– 23 January 2020 – Business
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- SFR is still accused of hiding an increase in the price of Internet subscription
It might be a good idea to carefully read the next bill you receive from SFR, if it is through this ISP that you access the Internet at home: a paid option might very well have slipped in without your knowledge and add another 3 euros per month to your bill. This is the warning issued by the UFC-Que Choisir on January 22, after observing this manoeuvre at the operator’s customers.
The option in question is an IT security software suite developed by F-Secure, a Finnish company with a well-established reputation in this sector. It consists of an antivirus program, which can be installed on five different workstations, and a password manager, which can be deployed on ten terminals. Given the risks that exist on the net, it seems a good thing to protect yourself.
F-Secure at the MWC, in 2016. // Source: Kārlis
But the end does not justify the means. While the consumer protection association admits that the offer is, at first sight, very economical (it costs “only” 36 euros per year, whereas the closest F-Secure solution to this formula, F-Secure Safe, is sold for twice as much, at 79.99 euros per year, if purchased separately), the way in which it is organised is completely unwelcome.
The first, and most obvious, is that the arrival of this paid option may have been missed by some of the customers, even though the UFC-Que Choisir observes that information was indeed sent to the subscribers concerned. But it is still necessary, and this is especially true for the mail, that it is the right mail that has been used! It is common for Internet users to use a third party solution (randomly, Gmail) and not the ISP’s service.
The second concerns the terms and conditions of the offer: the UFC-Que Choisir warns that the offer will be definitively linked to the subscriber’s subscription from June 2020. After this date, it will no longer be possible to renounce it. The only way will be the hard way, i.e. by simply leaving SFR and going to the competition – but will it be worth it, given the hardship that this entails?
To get rid of the option, you have to go to the customer area.
The third grievance noted by the association is that the benefits of this billing may not even be used by some subscribers. Indeed, unlike an option imposed against a little more mobile data, the software has to be downloaded and installed. The customer must therefore perform several tasks beforehand to benefit from it. If not, he’ll pay for a service in the wind.
Finally, two other arguments are weighed: the first is that for some of the customers, the offer is of no interest. They may already have a software suite, whether it is F-Secure or a competitor’s solution. Not only will this lead to unnecessary duplication of effort, but paradoxically it may also reduce the overall level of security of computer workstations. Only one is better.
The second one is about the offer itself: if the solution includes two very useful software packages, it does not necessarily include protections that you would specifically need. As an example, the association cites anti-spam, parental control software or a digital safe. In addition, there may be cheaper formulas, by playing on the number of posts covered by the licence.
If this option is included in your package, you can still refuse it until June, by switching back to the old offer. To do this, go to your customer area and carry out the necessary manipulations. You can of course give yourself some time to think about it, and in particular to compare the offer with other third party solutions. It may also be right for you.
The UFC-Que Choisir has little taste for SFR’s latest initiative. Of course, this is not the first time that the operator has been inventive in adding to the bill. But here, “the operator is taking a step forward,” the association writes, because it’s not just about mobile data or access to an online reading service. This is a security issue, one that should not be taken lightly, especially when it is likely to affect audiences who are not the most comfortable with computers.