MINNEAPOLIS (CN) – A class action will continue against Symantec after a federal judge found there is sufficient evidence to determine whether it misled consumers about its Norton Antivirus program.
Class representatives Devi Khoday and Danise Townsend claim that Symantec and Digital River Inc., the former operator of Symantec’s e-commerce platform, duped consumers into buying “Norton Download Insurance,” an add-on service that purportedly gave users the ability to redownload the Antivirus software for a year, though that “service” already was available to anyone who’d bought the program.
When consumers added the Norton Antivirus program to their virtual shopping carts, the “Download Insurance” was automatically thrown in, for a fee of $5.99 to $10.99.
Symantec claims it was not required to allow downloads of the software without purchase of the insurance, but the class claims redownloads were readily available and that “defendants intentionally led customers to believe that they needed to purchase the Download Product to re-download their software beyond sixty days through pop-up descriptions or advertisements, scripted sales communications, and the auto-population of the ‘Check Out screen’ with the Download Product.”
The class alleged violations of the Consumers Legal Remedies Act (CLRA), unfair competition and unjust enrichment. It sought declaratory judgment against Symantec, which sought dismissal.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim denied Symantec’s motion, except for dismissal of the claim for declaratory judgment, finding that “it is unnecessary; plaintiffs have already asserted a claim for damages based on the same underlying dispute.”
Judge Tunheim let the plaintiffs’ CLRA claims proceed, finding that the “Download Insurance” may qualify as a service under the Act.
Tunheim also let Unfair Competition Law claims proceed, finding that because Symantec’s website claimed the Download Product extended the time users could redownload the product, though allegedly it did not, “the facts suggests that Symantec may have deceived members of the public.”
Claims of consumer fraud and unjust enrichment against Digital River were also upheld, though Tunheim dismissed the declaratory judgment claim it as well.