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HomeTechnologyUS sues Adobe for hiding termination fees and making it difficult to...

US sues Adobe for hiding termination fees and making it difficult to cancel subscriptions

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Adobe alleging that the company deceives consumers by hiding the early-termination fee and making it difficult for people to cancel their subscriptions.

In the complaint filed on Monday, the DOJ wrote that “Adobe has harmed consumers by enrolling them in its default, most lucrative subscription plan without clearly disclosing important plan terms.”

The government says Adobe pushed consumers toward the “annual paid monthly” subscription without informing them that canceling the plan in the first year would cost hundreds of dollars.

Adobe only discloses the early-termination fees when subscribers attempt to cancel, and that it turns the early-termination fee into a “powerful retention tool” by trapping consumers in subscriptions that they no longer want, the complaint says.

“During enrollment, Adobe hides material terms of its APM plan in fine print and behind option textboxes and hyperlinks, proving disclosures that are designed to go unnoticed and that most consumers never see,” according to the complaint. “Adobe then deters cancellations by employing an onerous and complicated cancellation process.”

Adobe did not immediately respond to TechCrunch’s request for comment.

The complaint says Adobe has violated federal laws designed to protect consumers. The government is seeking “injunctive relief, civil penalties, equitable monetary relief, as well as other relief.”

Adobe shifted to a subscription model in 2012 and started requiring consumers to pay for access to the company’s software on a recurring basis. In the past, users could access the company’s software after paying a one-time fee. Subscriptions account for most of the company’s revenue, the Federal Trade Commission notes.

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