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Temu is NOT what you think

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Erin L

Erin L

My full Temu order after unboxing.I’ve been hearing a lot about Temu recently. This new website Temu.com seems to have sprung fully formed from the bottom of the Internet and shot right to the top of places shoppers are looking for cheap consumer goods. In this review I try ordering from Temu. I’ll tell you what I got, what the quality is like and about my overall ordering and returns experience.

Temu.com shopping website

Summary

The goods are cheap and poor quality. I think if you know what you’re getting from this website and you don’t have high expectations about the quality, you might be able to find some real bargains on the website. If you’re looking for high-quality or namebrand goods, you’d be best to stick with larger retailers or sites like Amazon.

Pros

  • Ordering process is easy
  • Prompt refund on return
  • Goods are extremely cheap

Cons

  • Orders take a long time to arrive
  • Poor packaging, damaged box
  • Some items don’t work
  • Poor quality electronics
  • Lots of knock-offs
  • Cheaply made items

What is Temu?

For those who may not know Temu is essentially an Amazon clone, or, perhaps, a hybrid of amazon.com and alibaba.com which offers incredibly cheap products; think dollar store-style inventory, cheap tech, and knock offs of all kinds. Who owns Temu? That’s not entirely clear. Temu’s parent company is PDD Holdings, a multinational commerce group headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.  But beyond that, its origins are a bit murky.

Is Temu Legit?

Just take a look at the site: it’s bold colour scheme, prices measured in pennies rather than hundreds of dollars, and headlines blaring about prices that are 90% off —not to mention reviews that look like they were written by Bots in the Pre-Chat-GPT-era, it looks like it’s one of those websites that’s too good to be true… which I think is what we’re all wondering.

And don’t even get me started on the cartoon-y photos some retailers are using instead of the real thing… and the absolutely laughable promises some shops are making….

So in all it seems like this website is a bit of a joke. Is it??

To help you protect your hard earned money, I decided to place an order from the website to see what would happen. Yes, I knew there was a chance I would spend money that would never be seen again, but I figured better I lose it than all of you collectively do. And: Spoiler Alert… at least one of the items I got was a dud right out of the box…. Which we’ll get to.

This “photo” is a screenshot from Temu. Google recently gave our website an adult content warning for it. So we fixed it.

On Temu, I decided to buy things similar to items I’ve already reviewed or have on hand, just to see how they compare, and if they’re knockoffs or what. Oddly, some things that I decided to check out such as a light box for my photo and video work were way more expensive on Temu then on Amazon. I guess it goes without saying that you should shop around and check prices before you buy anything.

I ordered from Temu. This is what happened

I chose some photography lights for the YouTube set, two Bluetooth speakers, and an obvious AirPods Pro clone.

Temu said the shipping was free and would arrive in 8-15 days.

Placed my order and then waited.

About 2 weeks later, my goods were dropped at my door wrapped in white plastic by a man in a nondescript white minivan.
I’ll say the packaging leaves a bit to be desired, since one of the boxes inside was slightly crushed.

Is temu a scam? A crushed box.Unboxing my order, it’s clear I definitely got exactly what I ordered. The question is, is it of good quality?

Bluetooth speakers review

The two bluetooth speakers I ordered are clearly JBL doppelgängers. Even the startup sound is a JBL copyright lawsuit in the making.

It took me a couple of tried to connect one of the speakers to my phone, but I got it eventually.

The first thing I realized is that the volume buttons aren’t volume buttons. Pressing them was skipping tracks on my phone. And since there were no other buttons it was actually not possible to adjust the volume on the speaker; I had to use my phone. I checked out the manual and found the volume could be adjusted by long pressing the buttons, not short pressing, so that eventually worked.

Sound quality

Is temu a scam? A view of the 2 speakers.It turns out the volume wasn’t the worst problem it was the sound quality. The speaker was weak, tinny sounding and leaned massively towards the high end, sounding almost scratchy.

The M or Mode button apparently swaps it to an FM radio tuner, but with no antenna (manual recommends you use the included aux jack as an antenna), and no way to adjust the station. Again the manual says you can short press the volume button to search stations, but nothing ever came in for me.

In short, this speaker is a disappointment from start to finish, and while it only cost me $21, it’s not worth it in my opinion.

The second speaker was a bit more interesting, with a light panel along the back. The lights change to different colours and effects easily with one button, and the other controls were exactly the same as the other one. Except with this one, any time I’d long press the volume on this one, I’d hear a phone ring.

The sound quality was similarly weak and sub par. I couldn’t recommend either of these speakers for music or podcast listening for anyone who actually wants to enjoy their audio. The only thing I can say about these is that they might be ideal for small children who don’t know any better, but they would probably be extremely confused about how to operate the buttons.

Lighting review

Is temu a scam? A view of the website.The lights I ordered weren’t quite what I was expecting either; I had inferred they would cast a light onto walls and my TV set, but these are more of a novelty with spinning swirling colours inside the bar. The ambient glow on them is virtually non existent and they’d be best as a night light in truth since they don’t rreally throw off any real light. I also didn’t love that my two pack is wired together with only one USB connection so they must be used together and there’s not enough cord for them to be spaced more than about 3-feet apart.

They’re fine, I suppose but not suitable for what I ordered them for so I’m going to send them back.

EarPods Earbuds review

I was possibly most intrigued and excited by the AirPods Pro clones I ordered, mainly because my original AirPods Pro only work about 20% of the time so I want to replace them. The Temu version are such an identical knock off it’s a wonder Apple isn’t suing… or maybe they are… Either way, they look so similar to the real thing, I opted to keep the plastic on the clones so I could tell them apart.

Is temu a scam? A view of the website.I opened them up and placed them into pairing mode… except they would absolutely not pair to my iPhone, and maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Even though the instructions promise they’ll work with an iPhone, these clearly do not.

I tried pairing them with my Google Pixel Phone and same story… they just wouldn’t show up in the Bluetooth menu to pair.

And again, no surprise, when I looked them up on Temu again, they’re discontinued. Hmm.

I decided to try to return these since they’re clearly incompatible with my preferred device.

Will Temu give you your money back?

I will say Temu makes returns seem easy. It’s a simple exercise on the website and I printed a pre-paid shipping label and dropped the box off at UPS within 14 days.

About a week later I got the return confirmation and the money was back in my account a few days later. So props to Temu for refunding me promptly.

Overall review of Temu

Is temu a scam? A view of the website.Overall I have to say I’m rather disappointed with the quality of goods from this website. They are clearly cheaply made knock offs of more popular products and that shows both in the price and the performance. I can say that the ordering and returns process was easy and I did get my money back from the experience.

I think if you know what you’re getting from this website and you don’t have high expectations about the quality, you might be able to find some real bargains on the website. If you’re looking for high-quality or name-brand goods, you’d be best to stick with larger retailers or sites like Amazon.

Erin L

Erin L

I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.

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