Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Norton Sucks Saga: Technical Difficulties

So, you guys might remember a few months ago when I had a big fight with Norton, or rather Symantec, when I let them do some remote assistance on Jake's laptop.

It wasn't pretty. You might want to read the back story. It's okay, I'll wait. Go.

Basic lesson?

NEVER (and I mean NEVER, EVER, if it's the LAST thing you EVER do in your LIFE), allow Norton techs near your computer.


That is, if you value your system and don't want to take your computer in to be serviced.

Here's why. This e-mail was received after I explained what had happened and told them that I ended up taking in the computer to be formatted, because it was completely inoperable.

Hello Ms. Scatteredmom,

I thank you for your patience in this matter.

I have located and went through your entire support experience and have found evidence that your computer was infected with a serious virus (Trojan.Vundo,Trojan Dropper) which more than likely was the cause of the issue.

The agent that worked on your computer did nothing outside the normal technical procedure while working on your PC.

As per your request for compensation for the third party charges, we are going to have to deny as per our EULA that you agreed to when you installed our product.


To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law and regardless of whether any remedy set forth herein fails of its essential purpose, in no event will Symantec or its licensors be liable to you for any special, consequential, indirect or similar damages, including any lost profits or lost data arising out of the use or inability to use the software even if Symantec has been advised of the possibility of such damages. In no case shall Symantec's or its licensors' liability exceed the purchase price of the software. The disclaimers and limitations set forth above will apply regardless of whether you accept the software.

I do apologize. However, that being said, I will be more than happy to refund the virus removal charge for your trouble.

I will be sending you a confirmation email once the refund has been submitted.

Best regards,


Eric McCulloch

Product Support Analyst

Executive Escalations

Symantec Corporation

My response? I was getting really steamed. Normal technical procedure??!?

Hello Eric,

Thank you for your e-mail. I have some questions:

1. If I indeed had the serious viruses you mentioned, then why did the technician say that actually, I didn't have any viruses. (after they deleted everything) When I reminded them that they initially said I had viruses, they told me that I in fact DID NOT. Why?

Why would a Norton tech say I had viruses, then after checking around and deleting say, "Oh, you can be happy because I found no viruses! Your computer is clean!" This really doesn't make sense at all. Either there were viruses, or not. And why when I began to question, the technician began to apologize and signed off?

If there actually were viruses, I'd think the technician would have pointed that out. Not tell me that there weren't any, apologize, and sign off.

2. Is is standard practice for Norton's virus removal technicians to just delete anything and everything they may think is infected, without regard for how it will affect the operating system or if it will render the computer completely inoperable, without consulting with the client first and asking if they should proceed?

If I take my car to a mechanic to be fixed and the problem requires them to remove the carborator, thereby rendering the car inoperable, they would have the decency to tell me and ask if they should proceed. ANY other company that I have EVER allowed to work on my computer has always done this. Doesn't Symantec? And if not, why?

(note: the other tech who fixed the computer said that so many things were deleted that we were lucky that it could be fixed at all, it was that badly messed up.)

3. Is it also standard practice for Norton's virus removal technicians to simply sign off and leave the computer inoperable when they have changed settings in order to complete their job, such as removing admin permissions, etc? Don't they have an obligation to put things back the way they were when they first took control of the machine, at the very least?

I understand that Symantec has a disclaimer, which legally means that I have no recourse. I have already talked to people who have said that the fee for the virus "removal" would be refunded, but I'm not sure if that has actually happened yet.

However, in the end, I will say this; if this is how Symantec does business, I will never deal with your company or buy your products again, nor will I encourage anyone else to. In my opinion, to work on a computer with such disregard for how it will affect the overall function without consulting the owners (at the very least) and to then hide behind a disclaimer is a poor business practice, bordering on fraud.

I will wait until my subscription to Norton runs out, and then I will NEVER buy a product from your company again. An apology is just words-obviously Symantec has no interest in actually providing customer service.


This is the response I got today. Of course, no answer to any of my questions.

Hello Ms. Scatteredmom,

I do apologize, and understand that this is very frustrating.

I did read through every single case note and found that the agent removed 2 viruses from your computer, I am not sure why you were told that there was no virus on your PC, and we will be looking into that with the agent.

With that being said the agent that did the work on your PC did not remove anything that we do not normally remove from ones PC when troubleshooting, and or in your case removing a virus.

Your refund was processed please look below for the details.

(removed for obvious reasons)

If there is nothing further I can assist you with, I am going to close your case. Once the case is closed you will receive a Customer Satisfaction Survey to the email address on file for you. The survey will expire 5 days after it was sent. If you decide to fill out the survey, please keep in mind that you are only reviewing the service that I have provided for you. However, if you would like to voice your opinion on anything else, there is a comments section that you can fill out. These comments are read by Symantec management and can positively impact future service processes based on the feedback received. It would be greatly appreciated if you took a moment of your time to fill out the Customer Satisfaction Survey.

In the event that you have a future need for technical support for your Symantec products, I have listed below ALL of the support options for North America and Canada for your convenience. If you seek support for your products by any means other than what is listed below, you will be referred back to me for your issues, and I will reiterate the information outlined below. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

The bottom line, according to these e-mails?

1. It is normal technical practice for Norton techs to remove ANYTHING from your computer when they are removing a virus, regardless of what it is or how it will impact your computer. They will not stop and ask you if they should proceed. This includes system keys and the like, which might actually render your computer a very expensive paperweight. NOTHING is safe on there.

2. It is normal technical practice for Norton techs to just sign off and leave your computer inoperable because they have completely screwed up the settings, with no regard that you may not know how to fix it. This includes the administrative permissions.

3. You have absolutely NO RECOURSE. None. Zip. Wave goodbye to the cash that you will need to spend to fix the damage because they could care less. If you paid to have virus removal, they might refund it, as in our case.

4. Norton technical support is incredibly hard to get a hold of, few actually speak English clear enough that you can understand, and they take months to resolve an issue (incident happened in first week of January. It's APRIL.) If you complain via Twitter like I did, they then phone you EVERY SINGLE DAY in stalker-like fashion even though you have e-mailed them and said that you won't be home because, hello?!? You have a job! When you do finally call them back they pass you through their zillion or so people, put you on hold, and after hours you might find someone to talk to who only keeps saying "I'm sorry."

At this point you want to stab yourself in the eye with something sharp because let's FACE it Norton, we both know you don't care. Stop pretending, it's getting OLD.

5. You may (or may not) have a virus, because the tech may (or may not) say you do, then change their mind once they have your money, deleted stuff and when you question them, abruptly sign off. Oh, but the records will say that you had a nasty virus and THAT was the cause of the issue. Even though the computer worked fine previously and was only 2 months old.

I'll let you guys come to your own conclusion on that one.

So Eric /Norton/Symantec, let me say this. For now, I am stuck with your product because I can't afford to run out and buy something new. It works okay and I'm fine with it for now. However; the next time I have to buy anti-virus protection, I will NEVER purchase anything from your company again. I will never recommend your product to anyone. In fact, given the opportunity, I will tell them my bad customer service story and insist that if they deal with your company at all, they are downright CRAZY. Refunding my money isn't enough. I want an explanation, an admission, or even someone taking responsibility that your tech royally screwed up. I do NOT believe that it's normal technical practice to do what they did, because if people knew this, NOBODY would let your techs touch their computers.

Maybe that's just it-perhaps they just don't know.

Well they sure as hell do NOW.

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