Symantec, McAfee Penalized For Antivirus Auto-Renewals

If you've ever wondered if you're being forced into antivirus auto-renewals, you're not alone. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's office has reached a settlement with Symantec and McAfee over their automatic software renewal practices.

I think this is great news for consumers and businesses. There has been too much confusion over auto-renewals. Some people are not aware that purchasing antivirus software via credit card typically signs you up for auto-renewal. Others have struggled to cancel their auto-renewals thanks to aggressive policies on the part of vendors like Symantec and McAfee. When purchasing antivirus products online, I frequently find myself disabling the auto-renew option only to find it re-enabled before I reach the checkout. While I applaud Symantec and McAfee's attempts to make sure people are up-to-date on their antivirus, forced auto-renewal is not the solution.

This is also a good time to remind folks that it's better to upgrade your antivirus software each year instead of simply paying for another year's subscription. While I'm still recommending other antivirus programs over Norton, those of you who do use Symantec and McAfee products can hope that your next auto-renew process will be more user-friendly.

From the press release:

Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a settlement with computer security software vendors Symantec (NYSE: SYMC) and McAfee (NYSE: MFE) after the companies renewed customers’ software subscriptions without the customers’ knowledge or authorization. Under the Attorney General’s settlement, both companies will make detailed disclosures to consumers about subscription terms and renewal, and each will pay $375,000 in penalties and costs.

“Companies cannot play hide the ball when it comes to the fees consumers are being charged. Consumers have a right to know what they are paying, especially when they are unwittingly agreeing to renewal fees that will not appear on their credit card bill for months. Symantec and McAfee - two of the nation’s largest vendors of computer security software - will now have to be clear and up-front with their customers when it comes to renewal fees. In other words, no more hide the ball with renewal fees.”

Posted byTriona Guidry at 9:42 AM  


Anonymous said... June 11, 2009 at 1:31 PM  

It's about time. They are like the AOL of the antivirus industry. Sometimes I'm not sure which is worse when it comes to these products the infection or the cure.
Especially, with better stuff out there.

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