Adobe’s Sleazy Customer Management

I started to use Adobe Photoshop a good few years ago and spent a good chunk of money on upgrades over the years. When Adobe changed to a subscription model, I decided that a monthly sub of a bit under 9 GBP for Photoshop and Lightroom was reasonable. However, for various reasons, I used the software less and less: in the last six months, I’ve done no image processing with Lightroom and opened Photoshop maybe twice.

Nine quid a month for nothing isn’t reasonable so I logged on to my Adobe account see about cancelling my sub. Here was revealed the first bit of sleazy behaviour: there is no way to cancel on the account management page. You have to contact Adobe by chat line or phone. Already I’m expecting some hassle. Anyway, I elected for chat line and after a short wait, Chinthana appeared.

I explained I wanted to cancel because I wasn’t getting any value as I wasn’t using the software. This lead to the second sleazy manoeuvre: I was offered next month free if I carried on with the subscription. At this point, I should point out that the Adobe CC subscription is an annual subscription payable monthly. No doubt, I knew this when I signed up, but had forgotten. Adobe doesn’t remind you very often. I get an invoice each month that includes the line:

“Your Creative Cloud membership will renew automatically each month until you cancel.”

It seems to me it’s reasonable to suppose that I could cancel anytime with a month’s notice. Chinthana explained that the small print doesn’t say this: it says you can cancel, but you have to pay 50% of the remaining annual subscription— 32.48 GBP in my case. By this time, I was pissed off and responded:

“I will pay this under protest. I think this policy is disgraceful for a customer who has paid the sub for at least two years.”

Time for sleazy tactic number 3: I was offered two free months to see out my subscription. The conversation continued:

Roger Cavanagh: No. How many times do I have to repeat myself? I want to cancel. I am getting no value for my money as I do not use the software anymore.
Chinthana: Okay. Are you okay with the cancellation fee?
Roger Cavanagh: No I am not OK with the cancellation fee, but no doubt, the small print says I have to pay it.
Roger Cavanagh: The monthly bill you send says: “Your Creative Cloud membership will renew automatically each month until you cancel.” It does not say, “and you will be charged to leave”.

At this point, Chinthana said he would check with his supervisor. After a little while, he came back on line and said his supervisor had agreed to waive the fee. Now I’m sure than Chinthana does have a supervisor, but I’m not all sure that he asked permission to waive the cancellation charge. It’s more likely that the workflow got to a point that tells the agent to give up and let the customer off.

So I got what I wanted: cancellation. Adobe got almost one month’s sub for nothing because my last payment was only a couple of days ago and I have already uninstalled the software. But I am left with a much-reduced opinion of the company.


  1. Yeah they’re fucking retarded

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