National Consumer Council refers 17 software companies for unfair terms and conditions

Some of the biggest names in the software industry including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and Apple have come under scrutiny for unfair licensing terms and conditions.

Some of the biggest names in the software industry including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and Apple have come under scrutiny for unfair licensing terms and conditions.

The National Consumer Council will refer 17 software company in total to the Office of Fair Trading, due to what it described as "an imbalance between the rights of the consumer and the rights of the [licence] holder."

NCC senior policy advisor, Carl Belgrove, said, "Consumers cannot have a clue what they are signing up to when some terms and conditions run to 10 or more pages."

The Whose licence is it anyway study conducted by the NCC found a widespread lack of clear, upfront and easily accessible information written in plain English.

The study found that Symantec Norton 360 gave Symantec the right to suspend its service for misuse of the software or suspected failure to comply with the agreement. According to the NCC, a user could face a court case to clear their name before being able to use the software again.

The NCC is asking software companies to address the concerns of consumers. It is also asking for the European Commission to put digital contracts and licence agreements into consumer law.




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