Amazon and Google apps

Industry claims worth billions of pounds step up the mounting pressure on big tech 

Go-ahead given for a £13bn claim over Google’s advertising tech and the launch of a new £1.1bn claim against Amazon by UK retailers

A multibillion-pound claim against Google on behalf of UK publishers over allegations that it has behaved anti-competitively in the advertising tech space can proceed to trial, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled this week.

The news came ahead of the launch of a £1.1 billion claim against Amazon from a group of UK over claims it misused  their data and pushed them out of the market to inflate its own profits.

This industry stand comes alongside a growing number of consumer claims against these tech giants and the passing of a new law that could bring hefty fines for these companies if they don’t comply with new rules meant to promote competition.

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Google ad tech

UK publishers take on Google

A £13.6 billion claim alleges that Google has abused its dominant position in the digital advertising space, causing significant losses to UK online publishers.

The claim is being brought by a group called Ad Tech Collective Action LLP, led by Claudio Pollack, Charles Arthur and Kate Wellington, to represent all UK online publishers who publish content online or mobile apps that take advertising.  

Google’s attempted to get the legal action dropped but the Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled this week that it can go to trial.

The case centres around advertising technology, or ad tech, the system that decides which online adverts people see and how much they cost – a major source of revenue for many websites and a vital, valuable sector for Google because its search engine is the most widely used and it offers a number of services in the ad tech space.

At the heart of the Ad Tech Collective Action argument is the claim that Google has abused its position in the market by promoting its own products and services over those of its rivals.

It argues that the activity has meant publishers have received less money from ads they host, as well as paying higher fees to Google.

Claudio Pollack, a partner of Ad Tech Collective Action, said: ‘This is a decision of major importance to the victims of Google’s anti-competitive conduct in ad tech. Google will now have to answer for its practices in a full trial.

‘I look forward to working with our legal and economic advisers to deliver compensation for years during which the relevant markets did not provide a competitive outcome for the UK publishing market.’

Ad Tech Collective Action LLP is represented by law firms Hausfeld & Co LLP, Humphries Kerstetter LLP and Geradin Partners Limited. No court date has yet been set for the trial.

Oliver Bethell, legal director at Google, said: ‘Google works constructively with publishers across the UK and Europe – our advertising tools, and those of our many ad tech competitors, help millions of websites and apps fund their content, and enable businesses of all sizes to effectively reach new customers.

‘These services adapt and evolve in partnership with those same publishers.

‘This lawsuit is speculative and opportunistic. We’ll oppose it vigorously and on the facts.’

The legal action comes as Google is under scrutiny from regulators in the UK, US and Europe around its actions in the ad tech sector. 

Google is also facing a £920 million consumer legal claim for excessive Play Store charges. This is set to go to trial in October 2025. 

It is also accused of shutting out competition in search which has led to higher prices for consumers in a separate £7 billion lawsuit. The specialist competition court will consider whether this should go to trial at a hearing in September 2024. 

UK retailers sue Amazon 

A £1.1 billion pound compensation claim was filed this week against Amazon on behalf of retailers selling on Amazon’s UK marketplace.

Shoppers can buy products sold directly from Amazon, or through independent sellers who list their products on the marketplace.

The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has accused Amazon of illegally using data belonging to competing retailers who use Amazon’s UK marketplace. 

It said the information Amazon took helped it decide which products it should sell itself, at what price, and which consumers to target, therefore benefiting its own retail operations, according to the claim.

More than 80% of Amazon’s UK purchases are made by customers using a system called the ‘Buy Box’, whereby shoppers make a purchase using the ‘buy now’ or ‘add to basket’ buttons.

Bira also alleges in its claim that Amazon manipulated the Buy Box to favour its own products and conceal those belonging to rival sellers.

That information in combination with the Buy Box, meant Amazon knew it could successfully enter and take away profits from UK retailers.

The retailers – many of whom are small independent UK businesses – are said to have been unaware that Amazon was illegally using their data to benefit its own retail operation. 

Amazon charges retailers using its marketplace a 30% commission on every product sold. It earned a £211 billion profit in 2023. 

Andrew Goodacre, Bira’s chief executive, said Amazon has become the ‘dominant marketplace in the UK’ for people shopping online.

‘As a result, for small retailers with limited resources, Amazon is the marketplace to start online trading,’ he said.

‘The British public has a strong relationship with its local, independent retailers and ensuring they are not put out of business by Amazon’s illegal actions is a key driving force behind this collective action.

‘This is a watershed moment for UK retailers, but especially for small independent retailers in this country.’

Bira is represented by law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher.

An Amazon spokesperson said: ‘We have not seen this complaint, but based on the reporting so far we are confident that it is baseless and that this will be exposed in the legal process.

‘Over 100,000 small and medium sized businesses in the UK sell on Amazon’s store, more than half of all physical product sales on our UK store are from independent selling partners, and the fact is that we only succeed when the businesses we work with succeed.’

Amazon’s Buy Box is the subject of a separate £1.3 billion lawsuit brought on behalf of consumers.

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in 2022 that it was investigating Amazon, including the way it selects the products placed within the Buy Box.

Last year, the CMA said it had accepted commitments from Amazon to help protect fair competition on its retail platform.

Related claims

Google Search

Google Search

Google is accused of anti-competitive behaviour by shutting out search engine competition in £7 billion lawsuit affecting 65 million UK consumers.



Do you shop using Amazon’s marketplace at You could be eligible for compensation. Sign up to stay updated.

Google Play Store app on smart phone

Google Play Store

Google faces a £920m consumer claim for excessive Play Store charges. Sign up for updates if you bought apps on your android since 1 October 2015.