The European Consumer Organisation BEUC, representing 45 consumer entities across Europe, has lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission against Chinese e-commerce giant Temu for potentially violating the European Union’s (EU) online content rules. 

Temu, which has 75 million monthly users, allegedly breached the EU’s Digital Services Act which sets out requirements and obligations for online marketplaces. 

BEUC’s complaint accuses the retailer of not providing adequate traceability for traders on its platform.  

The consumer group has also raised concerns over Temu’s use of what it calls “dark patterns” – manipulative tactics which could mislead consumers into spending more or even complicate the account deletion process.  

The retailer is accused of not being transparent about its product recommendation processes.  

17 member organisations of BEUC from France, Italy and the Netherlands have filed similar complaints with their respective national authorities. 

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Reuters quoted BEUC director general Monique Goyens: “Temu is being complacent here because it is breaching the EU’s Digital Services Act. Products sold on marketplaces, whether online or offline, whether they are European, American or Chinese, must be safe and comply with European law if they sell to European consumers.”  

Temu, owned by PDD Holdings, entered European markets in April 2023, selling products in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

The retailer said in a statement that it adjusts its service to comply with local laws and regulations.  

“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.”  

In December 2023, Temu filed a lawsuit against fashion retailer Shein for alleged illegal practices to interfere with its business in the US.