The Nutty, Stupid World Of ZoneAlarm Renewals

This might be the last year I renew with ZoneAlarm. I like the security software and have used it for years. But they crazy and somewhat misleading renewal process is making me feel less than valued.

My subscription was nearing its end, so I got this warning telling me to renew. Clicking through, the price was $60. Now that’s about double what I paid initially. It was also $15 more than I could buy the service new.

I know from experience that if you don’t renew, you get offered a substantial discount. But I didn’t want to play games. I just wanted to renew then and there at the lowest price I knew they’d offer me.

I hit the web site looking for a contact form. They don’t have one. Everything is through chat. That’s it.

OK, I chatted. Told the rep the situation. Was told there was nothing that could be done. They couldn’t even extend my current subscription at a new price.

So, when subscription did expire, I purchased a new one for $45. I thought about waiting, but my ZoneAlarm software icon kept displaying an image giving the impression it wasn’t really working. It does, thought anti-virus definitions will slowly get outdated.

Still, being paranoid, I renewed. And then an hour later, in case a 60% off request to renew.


I replied to the email, since the address looked like it actually might go to something other than an auto-responder. Nope.

That meant it was back to chat. Told the person I was looking for credit. They asked for my account number. Gave it. He issued a refund.


Yeah, refunded the whole amount. The solution, you see, was that I needed to again go buy the software.

What a giant waste of time. But at least now, since I’ll be using the renewal code I was sent, I’ll no longer get the daily email reminders from Zone Alarm that I need to renew my subscription.

Oh, and thanks but no thanks for the Extended Download Service that’s absolutely unnecessary, Zone Alarm, since the latest software is always offered for current customers.


  1. says

    You could just run Linux. And zone alarm is not really that much better than win 7 firewall anymore. I got rid of Barracuda and put a Linux appliance web facing and havent had an issue since. I dont even get tapped actually.

  2. Keith Pickett says

    You could just drop $40 for one of these I hate software firewalls. Too much overhead plus I like that extra level of security.

  3. says

    This is classic. For years experts have been telling us to focus on our current customers for revenue instead of chasing new ones, and most companies totally ignore that advice. The same issue came up in relation to my blog post today about the Starbucks loyalty program fail – they wipe out accumulated activity for Gold Card holders who don’t buy enough coffee, take away their Gold privileges, and start them over from scratch. With a smile.

  4. Daronet says

    Well Danny, you have just fallen to the honey trap of all software renewal services. It seems that lately everybody use this kind of marketing tricks.

  5. says

    Is there some reason you don’t use MSE and Windows’ own firewall? I stopped using commercial firewalls the moment Microsoft put one in Windows, and commercial antiviruses the moment Microsoft figured out how to make a good one.

  6. Doug Wilson says

    I’m the same as Michael R. IMHO MS produces the best product in that space now. It may not be as flashy or in your face as others (like ZoneAlarm, McAffee, etc.) but that’s a good thing in my books. It’s also the only one that doesn’t have a visible negative effect on my machine’s performance. I even run it on my pokey old laptop because it doesn’t feel any slower than not running it.

    Too bad you just renewed.