Temu products

Temu Review – The Spammiest Scammiest App

After being bombed with sign up links for Temu to get free gifts and seeing all the hype online about Temu I decided to join to have a look and see what it is all about. I’ve been with Temu now for over two months checking out the various sections to get free gifts and having a look at the products for sale on their app.

Temu review

About Temu

Temu is an online marketplace under the umbrella of the Chinese e-commerce giant PDD Holdings. They specialise in offering discounted consumer goods directly shipped from China to consumers. Temu made its debut in the United States in September 2022 and swiftly expanded its operations, establishing a presence in 49 countries worldwide by January 2024. These countries include Australia, several European nations, the Latin American market, and South Africa.

Temu’s Legal Problems

Temu has encountered a series of legal challenges spanning various issues. These include allegations related to data privacy violations, forced labour concerns in its supply chain, intellectual property disputes, and questions regarding the quality of products available on its marketplace. These legal problems have raised significant scrutiny and criticism, impacting Temu’s reputation and raising questions about its business practices. Additionally, the company has been embroiled in legal disputes with competitors, further complicating its legal landscape.

How Temu Is Affecting South African Businesses

Temu’s rapid expansion in South Africa is severely impacting local businesses. The platform’s competitive pricing and wide product range are drawing customers away from local retailers, threatening their market share and profitability.  Allegations of tax loopholes favouring Temu exacerbate the situation, prompting calls for government action to address the unequal playing field and safeguard the interests of South African businesses.

Temu’s Import Taxes

Temu’s import taxes were very low in comparison to when I’ve placed an order elsewhere internationally. The value of my free gifts was approximately R600 and the import taxes came to R93. I did a price comparison on Amazon and if I had placed a similar order on Amazon I would have paid $14.28 (approximately R272.59) in import taxes. While this is great for buyers to save money on import taxes, South African retailers have urged the government to address tax loopholes they allege are being exploited by Temu within the country.

My Opinion Of Temu

I don’t like anything about Temu. When I first joined I couldn’t figure out it if was an online store, a game, or a casino. There are popups all the time trying to entice you to try for free gifts. While browsing the products it is so easy to get sucked into the cheap pricing and not focus on anything else, but when I took a closer look at the products there is barely any product information available. Many products don’t have the sizes or any other information available, just a photo with a cheap price tag.

I don’t buy something online (especially from overseas) unless I know exactly what I’m ordering, so I will not order from Temu based on this alone. If I’m going to buy online from overseas I’m going to choose Amazon over Temu any day – they have detailed product information for every single product and I know exactly what I am going to get. And by the way Amazon has also just launched in South Africa!

If you take a look online there are now really funny (not funny) memes going around about Temu products. So many people are also posting on social media about their disappointment in the products received and I’m not surprised.

I don’t like the way Temu is marketing their business. They are getting people to spam their links like crazy to get others to sign up for free gifts. They make it seem like getting the free gifts is so easy, but it is not. The closer you get to the finish line the harder it gets. Most do not succeed with getting a free gift even after getting a number of people to sign up.

I managed to get my four free gifts thanks to followers on my Facebook page signing up.

I received a smart watch, scrapbook kit, letter beads, and a phone tripod. The delivery came in good time, and I was kept up to date with delivery progress. However, the packaging was incredibly poor, all the products came in a plastic bag with no bubble wrap or anything to protect the products from getting damaged. The box that the tripod came in was completely squashed and I’m surprised that the tripod was not damaged.

Squashed box
Squashed box

The quality of the products were ok. The smart watch has no branding on it, so no idea of the quality. It doesn’t have a lot of functionality and I’m not sure how long it will last, but my 10 year old son is over the moon with it. The scrapbook kit is quite cute, however, the notebook that came with it is very poor quality. The tripod quality is fine, it will do and help me with my work. The letter beads are nothing special – very cheap plastic beads with letters. These products were nice as free gifts but I would never have bought them from Temu.

Temu Free Gifts

When I joined up it was because a friend of mine begged me to sign up through her link so she could get a free gift, and take note she never managed to get a free gift even though she tried a number of times. I decided to have a look at the free gifts sections to see what it was about. There are a number of sections for free gifts including Hat-trick gifts, Farmland, and Fishland.

Hat-trick Gifts

I first tried my hand at Hat-trick gifts and it is very deceptive. Within the first few minutes I was 96% of the way towards getting four free gifts, then suddenly it got harder and there was no way to get the free gifts without referring people. With each person you refer you get less “energy” that is needed to complete it.

You need to reach 100% within 24 hours to get the free gifts otherwise it resets and you have to start again from scratch.

Farmland Free Gifts

Farmland is a game on Temu, you need to gain water to grow wheat. You get daily tasks that reward you with water, such as sharing your link, browsing Temu, and inviting people. Once again it was very deceptive.

The first day I had reached 90% of the way to my free gifts but from then on I was rewarded less water for each task, it took more water to grow each wheat, and when I completed one wheat it gave me less percentage completed towards my free gifts. Day one I got to 90% completed, within a week I had 0.1% to go… and I stayed on 0.1% for three weeks even though I logged in every day and completed my tasks. Then it went to 0.09% and I’ve been there for weeks.

All the while you are urged non-stop to share your link and get people to sign up. You are also constantly enticed to buy from Temu, to “earn more water” to get your free gifts.

Fishland Free Gifts

Fishland is basically the same as Farmland except instead of gaining water to grow wheat you gain fish food to feed fish.

Pros And Cons


  • Cheap pricing.
  • You can (with a lot of spamming, effort, and irritation) get free gifts.
  • Delivery is quick quick considering it comes from overseas.
  • Kept up to date on delivery progress.
  • Import taxes  are low.


  • Delivery packaging is poor quality – there is a high chance that your products won’t arrive in one piece.
  • Very little information available on products so you really can’t be 100% sure of what you will receive.
  • Many products are low quality – hence the cheap pricing.
  • If you get sucked in to trying for free gifts you have a poor chance of getting it right and will land up spamming others like crazy trying to get your gifts.
  • The app is so spammy and not user-friendly at all. There are constant popups offering freebies and trying to make you share your links and refer people.
  • Temu is having a devastating affect on South African businesses, we need to support local!
  • Temu is facing multiple legal issues and they have a dubious reputation when it comes to your personal information.
  • There are lots of complaints online about orders not being delivered at all.

In summary, I detest Temu, there is nothing I like about them and I will be uninstalling the app. I find them misleading, and I don’t like the spammy way they go about business. I don’t believe they will last long here, remember how there was such a hype about the Wish app years ago? Well nobody I know uses Wish anymore due to their cheap, tacky products. I believe Temu will head the same way quickly, especially since you can’t get anywhere trying to share your sign up links anymore. Anyone willing to sign up to Temu already has so you are wasting your time trying to get free gifts.

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  1. Elize Swanepoel

    Hey Lynne. I completely agree with you about the games you play to try and get free gifts. I mentioned to you that I’m going to see Fishland and Farmland through until the time for both games are up. With Fishland I’m still playing but I can already see that the chances of me completing the game before the time runs out, is basically impossible. It takes forever now to feed my fish and collect them to get closer to my goal. There is hope with Farmland because the time you have to complete the game is much longer. However, the closer I get, the longer it takes to water those weeds. I’m starting to doubt my decision to see this through because it is incredibly time-consuming to do the tasks every morning and like you mentioned the nature of the game is very spammy. Luckily I’ve joined a group that specifically helps one another with these requests because there’s no way on earth that I’ll spam my friends and family all the time. I don’t even know enough people to try and convince to support Temu. About the products ….. I have to confess ……. I’ve ordered a few times and I’m happy about the products. Only once did I receive a pair of slippers that was way smaller than expected which I’ll be gifting to someone. It depends what you order from them because my husband ordered a few items and he was very disappointed with some of the products being much smaller in real life than what they appear to be on the photos. I on the other hand was the lucky one. Many of the products met or exceeded my expectations. But like I said… it depends what products you order. I’ve gotten a really nice wheeled backpack and duvet set for my son. The options on Temu were a lot more extensive and budget-friendly. I’ve received free water and fish feed because I placed orders, but whether I’ll manage to get those free gifts remains to be seen. I enjoyed your review because it was thorough and truthful and I think it will benefit a lot of moms that don’t know what Temu is about and what to expect.

    • Lynne Huysamen

      Yes I’m sure you will get some nice products, but what happens when you order something and it is not what you expected and you can’t use it? I honestly don’t trust Temu to refund the items or replace them, plus I can’t afford to spend money on things that are not exactly what I need. I would much rather support local. And yes with Farmland and Fishland I was also wanting to see it through to the end to see if I could complete them, I wanted to include that it my review… but after two months of daily playing I’m gatvol and no end in sight. I’ve spent too much time on it already and for what? A couple of cheap products that I will still need to pay import duties on and I might be sorely disappointed in. I’ve probably spent close to an hour every morning for 2 months = about 60 hours… and nowhere close to completing. No thanks! Yes I could do it faster through spamming people all day every day but I am not a spammer. I also joined some groups but then I got the messages that I’ve maxed the amount of invites I can accept.

  2. Thank you for your well researched in depth article – I have been ‘sitting on the fence’ and decided to make a decision when I had all the facts – Many many thanks for all your hard work I will avoid them like the plague.

    • Lynne Huysamen

      It’s a pleasure Lois. I gave it a go, I even got some free gifts, and I know a lot of people are raving about Temu but it is just not for me. I find spamming very distasteful, I just can’t push links like that. I shared a few times on Facebook and even that made me uncomfortable because while I do share affiliate links, I share when I love something. I don’t like sharing a link when I don’t know exactly what it is about. I’m so happy I’m not a part of Temu anymore.

      • I’ve ordered 2 dresses from Temu, it is beautiful and fits perfectly. I’m quite happy after being very skeptical about buying from them.

      • Lynne Huysamen

        I’m glad you had a good experience Firoza.

  3. Oh wow, thanks for your review Lynne, I have been just as “faithful” and religiously playing the games and I think I will take the same road as you and delete the app rather. Waste of time and energy!

    • Lynne Huysamen

      I really tried my best but seriously 2 months straight and no end in sight? No thanks. I have better things to do with my time. I’m sorry you’ve also wasted your time and energy on it. Make sure to delete your account first before uninstalling the app. I don’t want them having my personal information any longer, not with all the questions around their legal issues with privacy!

  4. When I opened this article guess what happened….a Temu add inviting me to download app blocking content how lovely. hahahaha.
    I was never even into the free gift link thing I asked my contacts to stop sending me those.

    • Lynne Huysamen

      Oh no! I must check my Google Ads settings for this post, that is so bad. I ignored the first 30 or 40 links sent to me, but a close friend asked me very nicely to sign up for her so I decided to have a look. It really is so spammy, not my scene at all!

  5. Hoping to win Despicable Me Competition

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