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February 17, 2017

Amazon, Apple & Microsoft agree to fairer cloud contracts

Competition and Markets Authority warns cloud companies to continue to improve the fairness and clarity of their consumer contract terms.

By James Nunns

Good news for UK cloud users as contracts are going to get fairer for Amazon, Apple and Microsoft customers.

The Competition and Markets Authority has managed to get the three tech giants to agree to improve their terms and conditions, following a review of compliance with consumer law in the sector.

Amazon, Apple and Microsoft join Google, BT, Dropbox, Mozy, JustCloud, Livedrive and Dixons Carphone, who signed up last year, in making this commitment to make changes to things like providing adequate notice to customers before significant changes are made to the service.

Other areas that will be looked at include; cancellation rights and pro-rate refunds if customers don’t want to accept significant changes and adequate notice, where appropriate, before the service is suspended or cancelled.

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.

Read more: AWS vs Google Cloud Platform vs Microsoft Azure: Cloud pricing continues to lack enterprise credentials

“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.”

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The CMA notes that cloud storage is used by around three in ten British adults in a personal capacity and that its initial review of the sector found that the majority that use free services that come with their devices are generally satisfied with the service.

However, the regulator found that some terms and conditions caused concern, such as terms which gave companies the ability to change the service or terms of the contract or suspend or terminate the contract, for any reason without notice.

To amend this it has worked with the industry to improve compliance with consumer law.

Although this set of agreed changes brings to an end the CMA’s consumer law compliance review into the cloud storage sector, it said: “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.”

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