Apple, Google hit with collective claims in Portugal

Eskariam, a Spanish legal services company specialising in collective claims, is financing the early stage costs of collective competition claims against Apple and Google that have been filed with the Portuguese Competition Court. The claims aim to recover compensation of up to €198 million total on behalf of 6.5 million Portuguese consumers and businesses who made purchases of apps or digital content, services and subscriptions within apps on both Apple’s iOS and Google Android devices.

The claims have been filed by Professor Fabrizio Esposito who seeks to act as class representative on behalf of affected app purchasers in order to secure compensation for each class member.

The claims allege that Apple and Google have systematically acted in contravention of competition law by overcharging millions of Portuguese purchasers of apps and in-app content and subscriptions.

The claim argues that Apple and Google’s 30% commission is anticompetitive and unlawful, and that they would be unable to charge such an excessive fee if they didn’t impose technical and contractual restrictions on their devices which make competition by other app stores and payment services providers virtually impossible.  Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store are pre-installed and prominently placed on all Apple and nearly all Android smartphones and tablets.  This, combined with the contractual and technical restrictions which make the use of alternative app stores virtually impossible, has the effect of shutting down competition and enabling Apple and Google to charge excessive commissions, increasing prices for consumers.

Professor Esposito is instructing Portuguese firms J+Legal and Cardigos on the Apple and Google claims respectively, with support from Hausfeld and Eskariam.

Hausfeld’s Global Co-Chair, Anthony Maton:

Alongside its European bases, Hausfeld has always partnered with outstanding local firms to bring its extensive litigation experience and expertise to an ever-widening number of European jurisdictions to assist consumers and businesses harmed by corporate anti-competitive behaviour.  Our latest collaboration sees us collaborating on collective claims in Portugal where we are well placed to support class representatives to defend the interests of Portuguese consumers and businesses against, in this case, Apple and Google.

Hausfeld competition partner, Lesley Hannah, confirms:

This is the latest in a series of claims and regulatory investigations against the technology giants, who are accused of breaching competition law by charging 30% commission on all purchases of apps, in-app content and subscriptions, generating massive and rising profits.

David Fernández, CEO of Eskariam, explains that:

There is still a lot to do in the market for collective actions in Europe which is growing with more and more courts offering the legal means to effectively defend consumer rights. Always on the side of the claimants, Eskariam continue to promote the importance of collective redress as part of our society to ensure that large corporations compensate those affected by abuses of power.

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