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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Temu: a controversial site that lives up to its hype

Temu’s graphic for their slogan “Shop Like a Billionaire.”
Temu’s graphic for their slogan “Shop Like a Billionaire.”

Watching the 2024 Super Bowl commercials, my family members and I were all captivated by Temu’s advertisement, showcasing an app that lets customers “Shop Like a Billionaire” due to its insanely low prices. Temu has an extensive range of affordable items: $30 Grimace costumes, $50 cell phones and $45 spruce violins. 

While some customers have detailed their disappointment with Temu’s products through reviews and social media videos, I and millions of others have had a great experience. In fact, Temu is one of my mom’s go-to online stores. She purchases box cutters, cable organizers and makeup sponges — all items that don’t necessarily depend on quality, as opposed to items like wireless earbuds or shoes. 

This is not to say that Temu is a spotless site — recently, allegations of the company’s breach of user data have arisen. Across the internet, there have been widespread claims of the app collecting user data. In addition, due to concern over data privacy, Temu faced a class action lawsuit filed in September 2023. The lawsuit claims Temu collects private data using “deceptive” and “unscrupulous” methods. However, Temu denies these allegations, asserting they do not sell customer data to third parties.

While critics may have their concerns with Temu, the company’s transaction system is as secure as other online retailers like Amazon and Ebay. This is due to Temu’s Transport Layer Security and Secure Socket Layer protocols that encrypt data in transit between two servers to prevent information from being stolen.

Temu also prides themself on its privacy practices: Its website states that “our privacy practices are in line with industry standards and are transparently disclosed in our Privacy Policy.”

However, a US citizen’s data is not federally protected under a singular law. In most states, companies can sell user’s data to third parties without notification. 

Numerous consumers seem to avoid Temu as a result of data privacy allegations, but people should do their own research and not be so quick to disregard the app’s benefits. 

In my efforts to learn about Temu’s track record, I noticed many of the complaints relate to its app. Thus, I recommend shoppers use Temu’s website instead.

In addition, you can create a separate email address or use iPhone’s “Hide My Email” feature, which creates a unique and random email address and forwards emails to your iCloud account. If you still have any worries, using Visa gift cards or paying with mobile payment services like Apple Pay or Google Pay create an extra boost of security.

If you ask me, using Temu won’t cause harm to you either, so go check out the store because the inexpensive products are a deal you cannot give up! For instance, instead of buying a $10 screen protector, I can simply purchase a Temu version for less than a dollar — a much cheaper and yet still high quality product. 

However, it’s important to mention that Temu takes up to 22 days to ship — much longer than the 1- to 3-day delivery most Amazon Prime customers have become used to. To combat this issue, I add around seven items I want to my cart. I typically don’t urgently need the items I buy on Temu, so waiting a week or two isn’t an issue. Then, I buy all of them at once as opposed to purchasing them individually. You can purchase as many items as you want while also not having to worry about tens of packages at your door.

It’s important to note that as consumers, we should be aware of how much we purchase. We have to consider if we truly need a product, or if we are buying it just because it’s cheap. Buying from Temu should not become a daily task, meaning you shouldn’t be constantly purchasing random items from the app.

Temu’s tempting deals are an amazing opportunity for all online shoppers to buy small items like sewing kits, camera protectors and nail files. Still, I don’t recommend buying larger items like musical instruments or hair straighteners due to concerns about their quality and short life. Despite the occasional negative experiences reported by some customers, Temu’s unmatchable prices and decent quality for small items make it a worthwhile option for budget-conscious shoppers like myself. 

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