Is Temu Legit? 4 Things To Know (2024)

One of the hottest apps right now is Temu, a shopping marketplace with rock-bottom prices and frequent ad banners for “up to 90% off.”

The site has risen in popularity after a trendy Super Bowl commercial and numerous viral videos on TikTok and other social media sites. But is Temu a legitimate place to do business?

1. Is Temu Legit? What You Need To Know

In this article, I’ll tell you what to know about Temu, including whether it’s legit or not. I’ll also touch on the controversy linked to the retail site.

In research for this article, I downloaded the Temu app (iOS | Android) to see how it worked and if the deals were as good as I’d heard. I can tell you right now that there is some very cheap merchandise in the Temu marketplace but there may be some sketchy reasons behind that, which we’ll get into.

Money expert Clark Howard has also downloaded the app to test the shopping experience and quality of the merchandise.

“I did three orders, which is what I like to do when I test something out,” he said. “And all three items came in as said. The merchandise was as represented and the prices were crazy low. But there are question marks about it.”

Is Temu Legit? 4 Things To Know (1)“In the wake of an L.A. Times article on Temu’s alleged labor abuses, I have stopped ordering from Temu,” Clark says.

2. What Is Temu and Why Is It So Popular?

Temu is an online store and app that sells a variety of items at incredibly low prices shipped from factories and warehouses in Asia. “Most of the goods on Temu are coming from China,” Clark says.

Indeed, the company is owned by Shanghai–based e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, which has come under intense scrutiny after reports of unsafe labor practices.

Nonetheless, Temu is extremely popular because of its amazingly low prices. In addition to low prices, Temu claims to offer:

  • Free shipping on most orders.
  • Free returns within 90 days.
  • Free price adjustments within 30 days if the item gets cheaper (restrictions apply).
  • Freebies to its loyal customers.

Browsing through the Temu app looking for shoes, I saw not one pair — from boots, sneakers, sandals and slippers — that was over $27, and many were under $20.

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Is Temu Legit? 4 Things To Know (2)

Screenshot via Temu app

I also found iPhone cases on Temu, some as cheap as $1.34. Most were lower than $6.

Is Temu Legit? 4 Things To Know (3)

Screenshot via Temu app

3. Can You Get Free Stuff on Temu?

While I haven’t gotten anything for free on Temu, the site says that it offers free items to customers who promote the app and website. Like most Chinese tech giants, the platform has gamified the site and app by creating colorful interfaces intended to make the shopping experience fun and easy.

Temu says, “We believe in rewarding our valued customers with fantastic freebies and exclusive giveaways. From birthday freebies to free baby items, free gifts, and special surprises.”

There’s even a Temu Free Page, which lists a variety of items with a $0 price under them.

4. What Is the Controversy Surrounding Temu?

Along with the cheap prices have come a variety of concerns.

First, there’s the issue of how the platform can offer such great deals, drastically underselling e-commerce behemoths like Amazon, eBay and giant Chinese marketplace Alibaba.

“There are rumors that they have children working for them and that they have people who are enslaved in China working for them,” Clark says.

Second, there are numerous reports of poor customer service on bbb.org, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. Many of the complaints are related to promised deliveries not arriving on time — or at all.

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As a result, the BBB has rated Temu with a C– grade and is not accredited, although that doesn’t mean as much as you’d think. But it also has 2.55 stars out of 5. Not good.

Third, there are data privacy concerns as revealed in a high-profile class action lawsuit.

Verdict: Is Temu Legit?

Temu is a legitimate marketplace. And yes, you can buy items for less. But before you download the app, it is worth asking, “what is the real cost of doing business with Temu?”

Clark says after ordering from Temu, he saw an increase in spam texts from the retailer.

“I get texts all day long from Temu, and they spam all hours of the day and night.”

But even more importantly, we should consider how Temu produces its goods so cheaply.

“So, know that even though the bargains on Temu are the best you’ll ever see, there are serious ethical questions when it comes to buying from them,” Clark says.

And, for Clark that means opting out.

Is Temu Legit? 4 Things To Know (2024)

FAQs

Can you trust Temu? ›

Temu is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an average rating of two-and-a-half out of five stars. Many recent complaints about Temu on the BBB website say that items never arrived or, if they did, took weeks or even months to arrive.

What is the warning about Temu? ›

Warning: Your Temu App Might Be Accessing 'Everything' On Your Phone. A lawsuit filed against Temu claims the company's app “gains access to literally everything on your phone.” So you might want to be careful with Temu.

Does Temu really give you free stuff? ›

Short Answer: Yes, But There's a Catch

Furthermore, Temu engages customers with gamified shopping experiences, like points and challenges, which can sometimes lead to free or heavily discounted items. These promotions are thoughtfully designed to keep shoppers engaged and frequently returning to the platform.

Is Temu app a security risk? ›

Temu is now the target of several class action lawsuits, one of them claiming that once the Temu app is downloaded, it has access to nearly everything on a user's phone. This lawsuit alleges that Temu uses malware and spyware to collect user data beyond what's necessary for an online shopping app.

Can you trust Temu with your credit card? ›

Temu uses standard security measures on its website, including HTTPS across all pages and TLS and SSL encryption protocols when processing transactions. As previously stated, Temu's transactional system is probably as secure as Amazon, Ebay, or any other online marketplace.

Does Temu gain access to your phone? ›

D., Associate Professor of Criminology at Drexel University. Two class-action lawsuits related to privacy have been filed against Temu claiming Temu "gains access to literally everything on your phone" and the app is "loaded with tools to execute virulent and dangerous malware and spyware activities."

Has Temu been hacked? ›

There are many people reporting that after using Temu to purchase items, their bank accounts have been hacked. Temu underwent a class action lawsuit for having malware/spyware embedded in the app. It is recommended that you DO NOT USE Temu.

Does Temu mine your data? ›

In exchange for those cheap goods and prices, Temu makes money with your data. The app requests 24 permissions on your device, including access to your Wi-Fi network info, Bluetooth, photos and videos, contact info and payment details. Yikes.

Should I delete the Temu app? ›

These may be phishing attempts to steal your identity or money. 9) Do not keep the app on your device. TEMU may access, modify, or delete your files, photos, contacts, or other data on your device without your permission.

Why is Temu so cheap? ›

Direct sourcing from China: Temu leverages its parent company's connections with Chinese manufacturers, cutting out middlemen and potentially lowering product costs. However, this can raise concerns about labor standards and product quality.

How to use Temu safely? ›

Tips for Safe Shopping on Temu
  1. Do not reuse an important password for your Temu login. Temu is undoubtedly already a target for hackers, simply due to its number of users. ...
  2. Only access Temu by navigating to it through your browser. Do not click on ads, email links, or social media posts to access Temu. ...
  3. Do your research.

Is it safe to order from Temu? ›

The Better Business Bureau, however, gives Temu just a "C Plus" rating due to more than 900 complaints in just a year about late deliveries, damaged items and other issues. But Kizer says it might be worth trying if you go into it knowing you're not buying high-end name brands.

Is it ethical to buy from Temu? ›

It should come as no surprise that Temu received our lowest score of “We Avoid,” making it one of the worst-rated brands of 2023. The brand's excessive product range and the potential for labour rights abuses in its supply chain are particularly concerning.

Are Temu products safe to use? ›

According to research from BabyCenter, more than one in three parents have bought or received items from Temu, which is owned by a Chinese company. BabyCenter says its review of the website has found products that could be hazardous for children.

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