France orders websites to end Wish online marketplace

Adds details, wish reaction

PARIS, November 24 (Reuters)France on Wednesday ordered search engines and online platforms to remove Wish from their lists over product safety concerns and the U.S. e-commerce market said it is taking legal action to challenge the decision. .

The French government, which has investigated a number of online operators, said in a statement that its consumer watchdog has found many of the products it has reviewed on the Wish site to be unsafe.

The government has stated that Wish, which is operated by ContextLogic Inc. WISH.O based in San Francisco, had failed to satisfactorily recall them and clearly inform consumers of the risks of certain products sold through its platform.

“We are taking legal action to challenge what we consider to be an illegal and disproportionate act,” Wish said in a statement.

Wish said he has always responded to requests from France’s Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer and Anti-Fraud Policy (DGCCRF) of France to remove items and tried to initiate a dialogue constructive with the consumer watchdog.

The government statement cites electronics, including outdoor string lights and power adapters that can cause electric shocks, pet toys that pose choking hazards, and jewelry that contains lead and cadmium, dangerous chemicals. .

“We are asking for the site to be removed from all search engines,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Info radio station on Wednesday.

Out of a sample of 140 products, 45% of toys, 90% of electrical devices and 62% of jewelry were dangerous, according to the watchdog. He said Wish removed items identified as unsafe within 24 hours, but often remained on the site in a different form.

Wish said that while it does not have a legal obligation to perform checks on the 150 million products sold through its platform, it has invested in a number of measures to promote better quality products. .

The government said it gave Wish a two-month ultimatum in July to stop misleading consumers about the risks associated with some of its products.

French officials said Wish’s move was intended to send a strong signal at a time when the European Union’s digital services bill, which seeks to force tech companies into the online world, is being finalized.

French online sales reached 112 billion euros ($ 125 billion) last year, according to the French federation of electronic commerce.

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(Reporting by Benoit Van Overstraeten and Mimosa Spencer; Writing by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by David Clarke)

((silvia.aloisi@thomsonreuters.com; +393487607044; Reuters messaging: silvia.aloisi.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

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