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Changes to terms and conditions for Cloud storage users

Napthens - March 28th 2017

The CMA has announced that it has secured changes for consumers to the cloud storage terms of use of Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.

Cloud storage services allow customers to store, manage, organise and retrieve their data online. A variety of devices such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets allow consumers to upload and download data from personal cloud storage accounts. Many such devices rely on access to cloud storage, which reduces the need for internal memory on the device itself whilst also providing more advances features such as shared access and editing.

In the light of the increasing use and application of cloud storage, the Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) reviewed the extent to which cloud storage providers comply with consumer law, and subsequently published its findings in May 2016.

On the back of this, the CMA has now announced that it has secured changes to the terms and conditions applying to consumers’ use of (amongst others) Amazon, Apple and Microsoft’s cloud storage services.

In total, ten providers of cloud storage have agreed with the CMA to make changes to their terms. Key changes amongst those agreed relate to ensuring that:

  • customers receive adequate notice before significant changes are made to the service;
  • cancellation rights and pro-rata refunds are provided to customers not wanting to accept significant changes; and
  • customers receive adequate notice, where appropriate, before the service is suspended or cancelled.

The CMA remains interested in unfair terms and conditions generally, as well as in the digital economy specifically and continues to urge businesses dealing with consumers in the cloud storage, and other technology based sectors to keep their terms and conditions under review, and to continually improve their fairness and clarity.

Whilst the CMA were specifically looking at consumer protection provisions and were focussed on cloud storage, a lot of their recommendations also represent good practice for any business.

Further details of the CMA’s report can be found here.

Napthens regularly advises clients in the IT and technology sectors on the suitability of their terms and conditions as well as other industry specific agreements. If you have anything that you would like to discuss then please contact one of our team.