You’ve probably heard of Temu, the new app-based marketplace. You may have rolled your eyes at its tagline telling you to ‘shop like a billionaire’. You also may have seen its Super Bowl commercials, and been surprised to see them airing alongside established and well-known brands. And sometimes you might read or hear things that make you wonder if Temu is… shady. 

So what’s the deal? Is Temu safe to shop on? Here’s what we know about this fast-growing mega-marketplace.

1. How it works

      With over 30 million downloads per month, saying Temu is popular seems like an understatement. Its app is centered around dynamic pricing—prices get lower as more shoppers buy a particular item. In fact, that’s where its name (sort of) comes from: ‘Team Up, Price Down.’ Free shipping and free 90-day returns apply to all items.

      Temu operates in multiple countries—it launched in the U.S. in 2022, and in Australia, New Zealand, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and the UK in 2023. Temu has very little infrastructure compared to sites like Amazon—its sellers in China do ship products to a central Temu-run warehouse for fulfillment, but in most other countries sellers ship their products directly to customers.

      2. Temu will find you

        It might be a convenient reminder or it might be bordering on stalking… but one thing’s for sure: once you download the app, Temu’s not going to let you forget about it. Even if you don’t download the app, you’ll probably be bombarded with Temu ads following you everywhere online—especially if you do a lot of online shopping. You’re exactly who they’re looking for.

        3. Temu has some really good deals

          There’s definitely a reason so many people are downloading the app and shopping on Temu—they have things like shoes for $15, a lot of jewelry for under $5, and wireless camera systems for under $20. And pretty much anything else you can imagine, at lower prices than anywhere else. Is it high quality? No, in most cases it’s not, but at such low prices most shoppers don’t care.

          4. If you order, you’ll probably get something… just not always what you expect

            Orders from Temu generally arrive, on average, in about 10 days. Some customers complain that the items they receive aren’t exactly the same as what they saw in the listing, and are sometimes lower quality. There are also some reports of orders not arriving at all, though that seems to be less common than complaints about item quality.

            More concerning is that a lot of the products are not authentic; they may have a name brand on them, but in many cases they’re knockoffs. Sometimes they are authentic, but are ‘diverted’ product, meaning they came through a wholesaler who’s violating their agreement with the manufacturer by selling on Temu. That usually means you won’t be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty if you have a problem. Temu claims that items listed with a blue checkmark are guaranteed to be authentic.

            5. Payment information is maybe not totally secure

              There have been multiple reports of shoppers’ credit card information being sold or leaked after they enter it on Temu. This can happen to any site or app, but it seems to happen more often on Temu. There have also been a number of social media influencers calling out Temu for identity theft, and Google suspended Temu’s sister site, Pinduoduo, due to malware, so there are definitely data security concerns in the family.

              So is Temu safe? Should you shop there?

              The short answer to ‘is Temu safe?’ is… yes and no. It is a real business, and if you buy something you’ll likely receive your order. You’ll just want to be aware that it might not be exactly what you were expecting, and if it’s a brand-name item it might not be genuine. 

              You do have the ability to return almost all orders for any reason within 90 days, so in the worst case you can return the item and be refunded. Some Temu shoppers report that it can take as long as 30 days to receive your refund, so take that into account.

              Overall, for very inexpensive items that won’t create too much stress if you end up not getting what you ordered and/or have to wait a long time for a refund, Temu might be worthwhile. The security of your payment information is probably a bigger concern. We’d suggest not using your bank account or credit card information on Temu; use a payment site like Paypal or Venmo instead. That way, if your information is leaked or sold, your bank and credit card accounts will still be safe.