Wish delisting: what does the fraud investigation really reveal?

The Directorate General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) analyzed products sold on the American online sales site.

There is no reason to tolerate online what we do not accept in physical stores “. These shocking words are those of Bruno Le Maire, who banged his fist on the table so that search engines dereference the Wish website. Because since September 2020, the National Investigation Service (SNE) of the DGCCRF has carried out investigations into the safety of 140 products sold online on the Californian platform. The conclusion is clear: 90% of electrical devices analyzed are considered dangerous, as are 62% of costume jewelry and 45% of toys.

Concretely, the survey reveals that the site sells electronic products such as light garlands or phone chargers that can cause electric shocks or even catch fire. There are also jewelry made with too many chemicals dangerous to health such as lead or cadmium, or smoke detectors whose warning function is faulty.

Dangerous children’s toys

Many children’s items are also affected. Some soft toys present choking hazards linked to too easy access to the padding, sometimes combined with a chemical risk. In addition, there are latex toys and disguise sets with levels above the regulatory thresholds of phthalates, endocrine disruptors. The report even mentions a childcare pacifier (known as “ nipple ”) Whose composition contains too much Bisphenol A, a substance which also acts on the endocrine system. On other disguises, risks of suffocation due to small elements too easily detachable were also noted.

Wish is also accused of displaying false promotions. The products, many of which are from China, are displayed on the site at -50% or -70% (or even more), coming at very low prices. The buyer feels like he is making a deal. But in reality, the product is worth even less than its cost price. Investigators also found counterfeit items, sometimes with logos resembling famous brands, to mislead consumers.

Unpunished sellers?

This investigation by the DGCCRF revealed that sellers offer dangerous products on Wish. How is it that the site, which claims 140 million active consumers, can sell these items so easily? The DGCCRF explains that certain non-European operators are attracted by the possibility of expanding their sales area, in Europe in particular. But they do not have the ability or the will to comply with the regulations and standards in force in all the countries in which they sell their products. Legally independent of the website that hosts them, these operators find with marketplaces a way to offer their products for sale while benefiting from a structure “ turnkey »And the notoriety of the web portal that hosts them. In the event of a dispute, they risk almost nothing.

The virtual absence of sanctions for these sellers accentuates the risk of general negligence on the level of product safety. There are mechanisms to prevent non-compliant products from being put online. Alerts regularly concern references sold on sites which should not have been offered for sale in Europe. But these devices are more or less efficient depending on the marketplace, and can generally be bypassed without difficulty by unscrupulous sellers.


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