Is Temu Legit? A Safety Guide to the Viral Shopping App

Published on
Is Temu Legit

If you’re a frequent social media user, you’ve probably heard of a little e-commerce platform known as Temu. 

The Chinese-owned shopping app has been filling millions of social media feeds across the globe with the promise of low prices, big bargains, and unbelievable discounts. It also dominated the ad space during this year's Super Bowl, and online digital creators frequently post the items they’ve bought from the site.

It’s no wonder. According to Statista, Temu sees over 40 million new downloads every month, making it the number one most popular shopping app on the App Store and Play Store globally. 

But how safe really is Temu? Is it worth the low prices, or are you putting your safety and personal data at risk by placing an order?

In this article, we’ll explore whether Temu is a legitimate retailer or a scam and how the online shopping platform impacts your safety and personal data.

What is Temu?

Temu is an online marketplace with a focus on discounted prices. The platform sells a wide variety of products, from clothing and electronics to home decor and pet supplies, all at significantly lower prices than other online retailers.

You can buy shoes for $15, necklaces for $1, and wireless keyboards for $10. In fact, whatever you can think of is probably on Temu for less than $50.

what is temu
The Temu App.

These low prices are possible because most products are shipped directly from Chinese factories and warehouses. Temu is a subsidiary of PDD Holdings, a large Chinese e-commerce company that also owns Pinduoduo, a popular discount shopping platform in China.

Temu launched in late 2022 and quickly rose to the top spot in the App Store and Play Store's shopping categories thanks to aggressive social media ad campaigns and continuous clearance sales that attracted people to the site. 

Today, Temu's independent user count has reached over 467 million, which puts it on par with shopping sights AliExpress and second in the global e-commerce rankings behind Amazon. 

Is Temu Legit?

First and foremost, Temu is a legitimate website and not a scam. You purchase an item, it’s shipped from China, and you receive it at your door about ten days after your purchase. That doesn’t guarantee that the items you receive will be of good quality, though. 

Temu doesn't currently have accreditation from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a trusted organization for testing business safety, so it’s hard to confirm whether its products and services are completely legitimate and safe to use. 

What’s more, any tech products you order on Temu are no-name brands unless they have a blue checkmark on their product listing. You can buy items like laptops, headphones or smartphones, but they’re from lesser-known brands than you might be used to. 

This often means that the items you purchase on Temu may look different to how they appeared on the site, and some customers have reported receiving damaged or even completely different items from what they ordered. 

Despite this, Temu has a 4.7-star rating based on over a million reviews on the App Store, so most people are satisfied with their experience using the app – even if some of those reviews are being reported as bots. 

You can also always return any unwanted order from Temu’s website within 90 days of purchase for a full refund if you’re not satisfied. 

And if an order arrives after Temu’s estimated delivery date, you can ask Temu for a refund and instantly receive credit in your account to use against a future order. Just note that it can take refunds up to 30 days to be received by your bank or card provider.

Is Temu Safe to Use?

Temu’s safety is debatable. While you do receive every item you purchase or get a refund if you don’t, there have been questions about potential safety hazards or lack of quality control on products sold on the site. 

People are also concerned that Temu might be collecting more personal data than it needs to operate the app. This is partly due to its parent company, Pinduoduo, which was previously accused of using malware to spy on users and removed from the Google Play Store. 

is temu safe privacy policy
Temu's data security and retention according to its Privacy Policy.

What Temu does with the data it collects from its customers remains unclear. Temu’s privacy policy doesn't offer details about data collection practices or how user information is secured, and it seems to change depending on location due to different data privacy regulations. 

Read: What is Privacy by Default and by Design?

Even if Temu handles personal data safely, there's always a potential risk of data breaches that could expose the data that has been shared with the Chinese app.

How much data does Temu collect?

It’s hard to say exactly how much data Temu collects as its privacy policy has some changes depending on location and privacy regulations. But it's reported the app collects as much data as similar online retailers, if not more.  

As a minimum, the platform collects: 

  • General profile data: Name, email, password, phone number
  • Contact information: Data from your contacts list (for inviting others)
  • Other data you provide: Any additional information you give them willingly

Temu’s privacy policy claims it does not "sell" this personal data in the traditional sense but may "share" it for targeted advertising and service improvement. Some of the ways it uses your data include:

  • Administering your account
  • Fulfilling your orders
  • Operating the Temu app
  • Responding to your inquiries
  • Complying with legal obligations
  • Personalized advertising (considered a "sale" under some US privacy laws)

While Temu outlines how it uses your data, some users find the policy lacking in details about specific data points collected, how it's used, and security measures in place. This lack of transparency is a major source of data security concerns with Temu.

If you're concerned about the specifics of data collection or sharing, it's best to consult Temu's privacy policy directly for the most up-to-date information.

Why is Temu so Cheap?

Temu's cheap prices are possible because it ships all its products from China, which is notorious for its low manufacturing costs. It sources these products directly from Chinese factories and wholesalers, eliminating markups from distributors to cut costs that are often passed onto customers.

Temu’s parent company, PDD Holdings, has also been reportedly selling products at a loss to gain market share and brand recognition in the US and Europe as part of its “loss leader” strategy. 

This means that Temu is willing to take short-term financial hits and ridiculously cheap prices if it means attracting more customers globally.

The incredibly low prices on Temu can be a red flag for some users, raising concerns about the quality and safety of the products, especially when it comes to electronics or items lacking clear safety certifications.

Is Temu Ethical?

Based on recent investigations and reports, Temu is not an ethical brand. A Congressional Report from June 2023 about Temu’s ethics warned that there is an “extremely high risk” that products from the app could be linked to forced labor. 

Temu also doesn't have a clear policy against sourcing from regions with documented labor exploitation concerns, like Xinjiang.

is temu ethical
Many of Temu's products are sourced in bulk from Chinese warehouses. 

Its business model resembles fast fashion, an industry often criticized for its environmental impact and potential for unethical labor practices.

Temu claims to have a Code of Conduct requiring vendors to comply with applicable laws and regulations regarding ethical labor practices. It also mentions offsetting a portion of its carbon emissions and promoting environmentally friendly practices. However, the specifics of these efforts are unclear.

How do you delete your temu account?

You can easily delete your Temu account through either the Temu app or website. Here’s how to delete your account on the app: 

  1. Tap on your profile picture located at the bottom right corner of the screen.
  2. Select "Settings" from the options menu.
  3. Go to "Account Security." This might be the first or last option depending on your Temu app version.
  4. Scroll down and tap on "Delete your Temu account."
  5. You'll see a confirmation message. Tap "Continue" to proceed.

You can follow a similar process on Temu’s website. 

Deleting your Temu account is permanent. You won't be able to recover your account or any data associated with it after deletion. It might take some time for Temu to completely delete your account and all your data.

Join 34,209 IT professionals who already have a head start

Network with the biggest names in IT and gain instant access to all of our exclusive content for free.

Get Started Now