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Temu: Fetch or Sketch?

Updated: Apr 5

Temu. Founded in July of 2022 by Chinese e-commerce company PDD Holdings, this online shopping platform has become rapidly popular because of its wide variety of products, free shipping, and most of all, its extremely low prices. On the app, they are constantly showering users with gifts, discounts, and deals. Temu has something for everyone, from stickers to clothes to furniture. And everything is shockingly affordable (you’re telling me I can get a wireless keyboard and mouse set for under $10?!). But is Temu safe and even worth buying from? And how are they able to have all their products priced so cheaply?

Customer Complaints

Though there have been lots of very positive reviews from customers who ordered from Temu, there are also many unhappy customers who have never received packages or have complained they take longer to arrive than estimated. In fact, Temu’s sister company, Pinduoduo, has been accused for hosting sales of counterfeits, illegal goods, and even products that don’t match their descriptions. There has also been evidence that sometimes people return items to Temu after they are not happy with the product, and don’t receive refunds in return. According to the Better Business Bureau, Temu has an average rating of 2.5 out of 5 stars. Some people seem to love it, while others absolutely hate it.

Lawsuits with Shein

One of Temu’s biggest competitors is Shein, another online shopping app that is very similar in the way that they are both super cheap and have lots of options. In the past, Temu and Shein have sued each other multiple times. Temu once sued Shein for using “Mafia-style”intimidation tactics on merchants to illegally interfere with Temu’s business. Basically, they have been accused of imprisoning their merchants that have done business with Temu by holding them hostage and confiscating their electronic devices to obtain access to Temu’s accounts. Temu has also accused Shein of bullying manufacturers, whereas Shein sued Temu for telling influencers to make “false and deceptive statements” against Shein in order to promote their own business. In a nutshell, things between Temu and Shein are messy, big time. They are each other’s biggest competitors and rivals.

Forced Labor and Work Culture

It’s no secret that there is a lot of harshly forced labor going on in China to support online businesses. Shein was one of those, and now, Temu is sadly another example. Temu uses garment workers, typically in Southeast Asia, to keep their prices low. These workers work extremely long hours for very low wages and typically without an employment contract. And we’re talking LOOOOONG shifts, like 14-16 hours a day for 7 days a week. And because their wages are so low, they can’t refuse to work overtime during the busy season, unless they want to be fired. 

Data and Privacy

Lots of people should probably be more concerned about how safe they’re being online, especially with their private information and money. If you want your Temu packages to arrive, you do have to give away some of your personal information, which is obviously a given for any online shopping app. But the reason this is concerning is because we don’t know how much of your identifiable user information Temu is collecting. Apple has also previously removed Temu from the App Store because of its misleading privacy labels. Like most large e-commerce sites, Temu does have plenty of scammers trying to take your money, so if you want to purchase something from Temu, just be safe and familiarize yourself with common online scams so you can recognize them if they pop up. Also, see this source for detailed steps on how to stay safe when shopping on Temu.

So, what are your thoughts? Is Temu worth it? If your answer is yes, just remember to be safe when shopping and giving personal information. 

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