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Adobe Creative Cloud - Good, But... (UPDATE: Wow)

Matthew Dunn

UPDATE

A customer wrote me late last night to say "hey, I cancelled and you're still charging me."  I looked up the records...nope...sent him the screen shot and asked him to send transaction details so I could investigate. He wrote back to say "Ooops, no, it wasn't you."  We both agreed that keeping track of these seemingly miniscule subscriptions is a real challenge for small-to-medium businesses. 

OK - fast forward about 12 hours. I got a call out of the blue from Adobe.

"We understand you're not happy with your Team subscription."

I explained the situation; they resolved it.  (Team subscription cancelled, replaced with the 1 individual seat we need.)

Was that driven by the support interaction? The original blog post below?  "Reputation management" monitoring?  All of the above?  Doesn't matter, really.  My hat's off to Adobe for acting, regardless of what triggered the action. They could have taken the neener-neener contract defense, and as I said...my fault for not monitoring dates/terms.

Adobe did the right thing for us. I also think they did the right thing for Adobe.  Elephants have long memories; I still avoid one of the major US air carriers because of a cranky flight attendant @25 years ago.  But I'll happily trumpet my pleasure at Adobe's approach (elephant joke there...) and continue doing business with them.  I like the products, yeah, but liking the company is much better karma all around.

Adobe gets that "...as a service" ends with "service."  Kudos.


ORIGINAL POST

I saw a headline recently that basically said Adobe revenue has gone up with their shift to a subscription model.  I think Creative Cloud is fantastic - as a friend of mine said, $10K in software for $50/month.  No objection to the software.

Yeah...but...

Just keep an eye on that renewal date, kids, because the renewal and rollover doesn't just apply to the month. If you're planning to keep using Creative Cloud, and you renew in Month 13, you've just signed up for another year.  Want to drop a seat?  You'll pay a 50%-of-time-left penalty to do that.

I have no objection to subscription businesses - we run one. 

I have no objection to annual contracts either.

But I think companies should state renewal terms explicitly, not with sneaky "it's in the terms" implicit references. The monthly price was in the email - the actual commitment for the year wasn't. 

My fault, my bad, fine, we'll pay the seats.  We'll cancel when it makes mathematical sense.

Really, this is an email and attention problem.  Did I read the renewal email, follow the links and review the contract?  No. Should I have? Yes.  Will I watch the renewal dates in the future?  Yes.  Will I automatically re-subscribe with the same email address?  Hmm.  Well, that's an email and attention problem.  Maybe I should create an email alias called "Adobe2015Subscription" and sign that guy up for the year.  Just to help me remember about those renewal terms, of course.

Support transcript - start time 10:15 end time 11:45!

info: You are now chatting with 'Anonymous One'
Anonymous One: Hello! Welcome to Adobe support.
Anonymous One: Please allow me 1-2 minute(s) to review your account details.
Anonymous One: Thanks for waiting
Me: yup. Actually, I looked as well while you were looking :-)
Anonymous One: great
Me: We don't use the extras in the Team subscription, and until I hire a replacement...we're down to just one license.
Anonymous One: So I assume that you want to remove the one unassigned seat/license from the Creative Cloud team subscription
Me: So it would make more sense to cancel & just set up an Individual subscription for my continued use for now. 
Me: How does the timing of that work - should I wait until this month is elapsed, then cancel / re-enroll ?
Anonymous One: So it's your choice if you want to cancel one seat it can be cancelled and if you want to wait for the renewal date you can
Me: does cancelled = refunded ?
Anonymous One: no cancel = removing the one unassigned license from the subscription
Anonymous One: and in future if you keep the team subscription you can add one more seat when you hire one more employee
Me: What's the renewal date on that team subscription - might as well let her use the license until then...
Anonymous One: 7/15/2016 is the renewal date of subscription
Anonymous One: So do you want to cancel the one unassigned license ?
Me: I don't understand - we're not committed to 2 seats until July...?
Anonymous One: yes you are , as you have two seats in the current subscription and one seat/license is assigned to a user and one seat is not
Me: OK - let's restate that in English. How do I cancel this team subscription entirely?
Anonymous One: So I will connect the chat to the cancellation team , they will help you in the cancellation, If you want to cancel whole subscription or only one license/seat
Anonymous One: Please stay connected while I transfer the chat to the concern team, Thanks for choosing Adobe.
info: Please wait while I transfer the chat to the appropriate group.

NOTE: 10:34
info: Your chat transcript will be sent to matthew@sayitvisually.com at the end of your chat.
info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

info: We are still assisting other customers, thank you for your patience. You can also try our community forums, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

NOTE: 11:02

info: You are now chatting with Anonymous Two. 
Anonymous Two: “Hello! Thank you for contacting Adobe Membership Services, my name is Anonymous Two. How can I help you today?”
Me: Hi Anonymous Two
Me: Did you read the transcript or are we starting over ?
Anonymous Two: I have received your query. Please allow me a moment to verify your account and to review the details of your request.
Anonymous Two: I can see you are looking to cancel the team membership.
Me: Yes. We're down to 1 seat for at least 90 days, and don't use the extra team functions.
Anonymous Two: Are you looking to remove one license from the account or the complete team membership
Me: complete team membership
Anonymous Two: I can see that the license on the account are under an annual plan and to cancel there is fee to terminate it
Me: We've had this team plan for well over a year. When did we agree to an annual renew with a cancellation fee?
Anonymous Two: You can refer to the commitment term http://www.adobe.com/misc/subscription_terms.html for the membership that you have
Me: That's a really offensive and stupid lock-in policy. Good way to lose customers.
Anonymous Two: This is very clear when you place the order
Me: I don't agree, but that will make an interesting anti-Adobe blog post.
Me: So state the price for cancellation for the record, please.
Anonymous Two: All the details of the membership is very clear, I have shared the commitment terms as well for the membership.
Me: waiting...
Anonymous Two: I am waiting for your response ,
Anonymous Two: If you wish to cancel it or not
Me: I'd asked for the cancellation fee (price) - DO NOT cancel at this time.
Anonymous Two: In order to remove both the license the fee is $629.91+tax.
Me: And to remove one, half of that?
Anonymous Two: calculated as 50% of the remaining commitment oblidation
Anonymous Two: Yes
Anonymous Two: It will be $315+tax
Anonymous Two: for one license
Anonymous Two: Are we connected?
Me: OK. Your renewal mail mentions the monthly rate but doesn't state that the 1-year lock-in and cancellation fees renew/apply. DO NOT cancel this subscription.