Are anti-virus makers ripping you off?

An article yesterday in PC Pro magazine (U.K.) claimed that anti-virus makers AVG and Symantec are engaging in a nefarious practice of getting customers to buy new subscriptions months before the existing subscriptions run out — and beginning the new subs immediately, instead of tacking them on to the end of the existing subs.

For years, I’ve been advising people to buy AVG, since it doesn’t slow down computers as much as the anti-virus products from Symantec, McAfee and others.

AVG vigorously denies this claim and says they will produce documentation to show it’s not true. Symantec’s response was “yeah, so what?”

To protect yourself, don’t renew your subscription just because you get an e-mail telling you to. Wait for the installed software to tell you: when your subscription is a few weeks away from expiration, the software will breathlessly remind you over and over. Then you can renew just a couple of days before the expiration. As with other software licenses, keep a record of what you bought, when you bought it, and the serial numbers and purchase info.

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