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Symantec Sued Over AV Auto-Renewals

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.

  • zoemayne
    big set up i believe specifically mcafee creates all the viruses to keep themselves in business
  • metalmania31
    Good, Trend Micro Pccillin does the same crap. They need to stop doing this crap. Pisses me off.
  • dxwarlock
    people still use the overbloated, and AOL of the AV world like Symantec and Mcafee?
  • mhughes81
    Is Avira AntiVir, AVG or Avast not good enough for them because they are free?
  • JohnnyLucky
    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.
  • chulak
    I would never buy any of these products. Seriously the whole anti-virus for profit industry is shady.
  • chomlee
    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.
  • mdillenbeck
    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...)
  • l_mckeon
    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.
  • Snipergod87
    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