Symantec & McAfee Get Slap on Hand
Thursday, June 11th, 2009 | Author:

I have heard from many customers how McAfee and Symantec (also known as Norton) both do this autobill thing where they charge you each year automatically for your Anti-virus software subscription. I am not a fan of either of these products for many reasons, and this is absolutely another huge thing they do that I have never agreed with.

They both have these auto billing programs where it is not very clear that you are signing up for a subscription for the anti-virus software. They used to send you a message saying go to their website, and renew your subscription. But they started a program where they just started billing the credit card that was on file, and never really told anyone nor did they make it clear they were doing that.

I guess I am not the only one who does not like the practices by these companies. The New York City Attorney has been investigating both companies and surprise, surprise! They both have agreed to pay $350,000 each in penalties and costs for the practices that they have engaged in.

Investigators found that the two companies had “failed to adequately disclose to consumers that subscriptions would automatically be renewed and that consumers would be charged,” the office of Andrew Cuomo said in a statement Wednesday announcing the settlement. “Companies cannot play hide the ball when it comes to fees consumers are being charged.”

These were deceptive business practices, and should be punished. However, I am sure the $350,000 is a drop in the bucket for these large corporations who get upwards of $79 for a pumped up renewal version of their software. In addition to paying the fine, the companies must be more forthcoming on disclosing their subscription renewal fees.

The two companies will also now refund the customer’s charges if requested within 60 days of being billed. There will also be an automated way to opt out of the auto billing, instead of trying to figure out how to not get billed.

I have used both of the products over the years, and at a time, each one was the best. During the early years they were THE best thing out there. Now the companies have become so huge that they have a lot of money and think they need to keep adding things into their “suite” of products. The programs became bloated, and now they are not anywhere near as good as they once were.

Even though this is a little slap on the hand for this large companies, maybe it will help bring them back down to earth and remind them about customer service and who really pays the bills for the company.

Here is a link to an article on this news