US DOJ Sued Adobe Over Scummy Business Practices

It hasn’t been a great month for Adobe… a firestorm started in response to Adobe Terms of Service Updates which lead to “the final straw” for many Adobe users who cancelled their subscriptions. Many of those that went to cancel their subscriptions got a rude surprise of rather copious cancellation fees. To those thinking those fees are unfair, it would appear the United States government Department of Justice – Consumer Protection Branch agree with you.

Making a bad month for Adobe even worse, it has been revealed that the DOJ have filled suite against Adobe over cancellation fees and other scummy business practices. Summarized by the Verge:

The US government is suing Adobe for allegedly hiding expensive fees and making it difficult to cancel a subscription. In the complaint filed on Monday, the Department of Justice claims Adobe “has harmed consumers by enrolling them in its default, most lucrative subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms.”

The lawsuit alleges Adobe “hides” the terms of its annual, paid monthly plan in the “fine print and behind optional textboxes and hyperlinks.” In doing so, the company fails to properly disclose the early termination fee incurred upon cancellation “that can amount to hundreds of dollars,” the complaint says.

When customers do attempt to cancel, the DOJ alleges that Adobe requires them to go through an “onerous and complicated” cancellation process that involves navigating through multiple webpages and pop-ups. It then allegedly “ambushes” customers with an early termination fee, which may discourage them from canceling.

Customers encounter similar obstacles when attempting to cancel their subscriptions over the phone or via live chats, the DOJ alleges. The complaint claims “subscribers have had their calls or chats either dropped or disconnected and have had to re-explain their reason for calling when they re-connect.” The lawsuit alleges that these practices break federal laws designed to protect consumers.

The lawsuit also targets Adobe executives Maninder Sawhney, the senior vice president of digital go-to-market and sales, as well as David Wadhwani, the president of the company’s digital media business. The complaint says both executives “directed, controlled, had the authority to control, or participated in the acts and practices of Adobe.” Adobe didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

“Adobe trapped customers into year-long subscriptions through hidden early termination fees and numerous cancellation hurdles,” Samuel Levine, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement. “Americans are tired of companies hiding the ball during subscription signup and then putting up roadblocks when they try to cancel.” The federal government began looking into Adobe’s cancellation practices late last year.

Key Links

Full Verge Article

DOJ Complaint Against Adobe (PDF Link)

Adobe Product Alternatives

You can learn more about the DOJ lawsuit against Adobe in the video below.

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