The US is suing Adobe for hiding termination fees and making it difficult to cancel subscriptions

The US Department of Justice has He filed a lawsuit against Adobe, claiming that the company is deceiving consumers by hiding early termination fees and making it difficult for people to cancel their subscriptions.

In the complaint filed Monday, the Justice Department wrote that “Adobe harmed consumers by enrolling them in the more profitable default subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms.”

The government says Adobe pushed consumers toward a “annual paid monthly” subscription without informing them that canceling the plan in the first year would cost hundreds of dollars.

Adobe only discloses early termination fees when subscribers try to cancel, turning early termination fees into a “powerful retention tool” by trapping consumers into subscriptions they no longer want, the complaint says.

“During enrollment, Adobe hides the material terms of its APM plan in fine print and behind option text boxes and hyperlinks, evidencing disclosures designed to go unnoticed and that most consumers never see,” according to the complaint. “Adobe then prevents cancellations by using a cumbersome and complex cancellation process.”

Adobe says it plans to refute these claims in court.

“Subscription services are convenient, flexible and cost-effective to allow users to choose the plan that best fits their needs, schedule and budget,” Dana Rao, Adobe’s general counsel and director of trust, said in a statement. “Our priority is ensuring our customers always have a positive experience. We are transparent with the terms and conditions of our subscription agreements and have a simple cancellation process.

The Justice Department’s complaint says Adobe violated federal laws designed to protect consumers. The government is seeking “injunctive relief, civil penalties, equitable monetary relief, as well as other remedies.”

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Adobe switched to a subscription model in 2012 and began asking consumers to pay for access to the company’s software on a recurring basis. In the past, users could access the company’s software after paying a one-time fee. The Federal Trade Commission notes that subscriptions account for most of the company’s revenue.

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