Ok folks, here is the first update.
First, no answer from Avast.
Second, it turns out after looking at the e-mails, links, software and browser history that he bought the special priced upgrade from Avast themselves (3 Computers, 1 year for $29.99).
Third, the trouble really began when he got the receipt for that amount from ELEMENT5.
He searched the net and found all kinds of posts about people receiving charges from ELEMENT5 on their credit cards for things they didn't know anything about. So he panicked and called the number (he said an 800 number) and the rest of the story is the same as above. I have yet to get what number he called so I can see just who it was that accessed his computer. That said the patient is alive and well, we have put on a fresh copy of Avast 6 Free because he is disputing the charge. If after we explain to him what happened, he approves the charge we will activate the paid version. The system was scanned with several utilities and Avast itself and no malware was found, so the Avast tech. support idea may be on track, but with have to wait for the number he called. The registry was a little messed up but nothing we have not been able to straighten out and we have no evidence that is was caused by who ever was remotely connected.
Fourth, now for those you that don't know who or what ELEMENT5 is (and the way it looks on the net that must be a lot of you) it is the "checkout/billing" division of Digital River and their partners. Digital River handles software download purchases for the the likes of Microsoft, Avast, Broderbund, etc. So I find it really odd that so many people don't know what ELEMENT5 is, as they are all running around because it is tied to so many servers, etc. Well each Digital River partner has their own store front and of course their own ELEMENT5 accounts, so it would not surprise me that they have a lot of servers. Now that doesn't mean that some of the smaller partners might not being following the code of conduct to the letter. But if that is the case, you can report them to ELEMENT5 and have them suspended.
So, when I get more information I will post again.