A French watchdog has slapped a 1.1 million euros ($1.3 million) fine on Google over misleading star ratings for hotels on its Search engine in France.
Google has agreed to pay the fine, according to the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF).
“An investigation by the DGCCRF, initiated in 2019, demonstrated the misleading nature of the ranking of hotels by Google, in particular on its search engine,” the watchdog said in a statement late on Monday.
The tech giant applies its own algorithmic system of ratings for hotels applied via Search and Google Maps.
The DGCCRF probe revealed that the tech giant had replaced the standard classification system of the public tourist board with a star rating system powered by its own criteria.
Google applied the new system to more than 7,500 establishments, reports TechCrunch.
A Google spokesperson said that they have now settled with the DGCCRF and “made the necessary changes to only reflect the official French star rating for hotels on Google Maps and Search”.
According to the French watchdog, the practice was particularly damaging for consumers who were “misled about the level of services what they could expect when booking accommodation”.
“The companies Google Ireland Ltd and Google France corrected their practices and, after the agreement of the public prosecutor of Paris, agreed to pay a fine of 1.1 million euros as part of a criminal transaction,” the DGCCRF informed.