MILLIONS of Android phone users who’ve used Google’s Play Store could receive compensation from the tech giant if a new legal claim is successful.
The claim has been filed on behalf of nearly 20 million people in the UK who downloaded apps via the store on their Android phone.
Damages could run to an average of £47 per person – and are likely to be much higher for gamers.
The total bill to Google could hit £920million, the claimants say.
Those who downloaded popular apps including Tinder, Roblox and Candy Crush Saga on the store are likely to be eligible.
The claim has been filed by consumer champion Liz Coll in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London.
Formerly head of digital at Consumers International, and digital policy manager at Citizens Advice, has more than twelve years of experience of campaigning for consumers’ rights online.
Her legal action alleges Google Play Store’s 30 per cent surcharge for digital purchases is “excessive and unfair”.
The challenge also alleges that contractual and technical restrictions have the effect of shutting down competition for app distribution on Android devices.
Ms Coll said: “Google has done a great job in opening up access to all the benefits of smartphones for millions of people including me in the UK.
“But while it claims to be an open system offering choice, in reality Google has shut out competition and locked consumers into its own app store and its own payment system.
“Google is a gatekeeper to so many digital services, and it has a responsibility not to abuse that position and overcharge ordinary consumers.
“These hidden charges are unlawful, and Google’s customers deserve compensation, and better treatment from Google in future.”
But Google said: “This lawsuit ignores the benefits and choice Android and Google Play provide.
“Android gives people more choice than any other mobile platform in deciding which apps and app stores they use – in fact most Android phones come preloaded with more than one app store.”
The tech giant claims that most apps are free to consumers.
Are you eligible for a payout?
You don’t have to do anything to join the claim if you believe you’re eligible.
If the court awards any damages then users may have to register to get their compensation.
To be in line for a pay out, if the case is successful, you need to have bought an app or digital content, subscriptions or services in the UK version of the Google Play Store.
It must have been from October 1 2015 using an Android smartphone or tablet on which the Google Play Store was pre-installed.
But you may have to wait some time to get your cash. If contested as expected, the legal process is likely to run for several years.
It’s not the only company facing a legal battle for compensation to customers.
Earlier this year we revealed how TikTok is facing a billion-pound case and kids could be owed thousands each.
While Mastercard faced a battle where customers could be in line for £300 payout.