The US government filed a lawsuit against ADOBE on Monday (17 June), accusing the creative software maker of making it difficult for customers to cancel subscription plans and surprising users with hidden costs. 

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) accused the Photoshop maker of hiding hidden fees and other unfair terms in its ‘annual paid monthly’ subscription plan in the fine print, as well as behind hyperlinks and text boxes. 

Customers wishing to cancel Adobe online are subject to tedious navigation of multiple pages, according to the FTC. Those who choose to cancel on the phone are usually disconnected or forced to repeat themselves multiple times, the complaint alleges.

Adobe’s subscription revenue totalled $4.92bn, making up 95% of its total $5.18bn revenue, in the quarter ending at the beginning of March.

Samuel Levine, director of the FTC Consumer Protection Bureau, said: “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,” he added. 

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Adobe’s general counsel and chief trust officer, Dana Rao, maintained that the company’s subscription services were cost-effective and convenient for customers.

“Subscription services are convenient, flexible and cost-effective to allow users to choose the plan that best fits their needs, timeline and budget,” Rao said. “We are transparent with the terms and conditions of our subscription agreements and have a simple cancellation process.”

Rao said the company will combat the claims in court.