I am left to wonder today how much of Earthlink's remaining income is from zombie accounts. I generally hate the hassle of dealing with a changed credit card number, but one advantage is that I discover some zombie accounts that I have forgotten about and keep charging my card every month.
Today I had an amazing one -- from my old Earthlink dial-up account. I had thought I cancelled Earthlink something like 8 years ago (I certainly have not used it since about 2003). That is several credit cards ago and so I have absolutely no idea how they were able to continue to bill me, but they were, right up to this month when my corporate card number changed due to a fraud alert. It is kind of depressing that I spent well north of a thousand dollars over the years on a service that I would never even consider using again, but that is the danger that comes as a company gets larger and one can't personally inspect every bill that gets paid.
Of course, despite evidence that I never used the account, they would not waive the final month's billing and threatened collections, etc. They wanted my credit card for one last charge, and then they would cancel. Which made me suspicious that this is how they got my credit card for the last five years - by asking for it for one last charge and then continuing to bill for 5 years. So I told them I did not trust them with my new credit card number and to send me a paper bill that I would pay by check. As a final insult, they said they had to charge me an extra dollar for the paper bill.
If I had time, I would challenge them and give them grief, but sometimes one has to put one's ego away and just move on with the loss.
During the call, it was very, very clear that trying to collect money on zombie accounts that people had forgotten about was very, very typical for their customer service folks. Leading me to wonder just how much of Earthlink's revenue comes from such zombie accounts. As a funny side note, they were perfectly fine taking money from me without any identification, but would not cancel the account without an extensive account verification, a verification that is rather hard if one has not used the account in about 8 years.