Adobe steered consumers to pricey services and made it hard to cancel, feds say


6/17: CBS Morning News


The U.S. government is suing Adobe, accusing the software maker of steering customers toward its most expensive subscription plans while concealing how much it costs to cancel.

The Federal Trade Commission said Monday that Adobe deceives customers by “hiding” the early termination fee for the company’s services, which includes popular tools such as Acrobat, Photoshop and Illustrator. 

Specifically, Adobe encouraged consumers to enroll in “annual paid month” plans without disclosing that canceling could cost hundreds of dollars, according to the agency. Users who do try to cancel are met unfair roadblocks, the suit also alleges. 

The lawsuit, filed in federal court by Department of Justice based on the FTC’s findings, names Adobe vice president Maninder Sawhney and the president of Adobe’s digital media business, David Wadhwani, as defendants. The FTC alleges that Adobe’s practices violate the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act.

“Adobe trapped customers into year-long subscriptions through hidden early termination fees and numerous cancellation hurdles,” Samuel Levine, the FTC’s consumer protection bureau director, 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.”

Adobe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The FTC in 2023 proposed a “click to cancel” rule that would require businesses to make it as easy to cancel subscriptions as it is to enroll.

—This is a developing story and will be updated



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