The misadventures of Commander Merlin and the crew of RV-103
Thursday May 9th 2013

Product Review: McAfee Anti-Virus

Logo copyright

I have been a user of McAfee Anti-Virus programs for a number of years now.  The programs have done thier job pretty well in finding and removing viruses, though they have never done well in finding and stopping adware (I use Ad-Aware to handle that task).    Overall I have been happy enough with McAfee to renew their programs each and every year.

About two months ago I got a nice email from McAfee asking me to manually renew my membership though it was not due for another three months.  I put the email away and marked my calendar to renew at the end of January 2011.  Then today, I got an email from McAfee saying they had not only renewed my virus scanner program for another year and a month early, but that they had helped themselves to nearly $80 of my money from my credit card!  Not only did they take my money without my permission, they had over charged what I usually paid for my virus scanner for two computers by about $30.

Home of "Ashlee", "Bobby", "Sue" and other wonderful "American" customer service employees.

This will not do.  I had never knowingly gave them permission to do such a thing and I promptly called McAfee via the phone (after much searching on their site for a phone number to call) and got a hold of “Ashlee” who had that familiar heavy foreign accent we all know and love from our dealings with customer service with other companies.  After establishing that I was who I said I was, “Ashlee” explained to me through broken English what had happened.

Last year McAfee had done something different that I was not aware of at the time.  To say it was unethical is an understatement in my estimation though I know it is probably legal for them to do it.  When I renewed last year and paid my fees for both of our computers, there was buried in the small print of the license agreement, a line stating that I was agreeing to be placed on “auto-renewal” and would have my credit card charged automatically.

I never agree to auto-renewals for any products on or off the computer and if I had known about this little line they tucked away into the thousands of lines of the license agreement, I would have refused.  I prefer to keep control of whom, why, and when someone can access my card.  Obviously McAfee feels different.

She noted that I had already went to the website and had turned off the auto-renewal (which I did while investigating what had happened and accessing my account on McAfee) and asked if I wanted to enable the auto-renewal again.  I of course said “no,” and asked that my money they took be refunded.  She then asked if I would like to renew and receive a 25% discount.  I said “no” and once again asked for a refund of my money.

She then relented (or ran out of her script she was reading) and said my money would be refunded in 5-10 business days and credited to my card.  Why a debit from my card can only take 5 seconds, but a credit to my card has to take 5-10 business days is beyond my understanding and obviously broken English “Ashlee’s” too.

I like the program, but I have a serious problem with how McAfee goes about doing renewals this year.  My subscription with them is up January 27th, and I will be spending the next month deciding if I want to renew or not and if I want to pay the over the top price they are now asking for renewal.  It is very likely that I will be giving serious consideration to their competitors.  What McAfee did was wrong, pure and simple.  I am sure some slick lawyer told them it was legal since they included that little line in the licensing agreement, but it was ethically wrong and has damaged their reputation and the ability to be trusted in my eyes.  It is my money and my decision when and if I will buy and pay for a product and its renewal, not McAfee or any other vendor out there.

Update 03-14-2011:  I have decided to give Microsoft’s virus scanner a try.  It’s free and so far seems to be working quite well without slowing down the computer like many third party virus scanners do.  So far I’ve heard nothing but good reviews of it and since it’s made by Microsoft, it seems to be perfectly compatible with Windows.  And, since it’s free, it saves paying $30-$80 each and every year to a third party vendor or having them just  help themselves to your credit card without your permission.  You can check out the Microsoft virus scanner here.

Related Tags: Ad-Aware, McAfee, Microsoft, Virus Scanner
Previous Topic: Good Post on Diabetes
Next Topic: Belated Congratulations to SpaceX

More from category

Major Technical Difficulties

As some of you may have noticed, has been absent from the web for 5 days.  There is a reason for that. [Read More]

Flying J Truck Stop Review

During our travels we have found that we prefer to get our fuel at the Flying J truck stops.  Flying J realized that [Read More]

In the RV Processing Facility

Yesterday I took RV-103 to Preventive Maintenance Service of Florida for her oil change and to have our damaged door [Read More]

How Do You Connect to the Internet in a RV? A Review of Verizon’s MiFi.

When we were in New York during our Shakedown Cruise (see Mission #1), we found that wireless internet at the various [Read More]