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Y-Cam now charging for previously free cloud storage

The UK-based home security company Y-Cam Solutions has changed its free unlimited cloud storage service. Previously, if you purchased a Y-Cam smart security camera, you received unlimited storage in the cloud for a rolling seven-day period. Under the new terms, existing users will have the seven-day cloud storage limited to one year with effect from the date of activation.

To continue using the storage after that they will have to pay a monthly subscription fee of GBP2.99 per camera. Y-Cam customers can’t use alternative options for storing their recorded footage, such as third-party cloud storage (DropBox, Google Drive, or OneDrive) or their own networked hard drive. Existing camera owners were sent an email on behalf of Y-Cam giving them 14 days’ notice of the changes coming into force.

Essentially, important features are being rescinded unless people are willing to pay. New customers will also get free cloud storage for a year before they have to pay. Best Buy wireless security cameras[1] – find out which models topped our tests.

As you can expect, Y-cam customers are not happy with this development, and have voiced their criticisms via Twitter:

@ycamsolutions[2] very disappointed that you’re charging for all camera storage. I feel like I’ve been suckered in with little option and very little time to decide. You always promoted yourselves on the free 7 days storage and now you’ve taken that away.

— Stewart Bamford (@camcanary) November 30, 2017[3]

.@ycamsolutions I bought two y-cam Evo cameras based on your promise of *free forever* 7 day cloud storage.You CAN NOT yourself change the original terms of sale for existing customers, either refund or grandfather existing customers! pic.twitter.com/qzcEs6yf6H[4][5] — Jean-Pierre Deckers (@JPDeckers) December 1, 2017[6]

@ycamsolutions said…”when purchasing a home security camera that cloud storage is an essential, otherwise you are just buying a live streaming machine, so basically a web cam! Because of this, at Y-cam, we believe Cloud storage should be provided to customers free of charge” pic.twitter.com/uabPwDDMPk[7][8]

— Graham J Phillips (@phillipsjgraham) November 30, 2017[9]

The tweet above shows older marketing material used by Y-Cam highlighting the differences in ongoing costs between its camera and those of its competitors. Some customers say they have complained to the Advertising Standards Authority and Trading Standards about Y-Cam’s marketing material promoting lifetime storage at the time they bought their security camera. Y-Cam has responded to complaints from customers by releasing additional information:

We have received lots of feedback following our recent announcement and we feel it necessary to address some of the reaction we have seen https://t.co/d95g7Jn5BI[10]

— Y-cam (@ycamsolutions) December 4, 2017[11]

Since Y-cam announced its decision to limit Y-cam’s free cloud recording service to 1 year we have been very aware of the disappointment and frustration that this decision has caused. So without any reservation we want to say sorry. https://t.co/7f8VGNkyOF[12] — Y-cam (@ycamsolutions) December 7, 2017[13]

Devin Chawda, co-founder and CEO of Y-Cam told us: ‘Y-Cam has been a trusted British security brand since 2007 and apologises to all customers that feel let down by its decision.

Whilst regrettable, the move was necessary due to the increasing cost of providing the infrastructure and remaining compliant with the ever-increasing burden of data security. ‘Unlike cheaper IP and CCTV cameras, the Y-Cam system operates through a central cloud-based technology platform that requires hundreds of servers processing over three million videos for its customers every day. It is a fully managed system with highly qualified engineers looking after it 24×7 to ensure customer accounts remain online and secure, which is more important now than ever before as internet security threats are becoming increasingly sophisticated.’

Y-Cam has also said it will honour a separate three-year free cloud storage offer that was available to customers who activated their cameras between 15 June and 15 December 2017. The three-year deal was originally due to expire on 30 November but Y-Cam chose to extend it to 15 December to provide extra time to customers.

What to do if your Y-Cam is affected

Existing Y-Cam customers now have three options once their period of free cloud storage ends:

  1. Subscribe to the Y-cam Plus service, which offers 30-day storage and a number of alarm benefits for GBP9.99 a month or GBP99.99 a year (discounted to GBP4.99 and GBP49.99 for the first year).
  2. Subscribe to the seven-day storage plan for GBP2.99 per camera.
  3. Take no action and still receive notifications and be able to access live video and audio footage. However, the camera will no longer record.

As a comparison, the Netgear Arlo Q Premier plan, which supports up to 10 cameras and gives you 30 days of recordings, costs GBP6.49 a month or GBP64 a year.

The Nest Indoor Cam Standard plan, which gives you 10 days of recordings, costs GBP8 a month or GBP80 a year. So, while some customers might be unhappy that they have to pay for a service that was previously free, it is significantly cheaper than other popular camera plans.

Is this a one-off case?

Y-Cam is not the only smart security company to recently fall foul of customer backlash regarding free and paid-for services. Canary also changed the features that are included in its free and paid-for subscription packages, removing camera abilities that were once free and placing them behind a paywall.

We’ve updated our first-look Y-Cam Evo review[14] and Canary Flex review[15] to reflect the changes.

References

  1. ^ Best Buy wireless security cameras (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  3. ^ November 30, 2017 (twitter.com)
  4. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  5. ^ pic.twitter.com/qzcEs6yf6H (t.co)
  6. ^ December 1, 2017 (twitter.com)
  7. ^ @ycamsolutions (twitter.com)
  8. ^ pic.twitter.com/uabPwDDMPk (t.co)
  9. ^ November 30, 2017 (twitter.com)
  10. ^ https://t.co/d95g7Jn5BI (t.co)
  11. ^ December 4, 2017 (twitter.com)
  12. ^ https://t.co/7f8VGNkyOF (t.co)
  13. ^ December 7, 2017 (twitter.com)
  14. ^ Y-Cam Evo review (www.which.co.uk)
  15. ^ Canary Flex review (www.which.co.uk)

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