Hey, Digital River, Try Reading Your Customer Service Email

Reader Lance emailed Digital River to opt-out of the automatic license renewal that came with his three-year subscription to BitDefender Antivirus. Rather than read Lance’s email, Digital River instead decided to cancel his entire purchase. After throwing several protest emails into Digital River’s customer service void, Lance decided to accept the refund so he could buy a different antivirus package. Except now, the refund is nowhere to be found…

I thought you might be interested in my recent experience with Digital River after purchasing BitDefender Antivirus 2009.

My old AV software’s license expired and I decided to look at what else was out there. I had tried a demo of Bitdefender in the past and thought it looked OK so I thought I would give it a shot. I found a coupon for 10% off and decided to order a license for 5 PCs for 3 years.

When I was ordering I saw that they sign you up for auto-renewal when the license expires and if you do not want that you must request that auto-renewal be canceled after you get your license key. This should have raised a flag I guess but I really didn’t think it would be that hard to take care of it right away; before I forgot about it. At least that is what I thought…

I followed their instructions to cancel the auto-renew via their website. A little later I got a reply back and this is all I got there was no actual confirmation that followed:

—- **This is an automated response.** **Do not reply to this message.**

Thank you for contacting the Online Store Customer Service Center.

If you require the assistance of a Customer Support Team representatives, please review the below information so that we can help you with your question(s) as fast as possible.

If you have DOWNLOAD, BILLING AND/OR SHIPPING QUESTIONS, you can visit our Customer Support at:


Here, you can find information to assist you with the following tasks:          
– Download a digital order          
– Check the shipping status of a physical order          
– View and print an invoice          
– Get answers to common questions

If you still need to contact our Customer Service Team via email, this can be done by accessing our email webform. To get to the Customer Support webform, simply choose ‘Contact Customer Service’ located at the bottom of the FAQ page.  When completing the webform, make sure to include your Order Number in the field provided.  If you do not have an order number, please include the product and site name in the comments filed.

If you have questions regarding technical support or product installations, please review your order confirmation message for the appropriate technical support contact information. Technical Support should be able to assist with any of the following:          – Questions on installation          
– Troubleshooting software          
– Help with features          
– General questions regarding the product

NOTE: We apologize for this inconvenience, but due to a high volume of various non-business related and unsolicited messages, emails sent to webhelp.v4@digitalriver.com that did not originate from the Customer Support form will no longer be reviewed by our Customer Support Team.

Thank you for contacting the Online Store Customer Service Center.

Sincerely, Online Store —-

Now to me this wasn’t a clear message that they had accepted or processed my request. From the note at the bottom it looked like they wouldn’t read any email I sent. I figured they were trying to make me jump through hoops to get this done in the hopes that I would give up; but I wasn’t going to. I would think this would be a billing thing so I followed the instructions in the email and went to the URL provided and accessed my order. I tried to submit the cancel auto-renewal request through the support form. None of the options in the drop down were for specifically canceling the auto-renewal but there was a cancel option so I selected it. There was also a section for you to type your comments about your problem or issue. I clearly stated that I only wanted to cancel the auto-renewal and submitted the form.

Fast forward a few days… I get home from work and my wife asks why Bitdefender stopped working and says the license key is invalid. I figured they must have mistakenly just canceled everything and not just the auto-renewal. I checked my email and found an email stating that they canceled my entire subscription. I tried to call their customer service line a couple of times and listened to hold music for 20 minutes or so each time before having the call dropped. Trying to not be deterred I found they had live chat support so I tried that. The person there stated that I asked for it to be canceled. I told them I had not and tried explaining the situation. I gave the rep the automated reply I got from them with my comments asking for just the auto-renewal to be canceled.  I was told they would have to open an internal ticket and I would be hearing from them in 48 hours. I never heard anything.

I tried replying to a couple of their automated emails hoping the ticket numbers in the subject would get it read. One was to ask for confirmation that the auto-renewal was canceled and here is the other one:


    I need some help. When I submitted the original request to cancel the auto-renew I got a automated reply that said if I needed help I had to contact you through the web form. It was not clear that my original request was accepted but looked as if I needed to use another method to make the request. I followed the link back into the web order page and looked for a place to make the cancel auto-renew request. The form that I got to did not have cancel auto-request as an option so I picked cancel subscription but put in the comments that I just wanted to cancel the auto-renew. The automated reply reflected my comments to just cancel the auto-renew. However it appears that someone there did not read my comments and canceled my subscription which is not what I wanted. I just wanted to cancel the auto-renew. Now Bitdefender will not work on any of my computers and says the license key is invalid. What can we do to resolve this problem? Again I did not want to cancel the entire subscription just the auto-renew but that is not what happened; someone there canceled my entire subscription.

    Thanks, Lance

Here is the reply I got:

—- Dear Lance,

Thank you for contacting the BitDefender online store.

We have received your request for a refund for order number xxxxxxxxxx.

A separate email message containing an electronic refund request form for this order has been sent to the address listed on your order. Should you decide to proceed with a refund you will need to follow the instructions in the form to complete your refund request.

If you do not receive the separate email, please check your junk or spam mail filters. Please allow up to one hour for delivery of the message.

Once received, to complete the electronic refund request form, you will need to open the message. Use the link that is provided (please note that the link may need to be completely copied and pasted into the address area in your browser window if you encounter problems), follow the on screen instructions and choose ?Accept?. After completing the electronic form, your refund request will be processed by our accounting team. Please allow 5 to 7 business days for the credit to appear in your financial institution?s records.

BitDefender online store
Customer Service —-

Its like they don’t read anything I type! So at this point I am pretty frustrated. I decide I have had enough and will proceed with the refund. Guess what? I never got the email with the refund form. I checked all mail marked spam from the last two days and don’t have it. I wrote back asking for it to be resent but I don’t have much hope now. It just irks me with how hard they are making things and their ambiguous or totally unrelated replies to what I write. What do you guys suggest? Should I go to my credit card company and do a chargeback or press on?

Digital River later sent the following email:

Dear Lance:

A refund has been generated for your order as a result of your request,
the fulfiller’s request, incorrect address, or a refused shipment. Refund details:

Order ID: xxxxxxxx
Amount: $98.95

If you have further questions regarding your order, please click on the link below for assistance:

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

Customer Service

This place really confuses me. I never got the refund form that they said I would need to fill out and then I get this from them. It hasn’t posted to my account yet but I guess I just play the waiting game now. I think that from now on if I find that something I want is sold through Digital River I am going to have to really think it over before I enter into this mess again.

If Digital River can’t even take your money, how can you expect them to take on viruses? Definitely pursue a chargeback, and check out a free antivirus program like AVG.


Edit Your Comment

  1. taking_this_easy says:


    do we need to bail them out?

  2. MrsLopsided says:

    Digital River just manages the storefront and payment processing for BitDefender. My understanding is that after-sales & subscription cancellation issues should be taken up directly with BitDefender.

    • Schwartzy says:

      @MrsLopsided: When you go to the product the order page says:

      “Continuous Protection provided by BitDefender will keep your computer protected from latest viruses and internet threats by automatically renewing your subscription at the discounted renewal price (plus applicable tax). You will be notified about renewal prior to the expiration of your subscription. Do nothing, and you authorize Digital River, BitDefender’s e-commerce partner, to automatically charge your credit by using the contact and billing information you provided for your purchase today. To discontinue Continuous Protection renewal at any time, follow the details included in your order confirmation e-mail.”

      Since Digital River is handling things it sounds to me like you need to tell them to stop the auto-renewal.

  3. AldisCabango says:

    Try AVG for free but if you want to purchase the product you will be dealing with digital river. That said I have been purchasing AVG, both internet security and antivirus products with no billing issues.

  4. MrsLopsided says:

    Digital River is just the shopping cart provider. Bitdefender’s customer service is here: :[myaccount.bitdefender.com]

    • Schwartzy says:

      @MrsLopsided: I don’t know which side of the house handles this but when their instructions for canceling the auto-renewal are followed it is Digital River that responds.

  5. adrew says:

    AVG Free is where it’s at:

  6. dhanson865 says:

    if you want free I’d recommmend Avast as better than AVG.

    If you want to pay for antivirus for a single PC or two I’d say go with ESET NOD32.

    SMB/Corporate AV is another ball of wax and general recommendations aren’t valid.

    • Rachacha says:

      @dhanson865: Absolutely agree on NOD32. It is very light weight, notice no system slowdows, and has been working well for me for quite some time now.

  7. shepd says:

    For those not satisfied with AVG, Avira also offers a free antivirus for personal use.

  8. CSUSam says:

    At Circuit City we called people who used AVG “Firedog Customers,” because they would always come in and need Malware Removals…

    • YOXIM says:

      @CSUSam: Those people were about as competent at handling a computer as your average Firedog or Geek Squad “technician”. Anyone that knew anything about computers avoided both services like the plague.

      AVG can’t help you if you never run it. I’ve installed AVG on every computer I ever fixed and no one has ever had any issues. AVG combined with Spybot S&D and AdAware is pretty much bulletproof. However, it isn’t foolproof. Nothing truly is. User stupidity is enough to warrant even the best products completely useless.

    • SegamanXero says:

      @CSUSam: I currently use AVG free on my machine, without the safe search extention, in combo with Comodo Firewall Pro, Spybot S&D, and SandboxIE. I havent been infected with anything, and all scans come up clean. If I have a questionable file I come across, I run it inside SandboxIE. If it turns out to be a virus, firstly its contained inside a sandbox and it can’t affect my system, seccondly I can watch its behavior, thirdly if AVG/Spybot see its something they will prevent it from running inside the sandbox. If I determine the file to be unsafe, I can terminate all processes inside the sandbox, and then delete the contents of the sandbox. Of course AVG/Spybot would also stop known bad processes.

      I never once needed to goto Geek Squad or Firedog to repair my machine… Of course I am not your average computer user, I know what I am doing, and can repair my computers myself. On top of this, I am studying in college for my Comp TIA…

  9. Jesse Stein says:

    The only decent anti-viruses are NOD32 and Kapersky.

  10. Micromegas says:

    They probably have the rather common system in place where no human actually reads any emails submitted this way. Instead a computer just looks for certain key words and then sends out a certain form letter in response.

  11. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    AVG has been somewhat poor lately, which is sad because it used to be a fantastic solution.

    I would recommend Avira or or Avast (I use Avast).

  12. Aphex242 says:

    I made the mistake of ordering MS Office through digital download and paid $5 for a physical disc to be mailed. Figured it was a small price to pay. The vendor responsible to do that?

    Digital River.

    I never got the disc. Emailed them, they ‘sent out another disc’. Never got it. Tried a third time. Never got it. Gave up.

    In the end my $5 just wasn’t worth the effort. I asked for a refund after try #2, they claimed that wasn’t possible. Since it was a part of a larger purchase (in which I got what I wanted), a chargeback wasn’t an option, to my knowledge.

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      @AldisCabango: AVG Free is the way to go.
      @aphex242: i thought partial chargebacks were an option?
      like “store X charged me $25 more than what i got” or “store x charged me $60 for 2 widgets, but only shipped one widget”

    • Anonymous says:

      @Schwartzy: @aphex242:

      If you don’t receive a disk from digital river in 10-14 days, you can request a traceable shipment. The contract with microsoft states that Digital river must send a Microsoft disk as a traceable shipment if the consumer requests it. That way, you will get your disk for sure.

  13. kathyl says:

    “as a result of your request” sounds to me like “we don’t want your money if you won’t agree ahead of time to feed us every three years. Bleh.

  14. starrytrekchic says:

    I’ll also recommend avast over AVG. I had AVG for ages, ran it, updated it, etc., but things started piling up that it didn’t catch. I switched to Avast, which has been much better.

    Be sure to add a malware remover as well (I use Spybot).

  15. CRCError1970 says:

    avast! is the anti-virus I trust…

  16. rockergal says:

    another vote for avast

  17. thrillwill says:

    Another vote for Avast here as well. Plus I’d like to point out that AVG (while really good historically) has blossomed into some serious bloatware.

  18. MrsLopsided says:

    LOL. When I read the post title I wasn’t expecting an off-topic my-favorite-anti-virus-starting-with-an-a discussion.

  19. Goodthymes says:

    WOW! I couldn’t believe it when I saw this story. The exact thing happened to me and I was actually about to submit the miserable details to consumerist. After starting a dispute with VISA I finally got the money back for my auto-renewed subscription that I tried opting out of 3 times before the deadline.

    Digital River and Bit Defender…YOU SUCK ASS!!!

  20. Anonymous says:

    Honestly, this doesn’t surprise me.
    I had the same issue trying to cancel auto-renew after my Bit Defender subscription ran out.
    After five requests via their e-mail option (and being told after calling to “just do it online”) and the confirmation that it had been received AND processed, they still tried to charge me for a renewal + the new software.

    Thankfully, I’d saved all of the e-mails and the confirmations that it had been (supposedly) canceled, so when I went to the bank to tell them to deny the charge that the company was trying to put through I ran into no problems getting them to do so.

  21. clerkandrew says:

    I don’t have any problem with my bitdefender renewal. I bought the software directly from their site, after 2 years of using bitdefender antivirus, I just sent a message to the bitdefender support, they stopped in 2-3 days the auto renewal, i’ve got confirmation. Then I bought the internet security suite for the firewall and other thing it comes with. I realy like bitdefender, it’s a very good protection software beacuse it didn’t created any probs.

    My friend was infected with the conficker worm because he didn’t used any av software, and then I found the only tool that removes this virus on a specially created website from bitdefender, it is bdtools.net .

  22. Anonymous says:

    HA! None of you have any idea how truly incompetent Digital River is. For starters about 100 customer Service Representatives handle all the customer service for about 50,000 companies. About 7,000 email requests for customer service come in a day to digital river for everything from download help to refunds. The average Customer Service Representative has 1 week of training, and the average tenure of a digital river representative is 9 months. In other words, the chances of you getting a response from a representative who has only been there a month is pretty high.

    I recommend contacting Digital River Customer Service Supervisors directly at the “red phone”:


    The company handles all the transactions for Microsoft office also- Bit Defender- all of the refunds are handled directly through digital river. Call the supervisors at the number above, or call and ask for a supervisor. that gets you another customer service representative. Then ask that person for their supervisor, that gets you another customer service representative. Finally if you ask for their supervisor, you should reach a real supervisor. You want to talk to a manager? Ask for that person’s supervisor- and if you want to talk to the Customer Service Director, ask for the manager’s supervisor. By that time, you’ll get everything you need resolved.

    Here’s a flow chart:

    1- call the customer service for the online store you purchased through, if the rep can’t resolve your problem, ask for a supervisor.

    2. the rep transfers you to another customer service rep., pretending you are about to talk to a supervisor, ask to speak to that person’s supervisor…

    3. You are then transferred to an “escalation” team member, who says they are a supervisor, but they are not. Ask to speak to their supervisor if you still do not receive satisfaction.

    4. At this point you should be transferred to a real supervisor. if that person doesn’t resolve your issue, ask to speak to a manager.

    5. If the manager doesn’t resolve the issue, ask to speak to their manager, however, the procedure says that they simply connect you to another manager. You may have to ask to speak to the director of customer service, but unless the person you are talking to next is Curt Baisden, you are not talking to the director. The previous manager you spoke with only pretended to connect you to the director of customer service, while connecting you to their buddy in another department that will just back them up.

    If they say that nobody is available and they will call you back later… this is not true at all. Somebody is ALWAYS available. The directors and managers have blackberry’s and can be summoned within a moments notice to speak to a customer.

    The vendor contracts at Digital River are written so that the customer service representative must immediately transfer you if you request a supervisor.

    Out of 50,000 vendors, only a few have true “no refund” policies, or limits on when you can request a refund. Digital River has sole power to process a refund past 30 days, and always does so, but only if you ask to speak to a supervisor.

    Another thing, Digital River Customer Service reps do not like customers. From the first person you talk to all the way to the Director, they cuss and swear about you while putting you on mute, call you stupid, make you think that you are going to get a fair hearing with a new person, while they already told the new person the situation, and how to “outsmart” you- or not give you what is owed to you.

    Also, the customer service rep on the line you get is expected to end the call with you within 3 minutes, or else one of the managers comes around and yells at them- so try to forgive the customer service worker on the phone- it really is the poor management, not them, that makes things so difficult for the consumer.

  23. kombizz says:

    I paid £25 for a McAfee Virus killer two weeks ago from Digital River UK, (Digital River UK Ltd
    85 King Street, Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 1DU). Unfortunately the software didn’t dowloaded properly and as a result muy computer is at risk.
    I tried to call you, but I was not able ant telephone contact phone number.
    I managed to fond McAfee phone number (0207 949 0107). The phone does not transfer to neither to technical support or customer service.
    I am stuck!

  24. kombizz says:

    Is there any phone number for the UK branch of this company?

  25. splash says:

    You’re all missing the point! My daughter purchased Atmosphere Deluxe from Vectormedia Software and instead of the $49.00 + shipping cost advertised she ended up paying $61.85 to Digital River as they added a$6.95 “Backup Registration Service” fee. I still have not received my CD and the order was placed on June 19, 2010; today is November 9, 2010. This company is a mass of thieves and should be investigated and fined and put out of business. Forget the guy’s choice of anti virus software!