Is Temu Legit? What You Need to Know

Temu is an online shopping marketplace offering deep discounts on products manufactured in China and shipped directly to the consumer. First launching in the U.S. market in September 2022, Temu exploded in popularity after running several ads during the 2023 Super Bowl.

However, concern about Chinese-owned Temu has grown on several fronts, with complaints about the quality of its products and labor practices within its supply chain. Others have raised concerns about parent company PDD Holdings’ alleged ties to the Chinese communist government.

It all begs the question: is Temu a legit online shopping marketplace, and is it safe for consumers?

Table of Contents
  1. What Is Temu? 
  2. How Temu Works
    1. Temu Sales Promotion
  3. Is Temu Safe? 
    1. Data Collection Concerns
    2. Purchase Risks
    3. Labor Concerns
  4. Temu Customer Service 
  5. Temu vs Amazon: Similarities and Differences 
  6. How to Stay Safe on Temu
    1. View the Ratings
    2. If it Sounds too Good to be True…
    3. Keep a Close Eye on Your Personal Information
    4. Listen to Your Gut
  7. Is Temu Legit?

Temu is an online shopping platform known for its low prices on thousands of products. In 2023, it was the most downloaded shopping app in the world, with over 330 million iOS and Android downloads. Temu is giving Amazon a run for its money, selling everything from clothing to electronics and much, much more. 

screenshot of temu homepage

Temu is owned by a Chinese company called PDD Holdings. The parent company owns another popular shopping app called Pinduoduo, which operates in China. 

While Temu lists its headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, PDD Holdings headquarters are located in Dublin, Ireland.

How Temu Works

As alluded to earlier, Temu works much like Amazon in that it offers a wide array of goods at extremely low prices. For example, I found a 5-pack of men’s polo shirts for under $40 on Temu. And it’s not uncommon to find cheap clothes, such as women’s blouses, dresses, shoes, and more, for under $10 on the site.

Temu also sells household items such as showerheads, kitchenware, and decor, many of which are sold far below Amazon prices. Like Amazon, you can buy items from thousands of vendors while shopping on Temu. Vendors have a vendor page that displays ratings and reviews published by customers. 

Because most Temu products are being shipped directly from warehouses in China, they can’t match Amazon’s fast shipping. However, they offer free shipping on all orders and free returns within 90 days.

However, one glaring difference between Amazon and Temu is that most Temu products are of inferior quality. Think uber-thin polyester clothing and cheap knock-off electronics. So, although you may be able to get a lot of items for just a little money, you might be disappointed at the lack of quality when your order arrives.

Related: 10 Best Places to Sell Your Clothes Online

Temu Sales Promotion

Temu’s low prices aren’t its only draw. It gamifies the shopping experience by offering spinning wheels for extra discounts and actual in-app games you can play to earn free gifts and rewards.

As soon as you sign up and log in to the app, you’ll be presented with enticing lightning deals and time-sensitive offers that are difficult to resist.

Temu lightning deals

Is Temu Safe? 

If you’ve researched Temu, you’ve probably encountered articles and YouTube videos expressing concerns about its safety. But are those concerns valid?

Data Collection Concerns

One concern over Temu’s safety is privacy issues. Similar to the concerns surrounding social media app, TikTok, PDD Holdings is said to be closely involved with the Chinese communist government, which raises concerns about data collection. 

And while Temu, for the most part, has flown under the radar with the U.S. government, these concerns are not likely to go away any time soon. One of the reasons is that given the nature of the Temus app, the company can collect an enormous amount of user data.

Here is just some of the information Temu asks users to share when downloading the app:

  • Personal information such as name, address, email information
  • Access to your photos and videos
  • Financial information
  • History Access
  • Device or other IDs
  • Access to your social media accounts

It’s true that similar apps, such as Amazon, collect much of the same data. However, it’s PDD Holdings’ close ties with the Chinese government that raises concerns about the potential for privacy violations.  

Purchase Risks

Another concern regarding Temu is that many online forums report that the site doesn’t vet its vendors well enough. Users have reported that they’ve ordered items they never received or far different from what was advertised. 

However, Temu does offer a purchase protection program. The program says Temu will give you a refund on items purchased if:

  • The item doesn’t match the description listing or photos
  • Your purchased item arrives damaged
  • Your item doesn’t arrive, arrives late, or is lost in transit

Notice that the purchase protection program doesn’t allow for many consumer complaints about the products’ lack of quality. If it looks like the photos in the listing, you can’t return it, even if it’s paper thin. 

Labor Concerns

One glaring concern when it comes to the safety of using Temu is that of potential labor concerns. 

Wikipedia mentions a report from the Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party.

From Wikipedia:

In June 2023, the United States House Select Committee on Strategic Competition announced that Temu “does not maintain even the facade of a meaningful compliance program with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act to keep goods made by forced labor off its platform.

In no uncertain terms, the report stated an “extremely high risk of forced labor contamination” within Temu’s supply chain.

Temu is popular for those who want to save money while they shop, and you will have many products to choose from. But while you may be able to get cheap items from Temu, you might find yourself asking, “At what cost?”

Related: 50 Best Gifts for $100 and Under

Temu Customer Service 

You can find Temu on the Better Business Bureau website. Although the business is not accredited, it does have a BBB rating, and it’s rated at a C+ (March 2024).

Better Business Bureau complaints about Temu focused heavily on poor customer service regarding deliveries and refunds.

Trustpilot gives Temu a rating of 3.4 out of 5 stars. Most of the complaints on Trustpilot center around poor quality items, shipping issues, and customer service complaints. 

Temu vs Amazon: Similarities and Differences 

While both Temu and Amazon sell various items from different vendors, this list of similarities and differences between the two online shopping platforms may help you decide which site to use.

Amazon Temu
Faster shipping Slower, overseas shipping
Low prices Very low prices
Well-vetted vendors Questionable vendors
Options for free shipping Always free shipping
Sells items from the U.S. and globally Sells primarily Chinese-made items
Good quality control standards Questionable quality of many items

How to Stay Safe on Temu

If you’re interested in shopping on Temu, here are some tips for keeping it a safe experience.

View the Ratings

Temu has ratings for almost every seller. Look closely at the ratings to make a more informed decision about what you’ll buy on the site. That said, the ratings are organized with a focus on highly rated items, and you’ll have to filter your search to find items with lower ratings. 

If it Sounds too Good to be True…

It’s common to find items priced drastically lower on Temu than on Amazon. One reason could be that the items are being shipped directly from China, where they are manufactured, bypassing the middleman.

However, if you search online reviews, you will find complaints of Temu selling cheap knockoffs of name-brand items. The moral of the story? Go with your gut. You may want to take a pass when an item sounds like too good of a deal. 

Keep a Close Eye on Your Personal Information

With so many complaints that Temu is violating privacy, selling user data, and spamming app users, keeping a closer eye on your personal information if you use Temu is not a bad idea. 

Listen to Your Gut

Temu complaints range from forced labor concerns to overtly spying on app users. If, after your own research, you find that these complaints appear valid, you may want to reconsider whether or not Temu is right for you.

Is Temu Legit?

Temu is a legitimate online marketplace. It’s one of the fastest-growing shopping platforms in the world and is used by millions of Americans. Some call Temu the Chinese version of Amazon. And the site does boast a broad selection of items for sale along with free shipping.

However, the lack of quality in many of the items sold on Temu may leave you unhappy with your purchase. Also, because Temu’s warehouses are in China, orders may take several weeks to arrive.

Lastly, and this may be the clinching factor for some readers, data privacy and labor violation concerns appear to have substance. Therefore, it is probably a good idea to do your own research regarding the site and take appropriate security actions.

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About Laurie Blank

Laurie Blank is a blogger, freelance writer, and mother of four. She’s psyched about teaching others how to manage their money in a way that aligns with their values and has been quoted in Bankrate.

She’s a licensed Realtor with Edina Realty in Minneapolis, Minnesota (also licensed in Wisconsin too) and has been freelance writing for over six years.

She shares powerful insights on her blog, Great Passive Income Ideas, that will show you how you can create passive income sources of your own.

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank or financial institution. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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