Q&A Norton Court Case - Enforcing auto-renewing subscriptions and Withholding information


Thread author
Staff Member
Jan 8, 2011
Security giant Norton is facing court action in the UK after claims the firm enforced auto-renewing subscriptions on its antivirus customers.

The firm has been accused of reportedly refusing to assist the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in its investigation into claims that Norton Lifelock customers in the UK and Ireland ended up paying for services they did not want or need.

The CMA says it has requested information from Norton regarding such claims, but the security firm has not been forthcoming, prompting what the watchdog says is an "unprecedented decision" against the company's "completely unacceptable" behaviour.
via Norton antivirus customers beware - your subscription could be costing far more than you think

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The CMA is taking a leading anti-virus software firm, 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.

During this case, the CMA is investigating whether Norton:
  • provides sufficiently clear or prominent information that a contract will automatically renew, both before the customer enters into the contract and then before it automatically renews
  • provides the customer with adequate ways to cancel the automatic renewal
  • uses price promotions that present a regular introductory price as a sale price
  • uses unfair contract terms to increase the prices paid by customers when contracts automatically renew
The CMA has made an application to obtain an Order requiring Norton to provide the outstanding information.

More information can be found on the anti-virus software sector investigation case page.


Staff member
Malware Hunter
Jul 27, 2015
The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has inked a deal with Norton where it will refund customers whose antivirus software subscription was automatically renewed.

Today's agreement comes after the regulator launched legal action against Norton in March – a first for a consumer protection case – when the company refused to furnish the CMA with the information needed during the course of the investigation. It also arrives hot on the heels of a similar arrangement with McAfee Andrea Coscelli, CEO at the CMA, 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.