Cloud Storage Purchasing Checklist

Consumer compliance reviews of the cloud storage sector revealed concerns about how some providers use their terms when dealing with customers. If you are a business that is looking to purchase cloud storage services, the checklist below includes some common areas where you should review the terms before you purchase. These are the particular areas of concern that have been identified, but are not exhaustive.
How often should this be used?
Ad hoc as required.
Developed to be consumer centric from the Checklist for cloud storage providers by Competition and Markets Authority
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Cloud Storage Purchasing

Pre-contractual information

You may be able to apply in-store or online to purchase cloud storage services. It is during the sign-up process or on the providers’ webpages where the service is described in more detail.

Before you sign up should ensure that:

Have been given specific mandated information in a clear and comprehensible manner; or
Be confident the information is ‘available’ to the you in a clear and comprehensible manner.

Automatic renewal

You should be clear up-front about how and when the supplier contract will renew and what options you have to cancel. To help ensure you are receiving fair terms you should check that:
Can opt-out of automatic renewal at any time
Will receive notification about renewals a reasonable time before it occurs, and before payment is taken. This is particularly important on long term contract.
Ensure that notice of renewal will include details of any changes to the price or service; and
Allow you to exercise any statutory cancellation rights after a fixed-term contract has been renewed for a further fixed term period. This should not be seen as a substitute for reasonable notice or the ability to opt-out of automatic renewal at any time.

Changing the terms or characteristics of a service (unilateral variation)

You should be able to foresee at the time of entering the contract if and in what circumstances the service or contract may change. This is particularly important for fixed term contracts. Terms which give the supplier a wide discretion to make changes are likely to be unfair.

There are always circumstances where suppliers may be required to make changes, sometimes with little or no notice, for example to ensure security and operability of the service or to meet legal requirements. However, to help ensure your terms are fair, your provider should:

Only be able to make changes to the terms or the service for valid reasons which are clearly set out in the contract, so that you understand how the changes might affect their rights and obligations under the contract. This is particularly important for fixed-term contracts where the scope to make changes should be limited
Ensure that you receive adequate notice of changes, so that you can consider your position and decide whether to accept the changes; and
Ensure that if you do not wish to accept changes can cancel the contract, obtain a refund for any services not yet provided (including, where relevant, any additional services they have purchased) and retrieve your data.


To help ensure your terms are fair, your providers should:
only terminate the service or contract without notice if there is a material breach of contract by the consumer or there is a real risk of harm or loss to the provider if the contract continues;
clearly and narrowly define the circumstances in which the provider may suspend or terminate the contract or service with notice (this is particularly important for fixed-term contracts);
ensure that consumers are given adequate notice of suspension or termination to enable them to minimise the impact on them (except where there are serious grounds for immediate suspension or termination without notice, see above);
give consumers a reasonable opportunity to remedy minor or potential breaches of contract by them before the service or contract is terminated or suspended by the provider; and
allow consumers to obtain a pro-rated refund of any prepayments if the service or contract is suspended or terminated by the provider and the consumer is not at fault.

Exclusion and limitation of liability

To help ensure your terms are fair, providers should:

Not exclude or limit your statutory rights and remedies. For example, terms should not seek to exclude or limit the provider’s liability if it fails to provide the service with reasonable skill and care. They should not exclude or limit the provider’s liability if the provider fails to provide the service in accordance with a statement or description given to you by the provider
Not otherwise unreasonably limit or exclude their liability for losses or harm to you, for example, where a provider’s breach of contract is caused by events outside the provider’s control. Concerns may arise, for example, where a contract places an unreasonably low cap on compensation which you can claim
Clearly set out the circumstances when liability will not be excluded as well as explaining any applicable limitations or restrictions
Avoid unnecessary ‘legal jargon’.

Jurisdiction and choice of law

Able to exercise your legal rights in relation to their contracts with the provider. Clearly explains that you are able to bring legal proceedings to enforce you rights in your local courts and your local law will apply to the contract.


Ensure terms comply with the law in relation to transparency, the provider should:
Draft terms to ensure that you can make informed choices
Set out all obligations in a clear and comprehensible way
Ensure that the structure of their terms and the language used enables you to understand your rights and obligations under the contract.
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