/ Technology

Ever been surprised by antivirus renewal costs?

Antivirus written on keyboard keys

One of the biggest gripes we hear about is the cost of renewing anti-virus software. Well, a new site claims to save us £1,200 by comparing renewal prices. Have you been caught off-guard by antivirus renewals?

Many people don’t realise that the initial cost of the anti-virus/internet security software you buy (£30 RRP for Norton Internet Security 2011) is just the start.

After the first year, you’ll also have to pay an annual subscription fee (roughly £30 for Norton) to receive software updates, without which your anti-virus software simply won’t work very well. Is this a small price to pay for peace of mind?

New anti-virus price comparison site Renewalbuddy.com claims ‘consumers are being misled by anti-virus software vendors when it comes to the cost of renewing their solutions’. It reckons that, just by shopping around, you could save a whopping £1,240 over a lifetime.

Anti-virus comparison tool is good news

A tool like this one is, in many ways, long overdue. The fact is, the security software industry does confuse customers with its prices and sales model. We’ve already highlighted the unfairness that any existing time left on an old software subscription isn’t transferred when you upgrade. On that Conversation PJ told us that:

‘I’ve been using Norton Internet Security for years and have learnt the hard way months can be lost from a subscription if you’re not careful about how you renew it. My advice is to go to Amazon or whoever is offering the best deal and buy the latest version of the product just before the old one is due to expire.’

Also, when you’re asked to renew or upgrade your software, the vendor (such as Symantec) will quote its RRP, skipping over any potential special offers that might be available – Amazon.co.uk is offering £20 off Norton Anti-virus 2011 today, for example.

In principle, Renewalbuddy.com is a great idea, as it provides a one-stop shop to let people shop around for the best available deal. It claims it will show you the cheapest renewal price on your existing software and also show you cheaper alternatives.

Of course, there’s more to security software than price alone. You’ve got to think about quality as well – only two packages were up to receiving one of our Best Buy awards.

Why pay anything at all?

That said, there’s no need to pay anything at all for decent security software. There are a number of free packages out there that provide more than adequate protection, notably Microsoft Security Essentials.

With these, there’s no up-front fee and no ongoing or unfair auto-renewal subscription costs. You don’t need a price comparison site to tell you that that’s a good deal!

50Hertz says:
25 July 2015

i use Microsoft security essentials, on this occasion however it can’t detect or remove this annoying advert “media view” or “media viewer” came along with “OffersWizard.exe” it’s not a clue about it.
And just got a Jump to a page that verbally tells me to ring an American number with a credit card to remove an infection wet myself laughing at that.
Only solution wipe the drive and reinstall from a backup.

Also sick of those annoying adverts I go to NAI and http://www.Youronlinechoices.eu
To change the cookie but two seconds later they are back bandwidth on the internet must be 70% adverts now no wonder we pay so much.

I have had Norton 360 for some years now and have always allowed an automatic renewal by my credit card. This year the renewal cost was £84 and yet the same virus guard can be bought for around £40. I chatted to Norton online and they instantly offered me a 50% discount. The excuse is that the renewal is at full cost but the new product is on offer. I don’t accept this at all as the product has sold around that price for some time. It seems Norton hope customers will simply automatically renew without checking the cost. No value place on loyalty it seems. If anything customers should get a small discount for staying with Norton and renewing automatically. I’m absolutely appalled that such a large company should behave like this and am reluctant to give them further business. If not actually illegal this is certainly sharp practice.

Automatic renewal more than double!
No warning. Sharp practice.
I cancelled but 10-12 days processing they said.
Major problem for January finances.

dave says:
14 March 2019

This is nothing new, auto renewal is somethignthat happens for motor insurance unless you opt out. This is a total rip off more often than not with cheaper deals to be had elsewhere often for less for same level of cover. But the Government think this a service the we need! Two years ago I had bought car insurance for around £350 yet hen the renewal letter came through I was quoted £1300! for the same cover even though I had made no claims. not had any convictions and nothing had changed. Needless to say I shopped around and got it elsewhere a heck of a lot cheaper

I’ve just been quoted $197.99 to renew my subscription for 3 years with norton. I’ll be shopping around first thanks.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I have had McAfee antivirus for a good number of years now,. I find their auto renewal quotes are far dearer than for the same product on their web site. I am not going to renew this year just out of protest for being treated so badly as a customer .I do not like the idea of automatic renewal in any circumstances and have turned it off also.

That is a danger of auto-renewal or even remaining loyal to a company. If you change antivirus provider it’s important to uninstall the previous version before installing the new one.

Paul says:
8 October 2021

Norton 360 for 10 devices
Automatic Renewal price £94.99
New Subscription on their website £44.99
Manual renewal clicking the link in email following cancellation £24.99

Three different prices from Norton for exactly the same product. The cheapest is 74% cheaper than the most expensive.

A new subscription from Amazon costs £16.99