Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) has filed a formal complaint against Google’s unethical and anti-competitive business practices with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on June 6 2012. This is the second formal complaint against Google. In February 2012, CCI ordered for a formal probe against Google in India for its Adwords service when chennai based Consim Info, that runs Bharatmatrimony.com formally filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory trade practices.

CUTS told MediaNama that the information filed by CUTS against Google is for violations of Section 3 and Section 4 of the Indian Competition Act, 2002 which covers acts on Anti-competitive agreements and Abuse of dominant position.

“We have brought out before the Commission the results of specific studies on this issue and how various contraventions are being committed. Also, we have brought to the commission’s notice as to how various competition authorities in other jurisdictions have taken cognizance of such practices by Google affecting their economy. The merit of the argument that Google should not abuse its market power is very much in line with what is happening in Korea, Australia, EU, etc.”, Udai Mehta, Associate Director of CUTS International, told MediaNama via email.

Cagey. Very Cagey.

CUTS, however, refused to divulge into more information, and is being rather cagey about the specifics of its complaint. While it does appear that Google dominates the Indian online advertising market – we’ve said so ourselves that its dominance isn’t healthy for the growth of the ecosystem – CUTS will have to prove that Google is indulging in anti-competitive activities in India, and that it is abusing its dominant position. Does CUTS have proof? We don’t know, and it’s strange that CUTS is being so tight lipped, since its filing should be public information.

We’re going to file an RTI with the CCI asking for the CUTS and Bharatmatrimony filings.

Other complaints against Google with CCI

Eximorp

In February 2011, CCI reviewed (PDF) a complaint filed by Eximorp India Pvt Ltd against Google India Pvt Ltd for alleging abuse of the dominant position by Google for its Adwords service. Eximorp filed complaint against Google  for:

  • Google’s Business practices are inappropriate and discriminatory in nature.
  • Bidding process introduced by Google to place advertisements on Adwords is non-transparent.
  • Google doesn’t provide information on visitors.
  • Google refused to accept payment via credit card, a discriminatory practice on Geographical location.

However, CCI ruled in favor of Google stating it could not find any evidence that Google has been indulging in any kind of anti-competitive practices.

Bharatmatrimony

Bharatmatrimony, in 2009, had filed a complaint against Google at the Madras high court for displaying their competitors ads on Google search result page when someone searches for ‘bharatmatrimony’. They had taken Google, Shaadi.com and SimplyMarry.com to court. In February 2012, Bharatmatrimony again  filed a complaint against Google, citing discriminatory trade practices related to its AdWords program, according to a report by The Economic Times.

More trouble for Google

More recently, a Trial Court in India has asked Ministry of  Home Affairs to serve summons to executives of Google and other social networking sites  when Vinay Rai, a senior journalist and editor of Akbari, an Urdu weekly, filed the case last year in December against 21 websites and claimed that content on the websites owned by the companies encouraged defamation, obscenity, and promotion of enmity among different religious and race groups.