Is Temu Legit? Is Your Data Safe With Them?

Shopping through our smart devices or computers is a popular way for us to get the things we need without the hassle and expenses related to commuting. Established eComm platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba are generating billions in profit in a month, which makes the industry highly desirable to digital entrepreneurs.

As years go by, we are seeing the emergence of new players like Wish, TikTok Store, and Facebook Market, just to name a few. But probably one eComm platform that instantly made a huge impact in the market is Temu. The company was founded in 2022, and it quickly established itself as among the most widely used shopping apps in most of the countries they are servicing.

As popular as it is, past users of the app revealed several flaws of Temu that lead you to have second thoughts about it. In this review, you will learn more about the features of Temu and gain more insights on whether they could deliver the quality service you need or seek.

What is Temu?

Temu works very similar to other online shopping platforms like Amazon or eBay, which you can access via a mobile app or website. However, its main menu bears a resemblance to Alibaba due to its straightforward user interface and orange theme throughout.

The general mechanics of the business are they have third-party sellers where they list their products, and then Temu earns a cut of their sales for using their platform as a method of promoting their products. 

The app is servicing over 30 countries around the globe. The company began its operation in 2022, and they are rapidly becoming among the most popular online shopping sites in most of the countries where it is providing its services.

Like many online shopping apps, the platform offers a wide range of products, including clothing, car accessories, gaming accessories, cosmetics and beauty products, novelty items, smart devices, and digital products. 

Upon using Temu, you would immediately observe the familiar user interface you will typically see in an online merchant app. It is very easy to use. You browse, put in an order, pay for them, and they will deliver them to you. 

But what makes Temu somehow unique and widely used is they offer them at a very low price. For example, you can buy sunglasses from them at $2 or noise-canceling earbuds for only $1 to $20. However, you can't expect that much when it comes to quality. But it would certainly help you get by if you need them in the meantime.

Who are the Founders of Temu?

Like Alibaba and Wish, Temu was founded and is currently owned by a Chinese digital marketing company called PDD (Pinduoduo) Holdings. The company's base of operation is in Shanghai, China, but it also has a headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts. PDD also has several eComm platforms, but the Temu app is their bread and butter. According to reports, the platform generated about $400B in sales, with Temu alone as their primary source of cash flow. 

As popular as the app may be, the US government raised an issue concerning its alleged connection to the Chinese government and suspicion of espionage or spying on sensitive data from its citizens. But regardless of the concern, they are still popular among Americans due to the low prices of the merchandise that they offer.

Is Temu Legit? Is it Safe to Use?

The suspicion of Temu gathering sensitive data from its users comes with a basis. According to a report posted in April 2023 by CNN Business, they mentioned that the app is taking advantage of Android's flaw in data security. They added that the app is gathering personal data way beyond the boundary which creates a loophole for agencies to spy on more sensitive information from their users. 

You have to remember that they are acquiring these pieces of information without your consent. In essence, if all the accusations were true, they are violating your data security. The accusations have no solid proof yet, but it does affect the reputation of the company in a significant way. In any case, the Temu app is still a legitimate online shopping app as it can deliver goods to its customers worldwide. 

However, both the Temu app and PDD Holding lack corporate information on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website. Although they are not absolute proof of legitimacy, it is a way for consumers to gauge the quality of their services and how they handle customer concerns. The good news is you can find that they have a market share which somehow indicates that their operation is legitimate. But if data security is a huge issue for you, then you may stick with big companies like Amazon for your online shopping needs.

How Temu Collects Personal Data from its Users

Nothing seems to be out of the ordinary when you register through the app or website. They ask for basic data like name, email address, residential address, contact number, and preferred payment mode. If you are using mobile applications, they will ask permission to access your storage, photos, videos, and notifications. They also added that the app is using built-in security to put the worries of the consumers aside. However, the specifications of the built-in security is not clear, and some users might still have concerns about the safety of their personal information.

Such information and access were the basic ones that any app would ask, and nothing from them may cause anyone to be suspicious. But you have to remember that this is not the first involvement of a Chinese company in a data privacy issue.

For example, Australia banned Huawei and ZTE because of the high risk of personal data invasion. Furthermore, if you are playing Pokemon Go, Niantic, its developer, was accused of a breach of personal data, which prompted the US Government to investigate.

What Are the Drawbacks of Temu?

Although Temu might seem legit, the app has some drawbacks coming from the experiences of its users, which include the following:

Data Security Risk

Even though the developers of the app mention that they have security measures to protect consumer's data privacy, there is still lingering doubt as the US government raised concerns about the matter. 

Poor Quality of the Merchandise

You can't expect that much if you are planning to buy cheap merchandise. If your purpose in using Temu is to save money, then you might not save anything at all as the quality of the items is subpar and it could fall apart after only using it for a few days or so.

Aside from the low-quality products, it is also likely that they also underwent poor quality control which makes the items more fragile and not durable. 

Slow Delivery

The subpar quality of the items listed on their platform is a given, but its slow delivery is another story. Among the common negative reviews that the app is receiving is how long it takes before they receive their package.

After placing an order, the customers will see an estimated delivery time. However, they are never a guarantee. The developers failed to take into account such things as the distance from China to other parts of the world and the fact that it would take time for the package to reach them.

The app has a low rating of two and three stars on SiteJabber and Trustpilot, respectively. And the low rating primarily comes from the slow delivery. Past customers cited that they received their parcels after one week, while others took two months before their packages arrived.

Terrible Customer Support

You can contact Temu's customer support via email, landline, or directly through live chat using the application or website. However, past customers report terrible customer support that is unresponsive and unhelpful.

Final Thoughts

In summary, you can use the Temu app at your own risk. The accusation of breach of data privacy is not yet beyond a reasonable doubt, and it is still legitimate as far as anyone is concerned. But the number of issues around the company, especially how they gather personal information, affects the reputation of the app.

If protecting your data is of high importance to you, then you can rely on big brand online shopping apps like Amazon.


Written by joao-q

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