Have you ever upgraded the anti-virus software on your computer? If so, did you know that this might have cut short your existing subscription? We’ve found that some companies worryingly support this practice.
We always thought that anti-virus upgrades were no more than just annoying pop-ups that caught you unawares.
So you can imagine our surprise when we received complaints informing us that discounted anti-virus upgrades were more than just irritating nuisances.
We decided to investigate this at Which? Computing and found that the upgrades by Symantec, makers of Norton anti-virus software, certainly weren’t the deals they claimed to be.
Short-changed by upgrading Symantec software
In fact, if you had an existing Symantec subscription and you received one of its upgrade offers, the moment you accepted, your existing subscription was rendered null and void – regardless of how many months it had left to run.
We were even more surprised that Symantec defended this practice, admitting that since upgrades provided additional features and more comprehensive protection, your previous subscription would end.
‘If customers install and activate the upgrade prior to the expiration of the time remaining on their existing product subscriptions, any time remaining on their existing product will not be added to their upgrade,’ the company told us.
Symantec isn’t the only software business to operate in this way, AVG uses a similar system, but we still think this is shocking – especially when many of these offers are promoted as being available for a ‘limited time only’.
Anti-virus upgrades need to change
While the terms and conditions of these offers may well support these practices, the reality is that many won’t be aware of the loss of time remaining on their security subscription.
Plus, isn’t it perfectly reasonable for you to expect that your new licence, even if it is an upgrade, will run on from the end of the existing one? If we didn’t think this, it’s unlikely we’d buy it in the first place.
We’d like the industry to either stop this practice or make it clear to consumers from the outset that by upgrading in this way, they’re shortening the terms on their existing subscriptions.