Author Topic: What happened when I sought Avast support - please read, help, and be warned  (Read 5299 times)

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My customer experience – Complaint and warning

Two days ago my computer became infected with malware that I could not repair.  I formatted the hard drive and reinstalled windows 7.  I installed avast Free for protection.  I ran into a problem with a webpage I go to for checking work messages.  The webpage would not load until I disabled avast  If I re-enabled avast the webpage would freeze.  Adding the webpage to the list of URL to not scan did not help.

I went to www.avast.com/en-us/support and called the 1-866-951-7679 helpline.  The fellow on the other end said he could help, just click on the headphone icon on a webpage he directed me to.  Next thing I know he is controlling my computer.  He opens a windows event log and says avast is not functioning correctly because of driver conflicts, and that if I want to be able to open the webpage without disabling avast I have to fix the problems in the log.  He says for $179 he can fix everything right up.  I say no thanks.  He lowers the price to $119.  I say I think I’ll just ask in the forums how to get avast to ignore the webpage.  He says it won’t work until I have my drivers fixed.  I’ve just spent a day failing to remove malware and another day doing a fresh windows installation and I need to check my work messages so I say go ahead.  The only reason I agreed is I thought someone hired to do avast’s support would be trustworthy.

He transfers me to a Bomgar engineer who takes over my computer.  I tell him what the salesman said.  The engineer takes hours of messing with my machine but I try to watch everything he does.  He reverts windows updates, he installs 3rd party software from HP and Dell, he changes my settings.  Eventually he gets to an avast menu on bootup where he uninstalls webshield.  ***My copy of avast no longer has webshield***  This does allow my work message webpage to load, but hardly seems like a solution.  I mean, webshield is the most important component of avast, isn’t it?

In any case he never addresses any of the issues in the windows event log the salesman pointed to.  All he did was permanently turn off avast webshield.  Plus revert a bunch of windows updates (which I reinstalled), plus install third party programs (which I think I was able to remove), plus change customized settings (which I have restored.)

***The only difference in my machine after paying $119 to the avast support tech is that webshield is no longer part of my avast install.***

I want my money back.  I want my time back.  I want webshield re-installed and the ability to open my work message webpage without turning it off.  I want advice on a better antivirus software package; paid or unpaid, with a small footprint for a 6 year old machine.  I also wish I didn’t feel embarrassed for having recommended avast to friends and family members over the years.  Avast used to be good, right?

Offline Eddy

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He says for $179 he can fix everything right up.  I say no thanks.  He lowers the price to $119
Not really. The $179 is for one year support, the $119 is for a one time fix.

Did you perform the windows installation like this?

- Disconnect from the Internet (pull out the cable)
- Install windows (format the drive ofcourse)
- Install ALL drivers for your system
- Disable Windows Defender
- Install avast
- Connect to the Internet
- Install all updates security/drivers (especially the security updates/service pack)
- Install the applications you are normally using
- Make settings/configurations changes is you want/need
- Create a image of that drive

That last one will safe you a lot of time in case you need to/want to reinstall windows again.

Offline Para-Noid

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Your experience is nothing new. In the future please come here to the forums for help and it's free.
Keep in mind us forum members are users just like you who want to help others with their avast.

Please contact nekvapil [at] avast [dot] com and relate in great detail your experience.
Dell Inspiron, Win10x64--HP Envy Win10x64--Both systems Avast Free v17.9.2322, Comodo Firewall v8.2 w/D+, MalwareBytes v3.0, OpenDNS, Super Anti-Spyware, Spyware Blaster, MCShield, Unchecky, Vivaldi Browser and, various browser security tools.

"Look before you leap!" Use online scanners before you click on any link.

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I did not do the these two:

- Disable Windows Defender
- Create a image of that drive

Also, there is one device (wireless adapter card) I couldn't get the driver for until after I was back online.

Does anyone think if I uninstall avast; disable windows defender; reinstall avast, I might end up with both webshield and the ability to open my work webpage?  They all played together before the re-install.

Thanks for the email, I have mailed nekvapil my experience.

« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 11:39:12 PM by tsath1972 »

Offline Para-Noid

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Before doing a clean install of avast try disabling Windows Defender and reboot.
Dell Inspiron, Win10x64--HP Envy Win10x64--Both systems Avast Free v17.9.2322, Comodo Firewall v8.2 w/D+, MalwareBytes v3.0, OpenDNS, Super Anti-Spyware, Spyware Blaster, MCShield, Unchecky, Vivaldi Browser and, various browser security tools.

"Look before you leap!" Use online scanners before you click on any link.

Offline schmidthouse

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Before doing a clean install of avast try disabling Windows Defender and reboot.

Also, it might be useful to do a 'Repair' of the Avast installation files (Before a Clean Install) via Control Panel/ Programs(features) and select Avast . Chose "Repair" from the Scroll list.
This might solve your issue, if not then Clean install would be prudent. :)
« Last Edit: November 07, 2014, 12:43:39 AM by schmidthouse »
***HP ENVY 15K LT W10 Pro 21H2 64Bit/250GB SSD/16GB Ram/ADU v.22.4b/VS/SANDBOXIE-plus/MailWasherPRO
**HP Compaq 8510p LT W10 Pro 21H2 64Bit/1TB HD/8GB Ram/ADU v.22.4b/VS/SANDBOXIE/HotSpot Shield
 Avast Mobile Ultimate (Android)
LAYERED SECURITY SOFTWARE

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I was able to re-install webshield by using the 'change' option under the uninstall menu and selecting to reinstall that module.  I was able to load the webpage by deselecting the 'scan https://' setting for webshield.  Despite adding the URL to every exclusion list in avast, I remain unable to load the needed page unless I tell avast to not scan https:// sites.  In any event my solution was a lot better than the avast tech who just uninstalled webshield, and it took me less time to figure it out.

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@Eddy

I'm not sure that relaying some facts can be regarded as 'polluting this webboard'. It seems more of a timely warning. A client of mine had exactly the same experience with Avast Internet Security in January of 2011. She had done a program update via the GUI and the firewall ceased to work. Naturally enough she thought that telephoning Avast's free support was a less expensive option than consulting me, although I happened to be there in an unrelated capacity at the time she made the call. However she's not very computer literate so she passed the phone to me. At that time iYogi was the  third-party help and I watched astounded as the technician established remote control of the computer and pointed to all these so called 'major errors' that were preventing the firewall from working. Apparently they were quite outside the remit of Avast Support but he could put it all right for a substantial charge. I expressed great alarm! But I asked whether it wouldn't be quicker to uninstall Avast, run the cleanup utility, and do an offline install. I was assured there was far too much wrong with the computer for that to work. At which point I decided I'd had enough fun with the scam and cut the connection. Needless to say, there was nothing wrong with the computer and my proposed solution worked just fine.

I did complain to Avast about it, an Adam Riley dealt with it. So far as I could see he was genuinely concerned that it should have happened and tried to be helpful, and to trace it, but unsurprisingly iYogi had no record of the call. Since my client had lost no money, there didn't seem much point in pursuing it. The legacy is that while I continue to use Avast myself, and recommend it to clients, because I genuinely think it's good, I do warn clients against phoning 'Support'. Leaves a faintly bad taste, which is a shame.

Offline Eddy

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I'm not sure that relaying some facts can be regarded as 'polluting this webboard'
Facts are fine, but ram hasn't provided any fact/prove or even something that is even near any of those that avast is scam. Think about it. If avast was scam(ming) many people/companies/organizations would have filed lawsuits and avast would not have as big as they are now and avast wouldn't have over 220 million users.
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She had done a program update via the GUI and the firewall ceased to work.
Ok, that can happen. Ofcourse it is not mend to happen and it is not "fun" if it happens to you. But computers and software are very complicated things and these kind of things are happening.
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Naturally enough she thought that telephoning Avast's free support was a less expensive option than consulting me
Are you that expensive? (kidding ofcourse) ;)
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At that time iYogi was the  third-party help and I watched astounded as the technician established remote control of the computer and pointed to all these so called 'major errors' that were preventing the firewall from working.
Yes, that 3rd party is really quick with coming to conclusions. And when I look at the information I have, they are often wrong. And when they can't fix things fast it is always "Hé no worries, if you pay us.... blah blah blah". Is this a nice way of doing business? Not in my opinion. Is this scam? No, because the law(s) are allowing them to do so.
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I did complain to Avast about it, an Adam Riley dealt with it.
Well done! The sooner avast stops the contract with that 3rd party, the better it is for the users.
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Since my client had lost no money
That is good news and thank you for preventing here from waisting money on that 3rd party.



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What Avast's "culpability" in this "3rd party scam" is that they have aligned themselves with these people and allow these people to continue to use the good name of Avast to mask their deceit.  There are countless of these complaints/threads on the Forum and seems users have commented to the Avast Team and yet there is no change.  Thus, "the issue" is that Avast allows this to continue to unsuspecting people.

I wish users would come to the Forum first where there are experts to help...........it saddens me every time I see a thread like this.....wish Avast would disengage from these folks.  I want to defend Avast but they are allowing this to continue.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2014, 04:45:12 PM by thekochs »

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What some people are willing to do for money...  Sigh.  I agree that Avast should distance itself from the worst of the "paid 3rd party support" situations we hear about here.

I wonder, though, whether occasionally the "paid 3rd party support" people maybe actually do help some people, and we just hear about the bad situations.  New guys on the job who haven't been well-trained and are thrown into a "sink or swim" situation.  How much do you think the guy with the heavy accent who has to ask the customer for a couple of hundred bucks actually gets paid?  A few cents I imagine.

The only real solution is to educate oneself in the high tech so that one becomes self-sufficient.  A good place to start that is here, as others have said.

-Noel

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@ Eddy

I'm sorry, I'm perfectly able to crawl around under desks and get covered in dust & cobwebs swapping computer parts in & out, but don't understand how you 'quote' parts of messages! I also know how to address various client problems with Avast because I follow this board and find many interesting solutions!

I will confess that I am more expensive than free! I will also confess that I've come across several problems with Avast GUI program updates, even once or twice on my own computers. It isn't a problem for me, I know how to get around it... boot to Safe Mode or whatever, or just d/l the offline install which is my preferred course of action. But for the average user it's an unfathomable problem... all they know is they accepted a prompt to upgrade their Avast and now their Windows won't work! I accept that this is equally likely to happen following Windows Update, or any other update. Been there, worn the t-shirt etc. I get paid to overcome all this grief, and it makes me feel very guilty to get paid for falling off a log... I have to keep reminding myself that I pay my garage to keep my car in working order because I don't know how to do it myself!

Meanwhile, in respect of Avast Support, it seems we are broadly in concurrence. You may congratulate me that my client didn't lose any money but the fact is, if I hadn't been there at the time, she would have. I know this because she has subsequently fallen for a couple of typical 'We're Windows Support and we know you have viruses on your computer' scams. And she damned well PAID them to do nothing. The reverse side, perhaps, of persuading people their computers are constantly at risk of attack.