Wish, The American online e-commerce platform is not well-known for its quality but rather the affordability of its products. That’s made it the prime target of many online jokes ever since it’s started more actively marketing itself. However, when prices are low, that usually means other compromises had to have been made. If the cut corners were at the expense of quality, the jokes would continue, and no one would bat an eye. Unfortunately, the situation took a much more dangerous turn, as revealed by a BBC Watchdog investigation.
Namely, an examination of some of the retailer’s objects reveals that they are quite hazardous. Customers purchasing these objects might find themselves burnt, electrocuted, or on the receiving end of an explosion. Wish deflected the blame, stating that its sellers were the ones that needed to make sure the products were safe. That would’ve been fine, but there was an additional issue, that this isn’t the first time Wish’s attention was brought to such matters. Earlier, the website owners failed to respond to questions on why they wouldn’t manually remove such items.
After the Watchdog’s investigations, the website took a slightly more hands-on approach. The e-commerce firm, with more than 150 million items listed, claimed it would take down such products. However, they asked for evidence proving they were unsafe prior to such actions.
Wish has also had issues on other fronts, such as inappropriate advertisements. The Advertising Standards Authority has repeatedly tagged the e-commerce firm’s ads as improper or even overtly sexual. The latter is especially important since the targeted online ads often show up for minors.
A Real Concern
Lesley Rudd, the charity Electrical Safety First’s chief executive, commented on the findings. Naturally, she thought of the failure to remove the products instantly as quite worrying. Furthermore, she attacked the items as illegal for sale in the UK, as they pose a considerable safety hazard. Rudd issued a call to action for the UK government, saying it should step in if Wish remains relatively passive regarding the problem.
Wish’s transgressions, however, aren’t the first of their kind. A Consumer group called Which? found similarly dangerous items on Amazon and eBay as well. That presents the safety of internet-purchased electronics as a broad issue rather than a localized incident.
Campaigners want more accountability on online retailers’ ends, calling for the marketplaces to be accountable for the items appearing on their apps and sites. Ms. Rudd suggested that the Online Harms Bill, which the Parliament is currently considering, would be a good starting point.