Cloud providers warned against unfair contracts

1st Jun 2016

Cloud storage providers are treating customers unfairly and run the risk of losing users’ photos and other personal data, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has claimed. 

A recent investigation by the competition regulator found that several cloud providers offer contracts that could be in breach of consumer law. The CMA has announced that it is unhappy with some areas, including the fact that a number of providers change contract terms and conditions whenever they want, without notifying users.

Around 30% of adults in the UK use cloud services to store personal items such as photos, music and films. Popular providers include Apple iCloud, Google Drive, and Dropbox.

“Cloud storage offers a convenient means of keeping family photos, favourite music and films and important documents safe, and accessing them quickly from any device,” said Nisha Arora, the CMA’s senior director of consumer policy. “Our review found that people find these services really valuable. However, we also heard some complaints resulting from unfair terms in contracts. If left unchanged, these terms could result in people losing access to their treasured possessions or facing unexpected charges.”

Following the inquiry, Dixons Carphone, JustCloud and Livedrive committed to providing fairer terms to cloud customers, and the CMA urged others to do the same. “In this rapidly developing market, it’s important that we act now to ensure that businesses comply with the law and that consumers' trust in these valuable services is maintained,” Arora added.

According to research of 1,000 consumers by the Institute of Customer Service, data security and customer service go hand in hand, with 81% of customers believing that any employee in an organisation should be able to inform them about data security policy.  

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