What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (2024)

When you're searching through deals and comparing prices, you might be tempted to call it a day and turn to Temu, where you know you'll get the absolute lowest prices on what you're looking for...or a copy of what you want.

Even if you've never ordered anything from Temu, the online shopping site is all around you. Maybe you’ve seen its orange bags on your neighbor’s doorstep. Or you’ve clicked on an Instagram ad featuring an unbelievably cute item. It could be that you've been bombarded by discount codes from someone you follow on social media.

And now you're thinking of filling up a cart on the site, but you don’t know exactly what it is. Let us explain.

What Is Temu?

It may seem like Temu emerged out of nowhere. Ever since its Super Bowl ad—which featured a song that wouldn't stop playing in our heads and factory workers who looked like they had abandoned ship from The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou to work for Temu—we’ve been told we could shop like a billionaire. But the company got its start in September 2022, when it launched a barrage of Facebook and Instagram ads.

How Do I Shop on Temu?

Temu is on the web at temu.com and via free apps for Android and iOS.

Why Is Temu So Cheap?

Temu’s prices are indeed shockingly low. So low that they can’t help get your attention and cause you to throw things in your cart. It seems that Temu is trying to attract shoppers as fast as possible, but it's likely selling items at a loss to get that done.

Temu might say on its site that it was founded in Boston, but it's owned by PDD Holdings, which has money to burn and moved its official headquarters from China to Ireland so it can keep doing business even if US scrutiny of China-based apps continues. Temu's low prices and sending purchased items directly to consumers allow it to bypass tariffs, saving it a ton of cash.

More concerning is the issue of forced labor. Temu does not manufacture products itself, instead shipping them from factories in China to consumers. A report from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party stated "Temu does not have any system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This all but guarantees that shipments from Temu containing products made with forced labor are entering the United States on a regular basis, in violation of the UFLPA."

Is Temu a Scam?

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (1)

It's all fun and games (Credit: Temu)

It's a legitimate website, but watch out for lightning deals that promise extra savings. Temu has gamified its site.Pop-ups with wheels to spin for discounts, tokens to collect, and countdown clocks make it seem like time on offers is running out, but they're designed to push customers toward purchases. Sellers on Temu, meanwhile, often steal designs so they don’t have to pay to develop intellectual property of their own.

What Designs Do Temu Sellers Steal?

There are too many to list, but one example is this mouthful of a product description: "Gorgeous Vintage Dragonfly Zircon Pendant Necklace - Perfect Bohemian Jewelry for Women's Holidays." The owner of the online shop Godly Nature’s Jewelry took to TikTok to complain that Temu stole her Champaign Dragonfly Sunflower Necklace design and even her photos.

Does Temu Sell Legit Products?

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (2)

Lip service on the left, the real deal on the right (Credit: Temu/Vaseline)

Temu has an intellectual property policy and told PCMag in a statement, "We strictly require all the sellers to comply with our policies and provide the necessary licensing agreements to list their products on our platform." But browsing through its site, it does not appear to be strictly enforced. Lots of products will be "discontinued," only for similar items to pop up under new listings.

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There are a lot of generic products on Temu but also a fair amount of fakes. Some are obvious, like these little jars of Tsinger lip balms, which are not Vaseline Lip Therapy but at first glance are not not Vaseline Lip Therapy.

You'll also see flat-out designer knockoffs on Temu, such as the Mini Glossy Solid Color Shoulder Bag, which is a poor imitation (but likely a copyright violation) of Jacquemus' Le Chiquito Moyen bag.

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (6)

(Credit: Temu)

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (7)

(Credit: Jacquemus)

Even a video on top-selling bags that Temu produced itself prominently features a knockoff Marc Jacobs tote.

If I Order Something on Temu, Will It Ever Arrive?

This is not Amazon Prime two-day delivery. The site says orders ship in seven to 15 days, but that is not always the case. You'll probably receive credits for future orders the more your order is delayed. When you get a message about the delay, you'll see a button to "urge shipment." Clicking it probably does nothing, but remember: This site is gamified. Temu says that if an order is not shipped within 15 days, it will issue a refund.

Does Temu Accept Returns?

There is a return process on Temu, and shipping is free within 90 days of purchase. Note that's within 90 days of purchase, not receipt of your order.

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (8)

What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (9) What Is Temu? Watch Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire

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What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire' (2024)


What Is Temu? Read Before You 'Shop Like a Billionaire'? ›

At its core, Temu is just a giant marketplace where manufacturers and suppliers — around 80,000 of them, mostly based in China — can showcase their goods and sell them directly to consumers abroad.

What's the catch with Temu? ›

The opportunity to bag a cheap goods may seem tempting, but Temu has been accused of unreliable service and data misuse. US lawmakers have also said there is an “extremely high risk” some products are made using forced labour.

What's the story with Temu? ›

The Temu controversy centers around the data-gathering practices of its parent company, PDD Holdings. As alluded to earlier in this article, PDD also owns a Chinese retailer called Pinduoduo, the app for which was (for a while) available on the Google Play Store.

What not to buy on Temu? ›

From my experience, you can find many good quality tech accessories on Temu, like phone cases, AirPods cases, and laptop covers. That said, I would not recommend buying device charging cables, stations, off-brand, or "dupe" tech items from Temu.

Why are Temu products so cheap? ›

The prices are lower because the products often come directly from manufacturers or wholesalers. This cuts out a lot of middlemen which usually hike up prices. Plus, the cost of production is typically lower in these regions due to cheaper labor and materials. Is temu legit site?

What is the warning about Temu? ›

Cyber security experts have issued a warning against Chinese online marketplace megalith Temu's 'very dangerous' cash giveaway, claiming that it could lead to serious fraud. The retailer is offering users 'free' cash in exchange for new sign-ups - and hundreds of people are jumping on the bandwagon.

What are the toxic chemicals in Temu? ›

Reports reveal elevated levels of lead, PFAS, and phthalates in fast fashion items. Temu's products, like those of its peers, harbor these toxins. In fact, Health Canada revealed that a Shein children's jacket contained more than 20 times the allowable amount of lead for children's products.

Has anyone had problems with Temu? ›

Temu has already been subject to more than 30 complaints to the Better Business Bureau, and has a BBB customer rating of less than 1.5 stars.

Why should I not 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.

What is the controversy with Temu? ›

Temu's graphic for their slogan “Shop Like a Billionaire.” Temu, an online marketplace known for selling discounted goods shipped from China, has recently faced backlash due to claims of collecting and selling user data.

Is there currently a lawsuit against Temu? ›

The Class Action Suits

In both class action suits, plaintiffs allege that the Temu's app is designed to embed a spyware and malware on user's phones to collect sensitive personal information.

Is Temu 200 dollars legit? ›

Yes, After extensive research assessing all angles of Temu operations and promotions, we determined that, yes, Temu $200 coupon code {aah64133} or {ach320371} is legit.

Is Temu Chinese owned? ›

"Micro-influencers have strong communities, so their endorsem*nt means a strong trust towards these products," she explains. Temu is owned by Chinese giant PDD Holdings - "a monster in Chinese e-commerce," according to Shaun Rein, founder of the China Market Research Group.

Is buying from Temu safe? ›

As of the time of writing, the site has just a 2.5/5 rating from visitors to the US Better Business Bureau (BBB) while one-third of reviews on Trustpilot are one-star. Users frequently criticize Temu for inbox spam, difficulty receiving refunds, and items arriving in poor condition or not at all.

Is Temu child labor? ›

The Third Party Code of Conduct mandates that anyone doing business with Temu must strictly comply with all regulatory standards and compliance requirements." "The use of forced, penal, or child labor is strictly prohibited.

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