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Temu: associations file complaints against the platform, accused of manipulating consumers

Misleading interfaces and products more expensive than advertised.

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Temu: associations file complaints against the platform, accused of manipulating consumers

Misleading interfaces and products more expensive than advertised... European consumer associations announced this Thursday, May 16, that they had filed a complaint against the Chinese online commerce platform Temu, accused of manipulating Internet users and violating several provisions of the regulation of the EU on Digital Services (DSA). Temu, which has more than 75 million monthly users in the EU, would be “riddled with misleading interfaces – dark patterns – to encourage consumers to spend more on the platform”, explains Monique Goyens, director general of the European Office Consumer Unions (BEUC), cited in a press release.

This federation of associations as well as 17 of its members - including UFC-Que Choisir in France - filed a complaint simultaneously with the European Commission and the competent national authorities. They believe that on Temu, “consumers are offered different, more expensive versions when they have clicked on a particular product and they face an obstacle course when they want to close their account”.

Since February, the DSA has imposed, under penalty of fines, new obligations on all online platforms to better protect users against illegal content. The regulation prohibits, for example, misleading interfaces and imposes increased transparency on the algorithms used to target Internet users. It requires controlling the identity of sellers on the platforms and blocking repeat fraudsters.

Temu “often fails to provide consumers with crucial information about the sellers of the products and is therefore unable to indicate whether the product meets EU product safety requirements,” denounces BEUC. The Chinese platform, which has experienced meteoric growth in Europe for two years thanks to a strategy of low prices, “also does not provide sufficient information on its recommendation systems and on how the different criteria it uses lead to offering certain products,” deplores this organization.

“Temu is in breach of the EU Digital Services Regulation and must now be investigated by the authorities,” says BEUC.

The Italian consumer association Altroconsumo tested 13 cosmetic products sold on the platform in October and found that nine of them did not specify, or only partially, the list of ingredients. Earlier this year, the German Federation of Consumer Organizations (VZBV) accused Temu of displaying misleading reviews on products sold and misleading consumers about displaying price reductions. It has obtained modifications from Temu which, however, currently only apply to the German market.

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