Two of the world's largest security software vendors have settled a case brought by New York State over billing customers without their consent.
Symantec and McAfee have each agreed to pay $375,000 (£228,000) in fines after New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo brought a case against them for automatically renewing customer subscriptions to security software applications.
The two companies were accused of re-subscribing business and residential customers and charging the accounts without consent. While this agreement was put in the terms and conditions of the software, it was not made clear or prominent enough, according to Cuomo.
"Companies cannot play hide the ball when it comes to the fees consumers are being charged. Consumers have a right to know what they are paying, especially when they are unwittingly agreeing to renewal fees that will not appear on their credit card bill for months," he said.
"Symantec and McAfee - two of the nation's largest vendors of computer security software - will now have to be clear and upfront with customers when it comes to renewal fees. In other words, no more hide the ball."
Cuomo ruled that Symantec and McAfee also made it difficult for customers to cancel their subscriptions and to obtain refunds where they had been re-subscribed.
Both companies will have to make renewal terms much clearer, and refund subscribers if they cancel a subscription in 60 days or less. They will also have to send out warnings before and after re-subscription.
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