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Adobe tries to strong-arm me into keeping Creative Cloud

To everyone who got here through Twitter or Facebook or Hacker News or whatever: THIS IS NOT ME.

The "Me" in this transcript is @raddevon, who shared his story first on reddit.


List of incompetent jackasses who can't check a source if their lives depended on it:


Chaitra: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.

Me: Hello

Chaitra: Hi Devon

Chaitra: I understand that you wish to cancel your subscription, let me help you with that.

Chaitra: May I know the reason for cancellation please?

Me: I'm not using the software enough to justify the cost.

Chaitra: Thank you for the information.

Me: No problem!

Chaitra: I have checked and see that you have Creative Cloud membership (one-year) subscription, which was purchased on 18 Jun 2013.

Chaitra: Before you decide to cancel your subscription, let me give you an offer.

Chaitra: I can give you 1 month free subscription which will help you save a months subscription fee and next month of your membership will be free, with your annual commitment.

Chaitra: Will you be interested in 1 month free offer?

Me: No, I don't think so, but thank you for the offer.

Me: Is that it?

Chaitra: If you wish I can provide you next 2 months free as an exception which would save next 2 months fee for you , If you are willing to continue and complete your current annual commitment.

Chaitra: Would you wish to continue with the subscription with 2 months free subscription?

Me: The only way I would consider keeping the service is if you could permanently lower the monthly cost. I'm not getting value out of my $50 monthly subscription and a free month or two won't change that. I would keep the service if I could have access to all the apps for $20/month. Otherwise, I'd like to cancel.

Chaitra: If I change the plan to 29.99 USD, do you wish to continue with the subscription?

Me: No thank you. Please cancel it.

Chaitra: Before , I go ahead and cancel your subscription are you interested in photography so I can change your subscription to photography plan which is 9.99 USD per month which includes Lightroom and photoshop in it ?

Me: No thank you.

Chaitra: Devon, you have purchased a subscription with annual commitment, since you wish to cancel the subscription before the end of one year period, you will be billed 50% of your monthly rate for the remaining months in your annual commitment as early termination fee.

Chaitra: If you pay early termination fee, you will not be able to use the product, however If you continue with the subscription with 2 month free subscription you will be able to use the subscription and also get two months free subscription. In this case, I would suggest you to take an advantage of two months free subscription.

Chaitra: Are we still connected?

Me: I thought you said my subscription started in 2013? Why would I pay an early termination fee?

Chaitra: I see that you have change the plan on Jan 7, 2014.

Me: OK. So, one year from that date would have been January 7, 2015.

Chaitra: Yes.

Chaitra: you have renewed for the another year.

Me: How?

Chaitra: I would like to inform you that, all Adobe subscription renew automatically, if you don't cancel the subscription in 12th month you will be moved to second year cycle. We have sent the notification email regarding the second year commitment for the subscription as we send a notification email for every renewal of the subscription.

Me: If that's true, this is the 12th month of my subscription. Today would be the day it would renew. I want to cancel before that happens.

Chaitra: I checked and see that I your subscription billing date is today, that is 07 Jan 2016.

Chaitra: In this case, If O cancel the subscription also the subscription will reactivate.

Me: You're telling me that if I cancel today, the subscription will automatically renew for another year even though it has been canceled?

Chaitra: Yes.

Me: That sounds like a bug in your billing software. I'm not responsible for that.

Chaitra: Since today is the billing date, the monthly billing has already been started and it is not possible to stop it

Me: Can you connect me with your supervisor?

Chaitra: Also once you get charged, the payment gets updated and it reactivate the service so that you can use it till the month.

Chaitra: I am canceling it now

Me: Can you ensure I won't be charged any termination fees since I have satisfied my year commitment?

Chaitra: And forwarding the case to our relevant department to make sure it gets canceled permanently

Chaitra: Yes, there won't be any fee.

Chaitra: I have already taken care of that

Me: Excellent. Thank you.

Chaitra: You will have access to the apps till Feb 7 2016

Chaitra: You will no longer get charged except today for it,.

Chaitra: You are welcome.

Chaitra: Is there anything else I can help you with?

Me: Nothing else. Thank you.

Chaitra: You are welcome.

Chaitra: Have a great day.

Chaitra: Thank you for contacting Adobe. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!

@jdsimcoe

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Good night! This is awful.

@robinraszka

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Been there. Adobe is evil.

@elimelec

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commented Jan 18, 2016

  1. Buy at $50 a month
  2. Cancel and speak with the sales rep
  3. Buy at $30 with bonus 2 free months
  4. Profit
@docmars

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commented Jan 18, 2016

At $30/mo, 2 free bonus months effectively takes the annual rate to $300 instead of $600, making your monthly rate $25/mo.

@hellodouglas

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Woah, that is insane. Relentless, somewhat politely ruthless. I cancelled my personal subscription with Adobe and I've never had such a harder sell with retaining me.. Argh this frustrates me.

@kurtm

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commented Jan 18, 2016

They pulled the same thing with me when I called to cancel my annual subscription. I gave them the reason that I didn't use the software enough to justify the cost and would just purchase month-to-month when I needed it. They raised the prospect of the higher month-to-month cost, which I pointed out would still be less expensive than their annual plan, given how much I expected to use the software. The rep then offered me the photography-only plan, which I declined and then offered me the entire Creative Cloud suite for $29.99/mo for a year.

@volanStudio

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Had a similar issue - had an employer paying for a seed for me and they "needed to know the email associated with the new account" to avoid the $300 early termination fee. They had a data breach and they want me to link accounts in their system??? Horrible company making garbage software.

@jpambrun

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commented Jan 18, 2016

As I have written an HN:

My wife had a similar issue last week. She just notice the 600 CAD charge on her credit card. She is on maternity leave and, therefore, she is not using the software. She had no warning prior to the automatic renewing date and no invoice after the charge. She called to cancel as soon as she noticed and they decline saying that the 14-day grace period had passed. They "can" only reimburse 50% of the yearly subscription. I know some will say that it is her fault for not having marked the calendar or something, but I disagree. I think that this unfair practices. Furthermore, I'm 95% sure that this kind of behavior is illegal in Quebec. We are still waiting for an email from the "supervisor" on that issue. To be continued..

@kylemitchell

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Had the same issue, it was so terribly frustrating. Glad I'm no longer a subscriber.

@neshill

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commented Jan 18, 2016

I had the issue of trying to get an official response of why the subscription is not available in my country. Needless to say, I was pushed around twitter and customer support to never get a clear response, purely "it's not available". I'd have to pay more than twice as much a year in advance to access it, because CC is only available via "partners" here.

It's just ridiculous and insulting.

@dandigangi

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commented Jan 18, 2016

SMH Adobe...

@nicerobot

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commented Jan 18, 2016

This all seems like a mostly reasonable exchange. Except for the auto-renew part, that seeming like they tried to force/scare you into staying another year, all the rest seems like a company just trying to keep a customer. I don't have a problem with a company trying to keep me, in fact, i expect it, as long as they're polite about it and don't use mean/scare tactics when they realize I'm going to cancel no matter what they offer.

@chourobin

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commented Jan 18, 2016

in a situation like this, could you just cancel your credit card or file a dispute with your card company?

@tara-n

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commented Jan 18, 2016

I've found the Adobe customer service team/live chat generally unhelpful and at times plain rude. It's suprising given that Adobe has such a great track record as an employer.

@ramani07

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Hi, my name is Rani Mani, and I lead the Social Care team at Adobe for our creative products. First, I want to apologize for this experience. We have been working very hard to improve the experience when cancelling, and contacting customer service, and seeing this is just as frustrating for us, as it is for everyone else.

We did have an issue over a year ago that’s since been fixed that prohibited customers from canceling their subscription on their billing date without reactivating their account. In this particular case, the agent was misinformed and has been coached with the correct process. We have also taken this opportunity to provide refresher training for the rest of our agents on the cancellation process.

In addition, we are working on changes to the website, to make it easier for customers to cancel in general, so they don't need to contact customers support.

If you have additional thoughts, feedback and suggestions, please feel free to email me directly at ramani@adobe.com, or post here.

Thanks,
Rani

@jpambrun

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commented Jan 18, 2016

@ramani07, how about sending customers an email reminder a couple of days before the auto-renew and subsequent 500+$ charge? Isn't that basic decency?

@slmyers

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commented Jan 18, 2016

@ramani07

I will never subscribe to any Adobe service or software after reading this gist.

@mattmischuk

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commented Jan 18, 2016

Wow, this is completely unacceptable.

@PeteHockey

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commented Jan 18, 2016

What a hard sell...

@ghost

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commented Jan 19, 2016

So the real price is $30/month, eh. Good to know.

@hachre

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commented Jan 19, 2016

This is the reason why Adobe doesn't have fans; they only have slaves as their customers.

@Macpro43

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commented Jan 19, 2016

This is probably one of the reasons why everyone is not using them anymore. Well at least in the design industry they are slowly fading away.

@podrivo

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commented Jan 19, 2016

So much for "changing the world through digital experiences"... Dinosaur company.

@ramijames

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commented Jan 19, 2016

Ya, I had a similar experience and it is one of the main reasons why I will not go back to Adobe software. I'd rather have a little pain in my workflow as to not give those monsters my money anymore. I wrote about it here: https://medium.com/let-s-talk-design/bye-bye-adobe-3c3ba22c4ac0#.j7vdd47xp

@alexcican

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commented Jan 19, 2016

Thanks for posting this, @raddevon, and forking it, @roddds. Exposing SHIT like this, with time, will improve our customer experience when using other apps.

@ramani07 you should resign, not apologize.

@suvil

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commented Jan 19, 2016

I'd attribute this much to general incompetence rather than any malicious or strong-arming tactic on behalf of adobe. I had been a subscriber for two years and cancelled last November. I still cannot wrap my head around the fact that you've got to call or chat with customer support to cancel your subscription. Feels like going back to medieval age in 2016. Why can't adobe just have a single 'cancel' button in their console to make life easier for everyone involved?

@jarfil

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commented Jan 19, 2016

As a general rule of thumb when interacting with a company, ANY company:

  • DO NOT wait until the last day to cancel your subscription; always call before that, and read your contract to see how long before you need to call (sometimes it's 1 day, sometimes it's 15 days, YMMV).
  • When possible, use PREPAID credit cards, so when they try to renew without you approving it... yeah, good luck with that.

I've been a happy Adobe customer for many years, I always let my subscription "expire", then I have 30 days to recharge a prepaid card to renew it... if I still want to.

@juanmnl

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commented Jan 19, 2016

This is awful! Been there a couple of times. Adobe doesn't give a f** about customers. Sorry that you went through that road.
I'm gonna highjack the thread and leave my 'adobe story' here. Hope you don't mind :)

3 years ago (2013), i moved to south america from France. Had an adobe account for 2+ years (since 2011) paying for the whole bundle, but when i moved, Adobe support told me they couldn't change the billing of my account from euros to dollars, that i had to "delete and create another account". (Insane right?) Luckily i have multiple emails, but if you have only one you are in trouble, as adobe doesn't delete your email and you can't create an account with the previous one. Well, created a new account, after transferring everything from the other one, etc, etc...
In june (2015) i was in the amazon jungle (Ecuador), and got my credit card replaced, which led to a billing problem in my adobe account (and many other services). Came back home 3 or 4 days after that just to see my adobe account suspended and further deleted for that billing problem, without a chance to recover the files from the adobe cloud and nobody willing to help.

This shows the way. If you want to cancel your adobe subscription, just call your bank and deny/block payments to adobe, they'll delete your account no questions asked in a couple of days.

It has been painful leaving the illustrator and photoshop combo, but it has been great for my wallet though.

@ramani07

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commented Jan 19, 2016

@jpambrun Adobe does send one renewal email 30 days prior to renewal. We also send a confirmation email when it is renewed ( day of)
The end date is also noted in the Account Management console as well.

Thanks,
Rani

@sotonin

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commented Jan 19, 2016

This is complete bullshit. I had no idea that they "auto-renewed" your yearly contract. I thought I was on the hook for 1 year then it was month to month. Will be figuring out my annual anniversary and cancelling before then. Lost a customer Adobe. This is a terrible policy

@userkamil

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commented Jan 19, 2016

I have been through the same process

@jpambrun

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commented Jan 19, 2016

@ramani07 We have looked trough her emails and found none (I don't have access to my wife's email now). It could have ben lost in the dozens of spam emails sent by Adobe each month though.

Also, you actually need to use the software to see the note on the Account Management console. As I said she is on maternity leave.

I still think this is an abusive practice and against consumer protection laws in my juridiction. We are just waiting for a email from the "senior" CSR, which is actually overdue, to ascertain if we pursue this matter further.

Edit: looked again in the emails and couldn't find any renewal notice.

@ramani07

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commented Jan 19, 2016

@jpambrun , please email me your wife's contact info to ramani@adobe.com and I'll make sure we take care of her.

Thanks,
Rani

@jpambrun

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commented Jan 20, 2016

Thanks to @ramani07, @raddevon and @roddds, it appears that our issue has been resolved.

Merci,
JF

@jonahvsweb

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commented Jan 25, 2016

@raddevon This sounds exactly like my story when I cancelled last year. Annoying!

@JennyHill

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commented Jan 29, 2016

I've had also had this conversation almost verbatim with Adobe. Great products shame about the company.

@Njurus

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commented Feb 2, 2016

Terrible!!!

@Paws4Thought

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commented Jun 8, 2016

Seems to me if Adobe would just charge the REAL price... which is apparently $29.99 per month... they wouldn't have to worry about as many people cancelling. It's like dealing with the cable company. You have to call every single year and talk to a rep just to get the price you SHOULD have gotten at the beginning :/

@amandaluu

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commented Oct 26, 2016

Just got off the phone with CS and they cancelled my Illustrator subscription but not after a lengthy online chat. At one point I had resigned to the fact that they were not going to let me out of the contract, so I asked them to cancel the auto renew, which most companies have; Your subscription continues for the length of the contract but the contract does not auto renew. Simple. However, apparently, Adobe does not have that option. You either cancel and get charged the fee, or you have to wait until the contract end nears and contact them to cancel.

This is big. The fact that you do not even have the choice to decline auto renewal just tells me that they are intentionally building in systems to ensure their profits. I'm starting to despise all these subscription models. Very few are actually built with the customer in mind. There should be a law - similar to what they have for email - that requires the customer to opt-in to auto renew.

Adobe may see record profits now, but long-term, it's not a sustainable practice to disappoint your customers like this. They're spending more money, time, resources managing cancellations, unhappy customers, and bad publicity that this will all catch up to them; Especially if more people start looking to FOSS as alternatives.

And hey, why not offer 3 month or 6 months subscriptions??

@QuantumInformation

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commented Dec 30, 2016

wow, wanted to cancel today after impulse black friday thing, and they wanted to charge £210, are they serious?

@QuantumInformation

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commented Dec 30, 2016

Ok I got an offer of 3 months free, gonna push for 4.

@QuantumInformation

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commented Dec 30, 2016

Nope, got only 3.

@damirkotoric

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commented May 22, 2017

Adobe the cable company

@qjf

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commented Jun 29, 2017

They will charge you for 50% annual fee even when you cancel your yearly plan for those crappy apps you will not use. I have to talk to a support to get this fee waived. And he has to check TWICE with his " supervisors". They just need to know if they want to keep customers THEY SHOULD BUILD BETTER APPS instead of being money thirst assholes.

@eko3alpha

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commented Sep 20, 2017

I've had the same issue with Adobe attempting to charge me a termination fee on Adobe Lightroom CC. I used LR mainly to organize the occasional photos I took. I still have a perfectly good copy of Adobe Photoshop CS5.5 so their Photoshop CC was of no value to me.

At the point I decided to cancel, I had not taken any photos in about 2 months and felt it was a waste of money to continue to use what amounted (in my use case) to a photo tagging/organizing app. After an infuriating chat with their customer support, they charged my card for the remaining year.

I promptly opened up a complaint with the BBB along with the transcript of our conversation, as well as my demands for a full refund. Nothing will get Adobe moving faster on a refund then a complaint with the BBB. When Adobe responded, I loved how they made it look as though they were giving me a one-time courtesy refund out of the goodness of their heart. If you ever have a problem with Adobe file a complaint and let them know you're serious!

BBB Complaint Center

@whisper2shade

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commented Nov 24, 2017

To be honest, i was thinking very hard about CC, because i need something as powerful as Photoshop. But i hate subscription models and Adobe CC is too damn expensive.
After reading this gist i have decided not to go Adobe route. And i just found Affinity Photo. $70 and it's yours with updates - no subscription. Right now i'm watching videos about features and what's different from Ps.

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