Tuesday 23 March 2021 2:37 pm

Anti-virus firm Norton taken to court amid competition investigation

The UK competition watchdog is taking anti-virus software firm Norton to court after it refused to provide information relating to an ongoing investigation.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has identified concerns that Norton’s practices for automatically renewing contracts result in customers paying for services they no longer want or need.

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It asked the company to provide information such as research carried out into how customers responded to website information on auto-renewal and pricing.

Norton has refused to provide some of the information, prompting the CMA to launch legal proceedings to force disclosure.

It is the first time the watchdog has been forced to take this action in a consumer protection case.

“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,” said chief executive Andrea Coscelli.

“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.”

The watchdog’s investigations, part of a wider review of the anti-virus software, relate to rollover or auto-renewing contracts, which automatically renew at the end of a set time period.

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The CMA is examining a number of issues, including whether Norton makes it clear to customers that their contracts automatically renew and whether it gives them adequate ways to cancel the renewal.

A Norton spokesperson said the company was cooperating with the investigation.

“We take these claims seriously and remain confident that our business practices and terms and conditions are fair and compliant with UK consumer law. We look forward to resolving this matter,” they added.