US Files Lawsuit Against Adobe for Alleged Misleading Billing Practices and Difficulty Canceling Subscriptions


The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Adobe, alleging that the company deceives consumers by hiding the early-termination fee and making it difficult for people to cancel their subscriptions. The DOJ claims that Adobe enrolls consumers in its default, most lucrative subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms.

According to the complaint, Adobe pushes consumers towards the “annual paid monthly” subscription without informing them that canceling the plan in the first year would cost hundreds of dollars. The company only discloses the early-termination fees when subscribers attempt to cancel, and turns the fee into a “powerful retention tool” by trapping consumers in subscriptions they no longer want.

The DOJ alleges that Adobe hides material terms of its subscription plan in fine print and behind option textboxes and hyperlinks, making it difficult for consumers to notice. The company then deters cancellations by employing an onerous and complicated cancellation process.

Adobe has responded to the allegations, stating that its subscription services are convenient, flexible, and cost-effective, and that it is transparent with the terms and conditions of its subscription agreements. The company also claims to have a simple cancellation process.

The DOJ’s complaint alleges that Adobe has violated federal laws designed to protect consumers, and is seeking injunctive relief, civil penalties, and other relief. Adobe shifted to a subscription model in 2012, requiring consumers to pay for access to its software on a recurring basis. Subscriptions now account for most of the company’s revenue.

Aisha Malik
Aisha Malik
Aisha is a consumer news reporter. Previously, she was a telecom reporter at MobileSyrup. Aisha holds an honours bachelor’s degree from University of Toronto and a master’s degree in journalism from Western University.

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