Friday, January 18, 2008

Grrrr. . . .

Ever called a help line? Ever notice that they seem to be staffed by Stepford employees? They are almost always unfailingly polite, and constantly use either your name or a formal term of reference (sir, ma'am, etc.) during the conversation. Also, very often, the people on help lines aren't actually very helpful at all.

I just experienced the chat room version of this phone call, while trying to cancel my subscription to McAfee Virus Scan. In order to initiate a live chat, one must give a reason for contacting help personnel: "I want to cancel my subscription and receive a refund" was pretty much how I worded it. The transcript is listed in its entirety, below. Keep in mind as you read this that there is lag time between each entry. The window in which we were chatting had a timer that was marching off the endless seconds as we typed.

> Thank you for contacting McAfee Consumer Support. How can I help you?
McAfee: Please give me a moment while I review the description you have typed in. In the meantime, would you like to provide any additional information that may help me in resolving your issue today?

Customer: No, I think it's complete. Thanks!

McAfee: Ma’am, I'll be happy to help you.
McAfee: One moment please, while I look up your account details. I appreciate your patience.
McAfee: Ma’am, I see that you have valid McAfee products registered under the e-mail address

Customer: Yes, but I haven't installed Virus Scan on my Dell, haven't used it since--not sure--last May or so.

McAfee: Would you mind telling me your reasoning for requesting the cancellation so we can work on improving our offerings for the future?

Customer: I'm not asking about a refund for last year--duh--but just to have the charge for the upcoming year refunded.

McAfee: Yes, you are correct. Would you mind telling me the reason for refund for the recent renewal?

Customer: Sure, I'll sound like a moron, but basically when I got my laptop, it came with Vista and with Norton pre-installed. I've had so much trouble with Vista that I didn't want to do anything more to the computer than I needed to, including uninstalling Norton and installing McAfee

McAfee: Did you face any technical or performance issue with McAfee software?

Customer: Not really. I do recall some issues with navigating the website in the past to be able to update or reactivate the program. Since I haven't used it in a while, perhaps that issue has been resolved anyway.

McAfee: Would you like to transfer the license to someone else who could make use of these products instead of opting for a refund?

Customer: To elaborate, it seemed like it took a very circuitous route to find the correct link to re-install the program. And no, I'd prefer a refund, thanks.

McAfee: Shall I help you the steps to reinstall the software and receive protection?

Customer: No thanks, I merely gave you that information because you asked. I'm fine with the Norton that came on the computer.

McAfee: May I know the country in which you are located, Ma’am?

Customer: USA

McAfee: Thank you for the information.

McAfee: I do understand your concern and would like to take this opportunity to direct you to our refund team. You can contact this team for a refund by calling 866-470-0534. They are open from 8am – 8pm CST.

McAfee: Is there anything else I may assist you with today?

Customer: So. . . you can't authorize the refund?

McAfee: Since we have assigned special department for refund, you have to contact them only.

McAfee: Is there anything else I may assist you with today?

Customer: Hmm. . . wish you would have told me that after reading my original refund request. The clock is ticking now at 12:59. That's 13 minutes of my life I can't get back. Thanks, I don't need any more help.

McAfee: I do understand your concern. Please go ahead and contact them in order to process the refund.
McAfee: You may receive a survey from McAfee in the next couple of days that will give you an opportunity to provide feedback on the support I’ve offered. This information will be used to further improve our support. You may end this chat at your convenience. Thank you for visiting the McAfee Customer Service.

I believe I'll be a Norton girl from now on.


At 6:52 PM, Blogger ozzy said...

I had the same experience with McAfee. On April 27, 2008 I received a email from, McAfee Antivirus Software indicating that they charged my credit card $39.95 for a Auto Renewal a 1 year of service. What a shock, because I did not sign up for, ask for or authorize a Auto Renewal of McAfee's Antivirus Software. In fact the software is so bad that I haven't even used it in 6 months.

Upon receiveing the email, I wrote to customer service and demamded that the refund my money. I also tried chatting with their customer service online and after wasting 15minutes chatting online, the customer service person told me I would have to call during business hours from 8AM to 8 PM Central and request a refund. I posted a detailed account about this frusterating ordeal at


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