Avast Anti-Customer?


Quick graphic job. Unlike Avast’s customer service

[Update:  I have heard back from Avast after this post went up.  They have attempted to make this right.  Will do full update after fully resolved]

I went on a twitter rant last night. The target was Avast, an antivirus company.  This is not against their products that I find work if somewhat annoying.

I am coming at this with over 20 years of customer service from driving cab to retail management, to tech support.  I also know that customer service is not easy but it is also vital, especially today, to attempt to do it right.

*Deep sigh* Before I start ripping into you I want to lay out the situation.  We had a little hacking scare.  So I decided to up my protection from Avast from the free to the lower tear paid service.  You charge $49.99/year but always have sales, this one was $19.99/year.  I got charged the $50 plus tax and because a browser issue, probably on my end, I got charged twice.  Two mistakes easily corrected. The double charge is obvious but the deal I expect some push back on but was ready to fight for.

So I call on a Sunday evening and find out that ALL billing questions you must put in a ticket on their website.  Fine… Let me find that on your website… 30 minutes later I am able to find the place to put in a ticket.  I mentioned nicely both problems and waited.

Five days later.  Five business days later…

captureLet me just pause here.  How the hell does it take you more than one business day to respond to somebody’s complaint?!  It’s 2016 not the 1950’s.

And this problem isn’t tricky or nuanced.  Even if it was tricky you send a reply that day saying so and that you are working on it.  I’ve got over $100 tied up for a week waiting for you to correct this crap.  It had actually left my mind during a busy week that you overcharged me and I was waiting for a reply.

Generations of fruit flies lived and died, 1.5 million people have been born in that time. And you can’t get someone read a ticket and say, “Yep he’s right” and respond?

After five days you had better get it right so both of us can move on…

This is the email I got five days after I put in a ticket.

Hello Toby,

Thank you for contacting Avast. May I offer you to combine your licenses together and thus create an extended coverage (merged and combined with the remainder of your old one – therefore ensuring you don’t miss any of the time you have paid for) instead of refund to be initiated, please?
Just let me know.

Best regards,


*Deep Breath* NO!  Did you not read both parts of the complaint?  You double charged AND over charged! At the deal value that is still less than one of the payments I made!  You want me to pay $100 for 2 years when I was trying to pay $20 for 1 year?!?!?

On what planet do you think I am from?  This isn’t some new math mistake.  This is complete ignorance of issues that you are responding too.

Also the end of the question in the response  “…instead of refund to be initiated, please?”  Poor grammar and I can tell just by these seven words that Andrew is not at fault.  I’m fairly certain the billing customer service people are judge on money not customer satisfaction.  Andrew probably saw that  he would have to give me more than he is allowed without permission and brought it to his boss who said no refunds or it’s your job.

Avast doesn’t know what they have done.  They better make this right and soon.  I am not going away.  I hope that you don’t take another 5 days to respond to my nice response to your customer “service” response.

You will regret it.


Stress, I disbelieve!

I used to say I don’t believe in stress.  It seemed to be an invention of modern society that served no purpose other than giving ulcers to people.  Now that I’m older I understand more of what stress is supposed to be.  It’s a combination of different feelings that can be brought on by situations one is uncomfortable in.

What I find to have more truth about what causes stress is not the situations itself but the anticipation of situations. As an introvert I find myself getting anxious leading up to parties or unknown social situations.  I can show up to work and have a crazy day where I work my butt off.  If I don’t know about it ahead of time I’m not worried about it and can just dive in and get though it.  If I knew it was going to be that crazy I may start to obsess about it.  My performance may even be effected by that obsessive behavior.

On the other end I can take crazy day at work or and continue to think about it.  Did I do well enough? Am I going to get fired when I get in the next morning?  It all adds to bad feelings and an unclear mind.

The last few days at work have been hard.  Emergency rush jobs have pushed off the normal work and a special project.  I have also been covering for someone who has been sick.  It’s all there I can anticipate all the things that will be coming tomorrow and the stuff I didn’t get to today.  Then I come home and remember that I have to write a blog.  look at all that stress causing things!

Then sitting on the couch watching some mindless TV to calm my head I realize that I am stressed and can use it for my blog!  I can complain about my day and teach people a thing I do to fight stress. Are you ready?

Just don’t believe in it.

I know it is not that simple.  And it is more challenging for some people than others.  But think about it.  You are off work.  There is nothing you can do about it right now.  So enjoy that time.  Shake it off and do something you like.  Change your environment.  When those thoughts enter your head say “Nope” and sing a song from Monty Python or Weird Al.

One of the reasons I took on the challenge of 40 blogs in 30 days (this is day 3) instead of NaNoWriMo is that, unlike a novel, I can forget about what I wrote  in the blog yesterday and start fresh every day.

Just remember, obsessing about work while not working will hurt your work performance.  It’s not worth it.  Let it go.

Thoughts on Stuff

Every time I have tried to explain how I see things and how I derived my theories on life, the universe, and everything it fails.  I may be able to cover one theory and how it effects my thinking but it never covers everything.  It is a worthy endeavor but cannot truly be done.

So instead here is a list of beliefs, rules I try to live by, and answers to many questions I have had over my life.  By doing this I hope to get past the need to explain how I get to a point I am trying to make in my writing and just get to the point.  You may find some wisdom here but manly this is for me.  I do not succeed at all of these at all times not do I expect others too. I hope you enjoy and get something out of this.

No one sees themselves as the villain in their own story

As a realist I can only be an optimist

3 Rules I live by:
1. Make yourself happy
2. Make other people happy
3. Be remembered

I do not have all the answers.

Live life with honor and without regret.

I will be wrong and that is wonderful

If I get it right on the first try I am not pushing myself hard enough

“You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.” ― Walt Whitman, Song of Myself

“Be excellent to everybody” – Bill S. Preston

Leave everything better than when you came

Don’t just fight the battles you can win, fight the battles worth fighting for.

No person can know what’s in another’s heart.

It matters more what you do than what you believe.

Never blame your failures on others but always thank them for your success.

The future will be unimaginably amazing.

You can’t change things without understanding why things are the way the are

Reality changes when the perception of that reality changes.

All opinions and non-violent expressions of those opinions are valid.

Respect the person who fights for their beliefs as you’d wish to be respected for yours, even when they are wrong.

Ideas and beliefs can be evil, people are just people

Everyone knows something I can learn from.

Don’t give up, move on.

The worth of a person is not related to one’s wealth or standing or name.

Hate is not for directing at people, it’s for foods and music genres.

When you think your people are chosen or saved you will naturally act like people who aren’t chosen or saved are lesser people, lesser humans.

There are no “Other” people we are all people.

Everyone should work customer service for at least six months, people would learn how much being a jerk effects other people.

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

Hurting others is always wrong.

No one deserves to die

“Don’t dream it, be it” – RHPS

Doing wrong for the right reasons is still wrong

There is always another perspective

If you look for something you will find it.  Especially when its looking for a reason that validates your actions.

Labeling others as an argument against their opinions is lazy and ineffective

If you only listen to those who agree with you, you will stay ignorant of ways to further your ideals.

Slippery slope is not an argument. “You’d die if you ate only ice cream” is not an argument for never having ice cream.

When you don’t know how to end something just say “Thank You.”



Orlando Shooting: First Thoughts

Some days are hard and some are collectively hard.  Today was one of them.  I heard the news when I woke up and the count was 20.  I checked out of my hotel room at Fargo CoreCon, wrapped up the goodbyes and got in my car for the four-hour drive in back to the Twin Cities.  I turned on MPR to get the news and the total was 50.  The biggest mass shooting in American History.

I listened the whole way back.  Getting more and more details as they trickled out.  I got annoyed when they talked about the political fallout that may come from it and shed some tears listening to recounts of the horror.

Then I heard about the mile-long lines outside blood donation centers.  Businesses donating and handing out food and water to those in line.  The head of the GLBT community center who said he cried his last tear for today at 8 AM when people came in to help in any way they could.  Donations poured in and they had unlimited supplies of food and water all donated.

I started thinking about Boston Strong after that horrible incident, Occupy Sandy lugging food and water up 20 flights of stairs to makes sure homebound people didn’t die in buildings without power. It’s how we respond that makes us human.

After a crisis we respond and help. When we fall we help people get back up.  We stop the bickering and constant dehumanizing talking points and come together.  The why waits while we as a society make sure that those who are doing the lifesaving and caretaking have everything they need.   When it counts human nature is strong and caring.

I have seen too many of these in my life.  But while every great tragedy hardens my heart, my soul is healed when I widen my gaze from the tragedy itself.   Like in life society has its low points but every time we get up we come out stronger on the other side.

The Hunt has Begun

I know I am behind on posting here. Mostly because I’m job hunting and when I am doing that my free time my mind does not want to be writing and editing. It needs to concentrate on things that mean nothing to my real life. Thus me going back to attempt to finish Dark Souls 2. My saved game from a year ago was lost so had to start over. #FirstWorldProblems

Other things to update: Weight holding steady. Celebrated my Grandma’s 95 Birthday. A new video project with friends is in the works. Played a little pickup soccer and I still have some skills but my knees are not happy with me. Had an amazing Friday night with a friend of mine that deserves its own post. My nieces are enjoying Star Wars for the first time and it’s cool as heck.

Habits and Anxiety: Personal Update

I’m doing well.  As I am settling into my new place and feeling at home there I am noticing some of my bad habits creeping back in.  I am intentionally trying to pay attention to that kind of thing.  I want to develop better habits and break bad old ones.  Sense I just moved I thought it would be a good time to do that.

Example:  I have been meaning to take daily vitamins.  I am very bad at it to the point I have had multivitamins expire on me. I am even bad at taking prescribed pills when I get them.  So I decided to combine taking them with brushing my teeth, a habit I have had instilled in me since childhood.  I feel dirty if I haven’t brushed my teeth. It is such a routine thing that I will forget that I did and feel the toothbrush to see if it is wet.  My plan is don’t brush my teeth in the morning until after I take the vitamins.  I have been leaving the bottles right on the bathroom counter as a visual reminder.  It is working.  I haven’t missed a day in a couple of weeks.  It also helps that I am consciously thinking about this stuff.

The hope is that I can make it an everyday habit. A part of my morning ritual that i will do without thinking about it like brushing my teeth.

Bad habit example:  I wake up ready to go.  Yes, I am one of those morning people that rolls out of bed ready to take on the day.  But unless I need to go do something like go to work right away I usually watch TV until I need to go.  Lately I’ll watch last night’s Daily Show and Nightly show if I have time.  That would be a perfect time to exercise.  That is not what I think about when I get up.  I feel like if I can just form that habit I would be so much healthier and by extension happier.

There has been a drawback to consciously paying attention to what I do, anxiety.  I have noticed that anxiety levels have been higher than normal.  Whole the last few months have deserved a higher level of worry now I have take care of a lot of those worries.  Still my anxiety is high.  For those who don’t know me I am pretty laid back.  Plus sense I am aware of it I start to worry about it.  Thus adding to my anxiety. Isn’t the brain fun!

Even with that overall I am doing better.  I am down another 4 pounds from the last time I mentioned it.  I have been getting out with friends more.  I am (close to being) done arranging my living area and computer set up.  I have a pile of crap to garage sale/throw.  I’m basically down to wall hangings that I am debating putting up with a landlord who doesn’t want any holes in the wall.

Even as I seem to have moved to two posts a week I am enjoying writing and want to do more of it.  We will see how it goes.

Missing but not Gone/D.A.S.H 8

I missed Monday’s scheduled post and I’m guessing I’ll miss Saturday’s too.  Monday was just not feeling like writing.  I tried to start three times and couldn’t bring myself to write.  so I messed around with the layout and left it at that.

Saturday I am doing DASH 8 with friends.  DASH stands for Different Area Same Hunt.  It’s an organization that puts on themed puzzle hunts around the world.  A few friends of mine will join together and defend our city championship! (in the novice division)  It starts at 10 AM and will go until we are done.  Last year’s theme was wizards, this year we are secret agents.

This is the fourth year we have done DASH as a group. We talk about doing the expert edition every year then we remember how brain dead we are up by the end.  If we get the best time again this year maybe we will.

We all love trying new things and stretching our brain muscles. This year our team will have two librarians, and Archaeologist and me the tech/math guy.   We also like to do bar trivia when we can get together and somehow I’m the pop culture and sports expert.

Needless to say I might not get to writing a meaningful post on Saturday but that’s okay.  The goals I set out are not hard and fast.  I may adjust them again as I have other ideas for creative expression.  Never let failing once stop you from failing again.  Did I type that right?  Yeah I can stand by that.