No body likes to feel cheated or lied to. Most of us make use of services online that require us to read terms and conditions or usage agreements…mostly long winded pages of details of things we cannot do with the service and most of which we would never get involved with. These documents are there to protect companies from fraudulent users. But sometimes the terms and conditions may hide details that we should know about, that are not overtly mentioned. That is where customer dissatisfaction comes from: hidden deception or deception by omission.
I came across one of these with a recent incident with my Internet Service Provider (ISP) and I am very dissatisfied with both their policy and the way it is communicated. See if you agree.
My ISP is Rogers Yahoo, a large communications provider in Canada. They provide internet services, cable TV, cell phone and home phone services. The internet service includes Anti Virus, Anti Spy Ware Parental Control and Firewall services, for up to 3 Windows based PCs (you can upgrade to 5 PCs and more fraud protection, identity protection and network security protection for an additional $4.99 a month). I have been using them for Anti Virus, Anti Spy ware and Firewall services for years, with no difficulty.
However, recently, on a trip out of town, I uncovered that their Anti Virus/ Anti Spy ware and Firewall services are ‘revalidated’ on a 30 day window and the validation is done by checking if you are on their network. If, however, you happen to be away from home when the validation takes place, your anti virus, anti spam and firewall protection stops working. It cannot be re-validated until you have returned home. Nor, can you initiate a ‘validation’ before you leave home to ensure you are covered. I found myself cut off from the Protection services about 5 days into a 30 day trip away from home.
So, if you are a student going to university out of town, or a business person on a business trip across the country, or across town, if you take your laptop (or PC) to your cottage or with you as a snow bird and go away for several months, you can be away from your home when the revaliation cycle hits and your anti virus, anti spy ware stops working. And there is no way to validate it until you get home.
Imagine finding that out when you away for an extended period of time. Even their ‘premium’ service for $4.99 a month extra works this way.
I researched Rogers marketing materials. The only thing they say about it is that you must be attached to the Rogers network to initially download the software.
The unstated implication of offering Anti Virus, Anti Spy Ware and Firewall is that you are protected all the time, not just when you are at home on your ISP’s network. Laptop and notebook PCs have been on the market for years. Commercial anti virus software doesn’t stop working when you move from one network to another. But there is no mention of this limitation anywhere on the website that describes Rogers Yahoo Protection.
Basically, offering Anti Virus, Anti Spyware services that can be turned off at any time, if you are away from home is a useless offering to anyone that travels. And worse, it can cause irreparable damage to your PC if you are unaware of the problem and get hit with a serious virus, all the while thinking that you are protected.
This is an example of where a consumer feels cheated and lied to. I still pay my monthly fee to my ISP whether or not I am currently using my ISP for internet access on my PC.
Support Organization Helpless
This is also an example of where a technical support organization has its hands tied. It cannot fix the problem for the customer. The technical support organization had no way to re-validate my PC to restore my virus and spyware protection. They tried to defend their employer with statements like:
1. It is a free service (I reminded them it is not free. I cannot get access to Roger’s Protection package unless I am a Roger’s customer. So I advised the technical support representative that the protection suite is ‘part of the service’ that I pay for)
2. It’s in your user agreement. (It may be hidden in the terms and conditions you have to agree to but it certainly is not part of any FAQ documentation)
After speaking with a manager, I concluded that the technical support organization is powerless. The policy of Rogers Yahoo management is embedded in their re validation software and there is no way to fix a customer stranded without anti virus / anti spy ware protection. The recommendation from the Rogers’ technical support organization was to take a 30 days free trial from another security provider (in this case AVG) until I returned home.
No Satisfactory Resolution
I am now covered by an industrial strength anti virus, anti spy ware, firewall that I pay for annually but at least I know I am covered everywhere I go. And when my contact with Rogers communication come up for renewal, this will be a factor in deciding who I will do business with in the future.
Rogers Yahoo…shame on you for your deception!
Are you protected with your ISP or do you have separately acquired protection software on your portable machines? If you are a Rogers customer, are you aware of this policy? (In other words, am I the only one that doesn’t know this?)
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