I was a victim of the Symantec triple-license AV software whose timer started ticking with the first installation (March 2008). I called Symantec’s customer service number and complained, and the company fixed it for me by resetting the timer to start with the third installation. This rectified the situation to my satisfaction, and I learned a lesson.
Fast forward a year to a similar three-pack from Computer Associates. Being careful, I installed all three licenses on the same day to make sure there wouldn’t be any issues with the expiration date. As soon as the software ran an update cycle with the home server, it took three weeks off my license! I called CA and the company fixed the problem. The culprit? It seems the clock started ticking when I bought the package (or so I was told). But how did they know when I bought it?
Customer service didn’t say, but I bet it’s from the rebate form I sent in after buying the software. I had purchased the software locally prior to the expiration date of the current antivirus software on the systems I was using and waited a few weeks until the current licenses expired before installing the new copy—a perfectly reasonable thing to do.
This strikes me as an extremely deceptive practice. I wonder if anyone else has been bitten by this?
The Dog spoke with a rep from Computer Associates who explained, “With the purchase of a boxed product from a store, the installation process starts when you install the product (not when you purchase it). As the customer states, there is no way for us to know when he purchased it if he bought it in a store.” The spokesperson said this doesn’t apply to all versions though—for software downloaded directly from the website, the clock starts on the purchase date. Louis said he purchased the three-pack locally, so that’s not what occurred. “The update process should not take away any time from his subscription. And submitting a rebate would definitely not alter his subscription date either,” the rep explained.
The spokesperson said the company has not received reports of this happening to other customers. “We try to be as transparent as possible in all of our practices and by no means would we intentionally do anything that was duplicitous.
Fortunately, our customer service resolved this issue directly with the customer, but we do want to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
Since some details of what exactly happened in Louis’s case aren’t clear, the rep offered to contact him to try to discover what could have happened.
The lesson to be learned from this is that you need to track your subscriptions— don’t assume companies will do it for you.