Heureka and other price comparison services have called upon the European Commission to stop Google's abuse of its dominant position
Even after a fine over a billion-dollars, Google continues to violate the rules of the European price comparison market. Representatives of 43 leading European price comparison services from 15 countries are once again calling upon the European Commission to enforce more forcefully its decision from 2017 concerning Google’s behaviour abusing its dominant position by finally putting an end to the ongoing practice of Google favouring its own shopping comparison service. A call to end illegal practices that harm competition has been sent for the second time to Margrethe Vestager, Commissioner for Competition of the European Commission. Among the signatories of the joint letter are, in addition to the Heureka Group, the German LadenZeile and Idealo, the Italian Trovaprezzi, the Swedish Prisjak and the French leGuide comparison services.
Formal complaints about the situation where Google prioritizes its own comparison service in searches, specifically in this case Google Shopping, began thirteen years ago. In 2017, the European Commission concluded that Google abused its dominant position to favour its own price comparison service. Therefore, the European Commission imposed a fine of 2.42 billion euros on the American company and ordered it to take corrective action. However, according to the signatories, even five years after the decision was issued, Google has not changed the search mechanisms enough to comply with the Principles of Competition.
The joint letter follows up the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into effect earlier this month. In this joint letter, a coalition of companies operating throughout the European Economic Area (EEA) reminded the European Commission that Google should be prohibited from prioritizing its Google Shopping service on results pages in general search.
"However, Google has not yet implemented properly the European Commission's decision from 2017. The Digital Markets Act now contains an equivalent, even more explicit, ban on gatekeeper type search engines inserting the results from their own specialized search services, such as Google Shopping, into their general search results pages. The joint letter calls on the European Commission to take action and to make the enforcement of such a ban its top priority," says Tomáš Braverman, the CEO of Heureka Group, which operates price comparison websites in the entire CEE region.
Google operates the most used Internet search engine in the world. Google displays its own price comparison tool at the top of search results, which hurts the competition. You can find the original joint letter to Margrethe Vestager, the Commissioner for Competition of the European Commission, here.