The French government has ordered search engines and app stores to ban US e-commerce platform Wish because the company "flouts product safety regulations".
Wish will soon no longer appear in the results pages of Google or Bing, for example, nor in the App Store or Play Store. Although the site can still be accessed by typing the URL directly into the browser bar, the removal from the search engines and app stores is a huge blow to the platform's online visibility.
The government's decision follows an earlier investigation by France's Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention (DGCCRF), reports Euractiv. This revealed that Wish offered a large number of non-compliant and dangerous products for sale. Of the toys and electrical appliances inspected, 95% were found not to comply with the legal requirements. Moreover, 45% of the toys and 90% of the appliances were even considered dangerous.
The investigation also found that Wish did not properly fulfil its obligations as a distributor in terms of product withdrawals and recalls. The platform did take action in most cases against products labelled as dangerous, but they were often later offered again under a different name.
Level playing field
In July, the DGCCRF gave Wish two months to comply. That did not happen, which is why the government is now having the platform removed from search engines and app stores. According to French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, the decision illustrates the government's efforts to protect consumers and effectively combat unfair competition from players who flout product safety rules.
On French radio station Franceinfo, Le Maire also stated that this was the final warning for Wish. "Either the site complies with consumer protection rules, or we go one step further and ban the site completely on French territory."