The Golden Hammer Staff Reports
Austin and Conroe, January 20 – Attorney General Ken Paxton, on behalf of the State of Texas, filed a lawsuit against Google, LLC, for engaging in false and misleading practices in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices—Consumer Protection Act. The State of Texas filed the lawsuit in the 457th District Court of Montgomery County, Texas, in which popular District Judge Vincenzo J. Santini presides.
In the lawsuit, Texas seeks a temporary and permanent injunction ordering Google to cease its misleading practices, and civil monetary penalties for past misconduct.
The basis for the lawsuit is Google’s employment of iHeartMedia to record and broadcast advertisements in the Dallas-Fort Worth and the Greater Houston markets to promote a Google brand smartphone, the “Pixel 4.” Google provided the script for the ads which included personal endorsements for radio disk jockeys (DJs) to read, describing their personal use and enjoyment of the smartphone.
At the time, however, the Pixel 4 had not yet been released, none of the DJs had actually used it, and Google refused to provide samples to iHeartMedia. iHeartMedia realized the script Google provided would be misleading to consumers and explained these concerns, but Google refused to acquiesce and insisted on the DJs recording “first-hand testimonials” for a product they had never used.
“This is not the first time I have had to address bad behavior by Big Tech companies. They are not above the law, and I will make sure they are held accountable for their misleading business practices,” Attorney General Paxton said. “Google will not continue manipulating Texas consumers.”
Paxton summarized the lawsuit as follows:
“Google hired media companies, including iHeartMedia, to record and broadcast advertisements in the Dallas-Fort Worth (“DFW”) and Houston, Texas markets, promoting the Pixel 4, a smartphone sold by Google. Google provided a script for the Pixel 4 advertisements and demanded that the radio personalities recording the advertisements give a first-hand endorsement of the product. Google knew that the Pixel 4 was not yet on the market and so the radio personalities could not provide an honest endorsement. iHeartMedia recognized Google’s script as misleading, conveyed its concern over the deceptive nature of the advertisements to Google, and sought to have Google provide Pixel 4 phones to the radio personalities recording the advertisements. Google, however, refused to cooperate with the ameliorative efforts suggested by iHeartMedia to prevent the advertisements from being deceptive. Instead, Google demanded the recording and broadcast of the advertisements using Google’s scripted and deceptive wording.”
The 457th District Court is one of two civil district courts in Montgomery County, whose county seat, Conroe, is 40 miles north of Houston.