Complaint filed

EU consumer advocates want to “tame” Temu

16.05.2024 08:30

Consumer advocates in several European countries have filed a complaint against the Chinese online retailer Temu. "The online marketplace is full of manipulative techniques aimed at getting consumers to spend more on the platform," explained the head of the European consumer organization BEUC, Monique Goyens, on Thursday. Temu is therefore in breach of EU law on digital services.

For example, customers are shown a series of more expensive versions as soon as they click on a certain product, explained Goyens. Anyone who wants to delete their Temu account has to go through an "obstacle course" on the website. "In addition, Temu often leaves consumers in the dark about who they are buying the products from," she added. As a result, it is not clear whether a product complies with EU safety regulations.

"While the fast-growing online marketplace Temu is taking Europe by storm, it is breaking EU law to protect consumers. Today we are launching complaints to call on the authorities to intervene and force Temu to comply!", BEUC wrote on X under the slogan "Tame Temu".

Cease and desist declaration in Germany
The Federation of German Consumer Organizations had already warned Temu about "manipulative designs" and false environmental claims. The company then signed a cease-and-desist declaration for Germany and announced that it would remove references such as "Hurry up! Over 126 people have this item in their shopping cart" will no longer be displayed. However, this does not apply in other EU countries.

Profit almost doubled
The company behind Temu, Pinduoduo, reported a near doubling of its profits last year in March. The app attracts customers with extreme bargains, but is repeatedly criticized for poor quality, shipments that are not received and, not least, the catastrophic climate and environmental footprint of its products.

Violation of the Digital Services Act?
The responsible authorities in the EU member states are now to clarify whether Temu is in breach of the Digital Services Act (DSA). Among other things, it obliges online retailers to disclose information about providers and personalized advertising on their platforms. In the event of violations, companies face penalties of up to six percent of their global annual turnover.

Temu: "Security is the top priority"
Temu stated in a statement that it was taking the BEUC's complaint "very seriously" and examining it carefully. The company has set itself the goal of offering its customers innovative and user-friendly services. Security is the top priority. "We are ready to work quickly and reliably with all market participants to ensure the safety of consumers and the sustainable growth of the platform," said a spokesperson.

The aim is not only to meet the minimum legal requirements, but to exceed them. To achieve this, Temu is working closely with third-party providers, supervisory authorities, consumer associations and other interest groups.

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