Legal action against Norton dropped after firm agrees to extend refund rights

Users whose contracts auto-renew for another year will now be able to end their deal and get their money back for the remaining months.

A person using a laptop
A person using a laptop

Norton will no longer face legal action from the UK’s competition watchdog after agreeing to reform the way it deals with automatic contract renewals.

The antivirus software giant bowed to pressure after the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in March that it was suing the firm over its refusal to provide information into an investigation around unfair customer refund policies.

Users whose contracts auto-renew for another year will now be able to end their deal and get their money back for the remaining months, up until the penultimate month of the contract ending, instead of the limited 60-day period allowed before.

The right will be backdated for people who were previously refused a refund in 2020.

It comes amid a wider investigation into the antivirus software sector launched in November 2018, which saw rival software maker McAfee make similar changes recently.

The regulator had originally accused Norton of refusing to provide certain information during the probe but said it will apply to the court for legal action to be dropped following the company’s new commitment.

Norton will now contact any customers who have not used their products for more than 12 months to make them aware they can disable the automatic renewal feature or end their contract for a refund.

The US firm has also pledged to be more upfront about pricing, making it clearer if the auto-renewal price will increase in the second year.

CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli 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 are ready to take this action in the future, if they fail to provide the information we need to pursue our investigations.”

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