The French government on Wednesday, November 24, ordered search engines and app stores to withdraw the U.S. e-commerce platform Wish on the grounds that the online retail platform “flouted security regulations some products “. EURACTIV France reports.
A few days before Black Friday and a month before the Christmas holidays, the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and the Fight against Fraud (DGCCRF) is taking a hard line.
Wish will soon no longer appear in the results pages of Google or Bing for example, nor in the list of applications of the App Store or the Play Store. While the site can still be accessed by typing the URL directly into the browser bar, not showing up in search engines or app stores is a big blow to the platform’s visibility online.
âThe de-listing of Wish offers from search engines and that of its application considerably reduces the risk that a consumer will encounter dangerous product offers on their site,â explained Secretary of State for Digital, CÃ©dric O.
Non-compliant and dangerous products
The government’s decision follows a sampling campaign by the DGCCRF, which revealed a large number of non-compliant and dangerous products sold on the platform.
The government was particularly concerned about the results linked to certain product families. Of the toys and electrical devices inspected, 95% were found to be non-compliant, with 45% of toys and 90% of devices deemed unsafe.
The investigation also showed that Wish was not âsatisfactorilyâ meeting its obligations as a distributor, in terms of product withdrawals and recalls.
For example, although the offers of products marked as unsafe were withdrawn within 24 hours “in the majority of cases”, they were still offered on the platform but under a different name, and sometimes even from the same seller.
In July, the DGCCRF gave Wish two months to comply with its obligations but it failed to do so, leading the government to remove the platform from the list.
âThis decision illustrates the government’s action to protect consumers and fight effectively against unfair competition from economic operators. [who] flout product safety rules, âsaid Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire.
France is fighting “to apply the same rules in physical stores as in online stores,” Le Maire also said, adding that this will be one of France’s priorities when it assumes the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU for six months in January.
O spoke of the importance of the issue at EU level, noting that the Digital Services Act (DSA) should âconsiderably strengthen the obligations of marketplaces in terms of consumer protection and informationâ.
“Either it respects the rules of consumer protection, or we will go even further and go from de-listing to banning the site on French territory,” said Le Maire. radio host franceinfo, insisting that digital players should not be above the law.
Wish has not yet responded to EURACTIV’s requests for comment.
[Edited by Luca Bertuzzi/Zoran Radosavljevic]