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DOJ sues Adobe Inc. for deceptive practices


It's not every day that a lawsuit from the Department of Justice comes out against a major software company where the issue at hand you experienced personally just 2 days prior, but that happened to me today!

As I was doom-scrolling on social media I saw a post that said the US Justice Department had sued Adobe for hiding early termination fees and making it almost impossible to cancel.

The FTC referred this complaint to the DOJ when their investigation found that allegedly "Adobe ambushed users with hefty "early termination fees" and threw up obstacles when people tried to cancel", as FTC Chair Lina Khan put it on X earlier today.

This is almost exactly what I encountered. To give you some context, I'm one of those who reads subscription terms carefully and sets calendar dates if I know I need to cancel before a trial date ends or some other important renewal option. Saturday I went to cancel Adobe Premier Pro since I was no longer going to need it. To my surprise when I went to cancel, a notification popped up that said if I cancel now I would still be charged a fee that is prorated for the rest of the 12 months.

I certainly don't recall committing to a year of service as I chose a monthly billing option instead of the discounted yearly plan. Adobe is saying that the plan I chose was indeed monthly billing but there was a commitment to one year and if I terminated the plan there would be an early termination fee.


Now I could have overlooked the plan details or somehow missed something obvious but that doesn't happen very often. When I saw the fee I decided to keep it, of course, and deal with it, as maybe something positive would come out of it. It wasn't going to break the bank so I just moved on.

Then there was today's lawsuit news.

It will be interesting to see what happens but the FTCs larger point is that too many companies try to get away with deceptive business practices like the ones alleged here. Amazon was sued for something similar. Another example of trying to prevent customers from canceling is major news outlets like the Sun Sentinel that make you call them on the phone to cancel.


You want me to spend 15+ minutes going through an automated service, waiting for the right representative, then that person trying to sell me on some other option, like it's 1998?

No thanks. That's more of a reason to cancel.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the article in The Verge:

"Customers encounter similar obstacles when attempting to cancel their subscriptions over the phone or via live chats, the DOJ alleges. The complaint claims “subscribers have had their calls or chats either dropped or disconnected and have had to re-explain their reason for calling when they re-connect.” The lawsuit alleges that these practices break federal laws designed to protect consumers.

The lawsuit also targets Adobe executives Maninder Sawhney, the senior vice president of digital go-to-market and sales, as well as David Wadhwani, the president of the company’s digital media business. The complaint says both executives “directed, controlled, had the authority to control, or participated in the acts and practices of Adobe.” Adobe didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment."


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