France asks search engines and app stores to remove Wish

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Several French ministers have issued a general statement Announcing that they have asked the main search engines and mobile app stores operating in France to completely hide Wish’s website and mobile app. Wish is a popular e-commerce platform that mostly refers to products from merchants based in China. It does not contain inventory as the products are shipped directly from the merchants to the customers.

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Last year, the French administration in charge of consumer rights and fraud opened an investigation into Wish. That time, Directorate General of Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) suspected that it was too easy to mislead consumers and sell counterfeit goods on Wish, such as sneakers and perfumes with images misrepresenting the logos of well-known brands.

The French administration then ordered 140 different goods on Wish – most of them imported products. This time they wanted to find out whether those products were safe or not.

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95% of the toys they acquired on the platform did not comply with European regulations—45% of them were deemed dangerous. When it comes to electronics goods, 95% of them shouldn’t even be available in Europe, and 90% of them were dangerous in some way or another.

And even the cheap costume jewelry sold on the platform presents a risk – 62% of those ordered are considered dangerous. Again, these metrics are based on a very small sample of 140 products.

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When Vish is notified that she is selling a dangerous goods, those products are hopefully removed from the market within 24 hours. And yet, “in most cases, those products remain available under a different name, and sometimes even from the same seller. The company does not keep any logs relating to non-compliant and dangerous products transactions,” says France. The Ministry of Economy said in its statement.

According to the same investigation, when Wish informs customers that they have purchased a dangerous product, it does not mention the reason for the recall of the product.

In July 2021, the French administration in charge of consumer rights and fraud informed Wish and asked them to comply with the European regulation on e-commerce and product safety. The administration had given him two months’ notice before further action.

Four months later, the French government is taking advantage of recent changes to European regulations to dereference or block problematic websites and apps. It’s a complicated process, but the economy ministry in charge of the French administration asked the search engine and app store to refer to Wish. This is going to take a while – at the time of writing, Wish is still available in the App Store and you can still find Wish’s website in Google search results.

After this Vish will be shadowbanned in France. The website will still be available and the app will still work if you already have it on your phone. But you won’t see it in search results in the App Store, Play Store or Google.

If the French administration feels that Wish has implemented appropriate changes to comply with French rules, it can lift the shadow ban. With this revolutionary decision, France is setting an example and shows once again that the web is becoming more and more fragmented. In that case, it says it is acting in the best interest of consumers.

It will also be interesting to see whether Europe’s upcoming Digital Services Act will have a major impact on drop shipping as a whole. Europe is expected to completely replace the e-commerce directive with the Digital Services Act from 2000.

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