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Anti-virus software providers face UK probe

Providers of anti-virus software in the UK face scrutiny for their compliance with consumer protection laws.19 Dec 2018

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced on Wednesday that it has opened an investigation in the anti-virus software sector and will look at whether "the business practices and terms and conditions associated with the automatic renewal of subscriptions are fair".

It said it had opened the investigation in response to concerns that some businesses in the industry "may not be complying with consumer law".

"In particular, the investigation will consider: whether automatic renewal is set as the default option; whether notification of renewal is sent and, if so, the timing of the notification; when renewal payments are taken and whether the renewed subscriptions are charged at a different price to the original subscription," the CMA said.

The regulator said it expects to provide an update on its investigation in early 2019.

The CMA described the opening of its investigation as a "first step" towards it "cracking down on harmful business practices using enforcement and regulatory powers to clamp down on harmful practices that stop people getting better deals". It said it may take further action against other companies.