An investigation is to be launched into whether internet users are being charged unfairly when they use cloud storage services.The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said some providers may be breaching consumer laws.
It will look into complaints that prices can go up after a customer has taken out a contract - or that the amount of data storage can be changed.
The CMA's consultation on the issue will be open until 15 January 2016, with an initial report on its findings expected in May
Earlier this year the ONS reported that 40% of UK adults now use cloud storage. Users of lap-tops, mobiles and tablets are increasingly taking advantage of such services, to store photos, documents, TV programmes and films. Usually cloud storage providers offer a certain amount of memory for free, but can charge up to £40 a month for extra gigabytes. The CMA said it was particularly concerned about: ◾Unexpected price increases ◾Changes or reductions to unlimited storage ◾Consumers' data being lost or deleted ◾How contracts are automatically renewed ◾What happens to consumers' data when they cancel a contract "If our review finds breaches of consumer protection laws, we will take further action to address these," That could include "enforcement action using our powers, seeking voluntary change from the sector, or providing guidance to business or consumers." said Nisha Arora CMA.