Microsoft, McAfee, Symantec charge cards repeatedly

Scott dunn By Scott Dunn

These days, most antivirus and other security products come with a subscription to update your virus definitions.

Signing up usually means forced automatic subscription renewal, in which your credit card is charged every year, and it’s not easy to opt out — but I’ll show you how.

Subscription sabotage: a case study

IT consultant and Windows Secrets subscriber Bruce Weiskopf received a routine notice that his Norton Internet Security product subscription was about to expire. Then, when he began examining some online forms, he became upset. There, in the fine print, he noticed a clause saying he was already signed up for automatic subscription renewal.

“It’s barely noticeable, and, in any event, you aren’t given the opportunity to decline at this point,” he told Windows Secrets. All he could see was a link for more information. So, he went to the Symantec Web site to find out more.

According to Bruce, what ensued was an onerous process of hoop-jumping before he was finally able to tell the company not to renew his subscription and charge his credit card automatically each year.

“It’s really, really an unconscionable scam,” Bruce adds. “I’m sure there are many consumers who don’t pay attention to their credit card statements, enabling Symantec to make quite a profit at about $50 a pop!”

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2007-05-17: