An investigation is going to be launched into whether Internet users are being charged unfairly for Cloud Storage services. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said some providers may be breaching consumer laws. Complaints come into the CMA that prices of cloud storage can go up even after a customer has agreed to a contract or the amount of data that can be stored is changed. Recent news such as Microsoft killing their unlimited storage offering of OneDrive seems like one of the complaints to the CMA.
Earlier this year the Office for National Statistics reported that 40% of UK adults now use cloud storage. Users of laptops, mobiles and tablets are increasingly taking advantage of such services to store photos, documents, TV programmes, and films. By storing such files in the cloud rather than on the device itself, users get more storage, and the ability to access their files from anywhere in the world. Usually cloud storage providers offer a certain amount of storage for free, but can charge up to £40 a month for extra gigabytes.
The CMA has said they are concerned about:
- Unexpected price increases after a contract has been taken out
- Changes or reductions to unlimited storage capacity deals
- Consumers’ data being lost or deleted
- How contracts are automatically renewed at the end of the period
- What happens to consumers’ data when they cancel a contract
“If our review finds breaches of consumer protection laws, we will take further action to address these,” said Nisha Arora, the CMA’s senior director for consumer.
That could include “enforcement action using our consumer law powers, seeking voluntary change from the sector, or providing guidance to business or consumers.” The law on price transparency has been tightened since the Consumer Rights Act came into force on 1 October.
The CMA’s consultation on the issue will be open until 15 January 2016, with an initial report on its findings expected in May.
Have you seen any of the practices the CMA is worried about from your cloud provider? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.Source: CMA