Antivirus Companies Fined for Autorenewing Subscriptions


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06/10/2009



Antivirus Companies Fined for Autorenewing Subscriptions

Kevin R. Smith
Co-Editor


It should come as no surprise that we're big believers in antivirus software and in keeping antivirus software updated; however, as any customer we've gone to bat for with the various vendors will testify, we're also consumer advocates.

Today, we got news that Symantec (makers of Norton Antivirus) and McAfee (makers of McAfee VirusScan Plus), two companies for which we have tremendous respect, have both reached a settlement with New York's Attorney General, Andrew M Cuomo, in a case about autorenewing antivirus subscriptions without the explicit consent of their respective customers.

Here are the details from the article about the antivirus renewal settlement on PCPro.co.uk:

"The investigators found that, 'information about automatic renewal charges was not clearly disclosed, but was instead hidden at the bottom of long web pages or in the fine print of license agreements.'

"The companies have now agreed to provide electronic notification both before and after the renewal of subscriptions.

"Customers will also be allowed to apply for refunds for up to 60 days after being charged."

Autorenewals themselves aren't necessarily a bad thing; in fact they can be quite beneficial to the consumer in that they obviate the need for a consumer to remember to renew antivirus subscriptions, thus keeping their computers safer.

The key thing here is that the consumer is well-aware of the renewals rather than being hit with them after the fact and only finding out about them on their credit card statements.

If you're uncertain what the terms of your antivirus software subscription renewal are, it's a good idea to find out when it is, and if you're due soon, remember to take a look at other antivirus options before yours expires.

After all, because the malware writers are getting smarter every day, the antivirus software has to get smarter, too, so a lot happens from year to the next with antivirus software.

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