Adobe Sued for Using Tactics to Extract Money from Users: Forcing Payment to Cancel Creative Cloud Plans

Additionally, users are unknowingly tied to Adobe’s annual subscription plans.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have filed a lawsuit against Adobe for imposing hidden cancellation fees on users wishing to cancel their Creative Cloud subscriptions. Adobe is accused of “forcing users through a complex and difficult cancellation process to prevent them from canceling unwanted service plans.”

Adobe offers Creative Cloud products as monthly subscription packages. Monthly payments imply that users can cancel at any time, but in reality, this is not the case. Most customers are locked into a hidden annual agreement.

Customers who sign up for a free trial are subsequently charged and automatically moved to the default Creative Cloud plan, which is an annual contract. To cancel this contract, users must pay a fee equal to 50% of the “remaining contract value” even though the service will end that month.

Adobe offers a monthly subscription option, but the fee is higher than the monthly payments for the annual contract. This difference is not clearly explained to new or existing customers. Adobe even has a separate help page due to the complexity of the subscription packages.

For example, on Adobe’s website, the fee for full access to all applications is $60 per month, but this only applies if you agree to an annual contract. The real monthly plan, which allows you to cancel at any time, costs $90 per month. If you pay for the whole year, you will not be refunded if you cancel after the 14-day period.

According to the DOJ, Adobe’s actions violate the “Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act” (ROSCA) by using fine print and hard-to-see hyperlinks to hide information about early cancellation fees.

The indictment alleges that for years, Adobe has exploited these hidden fees, deceiving consumers about the actual cost of the subscription plan and suddenly imposing these fees when they cancel the service, using it as an effective user retention tool.

The indictment also accuses Adobe of further violating ROSCA by failing to provide users with a simple mechanism to cancel recurring online subscriptions. Instead, Adobe is accused of protecting subscription revenue by preventing users from canceling the service, forcing them through a complex and inefficient cancellation process with many unnecessary steps, delays, unwanted offers, and warnings.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount of compensation for consumers along with monetary civil penalties and a permanent injunction to prevent Adobe from continuing to use hidden fees to hinder customer subscription cancellations.