Arizona, other states settle smartphone ad case with Google, iHeartMedia

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Georgia is set to receive nearly $1.2 million following a settlement with Google and iHeartMedia over a series of ads with “allegedly false endorsements” of the Google Pixel 4 smartphone.

According to a news release, in 2019, Google contracted iHeartMedia to record pro-Pixel 4 ads. However, the purported testimonials in the ads were from people who had not previously owned or used the Pixel 4 phone.

The phone was not yet for sale when the ads were recorded, and Google did not make the device available “to those making their endorsements in advance of initially recording and airing the ads,” according to a release.

Officials said the ads aired in 10 media markets, including Atlanta. The ads aired 1,169 times in Georgia, and Attorney General Chris Carr said the ads violated the Georgia Fair Business Practices Act.

“Not only are false advertising claims unlawful, but they also prevent consumers from making informed decisions about the products and services they purchase,” Carr said in a statement. “Any business that purposefully employs deceptive practices to mislead Georgians will be held accountable for their actions.”

Under the deal, Google and iHeartMedia will pay $9.4 million to several states, including Arizona, California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, and New York. Texas joined in the settlement with iHeartMedia.

The companies also agreed to comply with Federal Trade Commission guidelines for ads with endorsements.

The settlement is subject to court approval.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.