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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.