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Antivirus Maker Forced to Pay Damages to Infected User

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Panda Security must pay financial damages to a customer that suffered a malware infection which the company’s antivirus failed to pick-up, despite running an up-to-date signature database.

The decision to award financial damages to the client came from the National Board for Consumer Disputes (ARN), a public authority that functions roughly like a court to resolve disputes between consumers and businesses operating in Sweden.

According to Swedish local news sources such as Västerbottens-Kuriren and PC för Alla, the incident came to light on December 19, when a woman of 60+ years tried to access two online TV channels but was told to install Flash Player.

After not being able to install Flash Player on her own, she contacted a PC repair company, who discovered malware on her computer, despite having an up-to-date Panda antivirus installed.

The woman was upset that she had to pay a PC repair company to fix her computer and remove the malware infection. She was also upset that in July 2015 she extended her Panda Antivirus Pro 2015 subscription for two more years, and had expected to be protected from such unfortunate events.

She first contacted Panda Security Sweden to file a complaint, but after she didn’t receive the response she waited for, she filed another complaint with ARN and requested her money back, for both the subscription and the cost of the PC repairs.

ARN awarded the woman 1,900 Swedish Krona ($209), according to Cyber War News. Of the sum, 1,440 Krona ($159) was for PC repair bills and 460 Krona ($50) for the antivirus subscription.

ARN didn’t award the woman the full sum she requested, subtracting the months between July and December 2015, when she used the antivirus license (and was protected), and also reduced the PC repair bills after they discovered that the repair shop had performed and charged for extra operations that weren’t required.

The agency’s ruling is not a legally binding decision and is only a recommendation on how disputes should be solved. Panda Security Sweden can reject the decision and opt not to refund the customer. In this case, the only solution is to take the antivirus company to court.

In similar legal cases, antivirus companies often claim that the complaining customers could have disabled the antivirus protection on purpose, or by accident, at the time of the infection.

A request for comment to Panda Security Sweden from Bleeping Computer was not answered at the time of publishing.

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