Antivirus firms charge loyal customers more
By Matt Whipp
Posted on 2 Mar 2007 at 17:31
The mortgage industry has woken up to the fact that its customers get a little irate when they see fabulous introductory rates offered to new customers while they are left to plod along feeling uncared for.
It seems this ailment has afflicted the antivirus industry as well.
We were contacted by a reader, Bob Brough, who pointed out that renewing his copy of ZoneAlarm Internet Suite 2007 was more expensive than buying a new version.
And when he questioned the company over the logic of the pricing, he was told: 'The current 3 user license is discounted due to a promotion. Promotion pricing does not apply to renewals.'
ZoneAlarm apologised for the inconvenience and hoped that the issue had been resolved. But the inconvenience remained that renewals were £15 more expensive at £64.95.
'Needless to say I will be buying a 'new' download and not renewing. Bonkers eh?,' wrote our reader.
Even more bonkers, however, is that instead of downloading a new version from Zone, you can get the boxed product shipped free of charge (under Super Saver conditions) from Amazon for half that price: £24.97. And less than half the price of the renewal.
ZoneAlarm may have tripped up on this discount issue, but it's not alone. It highlights just how cynical companies can be in relying on customers' assumptions that a renewal should be cheaper than buying new.
To renew Symantec's Norton Internet Security 2007 costs £10 less than buying new, but to upgrade to Norton 360 costs £54.99, just £5 less than buying it new. Aside from the website authentication technologies and online backup, there's not much more you're getting, especially once you have downloaded the Add-on pack for Internet Security 2007. So while Symantec shouldn't be lumped together with McAfee and ZoneAlarm, it's definitely not worth upgrading to Norton 360 until your Internet Security 2007 licence is due for renewal.
ZoneAlarm had not returned our request for comment by the time of publishing.
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