Category Archives: Adobe

How To Cancel Adobe Creative Cloud

tl;dr: 1) Look up your Creative Cloud order number on the “My Orders” page; 2) Click here, answer the annoying questions and scroll to the bottom to chat with an agent to have the agent cancel your account. And have a cup of coffee ready, because this process will still take about 10 minutes, even if you have all your information at hand.

Long version of the story: This month, Adobe decided to stop selling boxed software and to go with an all-subscription model. That’s fine with me, at least in theory: I understand the appeal of a subscription model from the viewpoint of the software vendor (and for certain types of customers). I have actually been on a Creative Cloud subscription for the past 11 months. But I’m not really a heavy Creative Cloud user (I use Fireworks 3-4 times a week, Dreamweaver maybe once a month, and Photoshop a few times a year). Since Adobe is end-of-lifeing Fireworks, I’m not getting enough value to justify a $348/year subscription cost, particularly since Sketch appears to be a good-enough alternative to Fireworks for me.

So, I decided to cancel Creative Cloud. Disappointingly but unsurprisingly, it’s very difficult to cancel Adobe Creative Cloud. First, even finding where you’re supposed to manage your Creative Cloud account on Adobe’s convoluted web site is a challenge. There’s a Creative Cloud Plan Information page that contains a cancellation link, but that link doesn’t actually cancel your plan:

adobe_cancel_dohThis page also unhelpfully doesn’t contain your order number, which Adobe’s customer service needs to kill your subscription. In addition, they make you talk to a human to cancel your plan. But before you can do that, you get to go through their automated Customer Support shark-infested moat (which, unhelpfully, redirects you back to your Creative Cloud Plan Information page, which in turn directs you to contact Adobe Customer Support in an endless loop). Genius.

So after a few go-rounds and another ten minutes wasted, I got into chat with Adobe support. Here’s the transcript of our chat:

info: All representatives are actively assisting other customers. There are 1 customer(s) in line ahead of you. Thank you for your patience.
info: You are now chatting with Saroj.
Saroj: Hello! Welcome to Adobe Customer Service.
Jeffrey: hi there.
Saroj: Hi Jeffrey.
Jeffrey: Can you assist me with cancelling my Creative Cloud subscription?
Saroj: As I understand you would like to cancel your subscription,am I correct?
Jeffrey: That is exactly what I just said.
Saroj: Thank you for the confirmation.
Saroj: Let me see what best I can do for your help.
Saroj: May I have the order number,please?
Jeffrey: I have no idea what the order number is. I purchased this a year ago.
Jeffrey: I'm looking at and it doesn't list the order number anywhere.
Saroj: Login to your Adobe account. Go to My Adobe, then click on My Orders.
Saroj: You will be able to find your order number.
Jeffrey: AD00XXXXXXX
Jeffrey: Really surprised this information isn't on and even more surprised that the "Cancel" link on this page doesn't actually cancel the subscription. It's almost as if Adobe is making it intentionally difficult to cancel.
Saroj: Thank you for the order number.
Saroj: I apologize for the inconvenience caused in this regard.  We will surely take this as a feedback and will work towards to improve on our services.
Jeffrey: Terrific.
Saroj: If you cancel your subscription now,there will be the cancellation charge of US $15.
Saroj: Would you like me to cancel this now?
Jeffrey: Why will there be a cancellation charge?
Saroj: The annual plan you enrolled in offers lower monthly payments and requires a one-year commitment.This plan is ideal for someone with an ongoing need to use Adobe's Creative software. If you decide to end your subscription before the one-year period is over, you no longer qualify for one-year subscription pricing.You will be billed at 50% of your monthly rate for the remaining months in your annual contract."
Jeffrey: Lovely. Let's go ahead and cancel.
Saroj: I understand that you would like to cancel your membership, and I will take care of that for you. However, would you be willing to maintain your membership through your annual commitment & avoid the cancellation fee if I offer you the next month of your membership for free?
Jeffrey: I'd like you to cancel immediately, and if you don't do it in the next 30 seconds, I'll call my bank and have them reverse the charges. Is that clear?
Jeffrey: This has already wasted 15 minutes of my time and it should only have taken four seconds.
Saroj: I was just trying to help you out.
Jeffrey: You're not helping me by wasting my time.
Saroj: Anyway please stay online while I cancel your subscription.
Jeffrey: Hey, what choice do I have. I understand that deleting a row from a database takes a lot of time.
Saroj: Sorry for the wait. Please do stay online.
Saroj: I have successfully cancelled your subscription for order number AD00XXXXXXX.
Saroj: Is there anything else I can help you with? 
Jeffrey: Spectacular. No, there's nothing else, other than making the cancellation process available from the web site without my having to spend 10 minutes searching for it and another 10 minutes dealing with a person to cancel.
Saroj: I apologize if this experience with us has been unsatisfactory.
Saroj: Have a great day!
Saroj: Thank you for contacting Adobe.  We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Goodbye!
Jeffrey: Adios.

So, from this, it’s clear why they require you to talk to a customer service agent; it’s a sales tactic intended to keep you on their subscription plan. But there’s a cost to this: my time, a resource I can never get back. When a corporation wastes my time needlessly, I remember it for many years (looking at you, United Airlines and Sony). A process that should take about 10 seconds (log in, find the link to cancel your subscription, and click it) takes about 15 minutes. And this delay is, in a sense, punitive: Adobe hopes you will lose interest and back off the cancellation process if the cancellation process is sufficiently painful; making the cancellation process easier costs them money in the form of lost subscriptions.

But for Adobe, there are risks to this strategy as well. In years past, AOL (the original gangster of the shark-infested-moat subscription business model) got itself into serious legal trouble by making it difficult or impossible to cancel the service in a reasonable period of time. I’m certain that Adobe will find itself in the same place if it doesn’t address its process for canceling subscriptions as the company moves to a 100% subscription-based model.

How Not To Steal User Preferences

Dear Adobe,

Software is only allowed to display a dialog box like this once:

bonehead adobe acrobat dialog

If you insist on displaying this dialog every single time your software launches, your software is officially “stupid”. Eventually I will want to stop using it. Consider placing a “Don’t show this again” check box at the bottom there, please.



Update: Hey, it looks like a recent patch to Acrobat Pro fixed this. Hooray!

AIR Supply

Am I just lame or is it not possible to build the “Hello World” example application for the Adobe AIR beta (formerly “Apollo”) on the Macintosh? I followed the walkthrough pretty closely and got stuck on the part where you test the application from the command line (the AIR debug launcher wouldn’t launch).

This technology is so interesting and promising, but it sure doesn’t look like Adobe has a developer-ease-of-use czar on its team. And putting the AIR tools under the rubric of “Adobe Labs” makes me nervous — it makes the whole initiative appear really provisional. Real laboratories do all kinds of experiments on unwitting test subjects and those experiments often fail — so “labs” is not a terrific way to brand a bet-the-company initiative like AIR.

I realize that this is an early beta, but the lack of polish is such a time-waster, and I’m a pretty busy guy — it makes me want to set all this aside for a year or whenever things are working a little better.

Adobe Open-Sourcing Flex

This is exciting: press release here, developer info here, FAQ here.

When Flex first came out a few years ago, there were mutterings that they’d provide support for languages other than Java — maybe open-sourcing the SDK will open the door to making that a reality (particularly in light of what Miguel said the other day about Flash and Silverlight).

Dear Adobe,

Maybe I am missing some subtlety here, but it looks like your upgrade pricing for the recently-announced Creative Suite 3 is tad thick-headed. To whit, the following incomprehensible stipulation buried in your already mind-bogglingly complicated product packaging and upgrade licensing terms:

"Upgrade pricing is available only for products listed above and requires a qualifying previous product on the same platform, with serial number."

What I want to do is upgrade from Macromedia Studio (on Windows) to Adobe CS3 Web Premium (on Mac). It seems like this should cost me $499, which would make the upgrade a no-brainer. But because of your "same platform" restriction, it looks like you instead want to charge me $1,500 for a whole new license. It’s the same software, I just want to run it on a different operating system.

You know I love you crazy kids, but you’re basically imposing a $1,000 per user tax on each of your customers who want to switch to Mac from Windows. What business purpose could that possibly solve? (Hint: It’s not "to make more money," since I’m not shelling out $1,500 for a brand new license for this software.)



Update: James posted in comments that Adobe will do a "cross-upgrade" if you call their 800 number and place the order that way. I just completed this, and it was a colossal pain in the butt. Some of their customer service people know how to do this, others don’t. One Adobe customer service guy I talked to actually tried to get me to send the box of software on my desk back to Adobe so he could send me something else that would work. When I objected, he said "I get a little tired of people saying it’s my fault". Sorry, dude: if your salesperson says that the software upgrade costs $XXX and I pay for it and you ship it to me and it doesn’t install, it is indeed your problem. It’s certainly not my problem.

What I really needed was a non-bozonic customer service person who could just give me an upgrade serial number so the software I’d already installed on my Mac would work. I called back later in the morning and was transferred back and forth between sales and customer service and disconnected several times before I got someone who could help me — even then, the total call time including waiting on hold was 45 minutes.

If you need to do this, be prepared to give them your Adobe customer ID number and every serial number of every Macromedia product you’ve ever owned so they can verify that you’re not an evil software pirate. Also make sure, if you’re calling on a cel phone, that your phone’s battery is charged all the way, or better yet, plugged into its charger — running out of cel phone juice is how I got disconnected on my first call. At the beginning of each call they take your phone number so they can hypothetically call you back if there’s a disconnect, but after three or four disconnects I never got a call back from any of the Adobe people I talked to.

My issue is now resolved, though, and I’m busy plugging away with CS3 on my Mac now.