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What Is Temu: The Super Bowl 2024 Commercial Everyone Is Talking About

Here's what you need to know before shopping the site

If you watched the Super Bowl this past Sunday, chances are you enjoyed more than just the nail-biting Overtime quarter that ended in back-to-back championship wins for the Kansas City Chiefs. This year gave us an incredible half-time performance by Usher, a few glimpses of Taylor Swift cheering on Travis Kelce, and, of course, funny commercials. But one advertiser took up a little more time on your screen than others: Temu. With three pricey ads, the buzzy company has racked up a lot of commotion — both good and bad. So, what is Temu, and are their inexpensive wares worth buying? We’re sharing everything you need to know.

What is Temu?

Woman's hand adding product to cart on a mobile app

Don’t know much about Temu (or how to pronounce it?) It’s actually been around for a while. Launched in September 2022, Temu is a Chinese-owned E-commerce platform offering discounted products that are directly shipped to customers from China. It operates as a “sister site” to China’s Pinduoduo under parent company PDD Holdings. Temu’s slogan is “Team Up, Price Down!,” which encourages coming together to save money. The platform quickly rose to the number one spot on the U.S. App Store in its first month and was Apple’s most downloaded free app in 2023. Along with low prices, its popularity comes from giving users free products in exchange for social media promotion and encouraging new sign-ups.

Users can shop on Temu’s website or download the app. They can also earn credits for free stuff by playing spin-the-wheel games or getting others to join. The experience rivals other E-commerce sites such as Amazon, eBay and Shein. You can find pretty much any product you can think of, from clothing to kitchen appliances to electronics. The prices are jaw-dropping, including shoes for $15, a pack of five socks for $1 or a keyboard for $15.

Is Temu real?

Yes, Temu is a legitimate website. However, it’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the gold standard for a well-operating company. Instead, Temu has a C+ rating from the BBB due to over 1,700 complaints filed against the business. According to the organization’s website, Temu earned 2.5 out of 5 stars from customer reviews.

The majority of Temu’s tech products may look like they were made by big brands, but actually weren’t. Only a few tech companies sell through Temu, with the rest coming from lesser-known manufacturers. A brand is verified if it has a blue check mark next to its listings.

How does ordering from Temu work?

Ordering from Temu is just like any other shopping site where you browse, pick out items and add them to your cart. The catch is that you have to have at least $10 worth of items before checking out. This minimum covers shipping fees for users who get free shipping. While standard shipping is free, express costs a flat $12.90 for orders less than $129.

For any shipping difficulties, including damaged packages, incorrect items or even packages not arriving, Temu has a Purchase Protection Program. The program provides a full refund to customers for items returned within 90 days of purchase. If your package arrives late, they offer a $5 credit for standard shipping and $13 for express.

It’s also good to be aware of changing prices, which happens often. If an item’s price goes down after you buy it, you can request a price adjustment. Temu provides the price difference as credit for any item within 30 days of purchase.

Are the products good quality?

This depends on the product. You can expect to get what you paid for, and in this case, cheaper items are usually lower in quality. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be unsatisfied. For a lot of people, quality doesn’t matter as much as affordability. On social media platforms, Temu has become a new obsession with videos like this one on TikTok:

One Reddit user commented that for “random doodads, you can get them much cheaper compared to Amazon.” She was able to buy heel inserts, a squatty potty, adhesive cable clips, a set of apothecary jars, a plastic bag sealer, a candle wick trimmer and a pair of indoor slippers “all for like $25.”

However, plenty of reviews are negative. On the BBB reviews page, one customer claimed: “My order never arrived. I ordered 4 Dec and still nothing. They will not answer my request for a refund.” Temu states on its website that for standard delivery, a package can take anywhere from four to 23 days to arrive.

Another unsatisfied customer highlighted a similar problem: “When you order from them at low prices and if you don’t get the product, they reimburse you out of [the] lower rate instead of the full amount that you paid for the items that was never shipped out at all.”

Is Temu controversial?

Aside from poor customer service and cheaply-made products, Temu was accused of potential data risks in May 2023 after Pinduoduo was suspended by Google for security concerns. However, CNBC analysts later claimed Temu wasn’t much of a threat.

Additionally, Temu is the subject of several ethical concerns, including speculations of forced labor and avoiding tariffs under U.S. commerce laws.

How to shop Temu safely

Smiling mature woman customer unpacking parcel from Temu order.

So, is Temu worth it? Our consensus is that the platform is a hit-or-miss. However, this goes for many E-commerce sites, including Amazon or your favorite clothing store. Whether you want to try Temu or not, it’s important to shop safely when online. Here are some tips to know before you check out with help from Joanie Demer, co-founder and co-CEO of The Krazy Coupon Lady.

1. Choose smaller, lower-priced items

Smaller items such as water bottles or toys offer a better bang-for-your-buck and less risk than larger, pricey items like tech products.

2. Check user reviews

If a brand only has a small number of reviews, try to find another that has more, especially positive. Many sites are filled with fake positive reviews. “Research, research, research,” emphasizes Demer. It’s important to “read reviews for an item you are about to buy, and triple check measurements and sizes.”

3. Make payments securely

“While it can be easy to save your payment info to your account when you’re shopping online, a general rule of thumb is to not use that feature,” says Demer. To protect your personal information, use a trusted payment platform. “Temu accepts major credit cards, as well as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay and Klarna payments. I would suggest using one of those methods,” she adds.

What if you don’t want to put your address? Demer recommends “a P.O. box at your post office for an extra layer of security.”

4. Stay informed about Temu

Temu is a new company and with that comes the potential for negative headlines. Staying informed is a good way to know if what you’re using is safe.

For more money-saving shopping stories, click through these:

How to Spot Fake Online Reviews and False Advertising

Walmart Insiders Reveal 10 Secrets That Will Save You Even *More* Money

12 Ways To Score the *Biggest* Savings At Target — Deal Hunters Tell All

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