Arkansas AG warns consumers Chinese-based Temu not like Amazon or Walmart: ‘It’s a theft business’

Arkansas’ attorney general is warning Americans that they may not be getting the bargains they believe when shopping on Temu.

Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin, who has taken legal action against the China-based retailer, alleged “it’s a theft business” when speaking on Fox Business.

“The threat from China is not new, and it is real,” Griffin said on “Varney & Co.” Tuesday.

“Temu is not an online marketplace like Amazon or Walmart. It’s a data theft business that sells goods as a means to an end. So it is common for an online marketplace like Amazon, like Walmart, to collect certain consumer data as part of the normal course of business. I think we all know that that’s not what’s going on here,” he added.

(Video Credit: Fox Business)

Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings with its “deceptive tactics” is the target of the Republican AG’s lawsuit.

“What Temu is doing is selling goods at a rock bottom price, not to make a profit off of those, but as a way to get into your phone, your device, and to collect your data,” Griffin said. “Not just traditional consumer data, but using malware spyware to have complete access to your information. And [taking it] one step further, their code is written in such a way to evade detection.”

The attorney general contends that the company’s practices are in violation of “several” of Arkansas’ state laws.

“We’ve got a violation of the Arkansas Personal Information Protection Act, and we have a violation of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act,” Griffin explained.

“All of this against the backdrop of who owns the company, who operates the company, which are former Chinese communist officials,” Griffin added. “So there’s a lot to unpack here that goes beyond a traditional online marketplace.”

The company ran multiple ads during the Super Bowl in February, at a cost of nearly $3 billion, according to Fox Business.  PDD Holdings has been described as a “monster in Chinese e-commerce” by Shaun Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group.

The bargain retailer was  reportedly “surprised and disappointed” by the lawsuit, with a spokesman telling Fox Business that the attorney general filed it “without any independent fact-finding.”

“The allegations in the lawsuit are based on misinformation circulated online, primarily from a short-seller, and are totally unfounded. We categorically deny the allegations and will vigorously defend ourselves,” the Temu spokesperson said.

The Arkansas lawsuit was filed on June 25 in Cleburne County Circuit Court and is seeking civil penalties and other monetary and equitable relief.

“While this is the first state lawsuit against Temu over its deceptive trade practices, it is not the first time Temu’s tactics have been called into question,” Griffin said in a statement last month. “Apple suspended Temu from its digital app store in 2023, prompting multiple investigations into the company’s dealings, including an ongoing investigation being conducted by the U.S. Congress.”

“Temu is led by a cadre of former Chinese Communist Party officials, which raises significant security risks to our country and our citizens,” he added. “For my part, I will aggressively fight Temu’s efforts to profit at the expense of Arkansans’ privacy rights.”

(Video Credit: Temu)

Frieda Powers

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