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Google is accused of anti-competitive behaviour in £7 billion lawsuit affecting 65 million UK consumers

Google is accused of shutting out search engine competition on smartphones. It has done this by forcing its own apps as a default on practically all mobile phones in the UK. This led to higher prices for advertisers. They have then passed costs onto consumers forcing them to pay more for goods and services than they would in a competitive market.

You are probably one of millions who could be owed money  

The claim seeks to get around £100 back for everyone affected. You could be affected if you are aged 16 or over and bought goods or services from a business who advertised using search advertising services provided by Google. This is likely to be most people in the UK because all major supermarkets, banks and broadband providers advertise on Google Search.

You do not have to have seen these goods and services advertised on Google, or used Google to have bought them. This is because the claim says that these inflated prices were paid by everyone if the business advertised on Google.

Google accused of forcing out competition

The claim argues that Google has effectively ‘bought’ the UK mobile phone search engine market: 

  • Google forced mobile phone handset manufacturers to pre-install the Google Search and Google Chrome browser apps on devices that use Google’s Android operating system in order to obtain a licence to use Google Play.
  • Google unlawfully paid billions to Apple to ensure that Google was the default search engine on iPhones and other devices that used Apple’s iOS operating system. 

The lawsuit argues that Google has used its market dominance to effectively charge advertisers over the odds – costs that were then passed directly to consumers.

The claim against Google

Nikki Stopford, co-founder of Consumer Voice and consumer rights campaigner, launched the £7 billion claim on behalf of practically all UK consumers. 

She accuses Google of anti-competitive practices and abuse of market dominance, leading to almost everyone in the UK being forced to pay more for goods and services than they would in a competitive market.

Stopford has instructed the law firm Hausfeld & Co. LLP to represent her in this mobile search claim. The claim is being funded by Hereford Litigation, a global litigation funder. People affected by this claim will not pay any fees or costs.

How to claim compensation

A decision first needs to be made by the specialist competition court about whether the claim will proceed. Sign up to Consumer Voice or via the Google search claim website to stay updated as the claim progresses if you think you’ve been affected. 

We will keep you updated on the latest developments in the Google Search claim and other group consumer claims.

What’s happening with this claim?

Stopford filed the claim with the Competition Appeal Tribunal in September 2023 to commence collective proceeding. The tribunal will decide whether the claim will go to trial at a hearing on 18-20 September 2024.

Google received a record 4.1 billion euros (£3.6 billion) fine for anti-competitive conduct from a top EU court in September 2022.

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