Is Temu Legit and Safe?

Based on its meteoric rise in the online shopping space and its suspiciously steep discounts, you must be wondering: Is Temu legit and safe?

Indeed, with barely two years in the eCommerce space, online shopping giant Temu has experienced tremendous growth for such a developing company. In 2023, its app was the most downloaded on the Google Play Store and App Store, overtaking TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram.

We looked deeper at this new online retailer, examined its owners, assessed buyers’ reviews, and checked its legitimacy to present you with all the information regarding Temu and its legitimacy.

What is Temu?

Temu is a Chinese-owned e-commerce platform founded in September 2022 by PDD Holdings. Initially, PDD had its headquarters in Shanghai, China, but later moved to Dublin, Ireland, in 2023.

Many people consider the executive relocation a red flag. However, it isn’t a new concept since many tech companies, including Google, Apple, and Facebook, have headquarters in Ireland due to the low corporate tax rates in the country.

And like most Chinese retailers, Temu’s success stems from eliminating the middlemen (and the additional cost), letting Chinese vendors sell and ship items directly to final users.

As a result, the platform offers startlingly low prices with a wide variety of categories to choose from:

  • Tools,
  • Clothing,
  • Electronics,
  • Baby clothes,
  • Car Accessories,
  • Outdoor furniture,
  • Household items.

The company also delivers free shipping and free returns for 90 days – an approach that has helped Temu take the internet by storm.

Is Temu Legit?

The legitimacy of Temu depends on your definition of ‘legitimate.’ If receiving a product is what we consider ‘legit’, then yes, most users did get their orders. The fact that the shopping app is among the most downloaded by iPhone and Android users indicates a level of trust.

Temu will ship your order to your doorstep; no shipping fee is involved. However, in terms of quality, most of what you’ll buy from Temu are knockoffs.

For instance, Temu’s electronic products are not from the brands you’re used to unless the item has a blue checkmark on the company’s product listing. While you’ll find smartphones, laptops, and tablets in this store, they’re from lesser-known manufacturers.

So far, there are hundreds of thousands of positive reviews about Temu online. However, some users have filed complaints about Temu on the BBB site. Many are enraged by the lack of product quality and poor delivery time.

Otherwise, it’s safe to say Temu is a legit online store.

Is Temu Safe to Buy From?

It’s difficult to say that buying items from Temu is 100% safe or unsafe. Honestly, staying safe while buying from Temu largely depends on you. There’s no denying that malicious actors may be on such busy sites, looking for their next victim of a phishing attack.

Apart from investing in anti-malware tools and good antivirus software, you need to activate features such as `Hide My Email’ for iPhone users or create a separate email address if you’re using Android devices. You should also avoid linking your bank account or debit card directly to Temu. Rather, use payment gateways such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, or Samsung Pay.

That said, Temu claims that its platform complies with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards) when dealing with card data. The retailer emphasizes that it encrypts data in storage and transit.

Temu Reviews and Complaints

Like most other online stores, Temu has hundreds of thousands of reviews on trusted platforms like Trustpilot, BBB, and Trust Index. Temu receives high praise on all review platforms because of its affordable product prices.

This customer on Trustpilot reports how they love the retailer because of affordable prices, free and fast delivery, friendly customer service, and free spins games that earn free items.

A user review of Temu on TrustPilot

Another customer highlights Temu’s return process efficiency. He reports that after buying the wrong product size, his payment was fully credited within minutes after the shipping company confirmed the return.

A user review of Temu on TrustPilot

Alternatively, the platform also has many negative reviews, with the most concerning ones revolving around late delivery.

A user complained on the BBB website that he ordered from Temu 5-6 times, but every order showed up 1-2 weeks late. The shopper explains that four of his orders fell off the tracking radar altogether.

A user review of Temu on Better Business Bureau

Another one says they didn’t receive their orders because Temus shipped them to a different address. The user points out that Temu tried to shift the blame on him.

A user review of Temu on Better Business Bureau

So overall, Temu customer reviews remain mixed. However, considering the insanely low prices, numerous first-time user gift cards, freebies, and more, that’s to be expected.

Is Temu Selling Quality Goods?

Much suspicion around Temu’s product quality stems from the retailer’s discounted products.

To assess if Temu compromises quality for lower prices, we examined buyers’ reviews on social media, tested some of their products, and checked review sites.

Most customers are satisfied with their purchases on social media (mainly on TikTok). When we switched to BBB and Trustpilot, many users pointed out that the goods they received lacked quality.

For instance, most of the electronics on this platform are from less-known brands, making it difficult for many to gauge the quality. Additionally, skincare products often look very similar to popular brands, down to the labels and slightly altered brand names. However, said products often are not dermatologically approved and might lack an ingredient list.

Keeping that in mind, we suggest you shop for small gadgets, clothes (if you don’t mind polyester), and accessories.

Is Temu ethical?

Temu employs a reverse-manufacturing model that helps them decrease waste by gauging customers’ desired products.

Temu has a Third Party Code of Conduct for third-party products, highlighting the company’s no-tolerance policy for sellers who use forced labor to manufacture products. Ideally, all Temu vendors comply with local working hours and wage laws. The contract requires vendors to offer their workers safe and non-abusive working conditions.

However, a US House Select Committee report says that Temu lacks a compliance or auditing program that forces its seller to adhere to its Code of Conduct.

In the US, selling items from Xinjiang is illegal. The region has a complex and violent history between the Uyghur people and the Chinese government, since forced labor in the region is quite common.

In terms of environmental ethics, that’s a gray area since some products sold on the platform are not sustainably sourced. However, Temu claims it is committed to environmental sustainability by digitizing the economy, cutting supply chain waste, and offsetting carbon emissions.

What User Data Does Temu Collect?

Like all eCommerce stores, Temu collects data when you create an account and visit its site or app. Some of the data the retailer collects include:

  • Device ID,
  • User name,
  • User IP address,
  • Search history on the app,
  • User home address,
  • User email address,
  • User phone number,
  • User payment details,
  • User phone or computer operating system.

In recent years, people have raised concerns about how Chinese-based apps store their data.

In its privacy policy, Temu says it doesn’t sell users’ data for money. However, the company shares your information with its marketing providers, shipping partners, and consumer research companies.

Expect Temu to share your data with third-party ad companies to target you with ads. In its privacy policy, Temu acknowledges that such data sharing can be considered data selling in applicable laws.

While such data-sharing practices can raise concerns, remember that most apps can collect and store your data. This is possible because the federal government doesn’t have a law that protects users’ data. The regulation is left to your country and/or state.

As a result, Temu can access your credit history. You’re responsible for deciding how much data you’re okay with sharing.

How to Stay Safe When Using Temu?

While shopping online, staying safe is paramount. If you’re concerned about your safety when using Temu, consider the following approaches to protect yourself:

  • Use a safe payment method such as a self-destructing virtual card, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, or Samsung Pay. If you can, avoid using a debit card to shop.
  • Check user reviews to see what others have to say about remaining safe while shopping on the platform.
  • Be cautious about the personal information you share on the shopping forms. There is no need for Temu to know your middle name, date of birth, or information beyond the payment method and mailing address. A reliable VPN like Surfshark allows you to create an alternative ID, which allows you to create an alternative email, name, and address.
  • Invest in reliable antivirus software to guard you against malicious activities and keep your data safe. We highly recommend TotalAV, which offers real-time antivirus protection at an affordable rate.

FAQs

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Mary Kihoro
Cyber Security Expert

Mary is a seasoned cybersecurity and blockchain writer at Techopedia. Her years of experience in the field help her craft concise and engaging content in diverse fields such as VPNs, Password Managers, cryptocurrencies, AI, and diverse web3 topics. Over the years, she’s inked catchy pieces for Bybit, VPN Mentor, Crypto Digest, Captain Altcoins, Brain Manager, and Strive Marketing among other prominent brands and websites.