FAQs
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General information

1. Why has this website been created?

This website has been created to inform members of the public about a proposed collective claim in relation to charges in the Google Play Store.

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The claim is on behalf of consumers and businesses who have spent money on digital content within the Google Play Store.

Google has breached competition law by excluding competition and/or charging an unlawful level of commission on digital purchases in the Google Play Store.

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The proposed collective claim is against Google.

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Google has breached competition law by abusing its dominant position by excluding competition and/or charging an unfair and excessive level of commission in the Google Play Store, usually as much as 30%. As a result, consumers and businesses are very likely to have suffered financial loss and are entitled to damages.

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The proposed class representative is Liz Coll. Liz has dedicated her professional life to creating a safe and fair digital world where consumers come first.

She has held a number of senior positions in UK and international consumer organisations including Citizens Advice, Consumer Focus and Consumers International, focusing on issues including e-commerce, consumer internet of things, AI, data privacy, and the impact of platforms on consumer choice, redress and fair treatment. Liz now works as a consumer technology policy consultant, providing support and advice to organisations that want to build a fair and trusted digital world.

Liz is applying to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to bring a claim on behalf of consumers and businesses who may have been overcharged in the Google Play Store. If successful, every member of the proposed class may be entitled to damages.

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As a company in a dominant position, Google has a special responsibility to ensure its conduct does not subject its customers to unfair prices or trading conditions. This includes a responsibility not to engage in conduct that forecloses the market to competition and not to charge excessive prices. In an age where there is an increasing use of digital platforms and apps by businesses and consumers, it is even more essential that they are treated fairly.

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Hausfeld & Co LLP are the lawyers providing legal advice and support to Liz Coll.

Vannin Capital, a commercial litigation funder, has agreed to finance the claim.

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Hausfeld & Co LLP is a leading international law firm specialising in competition law, with significant expertise in all aspects of collective redress and group claims – often acting against some of the largest corporations in the world. Hausfeld & Co LLP is experienced in managing litigation against global “Big Tech” companies.

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Vannin Capital is a commercial litigation funder who will be financing the proposed collective claim.

Vannin is a member of the Association of Litigation Funders of England and Wales and complies with that organisation’s Code of Conduct.

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About collective claims

A collective claim (also known as ‘collective proceedings’) is brought by a class representative on behalf of a group of claimants who have suffered loss as a result of a breach of competition law. The group of claimants is referred to as a ‘class’ and each claimant in the group is referred to as a ‘class member’.

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Collective claims can only be brought in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, which specialises in resolving competition law disputes.

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The proposed collective claim is brought on an opt out basis for individuals and businesses domiciled in the UK.

If you are domiciled in the UK and fall within the definition of the ‘class’, you will automatically be included in Liz Coll's proposed collective claim and will be bound by any judgment or settlement unless you choose to opt-out of the proceedings.

If you wish to take part in the proposed collective claim but are not domiciled in the UK, you will need to opt in to the claim. Please register your interest by clicking the 'Stay Up To Date' button on this website and you will be notified about when and how to opt in to the claim.

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If Liz Coll is approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal to act as the class representative, she will conduct the proposed collective claim against Google on behalf of all class members, save those that have opted out of the claim. Liz will be responsible for communicating with and issuing formal notices to the class members. Liz will communicate with the class members via updates and announcements posted on this website, email correspondence and written notices, such as the recent CPO hearing notice.

To assist her in her role, Liz has established a consultative group of individuals experienced in the legal, consumer and payments sectors relevant to the proposed collective claim.

The members of the consultative group are:

  • Sir Gerald Barling – Sir Gerald Barling is a retired High Court Judge and formerly the President of the Competition Appeal Tribunal. Sir Gerald is a leading expert in competition law and the collective actions regime.
  • Aidene Walsh – Aidene Walsh is currently an Executive Director at Banking Competition Remedies and a Non-Executive Director of the Payment Systems Regulator. Aidene has worked in the payments field for over 20 years.
  • Dr Christine Riefa – Dr Christine Riefa is an academic specialising in consumer law. Christine has also acted as a consultant in respect of a number of projects for consumer organisations such as Consumers International and BEUC.

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The proposed collective claim was filed on 28 July 2021 alongside an application for a Collective Proceedings Order.

The application for a Collective Proceedings Order is due to be heard by the Competition Appeal Tribunal on 18 and 19 July 2022 (with 20 July 2022 in reserve). During this hearing, the Competition Appeal Tribunal will hear arguments as to whether the claim should be ‘certified’ (i.e., whether a Collective Proceedings Order should be granted so the claim can proceed to the next stage). Persons with an interest in the proposed collective claim may object to Liz Coll’s application for a Collective Proceedings Order or to Liz Coll being appointed as the class representative and/or apply to the Competition Appeal Tribunal to make submissions at the hearing. Objections and/or applications to make submissions at the hearing must be received by the Competition Appeal Tribunal by 4pm on 11 March 2022. Click here for more information.

If Liz Coll’s application for a Collective Proceedings Order is successful, the proposed collective claim will proceed to the next stage, unless it is settled beforehand.

If the proposed collective claim proceeds to trial, the Competition Appeal Tribunal will decide whether to make an aggregate award of damages. If made, the award will be distributed to class members based on a distribution method approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal.

Generally disputes of this scale take a number of years to resolve. Please register your interest in the proposed collective claim by clicking the 'Stay Up To Date' button on this website to be notified of developments directly.

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The claim could settle at any point in the proceedings. Any settlement reached between Liz Coll and Google must be approved by the Competition Appeal Tribunal and must be just and reasonable. If Liz settles the claim in exchange for a sum of money from Google, that sum of money will be distributed to class members.

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Being a class member

If you meet the criteria of the proposed class for the proposed collective claim and are domiciled in the UK, you will automatically be included in the collective claim if the court grants a Collective Proceedings Order (unless you opt-out of it).

The proposed class consists of all persons (including individuals and businesses) who, at any point during the period between 1 October 2015 and the date of final judgment or earlier settlement of this proposed collective claim, made for themselves and/or another person, one or more purchases of an app or digital content, services or subscriptions within an app (excluding Google apps) in the UK version of the Google Play Store from an Android smartphone or tablet on which the Google Play Store was pre-installed.

To be a member of the proposed class you need to:

  1. Have made at least one relevant purchase since 1 October 2015. You must have made at least one purchase of an app, or digital content, services or subscriptions within an app since 1 October 2015. To check this:

    1. enter the Google Play Store on your Android smartphone or tablet, click on your account, select ‘Payments and subscriptions';
    2. then select ‘Budget and history’ and you will be able view your purchase history.

    Alternatively, your purchase history can be viewed online by following this link: https://play.google.com/store, clicking on the ‘Account’ tab, clicking on the ‘Order History’ tab, and filtering ‘Categories’ by ‘Apps’.

    Your purchase history is linked to your Google account. Therefore, if you have made purchases in the Google Play Store using more than one Google account since 1 October 2015, please follow the above steps in respect of each of your Google accounts to collate a composite list of all purchases.

    Only payments that show up in your purchase history, and which do not relate to one of Google’s own apps, are relevant to the proposed claim. Certain categories of payments in the Play Store, such as payments for taxi rides and food deliveries (e.g. most payments for a physical good or service) won’t show up in your purchase history and are not relevant to the proposed claim. In addition, payments for or within Google apps (e.g. payments within the “Play Books” app) are also excluded from the claim.

  2. Have made that relevant purchase on an Android smartphone or tablet on which the Google Play Store was pre-installed. You will only be eligible for inclusion in the class if you made the relevant purchase(s) on an Android smartphone or tablet on which the Google Play Store was pre-installed (i.e. installed by the manufacturer of your Android smartphone or tablet).

  3. Have made that relevant purchase in the UK version of the Google Play Store. You will only be eligible for inclusion in the class if you used the UK version of the Google Play Store to make the relevant purchase(s). To check this:

    1. enter the Google Play Store on your Android smartphone or tablet, click on your account (the small icon with your photo or the first letter of the name you registered with in the top right-hand corner of your screen);
    2. go to ‘Settings’, click the drop-down box ‘General’, go to ‘Account and device preferences’ and check which country is listed (with a green tick beside it) under ‘Country and profiles’.

    Alternatively, you can check this online by following this link: https://play.google.com/store, clicking on your account icon in the top right-hand corner, clicking on the 'Payments and Subscriptions' tab, clicking on 'Manage Payment Methods' and then selecting the 'Settings' tab. The UK should be listed under 'Country/Region'.

    If the UK is listed, you are using the UK version of the Play Store. If you have made purchases in the Google Play Store using more than one Google account since 1 October 2015, please follow the above steps in respect of each of your Google accounts to check that each is registered to the UK version of the Google Play Store.

  4. Be domiciled in the UK at the domicile date. The Competition Appeal Tribunal will establish a ‘domicile date’ – being the date on which all consumers who made relevant purchases in the UK version of the Google Play Store must be domiciled in the UK in order to be members of the class. The Competition Appeal Tribunal is yet to determine that date but we will publish it on this website once it is announced. Please register your interest in the proposed collective claim by clicking the 'Stay Up To Date' button on this website to be notified of this important development directly.

  5. Not fall within one of the following excluded categories:

    1. Officers, directors or employees of Google, their subsidiaries and any entity in which they have a controlling interest;
    2. All members of Liz Coll and Google’s respective legal teams and all experts and professional advisors instructed and retained by them and all funders or insurers involved in connection with the proposed collective claim;
    3. All members and staff of the Competition Appeal Tribunal assigned at any point to the proposed collective claim;
    4. Any judge and Court staff involved in any appeal in the proposed collective claim;
    5. Any deceased person; and
    6. Any registered corporate entity with legal personality which:

      1. has been struck off or dissolved pursuant to the Companies Act 2006 or equivalent legislation applying outside the United Kingdom; or
      2. has experienced the onset of insolvency within the meaning of section 240(3) of the Insolvency Act 1986 or equivalent legislation applying outside the UK; or
      3. is dormant within the meaning of the Companies Act 2006 or equivalent legislation applying outside the UK.

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If your business is domiciled in the UK and at any point since 1 October 2015 has made for itself, and/or another, one or more purchases of an app or digital content, service or subscriptions within an app from an Android smartphone or tablet in the UK version of the Google Play Store then yes, it is very likely to be part of the class.

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At this stage, class members do not need to do anything. Updates on any developments will promptly be posted on this website so that you can stay up to date. In addition, if you register your interest in the proposed collective claim, you will be notified of developments directly.

In the event that Liz Coll secures compensation for the class, you will need to come forward and claim your share of any damages. Details of how to do this will be uploaded to this website when appropriate.

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At this stage you do not need to do anything. However, you may choose to object to your participation in the proposed collective claim and/or apply to make submissions at the hearing on 18 and 19 July 2022 (with 20 July 2022 in reserve) by notifying the Competition Appeal Tribunal by 4pm on 11 March 2022 – more details on how to do this are included in the CPO hearing notice.

If Liz Coll's application for a Collective Proceedings Order is successful following the hearing on 18 and 19 July 2022 (with 20 July 2022 in reserve), at that stage you will have the right to opt-out or request to be excluded from the claim. Updates on developments will be widely publicised in the media and also promptly posted on this website so that you can Stay Up To Date.

By opting-out you reserve the right to bring your own separate claim against Google but you will not be able to get any money in the event that Liz Coll secures compensation for the class.

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How the proposed collective claim will affect you

Liz Coll seeks an aggregate award of damages in the sum of hundreds of millions of pounds for the proposed class as a whole. Any aggregate award of damages will then need to be distributed to eligible class members that come forward to claim their share.

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As a proposed class member, you will not incur any costs of taking part in the proposed collective claim, nor will you be liable to Google for its costs should the proposed collective claim be unsuccessful.

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There is nothing preventing you from discussing the case and sharing updates on social media.

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Further information

If you have questions or would like any further information, please contact Liz Coll’s legal team here. For media information please contact:
Conal Walsh at info@Appstoreclaims.co.uk.

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