Webroot SpySweeper – The curse of the automated renewal


PLEASE NOTE – This is a personal blog and the article below is just a summary of my experiences when I tried to cancel my subscription. I have seen more and more comments coming through for approval, posted by people requesting cancellation of a Webroot subscription is cancelled. Unfortunately I can’t help with that as I have no connection with the Webroot company and/or their products. If you want to cancel your Webroot subscription, you should contact Webroot direct either by phone or by email. Good Luck.
Great software. Not so great service.

Great software. Not quite so great service.

For many years as a Windows PC user, I used various bits of security software. One such product was Webroot SpySweeper and I have to say that it worked very well and generally got good reviews for its performance. However, on switching to the Mac I naturally no longer had a need for it and you’d think that would be the end of the story, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

The problem is that when you buy Webroot SpySweeper and give them your credit card details, they put you on an automatic renewal system. This was not a choice, it was something that was done automatically and while companies will argue that this is convenient for their customers, it’s an approach that I happen to dislike for reasons that will become obvious. So, in early February I received an automated email from Webroot informing me that my subscription to SpySweeper will be automatically renewed

“This email is to remind you that your subscription with   will automatically renew soon.  If you would like to cancel your subscription, please visit the link below:
http://www.findmyorder.com

Please note: This email message was sent from a notification-only address that cannot accept incoming email. Please do not reply to this message.

Sincerely,
Webroot Software, Inc. Customer Service
http://www.findmyorder.com”

As to be expected I followed the link to http://www.findmyorder.com, logged in and started searching for the ‘Cancel my subscription’ link. Nothing. Nowhere was there a link, button or anything else to take you to somewhere you could easily cancel an automated renewal. There seemed to be nothing else to do but to use their online email form to contact Sales and request that my renewal be cancelled. That’s where I hit the next problem – I filled in the form on their website, gave them all my details, email address etc., and clicked on the submit button. A few minutes later I got an email telling me that postmaster@webroot.com couldn’t deliver the message. For some reason they’d coded their online email form to generate an email and send it to an undeliverable address!

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

noreply@webroot.com

Reporting-MTA: dns;WEBROOTGATE1.boulder.webroot.com
Received-From-MTA: dns;sv4-mta-51a.us.emailfiltering.com
Arrival-Date: Tue, 12 Feb 2009 05:52:17 -0700

Final-Recipient: rfc822;noreply@webroot.com
Action: failed
Status: 5.7.1
X-Display-Name: Sales Help

Hang on a minute. I’m sending them an email using their own online form on their own website… and it doesn’t work? Thinking it might be a glitch in the system I waited a while and tried again. Same result. Ok, so you can’t use that option to cancel your renewal. Next step – try raising a helpdesk ticket using their online support feature. That way I’d get a helpdesk ticket reference and I could track it. So off I went and filled in a helpdesk request, got everything logged and got my helpdesk ticket number. Great, I even got an automated response saying:

Your question has been received. You should expect a response from us within 24 hours.

24 hours later? Nothing. 48 hours later? Nothing. 72 hours later I got fed up and added a comment to the ticket asking them to reply. I waited another 48 hours. Still nothing. Finally, with the renewal date looming I figured there was no alternative but to call them. I found a UK telephone number for the company and then spent more of my time and money telephoning them to cancel this automated renewal. The phone call was short and sweet but the message got through and the person at the other end of the phone assured me that my subscription would be cancelled, and indeed a while later I received an email confirming it.

But then yesterday I received another email from Webroot…

Automatic Renewal Cancellation

We recently notified you that your Webroot security software would be automatically renewed. However, we are having a temporary error with our automatic renewal system.

Your Webroot software will NOT be renewed automatically.

Renew your subscription today.

Please visit http://support-uk.webroot.com or call Customer Support at +44 (0) 845 0822 498. We have extended your subscription for 30 days to ensure you have plenty of time to complete your renewal.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Thank you for being a valued Webroot customer!

Sincerely,
Webroot Customer Support

Maybe the temporary error was that I didn’t actually want to renew! I am now nervously watching my credit card statements in the hopes that a charge to Webroot doesn’t magically appear.

My advice to anyone who is a Webroot customer and who wants to cancel this automated renewal scheme they operate, is to telephone them, get the person’s name and get them to confirm in writing that they’ve cancelled the renewal. Then watch your credit card statement just to make sure.

And my advice to Webroot? Well thanks for a great product, but I think you need to fix a few problems with your website and to make the option to cancel more obvious and more straightforward. There was a time when I would have recommended Webroot SpySweeper to Windows users without any hesitation. Maybe now I’m not so sure.

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22 Responses

  1. i want my webroot protection cancelled

  2. I also got a confirmation that my Webroot was being renewed without my permission. I also could not find a way to contact them. I do not like Spy Sweeper so I took it off my computer and thought that was that. I am reporting Webroot to the FBI Internet Crime Division. ( http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx )

  3. As I mentioned, I had to resort to telephoning Webroot after they ignored the helpdesk emails I sent them. I know it’s not particularly convenient but you can find their telephone number for various countries if you follow the ‘Contact Us’ link at the bottom of their home page.

  4. WEBROOT CANCELING INFO
    CALL: (800) 772-9383
    Press either 1 or 0
    (Try 1 first. If that doesn’t work, call again and press 0. One of these should work.)

    When they ask if you want to sign up or renew, tell them you want to CANCEL.
    They will ask you for the email address you gave them – that is how they identify your account.
    It is the same email address that they use to they send email notifications to you.

    The agent was polite, and asked me if I was calling to purchase Webroot or renew it.
    When I said I wanted to cancel, he asked me if I wanted to renew just the SpySweeper subscription.
    I said, no, I already have another program that does both spyware and antivirus.
    He said he terminated my webroot subscription. No fuss no muss.
    Shortly after, I got a message box from Webroot that said the change in my subscription was done.
    So, now I wait, and check my credit card statement to see if I get charged or not,
    and if I do get charged, whether it soon gets backed out. If I have more problems, I’ll post them to this site.

    Here is the Webroot page link that I found. It doesn’t mention cancellation, so I just called “sales questions”.
    http://www.webroot.com/En_US/about-privacy.html

    At the bottom of the page is:
    # For sales questions: (800) 772-9383 (option #1)

    At the bottom of the page, there is also information on Webroot’s using your information.
    It is called the TRUSTe Privacy Program. Take a look. It might give you information on what
    Webroot does with the personal info they have on you. I haven’t explored this matter.

  5. I just tried calling to cancel and would have had to wait close to an hour to get through according to their estimated times. It’s ridiculous. I’m not about to spend 60 minutes plus of my 400 monthly minutes on hold. Never again will I allow automatic payments with any such service.

  6. Please do not renew my subscription. I do not need this as I have another.

  7. This is to notify you that l want to CANCEL Webroot
    Spyware as of today, Nov. 7, 2009.
    PLEASE follow these instruction immediately. l cannot
    pay for this service, so DO NOT charge me.

    PLEASE CANCEL
    PLEASE DO NOT RENEW
    PLEASE DO NOT CHARGE MY CREDIT CARD #
    Thank You, Jane G. Smith

  8. I just got the email about auto-subscription. There was provided a link where I could unsubscribe, but I needed the software key obtained within the program to unsubscribe. I don’t even use the program anymore, which I assume is the case for almost anyone wanting to unsubscribe 😦

    So I tried a form on their webpage, which possibly is the same that failed for you 😦

    Can’t be right I need to call a US number from Denmark, that will cost me a fortune to call. Especially if I get on hold 😦

  9. I tried to cancel the automated renewal but the link to Cancel is broken.
    I think this is not a serious company.

  10. I have a new Webroot Spy Sweeper 11/14/2009. It will not install

  11. please cancel webroot key number ssfcgs tbaadhfpmuwstw. i also have a charge on my master card for 164.57. please cancel this also
    thank you
    richard pankratz
    rjp.111053@comcast.net
    1 708 422 8423

    have a 4.57

  12. Hey everyone I found a way to cancel you autorenewal
    http://updates.webroot.com/autorenewal/auto_renewal_optout.php
    Entering this site, just type in your key number check the box and press submit, then you will be removed from the autorenewal list.

    Enter this site to get a refund if you still have your invoice number from the email they sent you.
    http://www.webroot.com/consumerservice/refund.php

  13. And just to add something. If you are missing your key number becouse you have uninstalled the program (as we did) you can get it filling out this form. They will then send it to you as an email with download instructions. but remeber NOT TO DOWNLOAD IT!

    http://www.webroot.com/updates/redownload/request

  14. And of course remember to choose the right product and check the ” I need Webroot to email my keycode”-box

  15. yea nice Works 😀

  16. It is easy to cancel your renewal. Go to Webroot support and you will find uninterrupted protection . Fill in the key code and check yes and submit. You get a notice that you have been taken off.

  17. I was on holidays. And when I come back, I found out that my credit card was charged for US $49.95 by Webroot. I called the company at 1-866-612-4268. They told me they wouldn’t be able to reverse the charge as the charge was over 60 days old. That is so silly as I have never subscibed to their autorenew service, and never realized I did. Is there anyway I can get my money back?

  18. thank you Bjerre, that website link worked ( I hope ! )
    After I entered the Key code, it said that my auto renewal has been turned off. I can only hope.
    Webroot has an old/expired email address for me, and I am sure that their “your subscription is renewing” emails got bounced back to them but they went ahead and auto renewed it on my credit card anyways!!!!! ( I haven’t used the software in 2 years).
    I think that should be ILLEGAL. They received NO CONFIRMATION from me to renew or not to renew, they just went ahead and renewed. NASTY.
    I for one, will never buy their product. It came with my laptop when I bought it, and their software did not protect me from a virus, anyways. I use Norton. A little more expensive but tried & true and they don’t give you the run-around. Yet!

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