Google France agrees to pay fine over misleading hotel ratings

16th February 2021 (Last Updated February 16th, 2021 17:37)

Google France has agreed to pay a $1.34m fine over misleading hotel star ratings on its platform.

Google France agrees to pay fine over misleading hotel ratings
The watchdog launched the probe in 2019 and 2020 after several hoteliers complained. Credit: Engin Akyurt from Pixabay

Google France has agreed to pay a $1.34m fine over misleading hotel star ratings on its  platform.

The fine was slapped on Google France and Google Ireland, which is where the tech major’s  European headquarters is located, after a probe was launched by France’s finance ministry and fraud and competition watchdog.

The watchdog launched the probe in 2019 and 2020 after several hoteliers complained.

The investigation was launched by the authority to ascertain ‘the nature and fairness of the information provided by the platform’ on 7,500 hotels in the country.

This investigation found that Google had replaced the regular classification system of Atout France, a public tourist board, with a rating system based on its own criteria.

In a press release, the watchdog stated that this practice was misleading about the level of services that consumers could expect when booking hotels.

This practice led to lower ranking of hotels when compared to the official ranking of Atout France.

Google stated that it has now made the required changes “to only reflect the official French star rating for hotels on Google Maps and Search.”

In a separate development, the firm agreed to pay $76m over three years to a group of 121 French news publishers to bring an end to over a year-long copyright legal fight, reported Reuters, which had seen the documents.