I've had a Yahoo! account practically as long as I've been on the Internet. I've practically abandoned the mail because of the amount of spam it recieves every day, but I still use it from time to time and it has a lot of historical and nostalgic value due to the e-mails that are still in there.
I've also used my account for the Yahoo! Answers service to help spread information about credit freezes and avoiding scams like lifelock. I'm guessing that last one is why I got a generic letter like this:
Your account has been suspended.
If you feel there has been a mistake, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Most likely, your account was suspended in violation of Yahoo! Answers community guidelines. Click here to read the full guidelines
In the meantime, feel free to browse Yahoo! Answers
* Back to Home
Ok. I'm pissed, but I'll give them a chance to explain themselves and I sent them this:
Your system is saying that my account is suspended and to read the
guidelines. First, I've done nothing that would violate any reasonable
guidelines and second, the link to your guidelines doesn't work. Third,
I need you to re-instate the account and provide a reason for why you
suspended it in the first place (assuming this isn't a glitch in the
There was a quick exchange where they mentioned that they can't investigate without knowing the username I was complaining about. Oops. After that, I get this:
Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Answers.
We appreciate your inquiry about your suspension from Yahoo! Answers
and/or the deactivation of your Yahoo! ID. We reviewed your case, and
decided that your account is not eligible for reinstatement.
Once an account is disabled for a violation of the Terms of Service, the
subscriber to the account will lose the ability to log in and access the
account and its contents (including email and content stored with any
other Yahoo! service). The account also will not be reactivated.
Should you choose to create a new Yahoo! account, we invite you to read
the Yahoo! Terms of Service and Yahoo! Community Guidelines to help
ensure your new account is not deactivated.
Yahoo! Terms of Service:
Yahoo! Community Guidelines:
Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Answers.
Yahoo! Customer Care
For assistance with all Yahoo! services please visit:
Yeah. That's not going to work for me. My response (based in part on a very interesting article from the Consumerist that I read yesterday):
You nebulously say that I have violated something in your terms of service with no justification, no explanation, and no recourse what-so-ever? And I'm supposed to guess which part of your TOS I allegedly violated and try again, abandoning the account I've held with you in good standing for over 10 years?
I'm appalled at your complete lack of customer service in this regard. Even if I were to believe that I had legitimately done something wrong, how can you terminate an account with no warning or second chance? I expect that you will cite some technical difficulty in managing second chances, but I assure you it's a trivial process that I can teach your database admins to implement if you'd like.
However, I don't expect you to be moved by simple logic so instead I offer this: If you intend to let this situation stand as-is, I will make sure that I tell my story. I am active in the Internet community and will submit this debacle to sites such at The Consumerist, Slashdot, Digg, and more, giving each the chance to hear what Yahoo! is really like.
Further, I intend to write to Google offering to be a spokes person on their behalf, using my story as an example of why they are the better choice in all things. I'm sure they'd be interested in having another nail for the coffin.
I will give you a period of time to respond to my request before taking any such action and I welcome you to prove me wrong and actually settle this in a reasonable manner. If so, I expect a justification for my expulsion AND immediate reinstatement of my account. Once I am actually aware of what provision of your TOS you claim I violated, I can make adjustments (if necessary).
Now let's see what happens.
Not surprising, but I'm baffled that I was right. Yahoo responded with a form letter:
I've written an e-mail to "The Consumerist" hoping that they'l take an interest in this story or at least provide me with some advice on how to proceed. Sure I've got ideas, but I'd rather leverage the experience of the pros if possible.
Not getting much traction with some of the things I've tried, but I'm going to file a Better Business Bureau complaint and see what happens. Should be interesting.
And their response:
The case has been reviewed and has now been forwarded to the business for their response. This business has until April 30, 2008 to respond to your complaint. You may contact our office after April 30, 2008 to check the status of your complaint.
Mua ha ha ha! Forwarded to them for their response. So there.
Though they told me that I wouldn't be able to access my e-mail I checked today and it turns out that I can. Since I didn't try it before, I can't tell if was able to get to it all along or if this is somehow related to my BBB complaint. If I find out for sure, I'll post it.
The BBB has noted that I said I didn't accept their response, but the BBB has closed the case anyway. Not surprising.
Next, to Google:
I have always championed Google services over competitors with one exception: Yahoo Answers. Their interface is, sorry to say, superior to what Google offered. However, I recently had my account cancelled with no warning despite the fact that I was a highly rated contributor who was a subject matter expert in Identity Theft issues. Though they claim I violated their policy, I don't believe them and they have refused to provide any justification what-so-ever.
If you are interested in promoting bad press about your competitor, I would be happy to be a spokesperson on your behalf. People should know that a company that treats customers as Yahoo does is not worth getting involved with.
You can read about the entire issue here:
My Advice to Others
When something like this happens, complaining to the Better Business Bureau and consumer protection sites like the Consumerist for publicity are good, but won't probably help. Yahoo has the right to deal with whoever they want and, at best, you can argue that as a company that so aggressively entices people to use their services, they have at least some measure of obligation to treat people fairly, but that's a stretch.
In the end, the best possible thing you can do is avoid using Yahoo! services for anything. There are plenty of alternatives out there and I, for one, have no interest in spending time with a company that's willing to drop me at any time for no valid reason at all.