The alarms went off a couple of days ago among some colleagues in the sector. Adobe, the company responsible for programs such as Photoshop, Lightroom or After Effects, has brought up some users of Adobe Creative Cloud, the subscription service of the North American firm.
Apparently, the annual monthly payment plan obliges all customers of the aforementioned service to pay a fee as a penalty for unsubscribing from the annual subscription before the end of the year from the date of hiring. The situation posed by the conditions imposed by Adobe forces one to wonder what this article presides over: is Adobe ripping off Creative Cloud customers? Is this penalty legitimate? Let's see what the company policies say.
Pay per month: the trick that confuses the user
The short answer to the question posed above is simple: no, they are not trying to scam us . Just take a look at the Adobe Creative Cloud page to know the conditions of the contract, which we can access through this link.
The problem, as we can see in the upper screenshot, starts from the visual presentation of the different plans: all Creative Cloud subscriptions present their price based on the value that the plan supposes if we decide to pay the subscription monthly . In fact, the company itself sets this option by default; If we decide to switch between the monthly plan and the annual single payment plan, we will have to click on the drop-down of the three subscriptions .
This ruse has caused what we were commenting on at the beginning of the article: dozens of users have believed to have contracted a monthly subscription . Nothing is further from the truth: the subscription is annual, and payments are made month by month, as the name of the plan suggests.
This is my fault because I don't even remember seeing anything of permanence when I signed up, but I find it quite surprising that Adobe uses this ruse in the middle of 2020, when even the telecoms have gotten off that car. My subscription is € 12.09 per month. pic.twitter.com/EK1ZMW4Px6
- Javier Lacort (@jlacort) January 29, 2020
The exact same thing happened to me a year and a half ago. Fatal.
- Daniel Barca ⛵ (@DaniBarca) January 29, 2020
If we talk about the price of the three subscriptions in the aforementioned payment method, the values set by Adobe are the following:
- Creative Cloud with all applications : 60.49 euros per month for 12 months.
- Creative Cloud with a single application : 24.12 euros per month for 12 months.
- Lightroom Plan : 12.09 euros per month for 12 months.
- Photo plan : 12.09 euros per month for 12 months for the 20 GB plan and 24.19 euros per month for 12 months for the 1 TB plan.
If we do the calculation for all the hiring months, the figures are fixed as follows:
- Creative Cloud with all applications : 725.88 euros per year.
- Creative Cloud with a single application : 289.44 euros per year.
- Lightroom Plan : 145.08 euros per year.
- Photo plan : 145.08 euros per year for the plan with 20 GB and 290.28 euros per year for the plan with 1 TB.
The thing changes totally if we speak in absolute terms. But what happens if we decide to leave before the first year of hire ends?
Termination Penalties: Returning to the Dark Times of Operators
If we choose to unsubscribe to avoid paying the full annual fee, Adobe estimates a penalty, the amount of which varies depending on the amount remaining . Specifically, Adobe's terms and conditions of use state the following:
“You can cancel your subscription at any time, through your Adobe Account page or by contacting Customer Service. If you cancel within 14 days of the initial order, a full refund will be made to you. If you cancel after 14 days, you will be charged at once an accumulated amount of 50% of your remaining contractual obligation and the service will continue until the end of the billing period for that month. "
Let's look at a couple of examples to see what this clause implies in economic terms:
- Juan decides to cancel the Creative Cloud subscription with all applications for 725.88 euros per year in the middle of the year. Juan will have to pay 50% of this amount, which is about 362.94 euros. Juan will not be able to enjoy the service once he decides to unsubscribe.
- María decides to unsubscribe from the Creative Cloud plan with a single application for 289.44 euros per year just three months after the end of 2020. María will have to pay 36.18 euros in one go as a penalty. You will not be able to use the application once the cancellation has been made.
Is it worth unsubscribing paying the aforementioned penalty? For all practical purposes, no. In fact, it is more expensive to continue with the subscription until the moment of its completion . At the end of the day, canceling the service will mean not being able to use any of the Adobe suite programs that we have contracted. Not even until the end of the year.
Conclusion: it's legal (but it's not moral)
So is. Because Adobe specifies it within the contracting conditions, the application of the penalty is completely legal . Is it moral to apply this practice? Not from our point of view, and not only because of the penalty itself: also because of the way the rates are presented.
The arrow indicates the total cost of paying for the plan in one go. At no time does it refer to the penalty that Adobe applies if we want to unsubscribe.
The advisable thing to avoid any confusion to the potential clients of the company would be to highlight the price that the subscription implies in its entirety instead of presenting the price in relation to the monthly fee.
Another practice that we consider little moral has to do with the establishment of the annual plan with monthly payment as the default option within the Adobe configurator. The ideal would be to have a completely empty drop-down that allows the user to know the different contracting options. Remember that to know the application of the penalty we have to go to a page that is not within the configurator. There is also no mention of this extra cost.
The result? Confusion and discontent on the part of the users of the platform, some users who will hardly hire any of Adobe's services again , as we have been able to read in the tweets linked above.