Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Very Bad Moment Courtesy of Symantec Corporation

Imagine my surprise when I woke up my computer this morning and a little window claiming to be from Norton was there to greet me, telling me my subscription had expired! All the evils of the net were poised to attack my poor little Presario!!!

Anyone who has owned a computer and internet security protection for more than a year knows that -- it seems -- months before the subscription expires, the warnings begin:


Ok, I exaggerate. But not much.

So to see a "you're expired" message out of nowhere was freaky. I thought it was (there's probably a technical term for it, but I don't know it) an impostor message, someone trying to lure me to a site to sell me something or steal something from me. After all, (a) my computer is less than a year old, and (b) I started my subscription in February, after the free trial expired. So I clicked on my Norton icon to check my subscription status, and Norton its own self told me my subscription had expired.

Fortunately for me, I'm a packrat. I found my receipt for Internet Security, and I took a moment to pat myself on the back for my attitude toward purchasing software. I like to go to a store and buy virus protection, on an actual disk I can hold in my hand with an actual paper receipt. So I was clutching the receipt in my sweaty, shaking hand (Staples sale #589461 7 002 16312, 2/24/06 at 3:19), loaded for bear, ready to do battle with Symantec Corp.

I went to their website. A quick search located Customer Service for my product, and a series of clicks on questions brought me to a point where I was told to pull up my Norton product, click on Help & Support, then Subscription, then "I have already purchased a subscription, [sic] check my status." (It's early in the morning; do I have to start looking at and correcting comma splices ALREADY???) My Norton product then connected with the mother ship and changed my "expired" status to "90-something" days left.

I was partially relieved. But I'm left with this uneasy question:

If Symantec Corp. is the company watching my back as I tootle around on the web, how secure should I feel if its product can forget that I have a valid subscription?

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