Google is responding to a UK class action suit that, if successful, will subject the US tech giant to pay damages to its British consumers up to $1.3 billion, the equivalent of R $6.6 billion.
The action was proposed by consumer rights activist Liz Coll, in London, and obtained the character of collective protection of rights (class action), extending its benefits to around 19.5 million Android users in the UK. The complaint claims that Google charges consumers “unfairly and excessively” for digital purchases on its Play Store.
Proposed less than a month after a coalition of 37 state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the Moutain View company, the current lawsuit also targets the high fees charged at the Play Store. The author argues that, as the “guardian of so many digital services”, Google cannot abuse this position, overloading ordinary consumers.
British complaints against Google
The main cause of the demand is the alleged illegality of the 30% surcharge that the Play Store applies to digital purchases. This percentage, which is applied to the amount transferred to application developers, “is not related to the costs of providing the services”, according to Coll.
She acknowledges that Google has done a great job of opening up access to smartphone benefits to everyone who, like her, uses the Android system. But, says Coll, “although it claims to be an open system that offers options”, Google crushes the competition and “traps” consumers in its app store and its peculiar payment system.
In response, a Google spokesman said in a statement that “97% of developers on Google Play don’t pay any service fees, which means their apps are free for consumers.”