Symantec NIS 2007 Bait & Switch Licensing

Discussion in 'other anti-virus software' started by Atomic_Ed, Sep 30, 2006.

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  1. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Well I just received an email from Symantec which I could not believe this morning. I was running NIS 2006 of which I purchased the 2 year license for back in January, one for myself and another for my wife's computer. We overall did not have much problem with the package and were happy with the performance but we did have to reload my wife's copy a few times due to a LU update issue at one time. Mine of course had been re-loaded or switched between various computers I own at different times for testing and such but never on more than one at a time. Hence the reason I purchased an additional license for my wife.

    Anyhow, I decided to re-install my NIS license on a new laptop I just received on Tuesday and remove it from my old one. Well when it got to the activation part of the install it would not activate and gave me some error message and that I should contact Symantc, which I did and just received their email response. It states that I was using the license more times then is allowed and is not longer good so I should purchase another license. Are they kidding me? I still have over 400+ days remaining and they decide I can't use them anymore just because I am an IT Professional and reload or re-install my software quite often. It is not on more than one computer at one time and I can't find any EULA that states you can re-install the software too much. This is nothing more than bait & switch and FRAUD on Symantec's part.

    This is the most UNETHICAL thing I have ever seen from a software company to do to their legitimate paying customers. I told them in my response that they need to either refund my remaining 400+ days on that license, or repair my ability to use it or I will be contacting the US Trade Commisson, BBB, my cc company, etc. This is clearly a desipicible method of trying to generate more revenue from their customers.

    Anyway I do like the NIS product but I now want to inform others here about Symantec's new illegal acitivities in reference to their licensing.

    Has anyone else here experienced this same thing with Symantec before?
     
  2. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    I have seen it on their site about there being a limited amount of times you can reinstall a particular app. It is also printed in the manual that came with my NIS 2006. With out looking I believe it was ten time you were allowed to reinstall any one av app. I would post a screen shot of the line in the manual but my scanner died.

    bigc
     
  3. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    This is disturbing that they are doing this I thought I would also post their response email as well as mine to show others this is actually what they are doing. Here is their email and my response back below (They even had the nerve to post a link in their response email to their store to buy more):

    ~Private email removed....Bubba~

    MY RESPONSE:

    Abhishek,

    I have purchased the 2 year license for the NIS and have it loaded on ONLY ONE
    COMPUTER. I am an IT Professional and have multiple computers which I own, but
    have this product installed on only one computer at a time. I reload my systems
    quite often and sometimes switch having the product installed on my laptop or
    desktop, but not at the same time.

    I demand that you prove to me that this license is installed on more than one
    of my computers at a time as it is not, or refund my remaining 400+ days of
    that license. If not then this is nothing more than fraud on Symantec's part
    and I will report this to the US Better Business autorities as will as my
    credit card company. I further think that the US Trade Commision would be
    interested to know that Symantec is trying to bait & switch it's customers to
    get them to purchase another license when their existing one is still valid. I
    will also ensure this is reported to them as well. This practice is nothing
    short of unethical on Symantec's part.

    I can not believe that Symantec is treating it's legitimate customers as if
    they were criminals, but regardless I must demand I either get my license
    repaired from this NONSENSE or refunded.

    I will await your response before I start reporting this crime Symantec is
    perpetrating on me. Please be assured that if Symantec does not honor my
    license which is legitimate on installed on ONLY ONE COMPUTER, I will be
    aggressively reporting this fraud on Symantec's part to the appropriate
    authorities.


    Regards,


    Anyway please post here if Symantec has done this to you as well. I would like to have other info before I contact the authorities on their fraud.

    Thanks..
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2006
  4. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    I have never seen the stipulation of a limited number of times the product can be installed that you mentioned and can not find this in any EULA either. If they have it posted somewhere I can not find it. If they stated that the product can only be installed a certain number of time I would never have bought it as you can sometimes need to reload it multiple times just to fix the Live Update issue that can occur from time to time. Anyhow, I know this was never communicated to me when I purchased this product with multiple licenses from them.

    I just can't believe that a person can easily go out an obtain this from underground sites with a cracked activation, but paying honest customers like myself are getting scammed by Symantec. They are becoming their own worst enemy with their unethical practices. I sure hope they do the right thing and repair my ability to use my valid license. If not I am going to make it a point to report them to all agencies in the US that want to know about it as well as all my customers and anyone who is thinking of purchasing thier products to let them know Symantec can just stop their ability to use it anytime they want regardless of how much time is left or the customer's proper use within the agreement.
     
  5. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    I agree that it is not a very good business practice.
     
  6. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    I know it is actually hard to believe they are even doing this. If they have this great technologically advanced records system that tells them how much you install the product then you would think it could also tell them it is not on more thatn one computer at a time. I think you can see from their email that what they are really doing is just trying to get more revenue from this. Historically, this is a very old scam called bait & switch where a company offers you one thing, you pay and then they switch it out for something lessor or of no value which is the case here with a license that can't be activated, but the first time I have seen it being employed by a major software company.

    I am quite certain if they will not do right, then they will become investigated for their illegal practices once they are reported and word spreads all over the net about it.

    I am just hoping that they will do the right thing and stop this nonsense. We will see what happens as I am now awaiting their next response. If they don't I will report them undoubtedly and call my credit card company aboth their fraud as well.
     
  7. unhappy_viewer

    unhappy_viewer Registered Member

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    Here's the revelant section in the EULA that hilights that you can only install it a certain number of times (marked in bold):
    So its looks like you lost your right to fight this case. While this practice by Symantec may not seem good, you did agree to their terms and conditions by clicking the 'Yes' button. I always advice people to carefully read any EULA before installing softwares. Don't just junk it away or skim through it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
  8. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Where did you find this? I never saw anything like this when I purchased the software from their online store. I did not buy the boxed version, maybe that is why, but if this ridiculous statement was shown to me when buying from their online store I would never have purchased it. I reload my computers many times a year as well as reload NIS many time to fix corruptions within the product so that is just ridiculous.

    Regardless, the fact that my license is not installed on more than one of my computers is key here. Also the statement talks about their efforts to stop illegal copying of the software, where I then say show me were anything I have done constitutes illegal usage of my product. I have not done so therefore this finite number of times which is not even documented would not be relevant due to the fact there was no illegal activity on my part.

    Lets see what the US authorities have to say about it if they don't make good and do the right thing here.
     
  9. unhappy_viewer

    unhappy_viewer Registered Member

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    I have a copy of the EULa with my NAV purchase but Symantec's EULA is also always available on the respective product page. NAV 2006's product page:
    http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/products/overview.jsp?pcid=is&pvid=nav2006

    Here's the direct link to the EULA on their site:
    http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/media/eula/08.23.05cpd.glbl.eula_nis_nav_npf_2006.pdf

    Not really. The sentence has two conditions for you to use NAV. The interpretation is that if either one or the other condition is broken, it would void your license. Both conditions do not have to be broken together to void the license. Those two conditions would be:
    -number of times you are allowed to install and uninstall
    -the number of licenses you bought

    For example in reading this sort of sentences in the EULA, you must always think of it from the viewpoint of the seller. That means, it does not matter whether you have proof or not, Symantec has the right to void any license it deems necessary.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2006
  10. malformed

    malformed Former Poster

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    That section of the EULA holds no water. There is no definition of finite and there is no stipulation of consequence. It's further vague with the use a 'may' in the bolded text. ;)

    They are wrong IMO, I would continue to pursue them. They will ultimately change their tune with added pressure or be forced to.
     
  11. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Yes, I agree there is no stated number and as you point out MAY and not stating consequence are not legally binding. Regardless as I mentioned show me where I had anything to do with piracy on this, which is what that section of that post states as to what the intention of that statement was. Overall, I did not thing wrong or any act of piracy with my license so this is nothing more than FRAUD and nonsense to ge tpeople to buy more when their license is still valid. I will persue this on principal if they do not make good on my license. Also it would be important for people here to know this is going on as I am sure there are many here that reload their systems and could be caught by this fraud on Symantec's part.
     
  12. bigc73542

    bigc73542 Retired Moderator

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    Good luck on your quest against Symantec,but they are a very large company with many many attorneys. And I am pretty sure that before the EULA was printed and released they made sure that it was a legal and binding document or they wouldn't have wasted their time writting it.
     
  13. unhappy_viewer

    unhappy_viewer Registered Member

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    I am partially glad that I did a semester of business law in college. It helps me to see the hidden meaning behind such things in EULA, contracts, business agreements etc. maybe everyone should do one semester of such subjects.

    As mentioned before whenever you get such sentences, you must always assume that such sentences is always as deemed by the manufacturer themselves when something is not specified. This is one of those hidden traps in reading EULAs and Symantec is not the only one doing such thing.
     
  14. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    I am not a lawyer as my expertise is in IT but since it seems you have some knowledge of the law, can I ask you, if a statement thats clear intention is stated to avoid piracy, and there is no priacy commited and mentions a finite number of installs, but not a specific number or even a generalized amount such as dozens or such, as well as what the ramifications of such actions not being defined, can such be legitimately and legally used to enforce a decision not to allow the party to use the product they paid for and show intent on their part to coerce the party into buying yet further licenses as displayed within their response email as stated by their representative and even a url to the store for the additional license purchase?

    I appreciate your input, as I said I am not a lawyer but I would think within any contract with terms not specifically defined to show their intent at least generally, would be difficult to enforce within a court of law. In other words if I were to use a hypothetical scenario....

    If I had a contract with another party where it contained a clause that if that party were to eat ice cream during the contract, their right to belong to my organization would be null and void, and just because there is an unfounded suspicion that the party may have visited an ice cream parlor, we take action against them, however where there is not any evidence or proof of that party ever eating ice cream, how could the nullification of that contract be legally supported? In other words their agreement states in order to avoid software priacy, which in my case there is no evidence or proof of such activity to even related that clause to my situation. Can a company take actions again their customers just because they think they might be doing something wrong but can not prove this as the case? Is it possible for them to have a monitoring system that they can use to say how many times a product has been re-installed but has no means to show that it is not on two system concurrently?

    I guess in the end what I am asking you and I do appreciate your input, is what are the parameters of such an agreement where in a court of law they can not be legitimately questioned when the comany's intentions are fairly obvious and the intent of why such actions does not have a connection to their intent (piracy).

    Thanks for your input.
     
  15. bs259

    bs259 Registered Member

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    Im sorry to hear about your situation, when this happened to me all i had to do was to email them or call them, (i dont think they give out their number anymore) anyway they always reset my password for me. As far as bait and switch is concerned you are completely wrong. Bait and switch is when they offer something that seems too good to be true, you go to get the product unfortunatelly there are none left and you have to get something else.

    Now as far as suing them good luck, they have more lawyers than you, me and most people put together, even if you can win this case against them, do you think it would be wise, it would cost you way more to fight this then to buy another hundred licenses.

    But again i would suggest you write another email or call them if you can find a customer service number and be nice and explain that you were forced to reinstall due to system crash, software failure, etc.
     
  16. chaos

    chaos Registered Member

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    "This Software may contain enforcement technology that limits the ability to install and uninstall the Software on a computer to not more than a finite number of times for a finite number of computers"
    I will suggest you something that you can do.
    Try to Install the program into one of your previous computers after you format the hard drive and reinstall windows.
    If you still receive an error message then you have a case.
    The whole idea is the way it refers to "computers".
    Every computer is a different entity.
    The times that you can install the program on a "computer" is only bounded by the other condition of the limited times of being able to install it on a certain pc.
    Since the statement refers to a finite number of computers then your previous computer still belongs to the computers that the only limitation is the number of times that you can install it.

    What I mean is that you should find one of your previous computers that the reinstallation has happened the least times and try to see if the message is still appearing.
    There are still some gaps that we need to cover but let's start with that idea.
     
  17. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Thanks for your sentiments on this, it is frustrating to me when I did nothing wrong. I wasn't even thinking of trying to sue them as you are right there is no way I could compete with their resources or would be worth from a cost standpoint. I was trying to understand what stance they would have when reporting their activities to the various US authorities. I can not see how they can get away with this as there are US laws in place to prevent this type of activity against legitimate consumers.

    On the bait & switch, I believe it is the same thing they offered a 2 year license with free upgrades but now that I bought their product they switched it to a license key I can not use. same thing really IMO.

    I will be trying to resolve this with them through further communications but you are right there is no number anymore to call them that I can find either. I will continue to email them and see what happens but it would be wise for others thinking about purchasing symantec products to see what can happen if they so decide to revoke your license. In the end if they decide to keep me from using my paid license with over 400+ dys remaining and they refund my money then I will just buy another brand and never purchase another thing from them. If they do not provide me any relief from thier in appropriate actions, then I will continue to report it to every agnecy I can find as well as state my experience on every web site I belong to. In the end regardless of what happens in my case, others need to know what they are doing and they can lose their paid for product usage on symantec's whim.

    Thanks again..
     
  18. bs259

    bs259 Registered Member

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    i will look for the phone number i had later today and if i can find it i will post it or message you with it, perhaps someone here has the number and is willing to share it with you in the meantime, i do agree with you though that if you have 2 licenses you should be allowed to put it on whatever 2 machines you want, im not sure if this will help you also but if you get the license reset, make a backup image of the system when you have a working registered version installed. you could use norton go back but it will only give you about 1 day of your system you can go back to, norton ghost (not sure if that retains the license keys, acronis true image (i do know that acronis retains all license keys).
     
  19. bs259

    bs259 Registered Member

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    I was just looking at the symantec site they actually have a link to phone support, the thing is i think what it does is (you put in your information and it calls you and connects to their customer service), thay also have free live chat.

    either way here is the link: http://www.symantec.com/home_homeoffice/support/productdetail/contact_ts.jsp?pvid=nav_2007

    remember be nice, act as if they are doing you a huge favor, keep being nice, if they say they cant help you ask to be transfered to a supervisor, remember be nice, if you start attacking i promise from past experience you will get nowhere. dont accuse them of doing anything wrong, tell them that you understand and respect their reasons for doing what they are doing but in your case it is due to other reasons as stated in other posts.

    Good Luck,
    Billy
     
  20. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Thank you for all your help. I appreciate you taking the time to provide me the link. I will try the online chat this afternoon and see how it goes. I suppose I will try and be nice as you suggest, makes sense, even though their doing me a favor is providing me with what I legitimately paid for. In the end I am seriously considering getting rid of all symante products and moving on. Will see what is going to come of it though and I will post back the results of the chat.

    Thanks again.

    Ed
     
  21. juckjones

    juckjones Registered Member

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    It is clear that Symantec failed to define the exact number of times the software may be installed and uninstalled to an exact number of computers. The EULA is vague on this subject. Maybe you should consult a lawyer on this matter before taking action to see what chance you have in pursuing a case against said company.
     
  22. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    I know what you mean and that is point on the whole thing. Not to mention it states the whole intent of the installation thing is for piracy which does not pertain to me and I have asked them to prove to me where I have done anything that constitutes piracy.

    I am going to try their online chat that another gentleman provide me with in this thread and see what comes of that today.

    Hopefully they will wise up and realize that hackers or pirates are not their paying customers in the first place but I truly think this has nothing to do with their concern for piracy and everything to do with extracting more money out of their already paying customers. Pirates would not have symantec licenses or accounts with them in the first place and would just use another black market key or means to use their products illegally. Not us the paying customers with multiple symantec products that they paid for. These types of underhanded and unethical practices against legitimate customers will eventually be their own undoing. It may take time but I am sure people who honestly pay for their products that get shafted like this will eventually no longer buy from them and find alternatives where they will be valued customers not accused of piracy.
     
  23. Firecat

    Firecat Registered Member

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    Well, what you say about talking to support makes sense in a way. Symantec's support has been known to not have very stellar reputation (ahem...please do look up into all the myths about Indian support centers :eek:).

    But seriously, even if the EULA does say it, limiting the number of installations of a particular product is an offense. Doesn't the activation process send computer hardware information as well as specific computer hashes to the Symantec servers similar to the Windows XP activation process? In this case, it would be very strange that Symantec did this because the *very same* computer information as well as computer hash is sent to the Symantec servers. So in that sense, Symantec has no proof that Atomic Ed was using NIS on another computer. Which is why this smells highly of fishy business.

    Windows XP does have an online activation limit for certain type of licenses, but in this case, all you have to do is proceed with phone activation which can be done unlimited number of times. If Microsoft can do it, I don't see why Symantec cannot.

    If you do go and consult a lawyer, be sure to take note of this information.
     
  24. Atomic_Ed

    Atomic_Ed Registered Member

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    Well, I just tried to do the online chat with Symantec, was nothing but a waste of time. The Indian guy trying to understand took most of the time and then all the suggestions he had to keep trying it now and try it again, on and on and having to keep telling him I was getting the same message each time. He then said oh there is nothing else to do. I will wait for the email response from symantec and see what that says but it doesn't look too hopeful. I think they just ripped me off and thats that.
     
  25. Legendkiller

    Legendkiller Registered Member

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    Well,i think symantec has screwed atomic-ed and we may not know how many more have been netted by symantec by now...

    I think some pea-brains got together to develop this great money-making strategy..

    I am glad that i didn't buy norton products and seeing your experience i can only say that symantec can goto hell

    @firecat,
    what was that about indian support centres??
    i have seen many post b4 insulting indian companies and co..

    and from what i see here its not the fault of the customer-executive but the policies of symantec...
     
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