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Dropbox and Google commit to improving terms of use for cloud storage customers

Dropbox and Google join the government’s push to ensure cloud storage users are not caught out by sudden price hikes or contract changes

Dropbox and Google are among the latest tranche of online storage providers to join the government’s push to get the cloud industry to introduce fairer terms and conditions for users.

Along with BT and Mozy, the companies have publicly pledged to join the government’s Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) clampdown to prevent users getting caught out by sudden price hikes or service terminations.

In a statement announcing the move, the CMA said all four companies had committed to addressing several areas of concern in their terms of use.

As such, they’ve promised to give users “adequate notice” ahead of any significant changes being made to prices or contracts, and greater transparency around how to terminate their deals with the firms.

The CMA has previously warned cloud firms that indulging in such behaviour could put them at risk of enforcement action for violating the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

LiveDrive, JustCloud and Dixons Carphone were first to commit to the CMA’s campaign back in May 2016, but the likes of Dropbox, Google and Microsoft were noticeable by their absence.

With Google and Dropbox now joining the fold, Computer Weekly contacted Microsoft – whose OneDrive cloud storage services is used by hundreds of millions of users worldwide – to see if they have any plans to follow suit. At the time of writing, the company has not responded.  

The CMA said the organisation is, however, working with a number of other organisations who are yet to publicly commit to making changes to their terms of use and ensure their behaviour does not fall foul of consumer rights laws.

Read more about terms and conditions of cloud use

Nisha Arora, senior director for consumer enforcement at the CMA, said the commitments should go some way to ensuring consumers know they can entrust their data to the cloud with confidence.

“People increasingly rely on cloud storage as a safe and convenient place to keep family photos, music and important documents, so it is vital that they are treated fairly and are not hit by unexpected changes to price or storage levels,” said Arora.

“We are pleased that these four companies have followed the three others which agreed commitments earlier this year to improve their terms and conditions, providing a better service for their customers.”

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