New York to get cash from Symantec and Mcafee

Yesterday, the New York Attorney General's office announced a settlement effectively closing the investigation of McAfee's and Symantec's automatic antivirus subscription renewal practices. Several New Yorkers complained that they had purchased the software online, only to later have their subscription automatically renewed without their knowledge or consent.

In the settlement, McAfee and Symantec have to pay a combined $750,000 to the state of New York, and improve the visibility of their subscription terms and renewal policies so customers won't be caught unawares by recurring charges on their credit cards. This will involve notifying customers both before and after renewal of the subscription and offering a 60 day grace period for refunds.

"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," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said yesterday.

Andrew Cuomo has been a strong presence on the consumer technology front, taking some of the biggest companies to task for their business practices. In his two years on the job, Cuomo has stepped in against Dell for its financing practices, Verizon for its EV-DO bandwidth caps, and Intel for abuse of market dominance. Perhaps most prominent of all has been Cuomo's crackdown on Usenet groups trading child pornography.

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