Popular software company, Adobe, changed tune after earlier reports revealed that they won’t be able to provide a refund to affected Venezuelan customers who have had their Adobe licenses canceled following Trump’s executive order. In an update blog post, the company said that a full refund will be given to those who have purchased their software licenses directly from Adobe.
Adobe has deactivated both free and premium account holders from Venezuela and said that no refund should be given for those who have availed their subscription service for all of its tools, including Photoshop, Lightroom, Cloud, and InDesign. Adobe also confirmed that Venezuelan citizens can still access their Behance accounts. The company justified the decision by saying that it is in compliance with the Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump.
In a post in the FAQ section of the company’s website, Adobe explained to its users why they are deactivating user accounts in Venezuela. They said that it was part of their compliance with Executive Order 13884, which imposes sanctions on the Venezuelan government and prevents businesses in Venezuela from transacting businesses with American companies.
“The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela,” wrote Adobe on its website.
No refund shall be given
Furthermore, on the matters of the refund, the company initially said that they wouldn’t be able to provide refunds to those accounts, which will be deactivated moving forward. Adobe justified that the new order from the White House prohibits them from doing so.
“We are unable to issue refunds. Executive order 13884, orders the cessation of all activity with the entities including no sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc.,” Adobe said.
A glimmer of hope for those who paid for Adobe’s software licenses lies on the rescinding of the order. However, the company maintains that it is still unsure whether or not the services will be reactivated as the executive order has “no expiration date.”
“Executive Order 13884 was issued with no expiration date—the decision to rescind it rests solely with the U.S. Government,” Adobe wrote. “We will continue to monitor developments closely and will make every effort to restore services to Venezuela as soon as it is legally permissible to do so.”
Aside from Venezuela, Adobe is also considering to implement the same policy in other countries as well. The company said that they would sever business relationships in countries and territories that go against and are covered by the sanctions by U.S. regulators.
“[Adobe is] ceasing all activity with entities and individuals in Venezuela as well as those who otherwise meet the criteria of Executive Order 13884 or other U.S. sanctions regulations.”
Did Adobe misinterpret the executive order?
Meanwhile, it seems like Adobe has interpreted the executive order broadly to its own benefit. Other companies like Microsoft and other cloud service providers did not deactivate user accounts in Venezuela, as it is believed not to be covered by the sanction. In fact, the executive order explicitly said that it targets individuals and organizations that have provided material support to the Venezuelan regime and not Venezuelan citizens per se.
Moreover, the U.S. government has issued a notice clarifying which ones are covered by the sanction. According to the notice, the executive order does not prohibit commercial transactions between the U.S. and Venezuela.
“U.S. persons are not prohibited from engaging in transactions involving the country or people of Venezuela, provided blocked persons or any conduct prohibited by any other Executive order imposing sanctions measures related to the situation in Venezuela, are not involved,” a U.S. government notice says.