Shamed McAfee accused of tricking customers with pop-ups

McAfee has landed itself in hot water following claims that it duped customers into subscribing to third-party services and passed their card information to the service supplier without their permission.

The shamed security company is now being sued by Melissa Ferrington and Cheryl Schmidt who are based in California. They are demanding that McAfee is banned from continuing the practice as well as milking the company for compensatory and punitive damages, which would be decided at a trial.

The lawsuit, which TechEye has obtained, reads: “McAfee sells its products and its services on its website. When consumers buy these products directly from McAfee, however, a misleading pop-up on the McAfee site leads them to unwittingly enrol in subscription based services, offered by a third party, Arpu Inc.”

And times must be tight for the security company as the two women allege that McAfee receives an “undisclosed fee” for doing this. They also claim the company does not inform customers of terms and conditions and that it is sharing their personal information.  

The lawsuit claims that when customers buy McAfee security software online, they are presented with a pop-up asking people to “buy it now”, which looks like part of the McAfee brand. By clicking on the pop-up users agree to pay a $4.95 per month fee to web ad company Arpu.

“The pop-up, mimicking the look of the other pages on the McAfee site, thanks the customer for purchasing McAfee software, and prompts McAfee’s customers to click a red button to ‘Try it Now’,” the lawsuit states. “The pop-up contains no obvious visual cues or conspicuous text indicating that it is an advertisement for another product, or that clicking on ‘Try it Now’ will lead not to the delivery of the McAfee product but rather to the purchase of a completely different product. Instead, all the visual cues suggest that ‘Try It Now’ is a necessary step in downloading the McAfee software.”

It’s not clear what the outcome will be, but if this lawsuit has taught us anything, it’s that even security companies can fall down sometimes.