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Symantec Sued Over AV Auto-Renewals

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 27 comments

Despite last year's settlement, a lawsuit accuses Symantec of charging credit cards without prior approval.

Last year the New York Attorney General's Office slapped a $375,000 fine on both McAfee and Symantec for renewing anti-virus subscriptions and auto-charging credit cards without prior customer approval. Both companies were found to have inadequately disclosed the auto-renew service to consumers, and were thus forced to pay the fines, change the disclosures, and provide electronic notification of subscription expiration.

Unfortunately, the 2009 settlement did not ban subscription auto-renewals.

Now a New York man has filed a lawsuit suit against Symantec, claiming that the company auto-renewed his subscription and charged his credit card without prior approval. Kenneth Elan of Port Washington, New York filed the lawsuit on January 19 in a New York County court. According to Computerworld, Symantec was charged with deceptive business practices and unjust enrichment.

In addition to the claims, the lawsuit is asking that Symantec refund the money drafted from Elan's credit card. The lawsuit also asked the court to upgrade the complaint to an action-class status, opening the case to other consumers who may have suffered the same auto-update procedure. The lawsuit also claims that Symantec did not give Elan an option to decline the renewal.

"If plaintiff had notice of an opportunity to decline the automatic renewal, plaintiff would not have renewed the license,” the lawsuit stated.

As of this writing, Symantec has not responded to the lawsuit.

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Top Comments
  • 11 Hide
    metalmania31 , February 8, 2010 7:14 PM
    Good, Trend Micro Pccillin does the same crap. They need to stop doing this crap. Pisses me off.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    zoemayne , February 8, 2010 7:13 PM
    big set up i believe specifically mcafee creates all the viruses to keep themselves in business
  • 11 Hide
    metalmania31 , February 8, 2010 7:14 PM
    Good, Trend Micro Pccillin does the same crap. They need to stop doing this crap. Pisses me off.
  • Display all 27 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    dxwarlock , February 8, 2010 7:25 PM
    people still use the overbloated, and AOL of the AV world like Symantec and Mcafee?
  • 5 Hide
    mhughes81 , February 8, 2010 7:38 PM
    Is Avira AntiVir, AVG or Avast not good enough for them because they are free?
  • 1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , February 8, 2010 7:39 PM
    For some of the utilities I use I simply get messages reminding me that it is time to renew. The problem is I get too many of the exact same message for the exact same product. It is irritating.
  • 1 Hide
    chulak , February 8, 2010 7:41 PM
    I would never buy any of these products. Seriously the whole anti-virus for profit industry is shady.
  • 4 Hide
    chomlee , February 8, 2010 7:43 PM
    I hate auto renewal and think they should be made illegal.

    What I hate more than auto renewal though is class action lawsuites. This guy is just in to set up a class action lawsuite so that thousands of people join in and they will each get 30 dollars or so but the lawyer can get up to about 50% of the entire take which could mean millions if enough people file.
  • 0 Hide
    mdillenbeck , February 8, 2010 8:22 PM
    Opt In = good for the consumer
    Opt Out = good for the business

    Guess which one companies will choose if not regulated otherwise? (Unless, of course, customer outrage leads to a decline in profits...)
  • 1 Hide
    l_mckeon , February 8, 2010 8:36 PM
    I think it's disgraceful that they are allowed to STORE the customer's card details without permission. This seems to be peculiarly American idea which greatly increases the chances of the customer's details being ripped of.

    In Australia on-line vendors never see the credit card details; they get shunted through to the bank's web site for processing.
  • -2 Hide
    Snipergod87 , February 8, 2010 9:17 PM
    Businesses have been doing this for years its called pay to play MMO's. You pay a monthly fee which is automatically charged every month for your convience which it is convient so you dont have to remeber to pay it again. Peoplejust complain because they forgot that they were going to be billed again
  • 0 Hide
    cekasone , February 8, 2010 9:58 PM
    I'm a PC Tech at a local computer repair shop and we resell Norton Antivirus. To my knowledge, as long as a Norton Account is setup, they will notify you by email and alerts that the subscription is about to expire. You have the option to renew or just let it expire. The people that have their credit cards charge automatically must have bought the product online through Symantec. This lawsuit can go either way.
  • -1 Hide
    michaelahess , February 8, 2010 10:03 PM
    Anyone using a paid AV program deserves this, plain and simple.
  • 0 Hide
    nukemaster , February 8, 2010 10:09 PM
    metalmania31Good, Trend Micro Pccillin does the same crap. They need to stop doing this crap. Pisses me off.

    Strange, I have NEVER had that, they start to ask you like a few weeks before to renew. I have NEVER had it auto renew.
  • -2 Hide
    cheepstuff , February 8, 2010 10:37 PM
    BS, this hasn't happened to me and i use Symantec's products. i think you have to apply for auto renewal for it to happen. Symantec should be required to peal off the auto renew charges off the credit cards of all the people 'afflicted' and discontinue their services on said peoples computers. the $375,000 in 'damages' for charging $30 on a reasonable service is all the evidence you need to tell that she doesn't really care about the problem, just how much she can profit from it.
  • 0 Hide
    jsc , February 8, 2010 11:15 PM
    I also hate auto renew. But can you imagine the lawsuits if the companies, even with notification, stopped?
  • 1 Hide
    pharge , February 8, 2010 11:27 PM
    There is a reason why I always use those one time use credit card numbers (most of major credit card company have this kind of service).. so they have no way to renew anything without my approval.. unless they want to give it to me for free..;)

  • -1 Hide
    captaincharisma , February 9, 2010 1:34 AM
    wow people still use Norton anti virus?
  • -1 Hide
    cabose369 , February 9, 2010 1:45 AM
    matter of time before this happened.... I heard people complain about this sooo much!
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2010 1:48 AM
    I got charged by Norton as well without my acknowledgment. I want to be part of this class action law suit.

    So what if I purchase Norton's product online. I pay for 1 year subscription and that is it. Who give Norton the right to charge me for the next year?

    After I was charged, I went to my Norton account. the website was not helpful at all.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 9, 2010 2:16 AM
    Who uses this resource hogging crap? I dumped my av and firewall years ago. Virii and hacks are ancient history. Malware is the main threat and there are plenty of removal tools and tips for any problem incurred.

    An occasional scan by Malwarebytes and any of several free spyware apps is all you need.

    I have five kids and they all know how to avoid these things and what not to click on and I only occasionally have to clean up something.

    I say trash the AV use windows protection if it makes you feel better but my experience is common sense works better then any norton or Mcafee piece of crap
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