As some of you all may already know, I’m down bad when it comes to Adobe. It doesn’t think about me, but every time I try to leave, it pulls me back in. Or at least so I thought. The FTC thinks Adobe is just making it too hard to cancel your subscriptions.
What is Adobe being investigated for?
After a number of user complaints, the FTC is finally stepping in to see what’s happening. The reports allege that it is too hard to cancel the Adobe app subscription. This is something that I absolutely agree with.
Adobe made everyone aware of the situation via an SEC filing. Companies are required to disclose when something is going down that could affect profitability. This is to ensure that investors are making the right decisions.
Since June 2022, we have been cooperating with the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) staff in response to a Civil Investigative Demand seeking information regarding our disclosure and subscription cancellation practices relative to the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act. In November 2023, the FTC staff asserted that they had the authority to enter into consent negotiations to determine if a settlement regarding their investigation of these issues could be reached.
We believe our practices comply with the law and are currently engaging in discussion with FTC staff. The defense or resolution of this matter could involve significant monetary costs or penalties and could have a material impact on our financial results and operations.
The FTC proposed “click to cancel” regulations to fix this issue:
- A simple cancellation mechanism: If consumers are unable to easily leave any program when they want to, the negative option feature becomes nothing more than a way to continue charging them for products they no longer want. To address this issue, the proposed rule would require businesses to make it at least as easy to cancel a subscription as it was to start it. For example, if you can sign up online, you must be able to cancel on the same website, in the same number of steps.
- New requirements before making additional offers: The proposed rule would allow sellers to pitch additional offers or modifications when a consumer tries to cancel their enrollment. But before making such pitches, sellers must first ask consumers whether they want to hear them. In other words, a seller must take “no” for an answer and upon hearing “no” must immediately implement the cancellation process.
- New requirements regarding reminders and confirmations: The proposed rule would require sellers to provide an annual reminder to consumers enrolled in negative option programs involving anything other than physical goods, before they are automatically renewed.
How do they get around it?
The thing that Adobe and other companies would do, though, is entice you with a low offer to keep you in the system. I must say it’s very effective, at least on me. I don’t think I’ve paid full price for Adobe Creative Cloud in some time. I’m sure they’d be happy with me paying a lower price for longer than losing the revenue if I left.
I’ve said I need to quit Adobe, but I just can’t.
I just can’t…