So, 12 months ago I purchased a 12 month subscription renewal for McAfee Security Centre. Until a few days ago when McAfee withdrew about $100 from my bank account (incuding a foreign transaction fee as I'm in Australia) I'd never heard of the practise of auto renewal. I emailed customer support telling them that I did not explicitly agree to auto renew and as far as I was concerned this was an unauthorised transaction and they needed to fully refund me - including fees incurred. Although I've been promised a refund McAfee won't refund the foreign transaction fee and I'm now getting Mastercard to dispute the transaction. Sure, it's mentioned in the EULA, but that's not sufficient notice as far as I'm concerned and in the email I got from customer service they actually refer to it as an unauthorised transaction, so McAfee should expect a slap on the wrist from Mastercard on my behalf.
As for this;
Why does McAfee use auto-renewal?
McAfee implemented the auto-renewal service after a majority of McAfee customers indicated that they prefer to have their license renewed automatically rather than having to manually re-purchase the subscription each year.
Really? I've been using McAfee products for years and never been asked for my opinion. What perchentage of customers were surveyed? What percentage of those surveyed actually indicated they preferred this? Was this survey carried out internationally or just the US? Are the survey results available on McAfee's website? Do you have any evidence at all to back up this statement? I smell baloney.
If auto renewal is such a selling point why isn't it advertised as part of the renewal process eg: "Renew your subscription today and be automatically signed up for auto renew!" rather than being buried in the EULA in fluent legalese? Why aren't users given the option to opt out during the subscription renewal process? I'll tell you why - because given the option most users would say no thanks. I certainly would have. The EULA is for discussing IP and liability not elaborating on the product purchased and hiding behind the EULA on this matter is a really shonky business practise.
In effect I didn't get what I paid for. I purchased a 12 month one off subscription - as advertised - and what I in fact signed up for was a perpetual subscription billed 12 monthly (or is that 11 monthly?). If McAfee intended to be at all transparent I would have received an email notifying me that my account settings had changed or the auto renew would have been mentioned in my receipt. I received nothing explicitly stating that I had been signed up for this.
After researcing this issue it looks like it's becoming industry practice - so congratulations McAfee for not setting yourself apart from your competitors! I have one requirement above all else for a software company providing security and that's that the business is trustworthy - well, you've lost my trust and there's no way I will ever use any of your products again.
I will be lodging a complaint with Australia's consumer watchdog (the ACCC) and I encourage anyone else in Australia who has been frustrated by this practise to do the same.