Is Temu Legit? Here’s How I’m Saving Big With This Fun App

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Is Temu Legit? Here’s How I’m Saving Big With This Fun App

So I’ve been playing a Mahjong game on my phone periodically when I get a few minutes here and there. My wife, Lisa, loves to rag on me and tell me that it’s a game for 95-year-old women but I enjoy it so I’ll just graciously accept my lumps from her.

But the game does have its share of ads in it that you can’t pay to remove (though I’d probably be too cheap to do so anyway). For the past few months, I have been constantly bombarded with ads that revolve around a shopping app called Temu.

The ads would show all these tremendous savings to be had for all sorts of stuff. Then the slogan “Shop Like a Billionaire” would close out the ad.

All I could picture was Mark Cuban wasting his time shopping for cheap crap on some wacky little app. I’m sure that’s not happening!

The more I saw the ads over the past few months though, the more curious I got (see advertising works, kids!). One day, I finally decided to dig more into it. I’m not the only one who was curious either – Temu has beaten out TikTok and others lately as the most frequently downloaded app in the U.S.

But I needed to know – is Temu legit and are there really savings to be had with it? This turned out to be a fun mission!

Is Temu legit?

If you’re wondering “is Temu legit?”, I can confidently answer that with a “yes.” However, if you’re asking if they’re a solid reputable company, well then there might be more of a discussion on the subject.

At first, I had assumed that Temu was a Chinese company selling cheap products made in China. It turns out that I was only sort of right.

Most of the goods sold and shipped through Temu are, in fact, from China. However, the company is a U.S. company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. That sounds more comforting considering all the privacy drama going on regarding China right now. But that becomes less credible when you find out that Temu is controlled by a Chinese company called PDD Holdings Inc.

Personally, that doesn’t bother me tremendously. I just know that I wanted to be careful with any personal or sensitive information I share with the app. The app itself isn’t using any permissions on my Android phone

Temu - Android app permissions

I can’t vouch for iPhone users but I would assume it’s the same.

The problem is that the company has a lot of complaints filed through the BBB with a bad reputation…

Temu - Better Business Bureau (BBB) Review and Complaints
This was as of 04/04/23… not great, right?

[The company] is also starting to develop a reputation for undelivered packages, mysterious charges, incorrect orders, and unresponsive customer service.

Time – The Truth About Temu, the Most Downloaded New App in America

So, is Temu legit? Yes. Can you be 100% confident ordering from them? Well, I wouldn’t want to bank my life on it and it’s still a newer company (it came about in 2022), but it can still be a lot of fun if you’re careful.

The precautions I’ve taken with Temu

I already talked about the app not using any phone permissions so that’s a good start. However, when I initially signed up, I wanted to be extra careful about what I provided to the company since I didn’t know anything about them.

Disposable email address

So to start with, I used a disposable email address. Usually, when I sign up for anything, I use the built-in ability to do this through my Gmail account. I just append a plus sign after the username of the address and then whatever I’m using it for. So if my Gmail address was [email protected] and I was signing up for a new account at ABC Company, I would tell them my email address was [email protected].

You don’t even have to tell Gmail you’re doing this. You can just make it up on the fly and if ABC Company sends an email, Gmail just ignores the plus sign and everything else up to the “@” sign and forwards it over to you. It works well (except for companies that don’t accept the plus sign in emails when registering) and I use that all the time. Then if I start getting spam or other problems on that disposable email address, I can see who sold me out (damn you, Lending Tree!!), and I can also just block mail to that disposable address.

This time around though, I wanted to be even more careful because I still had the “is Temu legit” question rolling around in my head. So I didn’t even want to provide a masked email address that can reveal my real Gmail address. That’s probably overkill, but there was a service that I’ve been wanting to try out anyway called AnonAddy. It’s a free and open-source service though they do have some additional options that are priced fairly.

Anyway, after creating my account at AnonAddy, I created an alias for Temu that forwards to my Gmail account. Worked like a champ and just like Gmail, I can cut off this address alias if I ever needed to do so.

Virtual credit card

The next thing I did was create a virtual credit card number. Most issuers now let you do this to use for online purchases. They tell you that it’s safer because then you’re not giving out your real credit card number.

That’s fair enough, but personally, I don’t really care because I know that, under the Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974, “If an unauthorized user makes purchases with a credit card, the cardholder’s liabilities are limited to $50.” And in most cases, credit card companies won’t even make you liable for anything at all.

So I’ve never bothered to muck things up by creating a virtual credit card number… until now. Out of privacy concerns and that little voice still unsure and asking “is Temu legit?” at the time, I took the precaution and created a virtual card number with my Capital One Venture X card.

Easy peasy. This was then the credit card number I used when placing my first order.

Treat it like gambling

Here’s the deal – we’ve established you might have concerns with using Temu. Whether it’s the ties to China that bother you or the bad rating on the BBB, it’s ok to not go all-in on something like this. In fact, I think it would be crazy to place monster orders for a ton of stuff from overseas without being aware of the potential for problems.

I’d liken this to gambling. You don’t spend more money than you’d be willing to lose. If a small order I placed would fall off the planet, I’d be disappointed, but it’s not going to be the end of the world. The good thing is that, unlike gambling, you’ll probably wind up winning more than losing!

My experience with Temu has been great!

You might wonder why I’d go through this trouble for a stupid shopping app. Why not just get your junk through Amazon and call it a day?

For me, it comes down to two reasons:

  1. Price
  2. Curiosity / Fun

Just like anything else, when you cut out the middleman, the price tends to be less. And in a lot of cases, the price is a lot less through Temu.

Although you’re not going to find everything on here that you might order through Amazon or get elsewhere, it’s probably no surprise that most of what we get comes from China anyway. Temu gives Chinese retailers a platform to sell and ship directly to US customers and skip the middleman like Amazon which normally charges the vendor large fees and marks up the prices for us.

Because of that, the majority of the prices you see for goods on Temu will make you raise an eyebrow in disbelief. Yeah, they’re that insanely low. Something that you might see for $5-10 on Amazon might be 68¢ on Temu.

There is a $10 minimum on your order but I’ve only ever seen free shipping on there. I find it funny that there’s always a countdown running down as to how long you can get free shipping… but there seems to always be a countdown running to be able to get free shipping!

On that note, know that Temu might be the king of marketers. Not only were they able to make this one of the most frequently downloaded apps through strong marketing, but they have so many games and promotions going on that it’ll make your head spin. They try to create excitement by having you get “oh-so-close” to winning some type of prize… and then tell you that you can share the app to get more spins or whatever the game task is. It’s actually really genius and they do a great job with it.

A lot of the promos are real though and their new user sign-up bonus can be worthwhile in itself.

For my first order, I kept my total as low as possible. I had a new user credit and they gave me some other deals but I wanted to test the waters by getting pretty close to that $10 minimum. And it was a blast sifting through all the stuff on there!

Have you ever gone to a garage sale or flea market and enjoyed the thrill of finding a good deal for stuff you probably didn’t need but could make use of? Yeah, that’s Temu!

Here’s what I ended up getting for this order:

Temu order

Some interesting and fun stuff and a few boring things, right? Now here’s where it gets to be weird. You might look at those prices and think, “Yeah, that’s pretty good, Jim.”

But once you consider the sign-up bonus and other credits that they like to give, here was my total credit card charge for these ten items:

Temu order summary

$11.52 out the door!!

That includes a set of Lenovo wireless earbuds. I’m not going to pretend these are anything like a $200 set of AirPods or Beats, but they do the job and I’m enjoying them. And to think that these were only part of this $11 order is kind of crazy.

To me, this is pretty hard to believe. These aren’t returns or anything like that – these are new items you’re getting at next-to-nothing costs.

Know this – you’re not getting Amazon Prime or Walmart+ expedited delivery on this stuff. You can expect a couple of weeks before you see your order (though you might get lucky and see it in less time). This first order of mine had a delay, so they notified me that they had given me a $5 credit for a future order. Even so, I got the order in 12 days.

So don’t order anything you’re in a rush to get, but if you want something for cheap that you’re not pressed for time for, Temu might be your BFF!

I decided there were a couple of items I had ordered that I didn’t want. Plus, that gave me an opportunity to test how this would go – would I need to ship them back to China? That seemed like a negative return game for the company.

It was easy to return the items through the app and then it credited me the money back and told me to keep, donate, or throw away the items. Cool, right? I can’t guarantee that will always be the case, but good to know.

And you might also see that one of the items says “partially refunded”. That’s because I noticed something in the app order that said “Request a price adjustment.” It told me that the item had dropped in price by 17 cents and so it then offered to credit that back to my credit card. That’s part of their 30-day price adjustment policy. 17 cents is 17 cents, folks. I got that back on my card within a few days.

I gotta tell you… I placed one more order a couple of days after I received my first one. This time I ordered 8 items and spent a little more (~$17). That showed up yesterday and I’m happy with everything. I actually then placed yet another order last night (~$20) for some art supplies for Faith’s art lessons (and a couple of things for me!).

My daughter, Faith, also signed up and just placed her first order. She’s not one to spend her money but she’s been sitting on several items in her Amazon cart and said that they were tremendously cheaper through Temu. She’s so excited about it!

I’m not one to blow money but I thought this was a fun experiment. I don’t have plans to order anything else from Temu right now. However, the next time that I need to order something and I’m not in a big rush for it, you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll look to Temu before Amazon!

30% off your first order with this link! And more!

Because this was so much fun, I went digging into it and was able to set up a partnership with the company to be able to give you a darn good deal!

30% off your first order (that’s much better than the offer I got!)… AND a $100 coupon bundle after installing the app!

Pretty incredible! You’ll automatically get 30% off your first order (up to $25 off).

And then the coupon bundle gives you various discounts, too. Assuming this doesn’t change, it includes:

  • $15 off an order over $75 (3 of these coupons)
  • $25 off an order over $50
  • $30 off an order over $100

All you need to do is sign up through this link:

Or you can signup and then paste the code fav76689 right into the search bar of the Temu app or website. The 30% off is only good for new users though so be sure to take advantage of it right from the start!

Is Temu legit? Absolutely. And if they’re able to continue to improve and grow, companies like Amazon could have a little bit of a concern. Amazon’s got the logistical and convenience factors in its favor for sure, but it hasn’t been the cheapest game in town for a while now. When it comes to prices, Temu could be just what the doctor ordered!

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

12 thoughts on “Is Temu Legit? Here’s How I’m Saving Big With This Fun App”

  1. I had wondered about Temu. Thanks for being a guniea pig. Might try it in the future for giggles. Trying to be more minimalist so I’m trying to buy less junk. Those sponges are a great deal. Bought a pack at BJ’s recently for way more than that!

    In your email you mentioned how long your would have been at your work if you hadn’t retired, yeah ugh. Reminded me of an industry publication from my former profession I just got around to reading. In it I was shocked to see the obituary of one one of the suppliers we did business with (from down your way). Broke bread with him numerous times and golfed with him on occasion, great guy. He was only 47. Left behind a wife and 2 young kids. I’m blessed I got out, so yes…. live your best life.

    1. I totally get the idea of buying less junk. My first run on the app was just to see what I was dealing with and to have a little fun with it. Now, I plan to use it to order things we actually need (but not urgently) and would cost more elsewhere. It’s surprising how many items that might be!

      Crazy about the guy you knew that passed away. I actually knew of a guy who was one of the customers for the place I worked. He worked for a local government, put in his required years to get his full pension, and finally retired. Right after, he took a vacation to celebrate. He ended up having a medical emergency while there and died right on the spot.

      Yeah, chancing it and waiting until the traditional retirement age isn’t something I can accept. I’ll live my best life now instead… and congrats to you for doing the same, Scott.

  2. Rich Engelhardt

    Temu – so people that buy Harbor Freight crap have someone to look down on! 😀 😀

    Ok – yeah – I’ve become a Temu junkie. So has my wife. They sell a ton of stuff I use in the workshop for a very small amount.
    I picked up a small Aluminum router plate for $12. Everywhere else, they sell for twice that and sometimes four times as much.
    I bought some step drills to try out something I saw on Youtube. The Temu ones were $1.50. The same thing from Harbor Freight was $7. Home Depot $50.

    The only downside to Temu is – – I’m already wading through mountains of crap I have little use for. With the low prices Temu offers, that situation is bound to only get worse.

    1. Haha, it’s definitely a little addictive! 🙂 I read an interesting article that talked a little bit about how low prices like these can be a bad thing. Here’s what it said about another low-cost retailer:

      Shein has been successful in fast fashion but has also drawn criticism for the environmental impact of clothes so cheap as to be almost disposable.

      We tend to think about how good the low prices are for our wallets but sometimes we miss the whole picture like you mentioned with mountains of crap. Weird dynamic but I’m not trying to stick with only what I need (though that first round of ordering was pretty fun!).

  3. I bought some stuff from Temu. It took about a week to arrive. It’s much faster than ordering from Aliexpress. Temu offers free shipping but it’s misleading. You have to order $20 total or some amount in order to get that free shipping. It’s like Amazon’s free shipping if you order over $35. The product quality are the same as Aliexpress. After all, they are all made in China 🙂

    What I don’t like about Temu is all the fake scarcity tactics they use on the site to make you buy. They would say “so many people have add this item to their cart” or “only a few left”. They also spam like crazy. They text and email me everyday until I block them.

    1. Hi Mike – yeah, they’ve got their marketing skills down pat in creating a sense of urgency, don’t they?! I just tune that stuff out and focus on what I need because even if the scarcity on an item was true, another one tends to pop right up from another vendor on there anyway.

      That’s funny that you mention the texting. They gave me a popup to sign up for that to get a 20% discount last night and I dismissed it… for now. Instead of the cat-and-mouse game of blocking the text and email messages, you can go into your account and go to “Notifications.” You can then toggle on and off what you want for each medium. Hopefully, that’ll make life a little easier! 🙂

  4. Now if they only had a filter for recycled content material or eco-certified, I’d feel a lot better ordering. But then again, if greenwashing is alive and well here, I can only imagine the marketing assurances being made overseas!

  5. I think I am more interested in the gmail ghost accounts. So to do that I just use [email protected] and the NAPA ads come to my regular email? If they spam too often I just somehow delete the phantom email address? That is cool.

    1. That’s it, Kev! You can test it from another email account if you have one or have someone else send you an email to see it. I do that on every account I can – even when commenting on other blogs. What I like about this is that if you’ve only used that address for one thing (say NAPA in your example), then you know that if spam starts coming in on that email address that they likely sold off your info… jerks! But then you can easily create a filter in Gmail to tell it to automatically just mark all email to that NAPA address as spam when it comes in or send it right to the trash or whatever you want. It works well.

      3 caveats:

      1) You’ll find that several websites don’t accept plus signs in email addresses. They should as it’s a legitimate character for email addresses per the RFC, but what can you do? In those cases, you’ll need to use a different address (or your legitimate Gmail address).

      2) If it’s an email address where you end up needing to reply an email that went to the plus sign address, by default, the reply to address will be your actual Gmail address. So if you need to reply back, you can go into settings an add an alias for the plus sign email address. Then that will be the default when replying to mail on that plus sign address or you can then select it when sending a message. It’s much easier than it sounds!

      3) Even though most sites are all run by machines and not individual people, anyone who knows this little trick can tell what your actual email address really is. I don’t consider that a problem in most cases but, like I mentioned, I was a little iffy on the whole China thing so that’s why I tried out AnonAddy, which never reveals your actual email address. I thought it was really cool and worked well so I’ll probably start using that a lot more often. And because the aliases you create with AnonAddy don’t have a plus sign in them, you never run into caveat #1.

  6. I ordered 2 pairs of shoes for my son. I used the web browser, though. The app seems redundant. My phone doesn’t need any more clutter.
    I think most of the complaint about Temu comes from various delay. People need to understand things could go wrong when you ship from so far away. The shoes are okay. My son destroys shoes so quickly anyway. Even expensive shoes only last 3-4 months. Unfortunately, everything is use and throw away these days.

    1. Yeah, the app and the browser version seem to be very similar so either works. That’s a smart idea on ordering shoes on Temu for your son since they keep growing anyway (when will it stop?!!! 😉 ) I didn’t even think of ordering clothes on there but now I’ll be checking that out for Faith! Thanks, Joe!!

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