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Temu Faces EU Lawsuit Over Alleged Manipulative Practices

Hand holding a mobile phone with Temu logo

Chinese online retailer Temu is facing a legal complaint filed by 17 companies in the European Union. 

The complaint, led by the consumer group BEUC, accuses Temu of "failing to protect consumers."

It also claims the firm is "using manipulative practices which are illegal under recent EU legislation."

Launched in September 2022, Temu quickly became one of the world's most popular online marketplaces. 

In the UK, it was the most downloaded app in 2023. 

However, it is now encountering significant challenges in the EU.

The complaint alleges Temu is violating new regulations that require products to comply with European laws.

These are regardless of where the company is based, if it sells to European consumers. 

Consumer group Which? found weapons and potentially explosive heaters for sale on Temu’s marketplace. 

Rocio Concha, Which’s director of policy and advocacy, said: "It is positive to see other consumer groups across Europe joining together to hold Temu to account for failing to prevent unsafe products ending up in people's homes.

"However, the UK risks being left behind as weak consumer protection laws make it more difficult to take effective action against Temu and other online marketplaces."

The complaint further accuses Temu of "manipulative practices," such as making it harder to delete an account than to set one up and misleading customers about pricing. 

Temu: "Our commitment to compliance and our willingness to engage stakeholders globally can be seen in our proactive actions"

It also claims the company allows some of its traders to be untraceable by consumers, which is against EU laws. 

The complaint states: "Temu fails to know the traders selling on its platform and may not be in a position to ensure that all the products sold by those traders comply with EU standards." 

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The firm is alleged to be unclear about why certain products are recommended to users, which also violates EU regulations.

Temu told Sky News in a statement: "Our commitment to compliance and our willingness to engage stakeholders globally can be seen in our proactive actions.

"In the past week, Temu entered a cease-and-desist declaration with Germany's [Federation of German Consumer Organisations], committing to addressing concerns raised about our practices.

"Additionally, on Monday, Temu signed a product safety pledge with South Korea's Fair Trade Commission, committing to a comprehensive system to detect, prevent, and remove unsafe products from circulation.

"Regarding the BEUC complaint, we take it very seriously and will study it thoroughly. 

“We hope to continue our dialogue with the relevant stakeholders to improve Temu's service for consumers."

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