Is shopping app Temu too good to be true? What to know before you place an order

Move over Amazon. A new online marketplace is gaining popularity. Temu is one of the most downloaded apps in the world right now, but it is also receiving a number of consumer complaints.

Temu’s main marketing assets are its customers, who post about their purchases on social media.

Customers call it a haul. Lots of stuff for not a lot of money.

“The reason Temu has really taken off is they encourage people buying these items to post about it on social media, post what they purchase and then they’re incentivized people to buy from their link, which they then get an award for doing,” says Logan Hickle from the Better Business Bureau.

The company says it has more than 100 million customers worldwide.

Almost everything is on the site, from women’s clothes for as little as $1.47 to earbuds for $10.

However, lots of customers means there will be complaints.

The BBB has received nearly 1,000 complaints about Temu in the past 12 months.

“Most of what we are hearing is just quality control or customer service issues,” said Hickle.

“Just know that if you’re buying something for $2, that may be $8-$10 with other competitors.

Also, experts warn not to expect a speedy delivery.

“It doesn’t sit in a warehouse. It comes directly from China to your doorstep, so that’s how they can get those lower prices, but then that’s why there is that longer lead time,” said Hickle.

In a written press release, Temu says they strive to be “transparent about shipping times and their business partners.”

Temu says customers will get a full refund if purchases can’t be delivered, arrive damaged or aren’t as described.

The BBB says it’s keeping an eye on the company, which they rate at a C+ right now.

“With the rising popularity of our products and services, we’ve noticed the emergence of apps and websites impersonating our brand to cheat our customers,” said a Temu spokesperson. “We have taken legal action against these fraudulent entities. However, the judicial process and expected delays in addressing the issue with the hosting platforms and cloud services mean the resolution may not be immediate. Therefore, we urge consumers to support our efforts by reporting any such fraudulent activities they encounter.”

To address reports about fraudulent Temu websites, suspicious text messages or phone calls, consumers are encouraged to file a report with Temu at https://www.temu.com/bgch_report_suspicious.html. Additionally, consumers can file their complaints to the relevant authorities including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (https://www.ic3.gov/Home/FileComplaint ) and the Federal Trade Commission (https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/ ).

Common Scams To Beware: Temu shared some of the common characteristics and techniques used by scam sites and apps:

  • Individuals report being contacted by someone claiming to be a courier, who then demands additional shipping fees.
  • There are cases where a seller, allegedly representing Temu, solicits payments through alternative methods, such as QR codes, e-wallets, or wire transfers.
  • Consumers have been deceived into making purchases and payments on websites or apps that closely mimic Temu, often accompanied by false notifications of winning a prize.
  • Unsolicited messages from unrecognized numbers have offered financial services or part-time jobs, requiring the recipient to provide personal details, including Temu account or transaction information.
  • Reports include receiving calls from unknown numbers that either request personal information verification or offer unsolicited refunds.

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