I have just renewed the subscription to Norton Internet Security (NIS) on our Windows XP Professional PC. It took me nearly an hour of fiddling to do it in the way that I wanted. Here is what I had to do:
- I started from the NIS 'control panel' (Start > Programs > Norton Internet Security > Norton Internet Security) and in the Subscription Status section at the bottom clicked Renew. In the Subscription window that came up I clicked Express Renewal. This started the web browser and opened a subscription renewal page at one of the Norton sites.
- Here the NIS 2011 renewal defaulted to 2 years (£74.99). I only wanted 1 year (£44.99) so I manually changed this and continued.
- A screen appeared offering to add Norton Utilities (£9.99) to the order. The Yes button was large and colorful. I had to look carefully for the No option: it was hidden as un-button-like "Keep my choice" text. I clicked the latter.
- The shopping cart came up with Norton Virus Removal Assurance (£6.99) automatically added to the order. No asking, no warning, no explanation. I deleted it by clicking the little dustbin next to it.
- At the Billing and Payment page I noticed in the small print that I would be also enrolled in the Norton Automatic Renewal service. In other words, I would be giving permission to them to take an unspecified amount of money from my account in a years time, and every year after that. And if I didn't want to give this permission, or later wanted to withdraw it, I had to log into my Norton account and explicitly disable it.
- Now I personally have no difficulty whatsoever in remembering to renew my subscription when the time comes. (As if I could miss the Norton pop-up reminders!) But I was a bit worried that I might have forgotten the password to my Norton account, so I abandoned my order at this point and went off to see if I could remember it.
- When I had managed to log in, I thought I might try to renew directly at the Norton site, rather than through the NIS Express Renewal button. There I noticed that a new sign-up for 1 year's NIS 2011 was being offered for only £24.99. I then proceeded to order this, avoiding several of the above traps on the way (not all of them reappeared this time, if I remember correctly).
- The order confirmation email contained a product key which I cut and pasted directly into the Product Key field in the NIS Subscription window (Start > Programs > Norton Internet Security > Norton Internet Security > Renew). The NIS 'control panel' now showed that I had 366 days of subscription remaining.
- Finally, I went to my Norton account and disabled Norton Automatic Renewal service.
How do I feel about all this? Do I feel pleased with myself that I managed to pay only £24.99 instead of between £44.99 and £91.97 that I could have paid had I trusted Norton?. No I don't. Instead I think "Why the hell didn't the Express Renewal button just go straight to the £24.99? Why was I forced to jump through all these hoops just to renew my subscription?"
Had I paid £44.99 or £61.97 or £91.97, I would have felt pretty stupid when I later saw the £24.99 figure on their web-site. Companies that depend on repeat orders should never make their customers feel stupid for having done business with them.