CMA takes Norton to court for withholding information during investigation

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The CMA is taking anti-virus software giant, Norton, to court after it refused to provide certain information for an investigation into auto-renewing contracts.

During its investigation into the anti-virus software sector, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified a number of important concerns that Norton’s terms and practices for automatically renewing contracts could result in customers paying for services they no longer want or need.

To progress its case on the basis of relevant evidence, the CMA requested information from Norton, including research undertaken by the software firm on how customers responded to website information on auto-renewal and pricing. Norton has refused to provide some of this information.

The CMA considers Norton’s non-compliance to be in breach of its legal obligations and the CMA will now use its powers to enforce the request for information through the courts. This is the first time the CMA has needed to take this step in a consumer protection case.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, said: “It is completely unacceptable that a leading anti-virus software firm has refused to supply all the information we asked for, which is why we’re taking the firm to court. Our unprecedented decision in this case reflects the serious impact of Norton’s refusal, which is delaying a CMA investigation intended to protect UK consumers.”

A rollover or auto-renewing contract automatically renews at the end of a set time period onto a further set period. It means the customer – whose payment details are kept on file – is charged unless the customer actively takes steps to cancel the contract.

The CMA is investigating Norton further on the matter, and further announcements will be made in due course.

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