Tag Archives: opt out

Autorenewal : Kaspersky and BitDefender Update

Yesterday, I received an email from BitDefender telling me that my ‘autorenewal’ would be refunded. Today, I received an email from Kaspersky saying that my ‘autorenewal’ was cancelled, and that I could renew manually when my anti virus expired in November 2022. Yay.

Kaspersky also provided information about how to change the account settings relating to renewals:

The Nexway customer account is not created automatically, instead, the Order Confirmation email contains a link to the account creation page. This link has a unique SSID built into it which links the order automatically.

Please ensure that you have clicked on the “access your customer area” in the Order Confirmation email. Once the “access your customer area” link is clicked, the homepage appears where both login and password are created. Then, you can configure your subscription’s settings.

Going back to the order confirmation email, I found this:

Clicking on the ‘access your customer account’ link took me to this page:

Two important things to note:

  1. the URL is for ‘shop.kaspersky.com.au’. There is NO mention of Nexway.
  2. the only instructions are to ‘Please sign in to access the features below’.

To me, those two things imply that the login is to an existing account, not that I should create a new account.

Nit picking?

No. Just another indication that the consumer is not meant to stop autorenewals easily. Remember how easy it was to stop the autorenewal of my Elder Scrolls Online subscription?

Moving on. Knowing that I had to create a new account, I clicked in the login box and tried to enter my email address. As you can see. It wasn’t accepted. Given that my email address is used to verify that I am who I say I am, this seems a little…odd.

Moving on. So then I typed in a new password, twice, and clicked ‘Initialize your credentials’. This is what happened next:

What in blue blazes is an ‘invalid token’?

And that was the point at which I could go no further. Without any instructions or explanations, the ONLY way to get into this separate account is blocked. There is no way for me to get in and opt out of this bogus autorenewal.

Now I ask you, is all this simply a case of terrible interface design? Or is it all part of a kind of passive resistance set up to make opting out as hard as possible while still being technically legal?

Points in favour of this hypothesis:

  • information about the subscription and autorenewal is covered in the confirmation email, almost as an after thought, but no mention is made of it on the website where you actually buy the product.
  • more importantly, this is the first time the word ‘autorenewal’ is used.
  • this is also the first time that the name of a third party is mentioned.
  • the link to ‘access your customer account’ comes after the link for ‘hassle free cancellation’.
  • there is no mention of the fact that you have to create a customer account before you can use it for ‘hassle free cancellation’.
  • assuming you work out what to do next, there is still no clear instruction that you have to create a new account with a company other than Kaspersky.
  • when you do try to create said new account…the process fails.

Quite frankly, if I were not as bloody-minded and stubborn as I am, I would have given up long ago, consoling myself with the thought that ‘ah well, I’ll just cancel when the licence expires’.

There are two problems with that expectation. The first is that my/your credit card details will remain with a third party – in this case Nexway – for the whole year. That leaves your bank account open to the potential of abuse.

The second problem is one that I experienced with BitDefender, or should I say, 2Checkout, the company outsourced to handle renewals. Without boring you to tears, I received two emails telling me that my BitDefender anti virus was about to expire. The first was on December 14, the second on December 29. Neither mentioned that my account was set for autorenewals.

This is a screenshot of the email from December 29 from Bitdefender 2checkout:

Now let’s zoom in to the bottom half:

At this point, I’m being urged to renew AND it’s suggested that I ‘consider enabling the automatic renewal option’. Clearly that means the automatic renewal option is NOT enabled.

Having decided not to use BitDefender over a month before, I ignored both emails. Then, on the one day of the year that I didn’t check my emails, I received this:

The email is dated January 1, 2022 but the first I knew about it was on January 2, 2022, when I discovered that my account had been debited $69.99 AUD. I can assure you that I did not ‘renew’ BitDefender! Why would I when I’d already bought and installed Kaspersky Anti Virus back in November, 2021?

I immediately asked for a refund, but the person who responded to my email only offered sweeteners to keep me from ‘leaving’. I said I wanted a full refund. I was told that refunds could only be approved by BitDefender.

Call me stupid, but this was the first time that it actually registered with me that I was not talking to a BitDefender representative.

When someone from BitDefender finally did contact me, he began by saying that I had received a notification on the 24th of December and should have cancelled then instead of waiting until the 2nd of January. I checked my inbox and my spam folder but there was no such email. As you have seen, the closest date was the email of the 29th which did NOT say anything about an autorenewal.

I do not know whether 2checkout stuffed up big time or whether this was always going to happen. All I know is that I’ve wasted a lot of my precious time trying to claw back $69 I could not afford to lose.

I’ll be getting a refund from BitDefender sometime in the next week, but it should not have been necessary in the first place.

I should not have had to fight so hard to extricate myself from a system that seems to be designed to fleece consumers of their money.

ANY autorenewal should be on an opt-in basis. Just because you call something a ‘subscription’ does not mean that the consumer has agreed to a direct debit of their account!

I hesitate to say that opt-out autorenewals are illegal because I don’t have the necessary knowledge or qualifications, but I’d love to hear from anyone who does.

Is it illegal?

And if it is, how do you go about prosecuting an international company?

cheers,
Meeks


Pet Circle – Buyer Beware!

This warning applies to https://www.petcircle.com.au/

As the name implies, Pet Circle provides all sorts of products for your pet. I made one purchase, ages ago, via the Pet Circle online store. As far as I was concerned, this was a one time purchase. Imagine my surprise when I checked my emails this morning and found this:

I knew I had not set up any kind of recurring purchase so at first I thought the email was one of those awful scams we all have to live with. I would have deleted the email out of hand if not for all the personal information that a scammer would not have known:

When I logged into the Pet Circle website and had a look at my account, I found an option about Auto Delivery that I’m sure I didn’t see when I made my one and only purchase:

I cancelled the auto delivery and rang the company. I was told that there was different pricing for one off sales and auto delivery sales. I’m damn careful with my money so you can believe me when I say I was not aware of this AT ALL.

The person I spoke to at Pet Circle said something along the lines of ‘it can be confusing’. Yes, it can.

You can see from the bit I circled at the top of the previous screenshot that it is not at all clear that the discounted prices are contingent on signing up for the auto delivery.

In fact, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that there was no ‘signing’ up involved at all.

I am no lawyer so there may well be some kind of legal ‘thing’ whereby if you accept a certain price, you are accepting certain terms and conditions that go with it. I assume this is the legal grounds on which the Pet Circle auto delivery function operates.

But…if a customer effectively agrees to an ongoing ‘direct debit’ on their account, that should be made very clear, multiple times before the customer makes that purchase. There should never be any confusion about a direct debit. Direct debits give the company access to your bank account. This is dangerous stuff and should never be entered into lightly.

What bothers me the most is that I’m soooo careful with my money and with everything to do with online security, yet if I had followed my first instinct and deleted the Pet Circle email as a scam, I would not have known about the transaction until a) an unwanted purchase landed on my doorstep, and b) my account was debited with an amount I could ill afford to lose.

This is the first time I’ve personally come across this kind of ‘confusion’, but I can’t help wondering how many other online companies are doing much the same thing? When you buy online, please read all the fine print and do NOT leave your credit cards details with any merchant unless you are absolutely sure that you want to give them access to your bank account.

I’m okay. Make sure that you’re okay too, now and into the future.

Not even a little bit happy,
Meeks


%d bloggers like this: