PriceRunner sues Google for €2.1 billion
Swedish comparison shopping service PriceRunner is suing Google for promoting its own shopping comparisons in search results. The company is demanding a compensation of 2.1 billion euros. Google Shopping has already been fined for its actions in Europe in 2017.
PriceRunner is a price comparison site that’s owned by Klarna since November 2021. According to the company, it has over 3.7 million products to select from 22.500 stores across 25 different countries.
Letter with 40 other comparison shopping services
In 2019, the company wrote a joint letter with 40 other comparison shopping services saying that Google was abusing its market power. That letter was calling for actions against Google’s non-compliance with the European Commission in 2017.
The Commission had concluded back then that Google enabled a more favorable positioning and display of its own comparison shopping service, Google Shopping, when compared to competing services. The EC ordered Google to bring this to an end.
‘Google received a record-breaking fine of €2.4 billion.’
Google received a record-breaking fine of 2.4 billion euros, after which the EU concluded that Google had improved its comparison shopping service. But according to competitors, Google is still abusing its market power.
‘Matter of survival
“We are of course seeking compensation for the damage Google has caused us during many years, but are also seeing this lawsuit as a fight for consumers who have suffered tremendously from Google’s infringement of the competition law for the past fourteen years and still today”, PriceRunner CEO Mikael Lindahl said in a statement. “This is also a matter of survival for many European entrepreneurial companies and job opportunities within tech.”
‘We are seeking compensation for the damage Google has caused us during many years.’
“If US tech giants are allowed to run free and manipulate markets through their near-monopoly positions, we can expect many tech companies in Europe to suffer far beyond the product and price comparison market”, Lindahl added.
Google ready to defend itself in court
PriceRunner wants Google to pay compensation for profits its lost in the U.K since 2008 and in Sweden and Denmark from 2013 onward. According to Google, it made a number of changes in 2017 to address the EC’s concerns.
“The changes we made to shopping ads back in 2017 are working successfully, generating growth and jobs for hundreds of comparison shopping services who operate more than 800 websites across Europe”, said a Google spokesperson. “PriceRunner chose not to use adds on Google, so it may not have been as successful as others. We are ready to defend our position in court”, said Frederic Abrard, director of CSS Shopping Ads at Google.