A number of French politicians and the country’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) have ordered search engines and app stores to delist Wish, a US e-commerce platform, stating product safety concerns as the defining reason.
The move comes after more than 100 products sold through the site were tracked and sampled by the DGCCRF as part of an investigation, ultimately finding that Wish had violated consumer rights by listing and selling products that did not comply with European regulations.
According to a report by Euractiv France, Wish will soon no longer appear on the results page of Google and Bing, or as an app in the App Store and Play Store. It can still be searched for through a direct URL.
“The dereferencing of Wish offers from search engines and that of its app considerably reduces the risk of a consumer stumbling upon offers of dangerous products on its sites,” said French secretary of state for digital, Cédric O, in a statement for the publication. The statement was also backed by French ministers Bruno Le Maire and Alain Griset.
“Either it complies with consumer protection rules, or we will go even further…”
Wish, a platform that gained popularity from its often extremely affordable and extensive product selection, mostly lists items from China-based sellers, not carrying any inventory itself.
The DGCCRF investigation reported particular concerns over family-related products, with 95 percent of toys and electrical devices inspected to be found as non-compliant. 45 percent of the toys and 90 percent of the appliances were considered dangerous. Examples included jewellery sets, a children’s mermaid costume and LED Christmas lights.
Furthermore, the study found that Wish did not “satisfactorily” comply with its obligations as a distributor, in relation to product withdrawals and recalls. It reported that, in most cases, goods reported as dangerous were withdrawn in 24 hours, however, were still available through the site “under a different name and sometimes even from the same seller”.
Communication with Wish was already attempted back in July, with the DGCCRF urging the platform to comply with its obligations within two months. Its failure to do so saw the French government delist the platform to “protect consumers and effectively fight against unfair competition from economic operators that flout product safety regulations”.
“Either it complies with consumer protection rules, or we will go even further and move from dereferencing to banning the site on French territory,” said Le Maire in an interview with radio broadcaster, Franceinfo.