Arizona awarded $1.1 million from Google over misleading phone ads

Nov 29, 2022, 9:27 AM
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)...
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Arizona will receive over $1 million dollars as part of a settlement with Google and a national media corporation over misleading radio ads.

The Federal Trade Commission and a handful of states announced the agreements Monday with the internet giant and iHeartMedia related to ads about Google’s Pixel 4 cellphone.

Complaints alleged that in 2019 Google paid to have radio personalities endorse and talk about their experiences using the phone before the phone was even available, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office said in a press release.

Court documents showed part of the script included, “The only thing I love more than taking the perfect photo? Taking the perfect photo at night. With Google Pixel 4 both are a cinch.”

The radio conglomerate asked Google for phones before the ads were recorded citing employee concern about the personalization without having used the phone.

The ads, in both English and Spanish ran 23,577 times in 10 markets, including more than 2,000 times in metro Phoenix, the office said.

A buying agent for Google wrote back: “Unfortunately, this is not feasible for Google at this time as the product is not on shelves yet. It would take over a week to ship all of these phones out resulting in a loss of airtime.”

The consent judgment awarded Arizona $1,077,083 from Google and $26,018 from iHeart in civil penalties.

Google also was prohibited from running ads with false endorsements for its consumer electronic products, operating systems for handheld devices, or any software or consumer-facing feature in any device, according to the AG Office.

California, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York and Texas were also part of the settlement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Arizona awarded $1.1 million from Google over misleading phone ads