Windows Live OneCare- buyer beware

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I have been using Windows Live OneCare on three different computers for about six months and couldn’t be happier with the service.  OneCare provides protection for up to three computers in the form of anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall protection, and PC maintenance (disk defragger, file cleanup, Office /Windows updates, backup/ restore).  OneCare has performed flawlessly on all three PCs I am running it on so when Kevin mentioned the special low price for upgrading from the free beta to the real service I jumped on it.  The special price of $19.95 to protect three computers for a year was too good to pass up so a couple of days ago I plunked my money down on the OneCare web site.

Today I got an email from OneCare that confirmed my purchase and also included some information about maintaining the OneCare account.  Buried in a paragraph in the email is something that buyers of OneCare need to be aware of:

This is an annual subscription that will be automatically charged to your credit card every year unless you cancel your account or select an alternative plan.

Not even Symantec auto-renews unless you manually cancel their anti-virus service and Microsoft really should rethink this policy.  The service is great and has worked well for me but I envision next year at this time wondering why $49.95 (standard OneCare subscription rate) has just been pulled out of my credit card.  Caveat emptor.

-jk

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