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McAfee Products - Turning a 12-month Purchase into a Lifetime Subscription

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  • McAfee Products - Turning a 12-month Purchase into a Lifetime Subscription

    As part of writing our latest AntiVirus Performance Report for Windows Vista, we purchased a number of AntiVirus products including three products from McAfee: McAfee VirusScanPlus 2008, McAfee Total Security 2008 and McAfee Internet Security 2008.

    When we purchased McAfee's products online, all were advertised as simply a "one year" subscription. Imagine our surprise when we received the following "McAfee Courtesy Notice" in our inbox:

    Thank you for being a McAfee customer. Your McAfee security subscription protects your computer and allows you to safely use the Internet. Your McAfee subscription will be renewed in a few weeks. By automatically renewing your subscription, McAfee makes certain that your computer protection will continue without interruption. After renewal, you will receive a receipt listing the product(s) renewed and the amount charged.


    We appreciate your business. Thank you again for trusting us to protect you.
    At the time of purchase, there was no indication given that a mere 12-month purchase would become a lifetime subscription that would automatically bill our credit card yearly unless we actively opted out. This "Courtesy E-mail" was the first indication that Automatic Renewal was enabled for all customers by default.

    Upon realizing that McAfee was trying to bill us for more than our agreed one year period for all three products, we set about trying to disable their Automatic Renewal feature. The e-mail suggested that we check our subscription status on their website, so we logged into "My Account" on the McAfee website only to discover that the settings page where we could disable Automatic Renewal was disabled by default (all the checkboxes confirmed Automatic Renewal were ticked and grayed out). The settings page asked us to contact Customer Service if we wanted to disable Automatic Renewal and linked us to a Support Page with directions on how to navigate the McAfee Site to find this information. The support page noted that there were three avenues of support available to us (e-mail, phone and chat).

    We thought that speaking to someone on Chat would solve our issue. Unfortunately, a few pages into navigating around the McAfee page, we discover that support availability is actually subject to region and there was no chat support option available to Australians (PassMark is based in Sydney, Australia).

    Out of options, we phone Customer Support.

    After waiting a few minutes on hold, I manage to speak to a McAfee Support Representative. Fifteen minutes, two receipt numbers, our credit card number, our e-mail address and account name later, the Customer Support Rep was able to finally disable our Automatic Renewal feature. Unfortunately, he was not able to send us any e-mail confirmation that the feature had been disabled and we can only presume that it has been correctly disabled for all our purchases.

    We are disappointed that McAfee has turned a 12-month purchase into an ongoing yearly subscription without our express consent, and that the only real way for us to disable this feature was through their convoluted Customer Support System.

    Hopefully our tale is a cautionary one for anyone who has recently purchased or are currently considering purchasing a McAfee product.