October 29th, 2012

As we discussed in our last post, automatic renewals often create a convenient (and easy) revenue stream for service providers to depend on. This is commonly because customers do not notice that they are being charged for additional services. Either they forget to cancel a free trial period and continue to use the service, or they are unwittingly upgraded to a service that only provides marginally better options than their current offering. Either way, customers are routinely not given a fair opportunity to cancel their service (or subscription).

Such was the case with Symantec Corporation. Through a 2008 class action suit (Marolda v. Symantic Corporation), class members alleged that Symantec improperly charged users for automatic renewals of its Norton AntiVirus software subscription after they purchased another Norton product. Essentially, if a user upgraded or replaced a prior product (and were previously enrolled in an automatic renewal program), the user would likely have been charged for the prior product even though they were no longer using it. Users were allegedly never informed that they needed to cancel the automatic renewal on the prior product if an upgrade was purchased.

Through the settlement, Symantec denies any liability or wrongdoing. Nevertheless, class members may be entitled to a $10 cash refund or a two-month Norton subscription extension as part of the settlement.

Class members are identified as individuals, corporations, and government entities that purchased a Norton product between October 1, 2005 and May 23, 2012. Class members have until May 6, 2013 to submit claim forms for relief.

Source:, Norton Upgrade Class Action Settlement, October 29, 2012

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