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Customer Service Nightmare

©01 The Media Desk

       It may seem trivial after the Opening Shot of World War Three, but...

       President Bush told us all to get back to work. OK. The Desk tried.

       Part of its job is updating and maintaining anti-virus software and chasing down hoaxes and rumor control SPAM-wise.

       So, full of a sense of patriotic duty, the Desk tried to get a handle on the 'nimda' worm.

       It went to the McAfee website and tried to download the new DAT file for the office's anti-virus software. Well, understandably, the site was busy, so it took awhile to get to the download center.

       But once it got the update, it refused to update the software:


       The Desk, being stupid, thought it had picked the wrong version of the file. It triple-checked everything and then some, and it got back in and downloaded both other versions of the update. Version 4, 5, Stray Cat, 3.x, and Uncle Sam's Own Virus Stuff.
       No go.

       OK, fine, let's try the online help. Maybe the Desk, being stupid, is doing something all wrong and sideways.
       Problem. Online help doesn't have this particular problem listed, you ask their 'virtual site assistant' the question and she cheerfully tells you to rephrase the problem. Five or six times no matter how you say it. And she doesn't recognize the term 'damnit'.
       Finally given the opportunity to email tech support (you have to dance with the assistant for awhile before they decide to give you this option), the Desk tried to be brief yet explain that the SuperDAT file didn't recognize 4.0 as a real product. Then, forever hopeful, the Desk, being stupid, submitted the email.

       Well, about half an hour later the Desk got a boilerplate generic reply that was absolutely worthless. Worthless help wise, and worthless information wise.
       One of the phone numbers listed gives you a recording that points you to a website that doesn't work. The other phone number has an endless menu tree that then connects you with a person who transfers you to a dead end that hangs up on you after ten minutes on hold. And to top it off, one of the email addresses listed bounces as a closed mailbox:

TEXT OF McAfee Email...

              This email address is no longer in service.

Thank you for contacting our McAfee Retail Support Center. This email address is no longer in use. At the present time, all support is being handled through our extensive online support website.

Please visit our website at for further support. This is a comprehensive support center and includes many options, including FAQs, Hot Topics, a searchable database, and multiple support options.

Once you enter the support site, you will have the opportunity to search for an FAQ related to your product and issue. If you do not find the answer for which you are looking, you will have the opportunity to contact our support engineers through any method you choose. These options include free Chat Now!, free Email Express!, and paid Phone support options.

Our engineers are available to answer your questions at any time, so please do not hesitate to utilize this powerful resource.

Again, thank you for contacting McAfee retail support.

Matt Ockander,
McAfee Technical Support Manager

       Well that's just swell.

       The Desk goes to the support site listed, and tried several options to find the great wisdom that would solve the problem.
       Guess what?


       Maybe the Anti-Virus Guru's got a virus.

       Or maybe Customer Service just isn't that important to them.

       Which seems most likely.

       The Desk's employer is NOT going to pay good cash money every six months to purchase the latest and greatest software to replace what there is supposed to be updateable for free.
       Just last month the Desk updated four or five different workstations with the then current DAT file and it all worked as advertised. Now it won't. Did something change in McAfeeLand in the last month? Is this a subtle way of pushing people to update their scanners that are a couple of years old? Or was it just something stupid when the new file was put together and somebody didn't dot a 't' or cross an 'i' in the executable.

       Whatever it may be. The absolute lack of accessible product support and customer service at McAfee is inexcusable. If you post phone numbers for support, make sure they work. If you list email addresses, check to make sure they work. If you are running online support, make sure when you [click here for help] something happens when you click there.

       The Desk does recommend software updates and replacements to 'Those That Control The Checkbook' from time to time.
       Maybe it's time.

       And it won't be McAfee.


[All things McAfee are ©2001 Corporation. Network Associates.
The Desk is not affiliated with McAfee in any way other than being a very unsatisfied customer.]

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