Google Android users can get compensation
If you have an Android smartphone in your pocket, chances are you owe a £50 windfall from Google. That’s because the US tech company faces a new lawsuit over claims that its charges to the Play Store are excessive and “unlawful.” Google is systematically breaking the law and overcharging millions of British users for apps and other purchases from the popular app store, according to a landmark lawsuit filed by a UK court against Google.
As you probably know, most first-time Android devices have the Google Play Store preloaded to download new software, eBooks, rent and buy movies, and more.
This, the lawsuit says, leads the majority of users to Google’s platform and stifles any competition. Google typically makes a 30 percent commission on most purchases made through the Play Store, which the team behind the action says is “an illegitimate and undeserved tax imposed on ordinary people without justification.”
The claim alleges that Google’s conduct violates Section 18 of the UK Competition Act 1998 and Section 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. Liz Coll, an established consumer advocacy and former consumer policy leader at Citizens Advice, is bringing this class action.
Compensation of around £920 million is now being sought for UK users, meaning millions of Android fans could see a payout of around £50 coming their way. If successful, the compensation would be paid to any person who, at any time from 1 October 2015, has made purchases of an app or digital content, services or subscriptions within an app in the UK version of the Google Play Store.
Speaking of the most recent move against Google, consumer lawyer Liz Coll said: “Google has done an amazing job of giving millions of people access to all the benefits of smartphones in the UK, including myself. But while it claims to be an open system offering choice, it has In reality, Google locked out the competition and locked consumers in its own app store and its own payment system.
“Google created the marketplace for Android apps and controls it with a vise-like grip. Customers are directed to the Google Play Store and once they have no choice but to pay 30% when they buy an app or make an in-app purchase Competitive app stores, which could offer the same service for a fraction of the price, never get in.
“Google is a gatekeeper to so many digital services and it has a responsibility not to abuse that position and overcharge ordinary consumers. These hidden charges are illegal and Google’s customers deserve compensation and better treatment from Google going forward.”
In response, Google says it “competed vigorously and fairly for developers and consumers.” The company also says its “fee is comparable to our competitors and allows us to constantly reinvest in building a secure, thriving platform that benefits everyone who uses it.”
Google is not the only tech giant to pay damages with a similar lawsuit also filed in the UK against Apple and its App Store.
The team behind the lawsuit is seeking compensation for all those affected and estimates the total payout could exceed £1.5 billion.
Unlike Android handsets, which can download software from other app stores — such as the Huawei AppGallery or Amazon App Store — provided you tweak the default settings, iPhone can only use software downloaded from the App Store.
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