Symantec's Support Chat: Upsells And Freeware, But Not A Lot of Support

Something bad has happened to Symantec’s once-good chat service, notes Neil J. Rubenking at PC Mag. In the past, he says, they were helpful and knowledgable; now they pass freeware apps off as their own and attempt to get you to pay $100 fees for their “expert” service when you’re trying to troubleshoot a problem with them. He writes, “My new experiences while evaluating Norton 360 version 3.0 opened my eyes to the magnitude of the problem. Did Symantec switch outsourced support companies? Has the chat support team gone rogue?”

Rubenking was testing the new software and ran into errors a couple of times, which gave him a perfect opportunity to test the chat customer service. Of three CSRs he chatted with, one was helpful, one tried to get him to pay $99 for a remote installation and refused to provide other help, and a third said he would run a scan on Rubenking’s test computer using an “online Norton program,” but instead ran a freeware app that Symantec doesn’t own or distribute.

You can see screencaps of the actual chats here. Rubenking wants other Symantec customers to save the chat logs at the end of a support chat and send them his way, so he can see whether or not Symantec is actually doing anything to improve the process:

As far as my testing went, everything worked out fine in the end. Three rootkits (one of which falsely presented itself as an antispyware utility) were totally cleaned from the problem system. Had I believed the chat agent the first time around, though, I would have shelled out big bucks just to get the program installed.

If you have problems with Symantec’s chat-based support, let me know. Symantec says the support team now knows what they should do, but I can’t assume they all got the memo. I’ll be kicking assumptions and taking names. I especially want to hear about chat sessions that funnel you inevitably into paying for “expert consultation” or sessions in which the agents misrepresent third-party cleanup tools as being Norton or Symantec tools.

Here’s what you do. Stay alert after you click the big End Session button and take the option to view a transcript of the chat session. Copy and paste the transcript into a document, save it, and attach it to an e-mail message directed to askneil@pcmag.com. Include a description of the problem you were trying to solve and any other information that might be helpful. I really like chat-based support when it’s handled correctly, so I’m just going to make sure this group does it right.

“Symantec Support Gone Rogue” [PC Mag]