Norton extends refund rights after CMA action
The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) has secured extended refund rights for all customers of anti-virus firm Norton whose contracts auto-renew, just weeks after McAfee made a similar commitment.
Norton gave the formal commitment as part of the CMA wider investigation into auto-renewing contracts in the anti-virus software sector.
This identified a number of concerns in relation to Norton’s automatically renewing contracts, which could result in customers paying for services they no longer want or need.
The CMA announced in March that it was taking legal action against Norton after it refused to provide outstanding information to assist with its investigation. This was the first time the CMA had needed to take this step in a consumer protection case. As a result of Norton’s commitments, the CMA will apply to the court for this legal action to be discontinued.
Norton has agreed to make the changes necessary to address the CMA’s concerns. These include ensuring that customers whose contracts auto-renew for another year will be able to end their contracts and seek refunds for the remaining months. In addition, this new refund right will be backdated for people who were previously refused a refund in 2020. They have also agreed to contact customers who have not used their products for over 12 months, to let them know how they can disable automatic renewal or end their contract and get a refund.
Going forward, they will be providing clearer information upfront on pricing, for example by making it clear if the auto-renewal price in the second year is higher than the price paid when the anti-virus product was first purchased; and automating the process for obtaining a refund to make it simple and easy for customers.
Andrea Coscelli, CMA Chief Executive, said: “The changes Norton has committed to, following our action, will make it easier for customers to get their money back if their contract renews when they don’t want it to.
“Coming just weeks after the commitments secured from McAfee, it also sends a clear message that the CMA will not hesitate to take action where it believes companies are using auto-renewals unfairly.
“We’re pleased that Norton’s commitments mean we no longer need to go to court to enforce our information request. However, firms should be in no doubt that we will take this action in the future, if they fail to provide the information we need to pursue our investigations.”