This post was actually a comment by a former ZipCloud user named Jason on the The JDI Backup Family post but I asked him if I could repost it here as a post. While I have read other stories similar to this one from other JDI Backup users this is just an example of how they use section 14 of their Terms and Conditions. While I normally recommend people to the many different companies the more I hear about the business practices of the JDI Backup brands the more I recommend that you look at other companies that put their users and user needs above just making a dollar. A great place to start, I think, is the top cloud backup services that I list.
Here is Jason’s experience with ZipCloud.
ZipCloud.Com is a website like Carbonite which advertises that they will back up your computer, to their ‚Äúcloud‚Äù, in case of computer failure. They offer unlimited data backup for a reasonable price, so I gave it a shot.
First thing is, they‚Äôre not as polished as Carbonite, which is fine, they‚Äôre cheaper. But the first sign of trouble is the up-sell. Everything is extra. Want two computers? Extra. Want to back up your external? Extra. Want to automatically back up movie files? Extra. Want to back up files larger than 1GB? Extra. Want to back up more than once a day? Extra. Want to backup at a reasonable speed? Extra. If you decline these extras, they will continually go down in price to entice you to pick them up. I didn‚Äôt mind the extra price and picked up a few extras (multiple computers, video, etc) to make the process more easy.
I was happy with ZipCloud for a few months, the service worked automatically, I didn‚Äôt worry about it. After a few months, I decided to pay for a year because you saved some money paying ahead of time like that.
Now the trouble starts.
Soon after making that decision and continuing to use ZipCloud as usual, which for me is 2 MacBook computers, one of which is 200GB and the other is 150GB, updating daily automatically using their software, sometimes from my home and sometimes from campus where I am a college student, I received the following email from ZipCloud:
Our account monitoring system has flagged your account as being used out the boundaries of a normal user.
Unfortunately this means we will no longer be able to have you on our personal user platform.
You have 30 days from today to move your files away otherwise they will be permanently deleted and your account cancelled.
The only other option we can offer you is to switch to one of our business accounts which will be more suitable for your data storage needs.
The account you are currently on is designed for personal use only, We understand that there might be a small increase in plan cost but you will find a business account suits your backup needs better, all business accounts come with:
* Ability to create sub-accounts
* Ability to allocate backup space to users/devices
* FREE Network drive backup
* FREE external drive backup
* UNLIMITED sharing capabilities
Click Here to Upgrade to a Business Plan Now!
We also advise customers moving to a business option to delete unwanted files/folder to keep costs to a minimum as all business plans pay for space per GB.
As per our Terms and Conditions, we have the sole discretion to ask you to move plan type and there is nothing we can now do to prevent the above actions taking place.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: 14. Termination and Fair Use Policy
(http://www.ZipCloud.com/terms ‚Äì Sections 4, 14, 15 & 23)
PLEASE TAKE IMMEDIATE ACTION AS YOUR ACCOUNT WILL CLOSE ON 28th September 2013.
30 DAYS FROM NOW.
This email was sent from Zip Cloud, Unit 6, Fulcrum 2, Solent Way, Whiteley, PO15 7FN
Now, ZipCloud does not have a live chat feature, nor does it have a telephone support system which I had not previously noticed. I figured there must be some mistake. As I mentioned, I use two personal computers. They are both Macintosh. One has a hard drive capacity of 150GB and the other has a hard drive capacity of 200GB. I had ZipCloud set up to backup everything. I figured in the case of a system failure, I would better be safe than sorry. And besides, ZipCloud offers ‚Äúunlimited‚Äù data. So, thinking there must be some mistake, I sent an email to ZipCloud through their help system (which I am unable to obtain apparently) basically asking them what had happened to trigger the issue, and alternatively, how to cancel my account, because I was not paying double for a business account.
I received this initial response, right away:
Thank you for contacting Zip Cloud Support
95% of all tickets we receive are replied to within 2 hours.
**Please do not submit multiple tickets! Submitting multiple will delay the response of your ticket, as it will put your previous email back to the bottom of the queue**
If you think of anything which you would like to add to your email to support please reply to this email, and it will update your current message.
Please ensure you check all inbox folders for our reply including your SPAM folder. You can also keep a track of your tickets on the control panel http://my.ZipCloud.com/account/tickets
ZipCloud Support Team
View our Help Centre and FAQs: http://www.ZipCloud.com/faq
Simply add Priority Support for a 1 hour response time, just 9.95/yr. http://www.ZipCloud.com/upgrade
Have you seen our new iPhone, iPad and Andriod mobile apps? Now access all your files on the move!
I thought of a possible reason for the issue and sent this follow-up:
‚ÄúI just realized that perhaps the other difference that may have triggered the mechanism is that I just recently started back up at school for the fall, so the updates may be happening while I‚Äôm at school, which of course is through their IP address, through their network. But I am not an employee of the school. I am a student and this account is used purely for personal reasons. If you are forcing me to open a business account, please let me know how to cancel my account and receive a refund for my annual payment.
I did not hear back for three days, when I received the following boilerplate response:
Thanks for your email.
Your account has been flagged this means we will no longer be able to have you on our personal user platform
We have to follow our Terms and Conditions, there is nothing we can now do to prevent the actions taking place.
We understand that there might be a small increase in plan cost but you will find a business account suits your backup needs better.
We do have the sole discretion to ask you to move plan type. Additionally we allow any user 30 days to recover all stored data from our first contact.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS: 14. Termination and Fair Use Policy (Sections 14 www.ZipCloud.com/terms)
If you would like to discuss cancelling please email billing@ZipCloud.com
If you would like to discuss upgrading to business please email business@ZipCloud.com
If you would like help on deleting devices or data please email support@ZipCloud.com
To reiterate, there is NOTHING we can now do to prevent the actions taking place.
Product & Development team
(I actually received the message twice, assumedly once from my initial email and once from the follow-up, both from the same ‚Äúperson‚Äù.)
I responded with this message and have yet to receive anything else from ZipCloud:
‚ÄúMy account has been flagged as a business account (with no explanation as to why). I am a personal user who uses the service for two personal computers only. I am a student and sometimes the update may occur on my school‚Äôs campus, which uses their own IP address (of course). I find it humorous that you maintain that ‚Äúthere is nothing we can now.‚Äù I literally laughed. As if your company is run by a mass of computers and robots with no human interaction. Your company has used one of the biggest bait-and-switch campaigns I have ever personally been subjected to. I am not making a legal argument, but simply pointing out that as a home personal user who has paid for ‚Äúunlimited‚Äù space, paid extra for two computers, I find it mind-boggling that my two personal computers (one of 200 GB and another of 150 GB) which I update daily using your software would exceed what your company considers ‚Äúpersonal use‚Äù. If you were able to tell me HOW I triggered such a mechanism, perhaps we could better understand if some kind of technical malfunction (on either end) or a misunderstanding when I updated while on my college campus. But of course, you won‚Äôt, you did not even respond to my basic questions in my first email, instead simply sending me a form email which laughably informs me that your hands are tied. No one is questioning your right to kick customers off your servers, I do question the wisdom of it, and I wonder as to why you would kick off a personal user who uploads 2 computers on a daily basis, but I do not question your right.
I have been singing the praises of your company since last spring when I signed up, because of the inexpense and ease with which I updated, but no longer will I be able to recommend your services.
All that being said, if your company is truly attempting to move a college student with two computers off your network because I triggered some kind of secret and arbitrary mechanism to a business account, so be it. Please send me information on how I can deactivate my account. And, as I asked in my previous email, which was summarily ignored, as I paid for an entire year in advance, I assume I am entitled to a pro-rated refund of some kind. Please let me know how to get that. I will be off your service and on to a more professional service such as Carbonite right away (who, as far as I know, don‚Äôt make it a practice to kick college students off of their service).‚Äù
ZipCloud apparently has some arbitrary and secret mechanism that will change a personal user to a business user which they do not advertise nor disclose to users. I am not a business, I do not own a business. Heck, I don‚Äôt even have a job! (Like I mentioned, I am a college student.)
ZipCloud refuses to answer my questions, I am not sure I will receive a refund for my annual subscription and they still have not told me what I did to turn to a ‚Äúbusiness‚Äù user.
Save your money, and a headache. ZipCloud does not care about personal users, they are quick to drop them, and cancel their account without any explanation. They do not stand by their advertised offers and quickly point to their fine print in their terms of agreement to shout ‚ÄúSee! We‚Äôre allowed to do this!‚Äù.
ZipCloud won‚Äôt be around for long. I personally switched to Carbonite, which instead of cancelling college student accounts, actually gave me a student discount, lol. ZipCloud is a company with questionable business practices and ethics, not to mention a foolish business plan. If you want to put your precious data in the hands of a company who will delete it without any explanation, by all means sign up for ZipCloud, otherwise go elsewhere.