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'Adobe Literally Will Not Let Me Cancel:' U.S. Justice Department Sues Adobe Over Subscription Policies The DOJ is calling out Adobe's hidden fees and its cancellation policies in a new lawsuit.

By Sherin Shibu Edited by Melissa Malamut

Key Takeaways

  • The U.S. Department of Justice sued Adobe on Monday for allegedly trapping customers into a year-long subscription without properly disclosing hidden fees.
  • Adobe also charges an early termination fee for the plan which can cost hundreds of dollars, according to the filing.
  • Adobe has more than 60% of the global market share in application development.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing Adobe, alleging that the company makes it difficult for customers to cancel subscriptions and doesn't tell them about a pricey early termination fee until they try.

The DOJ filed a complaint on Monday calling out Adobe's "Annual, Paid Monthly" plan, which Adobe enrolls customers in by default.

The plan costs $59.99 per month or $719.88 per year and is framed by two alternatives priced at $89.99 per month or $659.88 per year — making it an appealing, lower-cost option in comparison.

Related: Adobe's Firefly Image Generator Was Partially Trained on AI Images From Midjourney, Other Rivals

The issue is that there's an early termination fee (ETF) which can cost several hundreds of dollars if subscribers try to end the payments early. And Adobe doesn't make it clear that the ETF applies when subscribers first sign up, per the filing.

"Adobe clearly discloses the ETF only when subscribers attempt to cancel… trapping consumers in subscriptions they no longer want," the filing stated.

The filing further alleges that Adobe prevents subscribers from ending their plans by making the cancellation process "onerous and complicated."

The DOJ accuses Adobe of breaking federal consumer protection laws and asked Adobe to cancel its subscription contracts, issue refunds, and pay other relief.

Related: Adobe Photoshop Users Are Outraged at the Company's New Terms

Adobe has more than 60% of the global market share in application development, more than Microsoft, and raked in more than $19 billion in revenue last year.

Of that revenue, 94%, or $18.28 billion, came from subscriptions.

The filing illustrated the frustration customers have experienced when they tried to cancel their Adobe subscriptions.

"Adobe literally will not let me cancel my subscription," one person reported, adding that when they tried to cancel online, they were put through a "loop to continually sign in and cannot move forward to cancel."

Adobe knew about these complaints, and others, caused by its cancellation policies — but "has nevertheless persisted in its violative practices to the present day," the DOJ alleged.

Adobe recently faced controversy for its terms and agreements, which appeared to give the company full access to user content. Adobe updated the terms on Tuesday.

Sherin Shibu

Entrepreneur Staff

News Reporter

Sherin Shibu is a business news reporter at Entrepreneur.com. She previously worked for PCMag, Business Insider, The Messenger, and ZDNET as a reporter and copyeditor. Her areas of coverage encompass tech, business, strategy, finance, and even space. She is a Columbia University graduate.

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