Department of Justice Sues Adobe Over Subscription Practices The US Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Adobe, accusing the company of trapping users in subscriptions through deceptive practices.

The DOJ’s lawsuit targets Adobe’s subscription cancellation process, alleging the company uses unfair practices to lock users into its most profitable plans.

According to the lawsuit, Adobe enrolls users in the “Annual, Paid Monthly” (APM) plan without adequately informing them of the year-long commitment and substantial early termination fees (ETFs), which can reach hundreds of dollars.

These fees are only prominently disclosed when users attempt to cancel their subscriptions, making them a significant retention tool.

Adobe is accused of hiding critical terms in fine print and behind obscure links, ensuring many users remain unaware of these conditions.

The lawsuit claims the company’s complex and burdensome cancellation process further deters users from opting out, ambushing them with hefty ETFs when they try to leave. Such practices, the DOJ asserts, violate federal consumer protection laws.

The DOJ’s complaint contains strong language about Adobe’s alleged wrongdoing. It states, “For years, Adobe has harmed consumers by enrolling them in its default, most lucrative subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms.

“Adobe fails to adequately disclose to consumers that by signing up for the ‘Annual, Paid Monthly’ subscription plan (‘APM plan’), they are agreeing to a year-long commitment and a hefty early termination fee (‘ETF’) that can amount to hundreds of dollars.

“Adobe clearly discloses the ETF only when subscribers attempt to cancel, turning the stealth ETF into a powerful retention tool…by trapping consumers in subscriptions they no longer want.”

The complaint also highlights the deceptive nature of Adobe’s enrollment process, explaining that:

“During enrollment, Adobe hides material terms of its APM plan in fine print and behind optional textboxes and hyperlinks, providing disclosures that are designed to go unnoticed and that most consumers never see.

“Adobe then deters cancellations by employing an onerous and complicated cancellation process. As part of this convoluted process, Adobe ambushes subscribers with the previously obscured ETF when they attempt to cancel. Through these practices, Adobe has violated federal laws designed to protect consumers.”

The language in the DOJ’s filing is assertive, aiming to underscore the severity of Adobe’s alleged practices. Personal experiences with Adobe’s cancellation process echo these claims, with many users finding it difficult to terminate their subscriptions without facing unexpected fees. This lawsuit aims to bring about lasting changes to protect consumers from such practices in the future.

This lawsuit is not the only controversy Adobe has faced recently.

The company previously sparked outrage with a change to its terms and conditions that appeared to claim ownership of users’ work.

Although Adobe later clarified that this interpretation was incorrect and promised to revise the confusing language, the DOJ lawsuit represents a more formidable challenge.

Resolving the issues raised in this legal battle may prove to be a more complex task for Adobe.

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