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The FTC is suing Adobe over ‘hidden fees’ and subscriptions

Adobe has had a bit of a monopoly in the editing software space for a while now. With the launch of Creative Cloud and a switch to a subscription model for Adobe apps, many long-time users have complained about pricing and the subscription cancellation process. Now, the US government has decided that enough is enough, with the FTC filing a lawsuit against the company and two of the company's high-ranking executives.

federal court complaint has been filed by the US Department of Justice upon a referral from the FTC. Adobe is charged with pushing consumers into the “annual paid monthly” subscription for Creative Cloud, without making it clear enough that cancelling the plan in the first year will cost a large amount of cash. Alongside the company, two Adobe executives are also named in the complaint, Adobe's President of Digital Media, David Wadhwani and Adobe's Vice President, Maninder Sawhney.

The FTC's director of Consumer Protection, Samuel Levine, announced the legal complaint, saying: “Adobe trapped customers into year-long subscriptions through hidden early termination fees and numerous cancellation hurdles. Americans are tired of companies hiding the ball during subscription signup and then putting up roadblocks when they try to cancel. The FTC will continue working to protect Americans from these illegal business practices.”

The FTC takes issue with Adobe's sales tactics, including things like hiding important details like cancellation fees in fine print, or hiding important disclosures behind small icons that the user needs to hover the mouse over to get full details. Of course, the lengthy Adobe subscription cancellation process is also a point of contention.

Adobe will no doubt look to defend itself but the company has not publicly commented on the case yet.

KitGuru Says: Adobe's subscription has drawn complaints for over a decade. It has gym-level difficulty when it comes to trying to cancel. Perhaps now some changes will finally be put in place to make cancellations easier, and make cancellation fees more prominent when signing up for the ‘annual monthly' subscription. 

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