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CMA secures better deal for cloud storage users

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have committed to providing cloud storage users with fairer contracts, following action by the CMA.

The 3 companies are the latest cloud storage providers to improve their terms and conditions following the Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) review of compliance with consumer law in the sector. Last year, the CMA secured separate commitments from JustCloud, Livedrive and Dixons Carphone, and BT, Dropbox, Google and Mozy to make changes to their contract terms.

Andrea Coscelli, CMA Acting Chief Executive, said:

“People rely on cloud storage to keep things such as treasured family photos, music, films and important documents safe, so it is important that they are treated fairly and should not be hit by unexpected price rises or changes to storage levels.

“We are pleased that Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have joined 7 previous companies in working with the CMA and agreeing commitments to improve their terms and conditions and, as a result, millions of cloud storage users will benefit from fairer terms which will help them make the right choices when using cloud storage services.”

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft have separately agreed to make changes to their respective terms and conditions, including in some common areas relating to:

  • adequate notice to customers before significant changes are made to the service
  • cancellation rights and pro-rata refunds if customers don’t want to accept significant changes
  • adequate notice, where appropriate, before the service is suspended or cancelled

A summary of the separate changes agreed with each company can be found on the case page.

Cloud storage is used by around 3 in 10 British adults in a personal capacity. In its initial review of the sector, the CMA found that the majority currently use free services that come with their devices and are generally satisfied with the service they receive. However, there were some terms and conditions which caused concern, for example, terms which gave companies the ability to change the service or terms of the contract or suspend or terminate the contract, for any reason and without notice.

The CMA has worked with the industry to improve compliance with consumer law. The latest agreed changes bring to an end the CMA’s consumer law compliance review into the cloud storage sector. The CMA remains interested in unfair terms and conditions, particularly in the digital economy. Companies in the cloud storage, and other technology-driven sectors, are urged to keep their terms and conditions under review and to continually improve the fairness and clarity of their consumer contract terms.

The CMA has published an open letter to businesses operating in the sector advising them of their obligations, and a 60-second summary to help consumers choose the right service.

In October last year, the CMA launched a campaign consisting of simple videos and guides to help businesses understand how to avoid including unfair terms and conditions in their contracts.

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