Auto-renewal - not in line with CMA

Community Beginner ,
May 31, 2022 May 31, 2022

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Hi - 

 

I was directed here by the agent, regarding auto-renewal of my Adobe subscription, therefore I'm assuming an Adobe representative will be in touch.

 

BACKGROUND

I am based in the UK. My monthly-paid annual subscription auto-renewed, and I tried to cancel within 14 days of the auto-renewal. The agent advised that the 14 day 'cooling off' period does not apply to auto-renewals.

 

LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT CONTEXT

1. Under section 30 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the contract is entered into.

 

2. The Competiton and Markets Authority (the "CMA") recently took enforcement action in the context of ‘subscription traps’ (as part of their McAfee and Norton investigations).

 

3. In Oct 2021, the CMA released new practical Guidance for businesses offering subscription services, which is based on the CMA's interpretation of consumer law: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compliance-principles-for-anti-virus-software-firms/compl... 

 

Included within the guidance as being "More Likely to Comply" is: "You provide written confirmation of the length of the renewed contract, how much has been charged, how the customer can terminate and get a refund, and when the next payment will be taken."

 

As an aside, I further note that the UK government is currently consulting on reforming competition and consumer policy, given the problems surrounding auto-renewal of subscription contracts, and is using the CMA Guidance as a base.

 

FACTUAL CONTEXT

1. When I received the initial email from Adobe, with the first one-year purchase, it stated: "Cancel your annual subscription before Jun 01 to get a full refund and avoid a fee. You can cancel your subscription anytime via your Adobe Account page or by contacting Customer Support." It is entirely reasonable that a consumer would assume that any terms that apply to an auto-renewal are no less favourable.

 

2. The renewal email (the "Renewal Notice") states: "This is a reminder that your Acrobat Pro DC subscription will automatically renew within 30 days." The language "renew" reflects that this is a new subscription, not an extension of an existing subscription, therefore, again, it is entirely reasonable to expect that the 14 day cooling off period would apply.

 

3. There is no information provided in the Renewal Notice that cancellation fees can apply after the initially contracted minimum 12-month term. 

 

4. There is no information provided in the Renewal Notice as to the length of the renewed contract or how the customer can terminate and get a refund.

 

NEXT STEPS

I understand from your agent that I am now "locked in" to this 12 month auto-renewed contract. I'd be grateful if you could kindly take me through the Renewal Notice and explain how I, as a consumer, was expected to know that this situation would arise, and that the 14 day 'cooling off' period would not apply.

 

Many thanks

Kirsty

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 01, 2022 Jun 01, 2022

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Hi @Kirsty24675886llen,

I would advice you to connect to the support team again and let them know your concerns. If the person who you connect to does not understand your problem ask to be connected to the manager, keep escalating untill you get someone who understands the issue.

-Manan

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 01, 2022 Jun 01, 2022

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Also, be aware that while Adobe provides this forum, this is NOT Adobe support. The vast majority of the people here are other users like yourself, not Adobe employees. Users, including the Adobe Community Professionals, can't provide support for account, subscription, billing, download, or product activation issues. Support for those issues requires an Adobe employee.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 01, 2022 Jun 01, 2022

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yikes.

 

i'm not sure what's going on with adobe's support personnel and adobe's contract terms, but currently adobe states:

 

kglad_1-1654093959297.png

 

 

 

and, as others have stated, these are user-to-user forums and you need to re-contact adobe support.  ask for a supervisor, if necessary.

 

using a browser that allows popups and cookies, contact adobe support by clicking here, https://helpx.adobe.com/contact.html?rghtup=autoOpen
in the chat field (lower right), type AGENT
be patient, it can take quite a while to reach a human

 

please let us know how this resolves.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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Thanks everyone for your help!

 

jFYI, Adobe eventually relented and cancelled without applying the cancellation fee - under the guise of it being a goodwill gesture - I also use language like this in work when I don't want to admit I'm in the wrong!

 

For reference, I am copying the correspondence below, in case you can be bothered wading through, but you can basically see I needed to put the burden on Adobe to provide me with a specific explanation as to why the cancellation fee applied.

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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EMAIL 1 - ME TO ADOBE

[In response to a (presumably automated) email from Adobe asking if this matter had been resolved, and giving me 3 days to respond]

 

This is not resolved.

 

The agent has also given me incorrect advice, by telling me that the Adobe Forum would have an Adobe representative who would answer my query.

 

BACKGROUND

I am based in the UK. My monthly-paid annual subscription auto-renewed, and I tried to cancel within 14 days of the auto-renewal. The agent advised that the 14 day 'cooling off' period does not apply to auto-renewals.

 

LEGAL AND GOVERNMENT CONTEXT

1. Under section 30 of the Consumer Contracts Regulations, the cancellation period ends at the end of 14 days after the day on which the contract is entered into.

 

2. The Competiton and Markets Authority (the "CMA") recently took enforcement action in the context of ‘subscription traps’ (as part of their McAfee and Norton investigations).

 

3. In Oct 2021, the CMA released new practical Guidance for businesses offering subscription services, which is based on the CMA's interpretation of consumer law: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compliance-principles-for-anti-virus-software-firms/compl... 

 

Included within the guidance as being "More Likely to Comply" is: "You provide written confirmation of the length of the renewed contract, how much has been charged, how the customer can terminate and get a refund, and when the next payment will be taken."

 

As an aside, I further note that the UK government is currently consulting on reforming competition and consumer policy, given the problems surrounding auto-renewal of subscription contracts, and is using the CMA Guidance as a base.

 

4. Current Adobe T&Cs state:

[Insert @kglad screenshot from above]

 

FACTUAL CONTEXT

1. When I received the initial email from Adobe, with the first one-year purchase, it stated: "Cancel your annual subscription before Jun 01 to get a full refund and avoid a fee. You can cancel your subscription anytime via your Adobe Account page or by contacting Customer Support." It is entirely reasonable that a consumer would assume that any terms that apply to an auto-renewal are no less favourable.

 

2. The renewal email (the "Renewal Notice") states: "This is a reminder that your Acrobat Pro DC subscription will automatically renew within 30 days." The language "renew" reflects that this is a new subscription, not an extension of an existing subscription, therefore, again, it is entirely reasonable to expect that the 14 day cooling off period would apply.

 

3. There is no information provided in the Renewal Notice that cancellation fees can apply after the initially contracted minimum 12-month term. 

 

4. There is no information provided in the Renewal Notice as to the length of the renewed contract or how the customer can terminate and get a refund.

 

NEXT STEPS

I understand from your agent that I am now "locked in" to this 12 month auto-renewed contract. I'd be grateful if you could kindly take me through the Renewal Notice and explain how I, as a consumer, was expected to know that this situation would arise, and that the 14 day 'cooling off' period would not apply.

 

Many thanks

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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EMAIL 2 - ADOBE RESPONSE

 

I understand. Before you make a decision on the cancellation, If you wish to continue, I can add 3 free months offer to your account and you wouldn't have to pay for the next 3 months and you can save GBP 45.51 in these 3 months . Also, your next billing date would be moved to 16 September 2022. However, if you still wish to cancel then I will cancel this plan for you. It is completely your call. How does that sound to you?

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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EMAIL 3 - ME TO ADOBE

None of the points in my email have been addressed - please could you kindly address each point in turn? The below suggests that my email has not been read, and is a generic reply.

 

Many thanks

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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EMAIL 4 - ADOBE TO ME

We understand and we are trying to help you with the best possible resolution. Our cancellation policy is only for the first 14 days of the initial purchase date and not after the renewal as the renewed plan moves to a new commitment and not a new purchase. Hence the 14 days window does not apply for the renewed plan. Also we have three payment plans offered for you at the time of the purchase which are month to month plan, Annual billed monthly plan and Annual prepaid plan. The plan with the best pirce was selected by you at the time of the purchase and the terms were also mentioned at the time of the purchase. Our terms and conditions haven't changed; please review them here: https://www.adobe.com/legal/subscription-terms.html.

 

However, we do see that you are not satisfied with the services and in order to help you, we will cancel the plan for you and will waive the cancellation fee for you as a goodwill gesture. How do you wish to proceed?

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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quote

I tried to cancel within 14 days of the auto-renewal. The agent advised that the 14 day 'cooling off' period does not apply to auto-renewals.

By @Kirsty24675886llen

================

According to Adobe's legal terms, that's true. 

https://www.adobe.com/legal/subscription-terms.html

 

Cancellation Terms

You can cancel your subscription anytime via your Adobe Account page or by contacting Customer Support*. If you cancel within 14 days of your initial order, you’ll be fully refunded. Should you cancel after 14 days, you’ll be charged a lump sum amount of 50% of your remaining contract obligation and your service will continue until the end of that month’s billing period.

* Specific countries require cancellations to be made only by contacting Customer Support. See the list of countries here.

 

I think the expectation is that if you wish to cancel your annual plan, you will do it in your initital 12 month term, BEFORE it automatically renews for another year.

 

That said, none of us here are lawyers.  Adobe's legal dept crafts the language carefully based on current laws in the US and Ireland.

 

Nancy O'Shea, Adobe Product User & Community Professional
Alt-Web Design & Publishing ~ Web : Print : Graphics : Media

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Community Beginner ,
Jun 10, 2022 Jun 10, 2022

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LATEST

Thanks, Nancy. I am actually a lawyer, hence the very boring and long email I sent to Adobe - who else would have the patience for that, haha! 

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