Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Naught for Norton

Customer service is just about a thing of the past, but the other night, I think I discovered the hole at rock-bottom. Back in the old days (you know, the 20th Century), I used to swear by Norton security protects, and my mom has been running the Norton Security Suite 2005 for some time with no problem.

Mom isn't exactly tech-savvy, so in my limited capacity, I've always helped her out on the computer as best I can. Over the past several years, I've renewed countless subscriptions to countless computer security programs, and as of early Saturday evening, I figured that just another program renewal at the Symantec Web site couldn't really be a major deal.

How wrong I was.

Okay, I go to the Symantec Web site, select the product I want, and choose to renew the subscription to the existing product rather than upgrade. Once payment is sent, they email the subscription key code that keeps Live Update active for another year, and you're good to go. And I would have been, had they bothered in their confirmation email to send me the subscription key code that they're supposed to.

Alas, that's apparently too much to ask.

Without the code, I have nothing to enter into the Norton program when I select "renew." So I go to their email support and try to explain the problem. However, without the subscription key code, the mail won't even get sent to them.

Then I go to their live chat area (which only works with Internet Explorer; Firefox is apparently right out), which advertises "virtually no waiting time," and am plunked into the queue at #37. Mind you, in the eastern United States, this is at 1:00 a.m., but guess where their customer support is located. So I wait 30 minutes and get down to #33 in the queue. I decide to try their phone support line. Estimated waiting time: 30 minutes.

Actual waiting time: one hour, 30 minutes-plus.

Fortunately, I had some things to occupy my attention while, every five minutes, the pleasant bitch interrupts the harp music to assure me that my call is very important and will be answered in the order it was received. I did nod off a few times, but there was no risk of missing out on the call being answered, that much was certain. Long about 3:00 a.m., an Indian chap finally answers, and it's at that moment that my cell phone battery gives up the ghost. Probably a good thing, as by this time, I was not going to be even slightly polite.

One thing the email option will allow you to do without the subscription key code is request a refund. So this I did (and in retrospect, I was far more polite than I meant to be), only to have it answered by some other inept Indian, who assured me that I didn't need a code because I was just renewing the Live Update subscription rather than purchasing a new product.

I do wish the bugger could have explained that to my mom's Norton program, which continued to stubbornly ask for a subscription key to continue the service.

And these fuckers are engaged to provide security for one's computer? Well, one guess as to who is no longer protecting Mom's.

While I've never had any significant technical problems with Symantec's programs, with me, it's customer service that makes or breaks a deal. These idiots have broken this one irreparably.

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