Google fined €1.1M in France for misleading hotel ranking

Google was fined €1.1 million in France for misleading ranking of hotels on its search engine, the country’s economy ministry announced Monday.

“The investigation revealed that Google had replaced the Atout France ranking with a classification established according to its own criteria,” said the General Directorate for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF), referring to France’s official hotel classification.

The investigation, prompted by complaints from hoteliers, assessed the ranking of more than 7,500 establishments that displayed stars on Google’s search results. The DGCCRF said that the practice was “particularly damaging” for consumers, who were misled about the benefits they could enjoy when booking an accommodation, and for hoteliers, whose hotels were presented as being lower-ranked than in Atout France’s official classification.

Since September 2019, Google Ireland and Google France have agreed to correct the search results and use Atout France’s ranking when displaying how many stars a hotel has.

“We have now settled with the DGCCRF and made the necessary changes to reflect the official French star rating for hotels on Google Maps and Search,” a Google spokesperson said.

This article has been updated to include comment from Google.

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