Amazon’s Black Friday offer which boasts “unlimited” storage for a paltry $5 may have excited many cloud users who have potentially considered making the switch to Cloud Drive from Dropbox, OneDrive or other services.
Hold your horses before you take the leap of faith to Cloud Drive! Why? Because if you read the fine print properly you will realize that the Cloud Drive which usually costs $59.99 — and is now available for just $5 — has some hidden caveats.
Amazon’s Cloud Drive’s terms of service clearly point out certain limitations, which evidence the fact that the unlimited storage is not really unlimited.
While Amazon’s offer page states that one does not have any cap on the amount of files the user can upload to Cloud Drive and that it will not alter the image’s resolution, “Section 3.2 Usage restrictions and limits” of the terms and conditions of use clarifies that a user may have to face restrictions such as the type of files they can upload and the manner in which the service is accessed.
“The Service is offered in the United States. We may restrict access from other locations. There may be limits on the types of content you can store and share using the Service, such as file types we don’t support, and on the number or type of devices you can use to access the Service,” note the terms.
Moreover, the section also leaves an open-ended clause that Amazon has the authority to “impose other restrictions on use of the Service.”
The “other restrictions” it can impose on users of the Cloud Drive give the service ample room to manipulate access.
Another disadvantage of Cloud Drive per the terms is that one will not be able to use it for commercial use as advocated by Section 1.2. So, if you’re looking to store files that are work oriented, think again.
“You may use the Service only to store, retrieve, manage, and “access Your Files for personal, non-commercial purposes using the features and functionality we make available,” notes the section.
The section also debars the use of Cloud Drive to transfer, store or distribute data belonging to or on behalf of a third party. Moreover one will not be able to deploy the service to “operate your own file storage application or service.” Isn’t that the primary purpose of a commercial web service such as Amazon’s?
Oh and if you had any notions of using Cloud Drive with a photography venture or any other commercial venture, you cannot do so either.
For those who think they could bypass these clauses laid out by Amazon’s Cloud Drive service, we suggest you take a look at “Section 5.2 Suspension and Termination.”
If you do not comply with the terms of the agreement then your user rights can be terminated automatically. Amazon will not give you any notification of the same either. The agreement can be annulled and Cloud Drive’s use restricted, terminated or suspended at Amazon’s discretion.
“If we determine that your use violates the Agreement, is improper, substantially exceeds or differs from normal use by other users, or otherwise involves fraud or misuse of the Service or harms our interests or those of another user of the Service,” notes the agreement’s terms.
The definition of “normal use” of course remains ambiguous and open-ended to favor Amazon. Perhaps if you exceed 1 TB you may find yourself in troubled waters!
In the event your plan gets restricted, terminated or suspended you will not be able to get access to your all-important files which have been stored, Amazon will not compensate you or offer any refund either.
And what can cause restriction and suspension of the account you wonder? If Amazon determines that “your use … harms our interests.”
Access to files may also be restricted by Amazon per Section 2.3 if you do not renew your service plan or downgrade the same and, therefore, are not eligible for Additional Benefit. Not renewing means your files could get deleted.