Google is still taking a financial hit over allegations it misled customers with Pixel 4 ads. The company has agreed to pay Texas $8 million to settle claims it paid radio hosts for “deceptive” testimonials about the Pixel 4 even though the DJs couldn’t use the phone beforehand. The ads continued even though Google was aware it was breaking the law, according to state Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office.
The tech giant already reached a $9 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and six other states. Paxton argued the state settlement was important as Google has “significant influence,” and no large company should expect “special treatment.”
We’ve asked Google for comment. In a statement to Reuters, spokesperson José Castañeda said the company took advertising laws seriously and was “pleased to resolve” the dispute.
The high value of a separate Texas settlement isn’t surprising. The state is already pursuing multiple legal actions against Google, including an antitrust case over advertising tech dominance and another lawsuit over face data collection practices. Texas is determined to limit Google’s influence as an industry heavyweight wherever possible, including radio commercials.
Google isn’t the only phone maker to be accused of trying to trick customers. Huawei and Samsung have both been caught passing off DSLR photos as phone camera samples. The Pixel 4 ad campaign may have been more problematic, however. Between the FTC and state claims, Google is accused of deliberately setting out to mislead listeners and continuing even when confronted over its behavior.