Since its introduction by McAfee in 2001, Automatic Renewal has become the accepted practice for today’s protection software. Whether its initial introduction was for corporate profits, or for customer protection, once wary consumers now see the advantages of seamless protection.
Today’s world of relentless attacks from Virus, hijackers, and Trojans has made Anti Virus and other protection software mandatory. Even a single day without AV protection almost assures you of an infection. Because of threats like the recent and highly publicized E Card, the seamless protection of automatic renewal is here to stay.
The last seven years have given us the opportunity to see how automatic renewal works. Consumers need to distinguish between what is a convenience for them and what is little more than a scam. By keeping in mind the features that follow, everyone should be able to make an informed and solid buying decision.
First and foremost you should know what you are buying. If auto renewal is a good thing it should be in plain sight. With Norton and some others you have to look long and hard for a disclosure that reads: “By placing this order, you consent to Symantec automatically renewing your annual subscription …” Look for a product that displays this fact prominently and up front.You don’t want to find out 1 to 12 months down the road that you made a purchase without knowing it. Since automatic renewal is a valuable tool, it should be featured as a benefit and not buried in fine print. Buy from a company that is proud of their renewal feature.
The second thing required from a good product is the ability to Opt Out. Most companies give you a chance to Opt Out of the renewal process. With Symantec you are not given that option. When you buy from their site and with a credit card you must also purchase Auto Renewal. That’s it, no other choice.
Symantec is supposed to include instructions for Opting out with its confirmation e-mail, which is received after the purchase. But what if that e-mail is filtered out or not received. It will most likely be another 11 months before the next notification. Maybe you receive the pre-charge notification email and maybe it gets filtered out. Before buying any software make sure you have the option of Opting Out before the purchase.
Certainly you want to know what you will be paying for renewal. Some companies only specify that you will be “charged the normal retail at time of renewal”. Consumers should never enter an open-ended contract like that. Almost every local news program has regular pieces done on the elderly couple that entered into a contract without understanding the price and ended up losing their savings. A reputable company should reward you for being a repeat customer. Reduced prices for repeat customers are a time honored tradition in the world’s commerce. With discounts and promo codes available all over the Internet, why would anyone want to buy from a company that charges more and more each time? Why penalize the repeat customer? The “normal retail at time of renewal” is a warning of bad things to come. You want to see a specific price, such as $10.99, quoted for renewal.
Today’s fast-paced world almost requires that we do our banking on line, make our payments on line, and even send our cards and letters online. Debit cards and online purchasing are rapidly replacing cash and even checks. It’s safe, convenient, and fast. It’s definitely here to stay. Keep yourself aware of good spending practices and safeguards. Go with companies that have earned your business by providing solid security and putting your best interests before their bottom line.
On a Saturday morning in 2008 you’re having coffee and going over your monthly bills. There’s a charge from Symantec for $59.99 mixed in with the other 12 items on your American Express. You quickly scan the items; click transfer funds, and Bingo. You’ve just given Symantec a 54% price increase from what you paid last year. It’s just that easy, and yet that’s just what we are allowing. It’s absolutely essential to purchase and support companies that let you know the price of your purchase beforehand.
What price security? With Norton you will never know.
Norton Online Store
Symantec and future prices
No Opt Out/Symantec
On-going Protection FAQ
Norton Renewal Page