Symantec Sued Over Auto Renewals… After Promising Not To Auto Renew

A resident of New York State is suing Symantec for billing is credit card for a renewal of his Norton Anti-Virus without informing him first. The funny thing is, Symantec agreed that they would stop doing just that:

Many antivirus vendors enroll customers in automatic renewal programs when they purchase or activate the software, claiming that it’s the only way to guarantee that users stay protected against new threats. Symantec started doing so in 2005, while rival McAfee began four years earlier.

But last June, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that his office had reached a settlement with Symantec and McAfee over consumer charges that the companies didn’t get users’ approval to automatically bill them, and had made it difficult for customers to opt out or obtain refunds. Symantec and McAfee paid $375,000 each in penalties, and said they would clarify subscription renewal costs, and refund fees to consumers who asked for them within 60 days of being charged.

Symantec and McAfee also agreed to “provide electronic notification to consumers before and after renewal of the subscription,” Cuomo’s office said at the time.

Expect this to play out in court for a bit before being settled.

As an aside, I’ve always wondered why people pay for anti-virus protection when there’s many good if not better products that are available for free. So rather than spring for an anti-virus package at your local Best Buy, try AVG which is on my list of free products that help to secure your PC. Or you can try Microsoft Security Essentials which I’ve written about in the past as that is free as well being good at what it does. In my mind, there’s really very little reason why anyone should have to pay for anti-virus protection.

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