The focus of the CMA’s criticism is the ability of online backup providers to change contractual terms at any time, for any reason, without having to give any notice to their clientele before, during, or after the alterations. This includes the ability to automatically renew a data storage contract at the end of a fixed term without asking for permission or giving the right to withdraw.
The troubling revelations were reported by Nisha Arora, the senior director of consumer at the CMA.
Said Arora: “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. 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.”
British Cloud Service Providers Step Up
The CMA has urged others to follow suit, saying that: “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.
We welcome the fact that a number of companies have already agreed to change their terms, and expect to see improvements from other companies.”
The CMA further suggested—and BestBackups agrees wholeheartedly—that customers should careful read all terms and conditions before they fork over their credit card to sign up for a service, and to challenge providers when they find anything that looks suspect or unfair.
BestBackups further recommends that consumers consult backup service reviews before choosing a provider, and to only sign up for providers that have a reputation for being trustworthy, such as SpiderOak and Backblaze.