Google was accused of misleading its European users

Google was accused of misleading its European users

According to the European Commission, it has provided misleading information to users who use the search engine to buy flights and book hotels

(Photo: Chesnot / Getty Images) Google is in trouble again with the European Antitrust, this time due to the opaque management of its Google Flights and Google Hotels services. The tech giant will have two months to improve the way it presents search results for flights and hotels and explain how it processes the order in which the results appear, otherwise it could face new penalties for violating consumer rights. .

According to the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Authority, Google flights and hotels are "deceiving" consumers by manipulating the information given to users who use the search engine to organize their travels. This is because, according to the antitrust regulators of the Netherlands, Belgium and the European Union - who have started the action against the Californian company - the final prices shown by the browser would not include any additional taxes or duties and would not clearly indicate the total on which then discounts may be applied. Google will therefore have to explain why and according to what criteria it shows some flights or hotels before others and undertake to indicate the final prices and discounts in a transparent and correct way, including taxes and associating the discounts with real prices.

“Consumers cannot be deceived” said the European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders “it is necessary to guarantee consumers the possibility of making their purchases on the basis of accurate, transparent and impartial information”. The antitrust regulators have given Google two months to resolve the transparency issues and propose a solution that guarantees full respect for consumer rights, or will face new economic sanctions not yet specified. The Commission finally asked the company to review the terms and conditions of use of the Google store, because it would protect merchants more than consumers.

According to reports from Reuters, Google has declared its willingness to collaborate with the European Union, promising to provide "even more transparency to users" by working "closely with consumer protection agencies and the Commission to make the required improvements".

In recent years, the Commission has already sanctioned Google for more than € 8 billion, due to its monopolistic practices. The new antitrust tightening comes following the latest investigation opened by the Union into the management of Google advertisements and after a year in which it has been under constant scrutiny by antitrust authorities around the world, including those of some European countries like France and Italy.

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