ED Magedson – Founder
McAfee Anti VirusInternet United States of America
I have a complaint about McAfee Total Protection Renewal Program. When I first subscribed to McAfee early in 2009, I paid only 79.99 to receive McAfee Total Protection which included 3-users, McAfee Anti-Theft, Site Advisor, and Discover and Recover Emergency Reinstall CD. It sounded and basically was a pretty good deal.
My problem began close to the end of 2009, a month or two from renewal date, when I began receiving Popup windows that informed of a new version of McAfee Anti-Theft, that my existing Anti-Theft File Protection was no longer the safest, most recent version. Users know that McAfee Anti-Theft provides protection by offering super-safe password protect vaults or secret drives where you can store files. It provides extra online protection from hackers.
The subscription renewals are automatic; customers have to log into their McAfee My Account to uncheck the automatic renewal box, so I was not overly surprised about the automatic renewal, although the cost was basically the same as before 79.99. What angers me is that the renewal and downloading instructions explicitly encourage and presume that the customer will undertake to "reinstall" their new, updated McAfee Total Protection 2010 along with the newer McAfee Anti-Theft. Well, anyone knows that to "reinstall" one must "uninstall" the previous version. There were no warnings about what uninstalling McAfee Anti-Theft would do!!! There were no warnings to backup the work inside Anti-Theft vaults with their secret drives!! So when I followed the instructions and the installation was stalling, I just followed what the instructions in the FAQs recommended under article one, "Preparing your computer to download and install." I followed all the instructions including Step 6 "Uninstall any existing security software," using Windows XP Control Panel to Add/Remove Programs as directed. I removed both my previous or existing McAfee Total Protection and McAfee Anti-Theft. That's when I lost all my work inside of my McAfee Anti-Theft vaults, every drive, every file, every document! I followed the Installation instructions because they seemed very easy and explicit. There were no warnings whatsoever to save or make sure you had backups of your Anti-Theft vaults.
Over the next 12 hours, I repeatedly called, chatted, and interacted with McAfee support personnel to try to recover my lost vaults. My personal journals and files are precious because they help me formulate my writings. I felt like I had been violated and left naked, like a newborn babe with no clothes. Without my writings, because of my short term memory, I am lost; I have no scripts upon which to act or formulate my thoughts.
I contacted the technical support team and when I chatted with them, they said there was nothing they could do. Because all of the support personnel are located overseas, all my pleas for help seemed to be countered with friendly but impersonal matter-of-factedness, as if they were so used to dealing with these types of events (they probably are if the average users do what I did!). All they kept saying was there was nothing they could do, even though Technical Support presumably implies they understand the software. They said they don't know anything about the software itself. Someone referred me to Virus Removal Department. To talk to the Virus Removal Department, one must pay in advance, anything from 59.95 to 89.95. After plunking down $95.00 on the credit card, because the technician referred me to the telephone support version of Virus Removal, I called the telephone number he gave me and waited.....and waited.....and waited. I must have waited at least half an hour, more like 45 minutes, before I gave up and tried another number listed on the website and waited.....and waited.....and waited for at least another 40 minutes. What is bad about their phone line is they don't tell you how much longer you have to wait or whether you are still in the queue or where the technicians are. I was so frustrated I opened up another chat. After chatting with customer service and waiting another 40 minutes (my hand was aching from holding the cell phone for so long, and I knew I racked up extra charges on my cell phone), someone finally picked up the connection. Virus Protection service was quite good--we tried to salvage the program through Windows System Restore, but unfortunately this box was unchecked on my computer, so there were no restore points. The technician was kind enough to not charge me anything (at least that's what he said). I tried to ask him if there was any software I could buy that would help me restore my earlier programs. He recommended RestoreIT, but wouldn't provide any details and sort of just hung up when I kept asking.
The next several hours were spent investigating RestoreIT and other software such as McAfee Easy Recovery and McAfee Easy Recovery Pro. While I was trying to call or chat with Support, the phones and personnel also kept saying "it was extra busy due to a virus alert." Nice as the support staff are, their English is just not that up to par. For instance, I kept asking the technician to tell me about McAfee Easy Recovery. Several of the technicians were extremely evasive. It was after midnight, and they just kept asking or making what seemed to be irrelevant questions or comments, after which they would politely ask, "Is everything all right now?" I wanted specific information about whether or not McAfee Easy Recovery/Pro might help me recover the vaults, but they just didn't know and they just kept referring me to Ontrack Data. It was so frustrating. Finally I went to Ontrack Data and found out they had Free Downloads of Easy Recovery software. Grateful, I downloaded and tried that, but all indications seemed to be that the drives are still completely gone. There are no visible listings anywhere. I left a message for Ontrack Data Consultants but they have yet to respond to my request, which probably also means that there is nothing they can or are willing to do!
Customers: Please be warned (from my hours of calling and getting information piecemeal) that YOU ARE BETTER OFF NOT REINSTALLING YOUR MCAFEE RENEWALS! JUST LEAVE THE DOWNLOADS IN YOUR ACCOUNT AND DO NOT BOTHER UNINSTALLING OR REINSTALLING ANYTHING! Your McAfee updates cover everything, and if you use Anti-Theft, it might be better to tolerate the annoying popups or save to flashdrives (like I will from now on). McAfee does a horrible job explaining that reinstalls are not needed for continuously updated version. It does a great disservice in suggesting that users uninstall the previous version if they are already getting updates. Its Support systems, although well-meaning, are mediocre because the lines are always so congested, there are very very long wait periods, and even when you order special technical support by paying in advance, there is no guarantee you can talk with a technician that same night. Also McAfee offers only autoresponses to emails!
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/22/2010 06:10 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/McAfee-Anti-Virus/internet/McAfee-Anti-Virus-Misleading-Auto-Renewal-Instructions-Caused-Me-to-Lose-All-My-Personal-558689. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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