France has fined Google €1.1 million for allegedly “misleading” consumers with their rankings of hotels and other tourist accommodations on its search engine, the country’s foreign ministry announced on Monday. 

Google Ireland and Google France have agreed to pay the fine as part of the settlement, while they have also amended their hotel rankings practices since September 2019.

In a statement, the French finance ministry and fraud watchdog said it had found Google guilty of “misleading commercial practice” after the latter replaced the Atout France ranking, which is the standard classification system of the public tourist board with a classification set according to its own criteria.

A probe into the tech giant’s practices was launched in September 2019 by the French national competition and consumer watchdog (DGCCRF), following complaints from hoteliers about the rank being shown on Google. It assessed the ranking of more than 7,500 establishments.

“This practice was particularly damaging for consumers, misled about the level of services what they could expect when booking accommodation. It also resulted in prejudice for hoteliers whose establishments were wrongly presented as lower ranked than in the official ranking of Atout France,” the statement reads. 

The move marked another blow for Google, as the company had been previously fined €100 million by France’s online data privacy watchdog for allegedly breaching rules on cookies.


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