McAfee and I are splitting up, but it’s hard

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

McAfee account update confirmation, says the email.

I am being informed that as a courtesy to me, to make sure that my anti-virus program remains updated and uninterrupted, McAfee has charged $86.85 cents to my checking account to continue their service for another year.

You’ve got to be kidding me. For that, I want a multiple user license for two years.

I have to call these guys, because I really don’t want to continue using the McAfee program. Plus, the retail cost of the same program is less than half of what I was charged.

I also don’t like them digging into my financial information and charging me without notice.

Some magazines also do that. They charge for another year of a subscription if they have your information. I had one charge me for an additional year, and then the publication folded. I am still trying to get my money back. Lesson learned.

I had the same problem with AOL a long time ago when I tried to cancel its service. I think you have to take a college course to get through that maze without going insane. I don’t use AOL anymore. I don’t think many people do.

So, I’m looking for the number, or instructions, on how to cancel this charge, since McAfee won’t even expire for another month.

Maybe I am going blind, but I cannot find the page or phone number to get this thing canceled. These guys make it very hard to cancel their product, hoping that you just give up and let the charge stand.
The web pages take me around in a circle. There is no phone number anywhere.

O.K., McAfee. Not only am I determined to cancel you, but now I am getting a little annoyed.
But, without a number and endless web pages that lead nowhere, what’s the victim of an unauthorized charge to do?

I’m thinking that I should remember what I am doing because this could make for a good column. Time to start taking mental notes while I figure out how to get my money back.

My checking account’s on-line entry for the charge includes the all-elusive 800 number for McAfee.

There, new hope.

The woman on the phone is very nice. I give her all of the information, and she sees on my record that I have been charged for another year. I have either 30 or 60 days to cancel, but that’s not a factor. I still have plenty of time.

“Why do you want to cancel?” she asked nicely.

Where should I start? It’s too expensive, you guys are gouging me, the program is clumsy, I’d like to use a free program that does the same thing, etc.

I didn’t want to be rude and hurt her feelings, so I said something neutral, like “I’m considering using another program.”

“Which one?”

What an inquisition this has become. Why don’t you ask me what I had for breakfast? She put me on the spot, and I could not remember the name of the program. But, here it goes. I hope I still get my money back.

It’s one of the free ones, I said.

“Would you reconsider if we lowered the price?”

Yes, if you lower it to zero, because that’s how much the free program costs.

So, we’re at the point now when I say good bye and get my money back, right?

“Could you stay on the line and answer a few survey questions for us, please?”


I’m a little busy right now. Could we do it later?

Much, much later, I’m thinking.

The money is back in my account. I didn’t have to answer a bunch of dumb survey questions, and I was fairly diplomatic throughout the process.

Good bye McAfee. I will be fine without you, promise.

Thanks for making me so mad that I would not give up the chase. Looking back, it was a good challenge. I may even reconsider returning someday.

I’ll have my people call your people.