BEUC applauds EU General Court ruling on Google Shopping case

PRESS RELEASE - 10.11.2021

The European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) welcomes the EU General Court’s November 10 ruling in the Google Shopping case. The General Court upheld the European Commission’s 2017 decision,  that Google broke EU antitrust rules by abusing its market dominance as a search engine by unfairly promoting its own comparison shopping service.

Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, commented:

“Today’s General Court ruling is important because it confirms that consumers should enjoy freedom of choice based on full and unbiased information and that Google cannot abuse its dominant position to unfairly push competitors out of the way.”

“Google’s misleading and unfair practices harmed millions of European consumers by ensuring that rival comparison shopping services were virtually invisible. As a result, Google prevented consumers from accessing product information and potentially cheaper prices provided by rival comparison shopping services, from shoes to dishwashers.”

“Today’s General Court ruling makes clear that Google must give equal opportunities to all market players to compete on the basis of their own merit and gain consumers’ trust on an equal footing. In light of the ruling, we ask the European Commission to ensure that Google does not abuse its dominance as a search engine by giving its own services preference in other areas.”

Background
The European Commission adopted a decision in June 2017 that Google had broken EU antitrust rules by abusing its dominant market position as a search engine, in particular by illegally promoting its own comparison shopping service in its search results, and demoting those of competitors. BEUC was a complainant against Google during the administrative proceedings and intervened before the General Court in support of the Commission decision (case T-612/17).