Towards the end of last month the Competition and Markets Authority voiced concerns that a number of UK cloud service providers were not adhering to consumer law when providing their services.  In particular it pointed to  clauses it was concerned with that had appeared in cloud provider's consumer terms and which enabled those providers to:

  • change their services or their terms and conditions at any time without notice or reason
  • suspend or terminate contracts without notice or for any reason
  • automatically renew terms at the end of a fixed term without giving notice or withdrawal rights
  • unfairly limit liability where data is lost or corrupted
  • be evasive and opaque about consumer rights

The CMA has also published:

  • an open letter to cloud businesses advising them to check their terms and conditions to ensure that they are fair to consumers and contain necessary information required for those terms to be consumer law compliant
  • a 60 second summary and two infographics on how to pick a cloud service provider an a summary of key terms to look out for when looking to sign up with a  cloud services provider. 

On the back of the CMA's current activity in this sector consumer focused cloud providers should:

  • ensure that they are providing terms that are fair and reasonable
  • take on board the CMA's recent findings and change their terms and policies (where necessary) to both remain compliant with consumer law but also to maintain a competitive edge as consumers become more adept at choosing providers and spotting unfair terms.