BullGuard – What A Load Of Bull!

| Created: June 2nd, 2008
General 23 Comments

In my last post I wrote about comment spam. Today, I’m writing about BullGuard, the anti-virus / spam software. Unfortunately, I’m not writing about BullGuard because of their software – I’m writing about them because one of my relatives lost their money when he tried to renew his subscription.

UPDATE: This issue has now been fully resolved. You can read about it here: BullGuard Resolves Customer Service Issue.

My relative would prefer that I don’t publicly identify them on the Internet, so for the purposes of this post, I’ll call them Jack.

Jack received a subscription renewal notification in early April and duly paid for another two year’s subscription (AUD$134.95). Six weeks after paying, he has received neither the subscription, nor his money back.

The BullGuard software is no longer working and I’ve had to replace it with Avast. At this stage it seems unlikely that he will receive his money back.

The Full Story

The story started in early April. Jack was advised that his subscription was about to expire, so he went to BullGuard’s website and placed an order for another two years subscription.

When he reached the payment option section, he chose not to use credit card, due to the various stories he’d heard of people losing money because of keyword logging software etc. Instead, he chose to pay by cheque. It was here that the problems started.

BullGuard don’t have an office in Australia, but their website provided instructions to make the cheque out to Global Collect BV and to send it to a Locked Bag in Lakemba, Sydney, NSW.

Jack followed these instructions and sent the cheque. Three days later (in mid-April), the cheque was cashed and the money left his account.

The money never made it to BullGuard. Presumably the money is with Global Collect, an international payment service. The problem is, Global Collect doesn’t have an office in Australia either. Who knows who actually cashed the cheque! Perhaps an agent who works for Global Collect in Australia?

Two weeks later, the BullGuard subscription expired and BullGuard stopped working. At this point, Jack hadn’t realised that the renewal hadn’t gone through, so he was left completely unprotected for a whole day while he tried to sort things out with BullGuard.

BullGuard advised that it can take 2 to 3 weeks for payment to appear in their account, so they extended the previous subscription by several weeks, so that Jack’s computer was protected.

They also suggested sending “a scanned bank statement as a proof of your payment”. However, Jack wasn’t willing to send a scanned bank statement, showing all his bank account details, to anyone (not just BullGuard).

Subsequent emails from BullGuard were nicely worded, but stated that they could not make any inquiries to Global Collect without this. They stated: “All we need is the bank statement containing a visible BullGuard payment”.

The problem with this (apart from the fact that Jack wasn’t willing to send it), is that the bank statement only shows “Personal Cheque” along with the cheque number and the amount. It doesn’t mention BullGuard at all!

BullGuard had already been supplied with the name on the cheque, the date it was cashed, the cheque number, who it was made out to, the amount it was made out for. The only extra information on the statement were the words “Personal Cheque”.

After emails back and forward over a two week period, this is where it ended. BullGuard need to see the statement, but Jack wasn’t willing to send it. He’s trying to get a letter from the bank as proof of payment, but of course the cheque was not made out to BullGuard (it was made out to Global Collect BV), so it remains to be seen if this will be of any use.

The additional subscription period expired and BullGuard stopped working again. I helped Jack out by adding Avast to his computer so that he is protected against viruses and spam.

Jack also sent a letter to the same Locked Bag that he sent the cheque to, asking for the situation to be rectified. He did not hear back.

Bad For Business

BullGuard haven’t followed up since the subscription expired for the second time. That seems to be pretty poor customer service to me.

I’ve spent most of my career working, in management roles, for an international software development company. I’d never have let this situation develop as far as it has. No company is perfect, but if I had a customer complaining that they’d paid, then the extended cover expired, I’d at least contact them again to touch base.

Note, I’m not saying that they should have extended the cover (although there is an obvious case for that), I’m just saying that they should have contacted the customer! Is that too much to ask?

BullGuard are operating in a fiercely competitive market, dominated by companies such as McAfee, Norton, Trend Micro, Kaspersky and with free alternatives such as Avast, AVG and AntiVir. BullGuard have done well for themselves, but don’t want to get a reputation for bad customer service.

Also, they are sitting on a lawsuit waiting to happen. It’s only a matter of time before someone has the same problem, is left unprotected as a result and is infected by a virus. If you were to lose all your data in such circumstances, wouldn’t you consider legal action?

You Win Some, You Lose Some

So who are the winners and losers in this farce?

Jack is the big loser, having paid AUD$134.95, which he will likely never see again, for nothing! But he is not the only losers – BullGuard are losers too:

They’ve lost a customer, they didn’t get the money that the customer tried to pay them, and they got a little bad publicity to boot. Also, as I mentioned above, this sort of thing is bad for business.

GlobalCollect (or whoever collects their cheques) are the winners – they are $134.95 up and it appears unlikely that it will be passed on to the intended target. If they do this often enough, then they’ll being seeing nice profits!

A Scam?

Let me emphasise: I do not believe that BullGuard or GlobalCollect intentionally ripped anyone off. I’m sure that this is not a scam. I think it is just an administrative mess up.

However, the result is the same: Jack paid his hard earned money to get a service from BullGuard. He ended up with neither the service, nor his money.

I know have another customer service issue with Bed Bath N’ Table. As it’s not computer related, I’ve written about it on a separate site.

Final Thoughts

This whole episode has left a bad taste in Jack’s mouth. He is still hoping to make some progress with BullGuard, but has almost given up. I can’t say I blame him. I certainly won’t be using BullGuard at any point in the future.

Anyone out there like to comment on their experiences, good or bad, with BullGuard?

23 responses on “BullGuard – What A Load Of Bull!

  1. tracy @ dental websites

    What a load of bull! I have always had a credit card I use only for web purchases. It has an extremely low limit and I watch it carefully for signs of any weird activity. I always hope this is a good way to go about shopping online, obviously cheques are not.

    1. Stephen Cronin Post author

      Hi Tracy,

      That sounds like a good idea – there probably wouldn’t have been a problem if he could have used a credit card.

      1. Ramona@Mountain Veiw SEO

        Who uses checks !Don’t most checking accounts come with debit account #’s that can be used for credit card transactions. when purchasing on line they are a necessity.

  2. Barry@Scottsdale Homes For Sale

    I’m really sorry to hear about this. Hopefully it is an honest mistake and will be taken care of very soon.

    I had a lot of network problems with Avast when I was running it a few years ago. I switched over to AVG and haven’t had any problems since. They have a free version that works great.

    If you do find out that BullGuard ripped your family member off, have all your friends write a post on their blogs with the anchor text of your choice regarding the incident. It should get the incident straightened out… Ha. There was a builder who did some real shady stuff to a Realtor on one of the forums I belong to. After the Realtor’s post about the company started ranking higher than the builder for their own name the situation was taken care of rather quickly.

    Good luck.

    1. Stephen Cronin Post author

      Hi Barry,

      I’m sure it’s just an honest mistake – just an administration error between Global Collect and Bullguard. It doesn’t make it any less frustrating though!

      I personally use Avast and haven’t had any problems with it, although I’ve heard a lot of good things about about AVG.

  3. Bronwyn Gascoigne

    Hi Steven,

    I am sorry to hear that your relative has had a bad experience with BullGuard via the Global Collect payment process. At BullGuard we pride ourselves on customer service so reading this article this morning was disappointing.

    I am the Sales Manager at BullGuard in Australia and will work on getting this resolved if you are willing. i do need to know your relatives contact details, and email address. I would be happy to contaqct them directly.

    Bronwyn Gascoigne

    1. Stephen Cronin Post author

      Hi Bronwyn,

      Thanks for the quick response.

      I’ve had an email from Ovidiu Anton, Head of Customer Support and I’ve passed on the details to him. I’ll do the same in an email to you.

      I’ve had a talk to ‘Jack’ and he likes the BullGuard software, so if the problem can be resolved, I think he’ll give it another try. He’s just frustrated with the situation.

      Also, as you point out, the issue is with the payment process via Global Collect (and maybe with the customer service), not with the software itself.

  4. Rome@Internet Speedometer

    Way to get their attention! 🙂 Its amazing what a blog can do. really 🙂 congratulations and I hope everything will be sorted out.

  5. Johannes@Goedkoop Lenen

    Not really a smart thing to do. Probably just a mistake, but mistakes like this one can have a negative impact on your brand. As this post proves ; )

  6. Top Rated

    I’ll cast another vote from the AVG fan club. I’ve been using the free version of AVG for years, and have never had a problem with any PC it’s been installed on. Frankly, I don’t know how the other companies make a living competing with the free stuff.

  7. jen@hot hot news

    I’ll follow Top Rated and second that for AVG. I have never tried Bull Guard, and I’m glad that your problem with Bull Guard is being resolved, however there are a lot of free antivirus and antispyware programs that do a pretty good job of keeping your pc clean. AVG Free is great.

  8. Carl @ Canoe Trip

    Now I have to ask, why couldn’t your friend get a copy of his bank statement and censor everything he didn’t want seen. He could have blacked out everything that was personal and left the check that was sent to GlobalCollect. I also don’t know if your bank has this, but one a bank cashes a check here we get a copy of the check in our account. I would think that would be able to help him.

    It is a bummer that this happened and I am happy to see that at least some management member caught on. I hope everything works out and your friend can have a safe PC. I guess if all else fails then you could get a mac so you don’t have to have anti virus. jk.

  9. php scripts

    I do not have any good or bad experience with bullguard. However, reading upon the post, i think that bullguard is not a reliable company. Bullguard must learn to overcome any situation that they face. Without overcoming it, like you mention, it is a bad costumer service. I agree. They should try to come out with a solution so that it will be a win-win situation. But this way they are just avoiding it. If the same problem occurs, will they avoid it again?? Seriously.

    LINK REMOVED: because of failure to use KeywordLuv syntax (name@keywords)

  10. Magnus@Busby Seo Challenge

    Doens’t sound like the Bullguard I know, every contact I have had with them has been smooth and easy. I don’t live in Australia though.

  11. Tom@German Romance

    Perhaps we should give Bullguard the benefit of doubt, honest mistakes can happen and it could be a chance that this happen just to your relative?

  12. Jeremy Parris

    some of these paid antivirus are no better then avast or my personal favorite avg which is what i personally reccomend to people whose computers i work on let me tell you avg and avast both have saved all of my personal clients a fortune

  13. vishnu @ beautiful minds

    Bad that your rlative have faced an issue like this.. and good that they resolved the issue. These days when you do something wrongevery one knows about it!

  14. Phao Loo@Small Tips For You

    It seems Jack is a scam victim. I am now give up paying paid security softwares. Why do we have to pay for them while other free ones are so good. I am now using: Avast instead of Kaspersky or Bitdefender; my free firewall is Komodo firewall and my anti spyware is Superantispyware.

  15. tony@Cheap web hosting.

    The best way to pay for anything online has to be a credit card. This way you have a record and can stop payment or dispute it. It could be the payment processors fault not the company.

    If your in a business with alot of competition like they are customer service has to be the highest priority or they will loose customers. One thing i know it takes alot of money to get a customer and very little to keep them happy with good customer service.

  16. jeff@Hsbc online banking.

    I think it has to be the payment proccessor. If company is still in buisness they know how hard it is to find good clients or affiliates.

  17. Kelly Wright

    I also have a VISA Classic solely for web purchases, and closely monitor it. Whenever possible, I pay by PayPal so that not to reveal my personal data.
    Smaller companies seem to be able to handle customer inquiries better than huge software corporations.

  18. Huck

    When it was Bullguard who suggested the Global Collect VE, it becomes their responsibility when the cheque was submitted. But I see it’s a very poor customer service. These kind of things work very badly on the reputation they have got. Though you said that the issue was resolved later, in the first place there should not have been such a problem to customer for all those days till it was resolved. If I had such bad experience, then I would not go for their subscription again.

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