer service representative knew or was willing to offer these forms before.
So, if someone comes to you to ask for help getting a parent's AOL account stopped, tell them to call the AOL customer service center (1-800-827-6364), ask for power of attorney proof forms to cancel an account, insist that such forms exist, get the forms, complete them, and send them back. If this does not work immediately, ask for AOL spokesperson Molly McMahon.
The other suggestion from the article was that the daughter could have gotten help from her mother's credit card company.
AOL did grant the family a six month credit for the account that had not been used in two years.