I first heard about Temu during the Super Bowl. The on-the-rise commerce app ran a 30-second advertisement highlighting cheap prices that encourage “Shopping Like a Billionaire.” With a slogan like that, it’s no wonder the Temu app is currently the number one free app on the iOS App Store.
Out of curiosity — or should I say, skepticism about whether it’s legit — I downloaded Temu to my iPhone. The app instantly bombarded me with lightning deals, shipping discounts and other promotions, many of which sounded too good to be true.
A pair of earrings for $1.34? Gym leggings for $6.79? A garlic press for $2.88? It seems Temu sells every product under the Sun, from homeware and fashion to sports equipment and electronics.
Temu’s prices undercut Amazon deals and Walmart deals, making it difficult for me to resist adding some products to my cart. I wound up giving myself a budget of $50 to buy items in the Temu app. Just over a week after placing the order, my Temu package arrived and I have to admit, I’m surprised.
Update: We have published a guide to Temu's shipping and return policy that's worth a read.
Yes, the prices are really that cheap
My $50 went pretty far on Temu. I ordered more for that price than I could from Amazon across a range of kitchen products and toys. The Lego-lover in me simply had to have miniature Pokemon “inspired” building bricks — I bought four for less than $3 each.
I justified my order with some practical items, too. I got a bench scraper for $4.48, silicone tongs for $3.98, a decorative glass straw for $3.68 and two coffee glasses (that looked like they could be from Crate & Barrel) for $4.99 each.
A few days after my purchase, I checked the order status and saw Temu offer a partial refund since some of the items I bought had since dropped in price. I got $2.71 back which, in the wide world of Temu, can actually get me a thing or two.
Don’t expect premium packaging
Whenever I order something from China, I expect it to take at least two weeks. I was pretty shocked when my Temu order arrived only eight days later, wrapped in an orange bag and taped tightly.
The package overall looked a little worse for wear. You could say it had character, I guess. I had a gut feeling that two glass cups didn’t make it unharmed, and I was right — well, half right.
One of the cups was completely shattered, though the other packed in identical bubble wrap was fine. The glass straw wasn’t damaged either, though its packaging was so unassuming that I initially mistook the styrofoam rectangle as protective material for all the contents of my order.
The brick-building kits appeared to be shoved in the bag without concern for the product boxes. Luckily, the bricks were sealed in plastic, but the cardboard on two of the kits was seriously bent out of shape.
Would I order from the Temu app again?
Temu does have a return and refund policy, but the effort of sending back a pile of broken glass isn’t worth $5 to me. Plus, with the money I got back from the price match refund, I feel like I broke even.
That said, I don’t know if I will order from the Temu app again. Sure, the prices are ridiculously cheap, and I could get lots of gifts and such for much less than I’d spend on Amazon. But at the end of the day, everything I bought are things I don’t really need. Call them impulse purchases, if you will.
In hindsight, I think I would’ve rather put the $50 towards a memorable dinner out in New York City or finally splurged on Kirby and the Forgotten Land for Nintendo Switch. Plus, I can’t imagine there are rewardable ethics behind why everything on the Temu app is so dang cheap.
But I guess I should never say never. With the continued popularity of the app and expanse of products available to purchase, it's possible Temu has staying power. That said, I'll avoid ordering any kind of glassware from the app in the future.