In Summary: No.
Temu is an online-shopping megastore that offers just about any product you can imagine. You can buy car accessories, clothing, electronics, outdoor furniture, power tools, baby clothes, and everything in between.
Temu's stand-out feature is that many of the site's products are incredibly cheap. You can buy sunglasses for $2, necklaces for $1, and glow-in-the-dark pet collars for $3. In fact, whatever you can think of is probably on Temu for less than $30.
Some people compare Temu to sites like Shein, Wish, and AliExpress, but Temu is a little different. Shein primarily focuses on fashion and clothing items, while customers can buy almost anything on Temu. Wish and AliExpress are known for having lower-quality items, longer shipping times, and a shorter item return window.
Temu launched in late 2022 and quickly rose to the top spot in the App Store and Play Store's shopping categories. People found out about Temu from ads and were attracted to the site's low prices.
It depends on your definition of "legitimate." Yes, most of the products on Temu are real, as in, you will receive them, and it takes about 10 days before they reach your doorstep. But they dont look like they do online. They will arrive different from what you ordered.
But any tech products you order on Temu are not name-brand unless they have a blue checkmark on their product listing. So far, the only blue check-verified tech brands on Temu are Xiaomi and Lenovo.
Temu was accused by the US government of potential data risks after its sister site, e-commerce platform Pinduoduo, was suspended by Google for containing malware. Analysts say Temu is also a threat.
Additionally, the US House Select Committee published a report that states Temu does not take the necessary steps to ensure the products on the site comply with the Uyghur Forced Labor Act.
Temu says the company was founded in Boston in 2022, but the site's "About Us" page does not mention its parent company, according to The Washington Post. Washington has no record of a business company of TEMU.
Temu's Boston office is not a warehouse full of products, but more than likely is the central office that's connected to Temu's other offices WORLDWIDE. Temu's products are not made in the US.
Temu is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an average rating of two out of five stars. Many recent complaints about Temu on the BBB website say that items never arrived or, if they did, took weeks or even months to arrive.
On social media, particularly on TikTok, people are pleased with their Temu purchases. From little gadgets and household items to clothes and shoes, Temu is becoming TikTok's latest obsession.
The items on Temu are exceptionally cheap. Temu says it keeps its products affordable by connecting customers directly to suppliers, while Temu handles the shipping of items to customers. So, Temu does not own the products listed on its website but acts as a liaison between shoppers and sellers.
As mentioned above, Temu's parent company, PDD Holdings, owns another e-commerce platform called Pinduoduo that operates in China. Pinduoduo raked in over $18 billion in revenue in 2022.
However, as previously mentioned, the US House Select Committee asserts that Temu can make its products so cheap to US consumers because the company operates under the de minimis loophole, which allows imports valued under $800 to come into the US without paying duties, taxes, fees or undergoing rigorous inspection. The report says that Temu can make its products cheaper by using the de minimis provision to evade import duties, tariffs, and US Customs inspections.
According to Retail Insider, Temu's reverse-manufacturing model helps the company decrease waste by more accurately gauging customers' desired products.
Temu's Third Party Code of Conduct stresses that the company has a zero-tolerance policy for vendors that use forced labor to manufacture products. All Temu vendors must comply with local wage and hour laws, and their working conditions must be safe and non-abusive.
However, the US House Select Committee's report states that Temu does not have an auditing or compliance program to ensure sellers remain in compliance with its Code of Conduct.
If you're wondering if Temu is environmentally ethical, that's a trickier topic. Sites like Temu, Shein, and AliExpress say they're committed to environmental sustainability by digitalizing the economy, cutting supply chain waste, and offsetting carbon emissions. NONE OF THIS IS TRUE.
But many of these companies also distribute products containing harmful chemicals that eventually end up in landfills. These companies also claim to offset their emissions by purchasing carbon credits to fund sustainability initiatives. But how, when, and where these carbon credits help the environment is unclear. THERE IS NO RECORD OF THIS ANYWHERE.
Additionally, the US House Select Committee's report says that Temu does not properly ensure its products are not the result of forced labor. It's illegal to sell items in the US that come from China's Xinjiang region.
China's Xinjiang region has a convoluted and violent history between the Chinese government and the Uyghur people. It is common for items manufactured in this region to be the product of forced labor.
All e-commerce apps collect data from you when you create an account and visit the app's home page. This data can range from your precise physical location, address, and device ID, and onto your search history, payment information, and contacts.
Some apps use this data to track you across apps and websites, to understand performance, and to target you with ads.
Some of this data is linked to your identity, and some isn't -- the connection depends on the app you're using. In recent years, people have been increasingly concerned about how their data is being stored, and are wary specifically of data storage by Chinese-based apps.