A new legal claim has been filed on behalf of nearly 20 million people in the UK who downloaded apps via the Google Play Store on their Android phone, and if it’s successful they could be owed millions of pounds.
People who downloaded popular apps including Tinder, Roblox and Candy Crush Saga on the store are likely to be eligible for a payout.
Damages could run to an average of £47 per person - and are likely to be much higher for gamers.
The total bill to Google could hit £920million, according to claimants.
The claim has been filed by consumer champion Liz Coll in the Competition Appeal Tribunal in London.
Her legal action alleges Google Play Store’s 30 per cent surcharge for digital purchases is “excessive and unfair”.
The challenge also alleges that contractual and technical restrictions have the effect of shutting down competition for app distribution on Android devices.
Ms Coll said: "Google has done a great job in opening up access to all the benefits of smartphones for millions of people including me in the UK.
"But while it claims to be an open system offering choice, in reality Google has shut out competition and locked consumers into its own app store and its own payment system.
“Google is a gatekeeper to so many digital services, and it has a responsibility not to abuse that position and overcharge ordinary consumers.
"These hidden charges are unlawful, and Google’s customers deserve compensation, and better treatment from Google in future.”
Google said “This lawsuit ignores the benefits and choice Android and Google Play provide.
“Android gives people more choice than any other mobile platform in deciding which apps and app stores they use – in fact most Android phones come preloaded with more than one app store.”
The tech giant claims that most apps are free to consumers.
If the new legal claim is successful, people who have been using an Android smartphone or tablet on which the Google Play Store was pre-installed since October 1, 2015 would be eligible for compensation.
People would not have to do anything to get their money, but you need to have bought an app or digital content, subscriptions or services in the UK version of the Google Play Store.
If this happens, however, it's likely that the claim would be contested and so the legal process could take years.