Long-term antivirus software users were paid greater fees than new clients, according to an investigation. McAfee is being forced to refund customers following a Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into its auto-renewal scheme.
Since November 2018, the watchdog has been investigating subscription contracts supplied by the antivirus software and online video game industries in response to a ‘super-complaint submitted by Citizens Advice.
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According to the non-profit organization that promotes consumer rights, long-term consumers are being penalized by corporations like McAfee for being charged greater fees than new customers. They were also stuck in auto-renewing contracts with no ability to get out of them.
CMA on McAfee Refunds
The CMA has concluded that the process for turning off auto-renewal for McAfee customers should be made more straightforward and has ordered the antivirus provider to ensure that customers whose contracts auto-renew for another year can cancel their contracts and receive a refund for the remaining months after a two-year investigation.McAfee will reimburse customers who were denied reimbursement in 2020.
Furthermore, the specifics of McAfee’s pricing will have to be clarified, with the business needing to make it known that “the auto-renewal price in the second year is higher than the price paid when the antivirus product was first purchased.”
Information on how to turn off the automatically renewing subscription and directions on how to get a refund will need to be placed more clearly on McAfee’s website and in consumer emails.
“Subscriptions should be properly defined, easy to exit, and customers should not be trapped into recurring auto-renewals without adequate refund rights,” CMA chief executive Andrea Coscelli said in response to the investigation’s conclusions.
“Companies who employ auto-renewals in an unfair manner face CMA action,” he warned. “Auto-renewing contracts for things that people no longer want or need should be avoided.” Because of our study, consumers of McAfee will be able to get their money back if their contract renews when they don’t want it to. The company has “agreed to make further improvements to its website and consumer communications to improve clarity, which will be made within the coming months,” according to the CMA. The antivirus company has also committed to “submit frequent reports to the CMA regarding their customers’ experiences with terminating auto-renewal and requesting refunds.”
“We are glad to have reached agreement with the CMA on [their] shared goal of increasing the ease, fairness, and transparency of business-to-consumer procedures and rules,” a McAfee representative told IT Pro.
“Our collaboration with the CMA was in line with our goal of allowing customers to maintain continuing protection while maintaining control over their McAfee subscription,” they added.
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