SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- These guys are good. I mean really good. They have it figured out... They make you jump through several hoops to cancel. And most folks can't spend over an hour on the phone to cancel, and that is the only way you will be able to cancel. (Be sure to get an email from PC Tools before you hangup from the customer service clerk.) First they say to cancel you must login to a link called "MY ACCOUNT", which they will never let you do, even though you request multiple times for a new password because they make you think you don't know your password. Then after you have tried several times with the password they send to you.
Try clicking on the "Chat Support" link. You will be assigned a queue number (mine was #8) where you will stay at the same number for over an hour. So next try calling the number assigned for customer support for your country, good luck. They will answer but then they have it programmed to hang up immediately to kill the call. Like I said -these guys are good!! LOL, so I put it on auto redial and after about the 32 calls I got someone, and I explained that I worked for a law firm and was going to do my very best to start an investigation into the FRAUD that PC TOOLS is committing, but it's ever so subtle how they are doing it.
The man's name was **, Customer Support Representative PC Tools Customer Support Services. He did laugh when I told him the time I spend and all the resources I used to get to the point of talking with him. He knows what is going on, but if you are READING THIS AND going through this same problem that I did, please contact the BBB and report it. That is what I have done, if they get enough of these complaints they will start an investigation and PC TOOLS will stop their scam. I estimate that probably 1 out of 10 customers will go to the trouble I did to cancel the renewal.
Some will kick it back through their credit card, but the majority will accept the charge, and that is how PC TOOLS is generating revenue. PLEASE CONTACT THE BBB. I KNOW THEY ARE OFFICIALLY OWNED IN IRELAND BUT THEY CAN BE STOPPED.
Recently, my computer has been infected by the "Security Tools" virus. After some internet search, Spyware Doctor was pointed as the one to clean the infection. So, I installed the software in the safe mode, because the virus don't allow any exe file to run. To my surprise, the program stated that it wouldn't run in safe mode! Then, it was useless for solving my problem. Further search, led me to the program that really cleaned the virus: SUPERAntiSpyware. My computer being cleaned, I went on & forgot about Spyware Doctor.
Suddenly, doing my job, my speaker sounds like crazy and a panel appears stating that my computer is infected by a huge number of viruses, Trojans and similars! I was really frighten! Happily there was a button on the panel and by clicking it the program would remove all the threats. So what I done? I clicked the button, of course! And what happened? The program opened a page on the browser stating that only Premium users should benefit from this feature, but, if I agree to pay some money, the program will be happy to clean up my computer.
What this behavior reminds you? Exactly what scareware does! In other words: "your computer is badly infected and if you want to get rid of the infection, you must pay some money!" You may say: "But the computer was really infected!" "It wasn't scam!" Wrong! Since the free version - which I was running - doesn't clean the computer, I did it manually. At least, I thought, it pointed me out the infections and the files and locations. Fair enough! So I deleted the pointed files and cleaned up all the cookies via "Tools/Options" of the browser. And to make sure no one will be left, I went to the cookies folder and wipe out everything on it.
Well, I thought to myself, now my computer is clean. Wrong again! Just in case, I ran a full search with Spyware Doctor and what was the result? After the crazy sound, the same trojans and cookies, plus some others were pointed out on the panel! I wonder: what is going on? If you can't trust a company that claims that intend to protect your computer, but instead, it scares you to force you to buy its product?
I received an email today, 6/7/2009, advising me that my annual subscription was renewed. Quantity of two at $24.95 each for a total charge to my credit card of $49.90. I was very angry since I never reordered this product, did not like the product very much the one time I purchased it anyway. Furthermore, I don't understand why they charged a quantity of "2". Perhaps it is because I have two computers. Or perhaps it is because they are charging my account for "two" one-year subscriptions.
The credit card I used had a two-year expiration date so that would put the expiry at 6/30/2009. So I can see why they rushed this auto-debit prior to expiration date - and charged me for a two-year term. Quite sneaky, I think. And quite unscrupulous! I called my credit card company to dispute the charge and was advised to call back on 6/10/2009 to further discuss after the charge from "Digital River" will advance from a pending to a posted transaction.
I sent an email back to PC Tools to complain about the charge. I don't expect any comfort. I will also log on to the website to review my account status regarding a "cancel feature." I see from my invoice today that the duration of subscription is "unlimited" and billing period is every 12 months. I have a suspicion that their billing department, in order to increase sales, just guesses at the expiry date based on the year previously given. Perhaps they repeatedly plug in an expiration year and hope it works. That's just my guess.
There are three companies to deal with here: PC Tools in the United States, Digital River in Cologne Germany, and PC Tools Limited in Clare County, Ireland. Multiple entities in different jurisdictions to deal with is far too cumbersome - which is the way they would like it. Where to place the blame? Time will tell. This is a SHELL GAME. What shell has the peanut (and my money) under it? I will never buy from this company again. I cancelled my subscription to PC Magazine a year ago.
Checked my bank account the other day and there was a renewal fee for $29.95 from Pc tools taken out that was totally unauthorized. There is no way to phone PC Tools and the email just bounces back. The company is stationed in Ireland so there is no way of going after them. If you have purchased any of their products go to your bank right away and put a stop payment to PC Tools, or cancel your credit card and get a new one.
You would never think that an Irish company would be this dishonest. Always beware of any companies online. I certainly learned my lesson about online software companies. From now on I will do my research and read the Terms and Conditions.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA -- If you purchase a software license from PC Tools, be advised that it will be difficult or impossible for you to cancel the $29.95 automatic renewal. The company's telephone number does not work, and email to firstname.lastname@example.org bounces back. The telephone number of the company's San Francisco office is also unlisted. I am unable to access my account online because the system claims not to recognize my email address, even though I just received an email from them. I just filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but the company is officially located in Ireland, so it will probably go nowhere.
Purchased Registry mechanic. Installed and it immediately wants me to renew the product. New computer and new program so no older versions are installed. After several day of online and self help in the help sections, still not working. Programs wants me to update but I cannot update because it wants a renewal. Online chat is useless as the tech to help has no clue. Keeps sending me to the self help section of the website.
No help and a crippled program. Slowed the response of the computer considerably to opening up programs. The program also installed some other online communication software to send data back and forth. Possibly spy or other type, unknown.
After three days now I am slowly removing all traces of this software and considering my loss of $29.99 as very lucky. Considering I could have lost my entire computer to this. Recommend a do not purchase. If you do, do it from a retail store and get a disk with the program on it. That way you pay only once. No auto renewal on any credit card.
This used to be a good product, but it is really gone downhill in the last two years. Now it is at rock bottom.
I wrote before about my concerns that this "business" that provides service to prevent viruses from gaining access to your computer might be doing some identity theft, although I have no way of proving it. After my first complaint in November, within a week I had to cancel my debit card because "someone" was making unauthorized debits from it. Last week I sent a complaint to the Better Business Bureau about pc tools and this week, coincidentally, there are unauthorized charges to the other debit card that this company had access to. Stay as far away from this company as possible.
Automatic renewal in Nov. 2010 caused me to be double-charged because I had already renewed prior to that date. I was put on hold for 10 minutes or more, TWICE and THEN disconnected. After at least 6 phone calls and talking to 2 people, I finally got a refund after 2 weeks. But, like others have said, they will not stop the automatic renewal, you must cancel your credit card. At that time they had a BBB rating of A +. Fast forward 4 months and they now have an F rating and have taken my computer hostage.
I can't get on some of my regular websites because their software has "banned" these sites. Ironically, PC Tools is also a website that is banned, so I can get no information, technical support or contact info. So, I stay on hold for 30 minutes and phones go unanswered. Suspiciously, the day after the above-mentioned phone call to demand a refund, I started getting "unauthorized debits" to my card--one being $2000 sent to Stockholm Sweden. A coincidence? Stay away from this unethical company. Anyone that goes from an A+ to F in 4 months should be avoided at all costs.
If you purchase a software license from PC Tools, be advised that it will be impossible for you to cancel the $29.95 automatic renewal even if you specify this as terms of your order. When the charge hit my credit card one year later, I asked for immediate confirmation they would reverse the charges in 24 hrs. The operator stalled & then put me on "permanent hold." I have yet to receive "email confirmation" she claimed would be sent. I have disposed of the computer for which the license was purchased last March so this is irritating & forces me to replace my credit card.
I would recommend caution in dealing with this company. I had/have no problem with the product but I do with the company and the security of accounts. I initially contacted them after the product subscription was renewed and it was apparent that I had not paid for it. I received a lot of emails from different customer support people who obviously could not read nor understand that I wanted to know how my subscription could be renewed if I hadn't done it. Never got an answer but I have received an email this morning saying they have cancelled my subscription and refunded my money although it's too early to say if I have actually got any money back.
That would be highly ironic as I didn't pay anything. I'm sure that if someone else finds their subscription cancelled and funds returned without knowing what has transpired they will be pretty confused. Overall I would rate this companies support as absolute crap and it would probably help if their support people could actually read and understand simple English. It's also ironic that a company with such a high profile for PC security has some very obvious internal problems with their accounts and subscription renewals.