Cloud technology is quickly becoming the new normal in the United Kingdom. Research shows that up to 40% of adults in the UK use some form of cloud storage to store their files.
Given cloud storage’s rising popularity, some organizations have taken this as a green light to begin gouging customers on the price of their services.
As a result, several complaints have been filed by citizens of the UK, and an investigation has begun with the Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) into whether or not cloud storage providers are playing within the rules.
The Cloud Storage Bait and Switch
An example of one of the most common complaints that the UK’s CMA has received is that cloud service providers will offer a free or reduced trial. Once the customer is signed up, the service provider baits and switches the customer into paying more for the storage product than they originally anticipated.
“Cloud storage is a dynamic and growing sector which is already highly valued by consumers,” says Nisha Arora, CMA Senior Director of Consumer goods.
“If our review finds breaches of consumer protection laws we will take further action to address these, which could include enforcement action using our consumer law powers, seeking voluntary change from the sector or providing guidance to business or consumers,” added Arora.
UK’s CMA Begins Investigation
The CMA’s investigation into cloud storage pricing will focus on providers changing the terms of their contract with the customer.
For example, a customer may sign up for a cloud storage service thinking that they are getting unlimited cloud storage, only to have that company rescind the offer at a later date.
Another target of this investigation is price comparison websites. Consumers have exhibited the fact that these types of websites may not always be the best indicators of price reductions, discounts, deals, etc.
The CMA will provide a report with its findings and provide remediation paths for customers, should the agency find that any consumer laws have been broken.