This is a copy of my email sent 3/7/07 to a "Manager" at Symantec. Currently, there has been no response. Yesterday, I spent 12+ hours either speaking to or “waiting” to speak with ** of your office. When not speaking or waiting, I wasted hours trying to fix a computer problem which was caused solely by the downloading of SystemWorks 2005 and the misinformation or absence of valid information furnished by ¾ of the above employees.
Do you care? Let's hope so, since I will take the trouble of detailing a “Symantec day of torture”. My computer uses Windows 98 – I have chosen NOT to buy new one since it is reliable and causes me little problems – until yesterday that is – but the fault lays not in my computer but as you will see, with Symantec. On March 1, 2007, after continual notifications that my subscription for SystemWorks 2003 will expire on March 7th, I paid you as urged – via my credit card and the internet – the requested fee of $29.99 for a renewal of my 2003 subscription.
Yesterday, March 6th, I noticed that despite payment my subscription had not been extended. After being unable to download the renewed subscription, your website told me to call Symantec. At approximately 11:00 AM (EST) I called 1-800-927-3995 - and as was repeated for every subsequent call - waited approximately 40 minutes before speaking to **. Summarizing my conversation, ** advised me that for the same price I could receive SystemWorks 2005 and a one year free subscription. Even with this “generous” offer I was reluctant to change what had worked for me for the preceding four years and chose to renew my 2003 subscription.
He activated it and when I ran it I noticed that despite the “renewal”, viruses were only “current” to June 2006! My subscription renewal fee had bought me nothing! ** more or less said, “I told you so” and offered me a credit for the 2003 renewal and for “only” $10 more a subscription to 2005. Ten dollars more is not “the same price”, but I digress. I gave him my credit card number for payment of $39.95 for 2005 and he promised to give me a $29.95 credit for my purchase of a completely useless renewal of my 2003 edition. I was assured that despite using Windows 98, I would have no problem.
He sent me via the internet the 2005 and told me to follow the instructions – one of which was to delete my SystemWorks 2003 edition. He assigned me “Priority number ** (omitted for privacy)” and we said goodbye and I went about following the instructions. At the point where the computer was opening Norton, I received for the first time but far from the last, the following message: Error 1723. There is a problem with this Windows Installer package. A DLL required for the install to complete could not be run. Contact your support personnel or package vendor.
I tried to load the 2005 version several times but each time Error 1723 showed up instead. Knowing to call Symantec meant waiting on the phone for 30 to 40 minutes, and wondering if the problem lay with my computer, I tried to “fix" the problem myself with nothing but frustration to show for my efforts. At about 7:30 PM (EST) I again called 1-800-927-3995 and after the obligatory 30 to 40 minute wait, was connected to ** who told me the problem was that there were still Symantec 2003 files in my computer and after leading me through a series of websites, sent me Symantec “Removal Tool” with the assurance that after using this tool, all would be well.
I was reluctant to “lose” a human being's voice and asked him to hold on while I followed the instructions. ** said don't worry and gave me a “special” telephone number to call that would eliminate the waiting – 1-800-927-3991. He also assigned “priority case number” ** and told me to use that number and I would get fast service in the unlikely event that I had further problems. Of course I had further problems – that's why I am writing you. The Removal Tool apparently did not remove sufficiently since I continued to receive the Error 1723 message. I called my “special number” and it was anything but “special”.
I waited the 30 to 40 minutes again and ** got on the phone. I told him my situation and he said for an additional $39.95, Symantec would download my 2005 version from their offices. Was I upset? What do you think? ** advised me that I had been connected to the “expert” line which would only help if you paid them. I told him this was the special number that ** had given me. He said I must have pressed the wrong number on the phone.
I said, at this point after waiting hours and hours and trying to fix a problem that was not of my making - it was possible but that in view of the circumstances, please, please, please do not transfer my call which would only mean another wait. He was not moved and transferred me and I waited. Next up at about l0:00 PM (EST) was ** who reviewed my “special case file”. He sent me to various Microsoft websites and instructed me to download several files (which he couldn't or chose not to explain what they were) and to run the removal tool again.
He also told me to remove “the Help Spot” file which CAME with the computer. He said, as is often said by Symantec employees, “that should work”. For some reason I was impressed with ** and he sensed this and told me I could write to his manager at the above email address. At this point I again was reluctant to lose a human's voice and I earnestly requested him to stay on the line while I tried downloading again. He said he could not, but would call me back in 30 minutes. I was quite moved. (For the record, he never called.)
At approximately 10:30 PM (EST) I followed the new instructions with the newly downloaded files and it worked! Let us summarize: Four calls – an average of 30 to 40 minutes waiting on each call. After deleting SystemWorks 2003 as I was told to do, I was without ANY virus protection and was wary of going on the internet. After trying to download the first time, I received a series of message from my computer that a number of other applications were not working. Symantec has cornered the market. The help that you render to your customers is deadly.
Here are just a couple of suggestions: Don't offer a renewed subscription which is completely worthless – the 2003 renewal. You waste everyone's time and money. Don't allow your employees to say for the “same price” when in fact it is $10 more. Don't allow your employees to give partial and incomplete help – this only causes the customer to call back again and again and thus jam your “help” lines. – which in turns creates a 30 to 40 minute wait.
Wouldn't it have been better if the first employee I spoke to stayed with me to see if the problem was solved – which it couldn't have been – rather than compelling me to call again and again? Nearly all of my friends and business associates use one of your products. A copy of this email is being sent to them and I am sure they are as anxious as I am to learn of your response.
DALLAS, TEXAS -- I purchased Norton 360 internet security because it had two $30 rebates in the form of VISA debit cards. While registering the cards, I discovered that there will be a $3.00 a month maintenance fee on each card until the card's balance is $0.00. This information was not previously disclosed. So much for a $30 rebate. If you don't blow it fast, there's no telling how much less than $30 you will realize. If you try to find a Norton person to discuss this rip off, lots of luck. Shame on you Norton!
350 ELLIS STREET, CALIFORNIA -- Norton Utilities 15 was installed on two different computers to give them a tune up. Before running the program, both systems functioned properly. After running Utilities, both computers crashed - fragmenting Windows. The data on one computer is now unrecoverable. Besides useless telephone assistance from India, Norton will offer no other support or help to remedy the situation.
After 7 weeks Symantec still haven't been able to install their Package on my computer. This is a free upgrade that they had offered me and till now have had 10 of their technicians in India work on my computer for a while then they just log off and promise to get back to me. Fortunately I've kept the names of all of them and intend writing to the Company and let them know exactly what I think of their product. They've also gone and uninstalled various s/w packages and just ** my computer.
OXNARD, CALIFORNIA -- Several months ago the motherboard fried on my desktop PC. After replacing the motherboard and reloading the OS (Microsoft XP) I attempted to load Norton AV-07. The software informed me to contact Symantec regarding the license as it needed to be authenticated. This was also the case with Microsoft as the OS needed to be validated; a very simple process. Getting the OS completed was a snap. Symantec on the other hand informed me that there was nothing that they could do given that all three licenses had already been registered. I also had Norton installed on my wife's laptop and on my school laptop.
After explaining that I had just replaced the motherboard and only needed to be validated, as I had the original key and licenses, the support services told me basically to get lost, nothing they could do. I reviewed their policy regarding hardware failure and it was not addresses. I spoke to a few people and they thought that maybe I had just talked to the wrong person so I tried again, same story. I removed Norton Anti-Virus 2007 from ALL my computers along with System Works and sent the CDs along with the keys back to their World Headquarters in Cupertino, CA. I will never buy nor advocate another Symantec product again.
CALIFORNIA -- I have worked in IT for over 20 years and I have never seen a company's tech support and customer care deteriorate as badly as Symantec. Anyone considering a corporate product such as Backup Exec (formally Veritas) or Corporate Antivirus (the server-based platform) should seriously consider alternatives before they commit to this company. Current case in point- One of my client's Backup Execs stopped working after I upgraded it to version 11d. I opened a tech support call a week ago and it took five days to get a callback even though I rated the call as critical since we had been without a backup for days.
I was on hold for 75 minutes yesterday after getting back in the queue and still never spoke to anyone. And by the way, if you happen to be on hold at 5:00 PST, guess what? They dump all the calls in queue and go home. Our company has an install client base of 50 or so that use Symantec products , and I am here to tell you we're MAKING EVERY EFFORT to throw them out the door. Talking to our software distributors (I will let them remain nameless) they confirm they are hearing this from many integrators such as ourselves. They should be ashamed of themselves. Their stockholders should throw the management out the door.
We were having license activation problems with our Norton Antivirus and were forced to call customer service to resolve or even find out what the problem was. There is no way to resolve activation issues on line. Normally, these issues are handled by staff. Because I happened to purchase this license, I offered to contact Norton. I was on hold for over 25 minutes. When finally helped, it was by an individual with a heavy accent. The individual's English skills may be excellent, but I was having trouble understanding her.
She proceeded to imply my company had abused its number of licenses and we were essentially dead in the water. I was stunned. It was a 'you have got to be kidding me' moment. I offered, at our IT guy's suggestion, to reinstall all active machines to resolve the issue and prove we were under the number allowed on our multi-seat license. She kept repeating an unintelligible scripted mantra over and over, refusing to have a discussion... then just hung up on me. After 40 minutes of my time regarding a legitimate issue that is the fault of the vendor, I was listening to overseas air on the phone.
It's not just the money we spent on the service/software. It's not the hours of staff time I have had to pay for. It's not the time I could be spending running a business. It is that I am the CUSTOMER. Norton, like some kind of authority, acts like we are at their disposal and have no choice in vendors. I doubt I am alone in this revelation and will keep an eye out to see how the giant is affected, as others act on their disappointment. I have sent emails to Norton. If any resolution is forthcoming, I will update this posting.
Symantec has started issuing a Debit Card instead of a check for its rebates. Aside from the need to treat it as a Charge Card, even when it says "Debit", the outrageous usage fees if it is not used immediately ($3 a month after 6 mo.), and the uselessness at gas pumps etc, there is a real catch: If the item you want to purchase is of MORE value than the balance available on the card, it will be refused IN TOTAL! You can't make it part of the payment!
So, you may never be able to get the full value of the card unless you can convince a merchant to ring up an exact balance on the card a the charge amount. Neat trick, huh! Oh, they say it was due to customer demand for this type of payment. Sounds like petty fraud to me!
ALABAMA -- Beware the Symantec (Norton) System Works 2005 combined offer of a $30 rebate on the basic software plus the $30 upgrade offer. The kicker is that one must submit the UPC code from the newly purchased software box with both rebate forms, an obvious impossibility! I submitted both rebate forms with the caveat that their offer was either flawed or purposefully deceitful. The upgrade rebate form was submitted sans the UPC code but with the previous Symantec CD as proof of ownership along with a detailed explanation of the duplicitous nature.
The upgrade rebate form was disallowed as not meeting the requirements, i.e. the UPC code, and therefore disallowed.. Their rebate operations center personnel either are not equipped to understand the problem as outlined, or there is a subterfuge involved. A certified letter with return receipt explaining these circumstances was never acknowledged. There appears to be no other means to seek redress other than a warning such as this for other persons who should not take the bait. Try getting a “live” person with which to interact! Hope that some righteous executive from Symantec sees this and is able to initiate corrective business practices.