The British consumer rights organization Consumer Voice has filed a class action lawsuit worth more than seven billion pounds, equivalent to approximately 8 billion euros, against Google. According to the claim, the search giant has violated competition law and caused the living costs of all residents to rise.
The class action was brought by Consumer Voice to the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal on behalf of virtually all 65 million adult residents of the UK. The compensation claimed amounts to approximately £7.3 billion, which is approximately equivalent to £100 per adult resident. According to Consumer Voice co-founder Nikki Stopford, this class action lawsuit serves to ‘restore the balance’. “Not only by giving people back what they deserve, but also by holding Google accountable for its actions.”
Google is accused of abusing its dominant position in the search engine market by jacking up the price for advertisers on the platform. The advertisers would then largely pass on these higher rates to consumers, causing them to pay higher prices for all kinds of goods and services.
Consumer Voice states that Google also abuses its dominant position by linking its search service on mobile devices to other services. For example, smartphone manufacturers are required to install the Google Search and Chrome apps on phones if they want to get a license for the Google Play Store. It is also reported that Google is paying Apple to ensure that Google remains the default search engine on Apple devices.
A Google spokesperson called this case “speculative and opportunistic” and said the company “will strongly oppose it.” “We only make money if the ads are helpful and relevant, which is determined by clicks, at a price determined during a real-time auction.” According to the spokesperson, advertisements play a “crucial role” for users to discover new companies and products.