France orders block on online store Wish on safety grounds

France has ordered search engines and other platforms to delist the online retail site Wish, saying it is a source of non-compliant and unsafe products.

The website – which has also been accused of allowing the sale of counterfeit goods – has been investigated by France's DGCRF, which regulated good and services in France.

The agency carried out test purchases of products including electronic devices, toys and costume jewellery, and determined that 95 per cent of toys did not meet EU standards, and 45 per cent were dangerous to children.

Moreover, 95 per cent of electronic devices were non-compliant, almost all of which (90 per cent) were hazardous, with 62 per cent of costume jewellery also deemed risky to consumers.

The DGCRF also concluded that Wish wasn't meeting its obligations on carrying out product withdrawals and recalls "as is required by its status as a distributor." It is the first time that such an action has been taken by an EU member state, according to the regulator.

"This decision aims to protect consumers and fight against unfair competition from economic operators," said Bruno Le Maire, France's economy and finance minister.

"These players are flouting product safety regulations," he added. "The same rules must be applied in physical stores and online stores."

Last year, the DGCRF said it had conducted a year-long investigation into Wish which found evidence of the sale of counterfeit products falsely claiming to be from major brands.

The investigation came after UK consumer group Which carried out test purchases of a number of items on Wish which turned out to be either fake, illegal, dangerous, never delivered, or arrived too late to be tested properly.

US-headquartered Wish has responded by saying it will challenge what it considers to be "an illegal and disproportionate act" in the courts.

The company says it is under no obligation to carry out controls on the 150 million products sold by the platform – many from suppliers in China – but claims it has invested in measures to weed out quality problems.

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