The United States government is suing Adobe for allegedly concealing costly costs and making subscription cancellation challenging.

Adobe “has harmed consumers by enrolling them in its default, most lucrative subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms,” according to the Department of Justice’s complaint, which was filed on Monday.

According to the lawsuit, Adobe “hides” the small print and optional textboxes and hyperlinks from users of its annual, or monthly plan. According to the complaint, the corporation does not appropriately reveal the early termination cost that is charged upon cancellation and can reach several hundred dollars.

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According to the DOJ, when customers try to cancel, Adobe has them go through a “onerous and complicated” cancellation process that includes going through several webpages and pop-ups. Customers are then purportedly “ambushed” with an early termination fee, perhaps discouraging them from canceling.

The DOJ claims that customers have comparable difficulties when trying to cancel their subscriptions over the phone or through live chat. According to the lawsuit, “subscribers have experienced dropped or disconnected calls or chats and have been required to re-explain their reason for calling when they re-connect.” According to the lawsuit, these actions violate federal statutes intended to safeguard consumers.

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The lawsuit also names David Wadhwani, the president of Adobe’s digital media division, and Maninder Sawhney, senior vice president of digital go-to-market and sales. According to the complaint, both executives were involved in the conduct and practices of Adobe, either by directing, controlling, or having the authority to do so. Adobe did not respond to a request for comment right away.

Adobe came under fire for marketing AI-generated “Ansel Adams-style” photos.
Samuel Levine, head of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, stated in a statement that “Adobe trapped customers into year-long subscriptions through hidden early termination fees and numerous cancellation hurdles.” “People in America have had enough of businesses hiding things from them when they sign up for subscriptions and then creating obstacles in their way when they try to cancel.” Late last year, the federal government started investigating Adobe’s cancellation policies.

Adobe changed the way it sold its creative software in 2012. Instead of offering lifetime access, users now have to pay a monthly or annual membership fee to use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other tools in the suite. Creatives have long been irritated by the company’s subscription model since they are frequently compelled to maintain their Adobe subscription in order to continue performing their duties. Adobe’s new terms of service caused controversy earlier this month when some saw it as a chance to train its AI on user artwork.

The case indicates that regulators are still keeping an eye on Adobe. After European regulators raised antitrust concerns, Adobe withdrew its $20 billion plan to purchase the product design platform Figma in 2022.\