Are apps like Temu safe?

Guide to marketplace apps for parents

Marketplace apps like Temu offer users a range of products at low prices. In this guide, explore some of the more common marketplace apps to help manage young people’s financial safety and digital wellbeing.

A phone shows a toy in a fictional marketplace app like Temu with a button to 'buy now'.

What are marketplace apps?

Marketplace apps work in a similar way to offline markets. Instead of one company selling items that belong to their brand, marketplace apps display items from a range of sellers.

Popular marketplace apps include Amazon, eBay and Etsy.

User-to-user marketplaces

Some marketplaces let users sell to other users such as on Facebook Marketplace. Companies might also sell their own products with these services. However, these types of marketplaces tend to prioritise letting people buy and sell locally.

While this can be a good way to reduce waste and reuse items, children and teens should not meet up with buyers or sellers for items.

It’s also important to approach transactions with caution. Some people might try to scam other users with counterfeit goods or false purchases. If something feels off, follow your instinct.

Learn about online scams

What is Temu?

Temu is an online marketplace app that sells a range of products from tech to clothing at cheap prices. Its low prices mean many people use it to buy items for themselves or others.

The app is intended for use by those aged 18 and over. While it sells items for children, its Terms of Service say they “are intended for sale to adults.”

While the Google Play Store’s rating for the app is ‘Parental Guidance’ and ‘4+’ in Apple’s App Store, children should not use Temu.

Is Temu safe?

Is Temu safe?

According to their Privacy Policy, Temu collects and holds a range of personal information. The list includes:

  • Contact data such as your name, email, address and phone number
  • Profile data that includes your photo, links to social media profiles and any other information you add to your profile
  • User-generated content including photos, videos, audio recordings, messages and questions

They also collect information from third-party sources and combine that with what they collect.

Temu is also accused of selling user data collected through the app. Additionally, they’ve been accused of hiding malware and spyware within the mobile app. This comes after Google Play removed Temu’s parent company for containing malware.

Other things to watch out for

  • Where items come from: Some reports accuse Temu of selling products from companies using forced labour.
  • Quality of items: Some people either report their item never arriving or the quality of items from Temu being very poor.

How to stay safe on Temu

How to stay safe on Temu

If your family must use Temu, here are some tips to stay safe.

  • Use the website, not the app: Because of the concerns about data collection, its best to stay away from the marketplace app. Instead, use the website where you can manage your cookies and better control your privacy.
  • Check seller and product reviews: Before purchasing an item, make sure you read the reviews. In particular, pay attention to the negative reviews and the problems other buyers faced. Additionally, check reviews of the seller themselves to see how they handle any issues with their customers in case something goes wrong.
  • Avoid big ticket items: If you use Temu, avoid big brand items that are usually worth hundreds or thousands. These items are more likely to be counterfeit or lead to scams. Instead, go to the original retailer or more widely trusted marketplaces like Amazon.

How to tackle online scams

Use this interactive guide to learn about online scams and take action to keep children safe.


What is the Wish marketplace app?

Wish is an online marketplace that sells a range of items in a way similar to Temu. Its low prices and often quirky or unique items encourage users to buy.

Wish’s Privacy Policy says users must be 13 or older. However, users under 18 must have parent permission to use the service. Google’s and Apple’s app stores also rate it as ‘Teen’ and ‘12+’ respectively.

If you let your teen use Wish, make sure you set clear guidelines on spending limits and talk regularly about the value of items.

Is Wish safe?

Is Wish safe?

Wish doesn’t have clear information on age requirements, which could leave children open to potential harm.

Additionally, there are some reports of user buying items illegal in their country. This could lead to physical harm or legal trouble if a child is able to do this.

Furthermore, some reports claim the items sold on Wish are dangerous. For example, in 2020, Which? reported a range of dangerous items such as smoke alarms, Christmas tree lights and USB chargers.

Lastly, there are many reports of Wish hosting and selling counterfeit goods. Sometimes, items may not even arrive when ordered. When these issues arise, Wish customer service is reportedly slow to respond and take action.

How to stay safe on Wish

How to stay safe on Wish

As with any online marketplace app, it’s important to approach purchases with caution. Not all sellers or items are trustworthy, and if something seems to good to be true, then it probably is.

Here are some tips to keep your family safe if they use the Wish marketplace app.

  • Read product and seller reviews. As with any site, it’s important to look at reviews before making a purchase. Look at both the positive and negative reviews of a product and seller. It’s important to understand how a seller manages complaints or faulty products. Avoid products or sellers with serious complaints.
  • Avoid safety items. Because Wish sells low-cost items, some items are not appropriate to buy. If you’re relying on an item for safety such as a car seat, it’s best to get them from trusted and established retailers.
  • Stay on top of local laws. Just because an item is available to buy on Wish, that doesn’t mean it’s legal to buy. If your child uses Wish, make sure you review their purchases.
  • Compare prices. Research from Which? found some items claiming reduced prices. However, the brand was selling the same item at the ‘reduced’ price as a standard. So, if you find what looks like a good deal from a trusted brand, compare the price on the brand’s website. Also, remember that a lower price isn’t always better.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is a popular online marketplace and marketplace app. Like other marketplaces apps, AliExpress features a range of products from clothing to technology at discounted prices. Additionally, while AliExpress is the selling platform, the products actually come from individual sellers.

According to the AliExpress Privacy Policy, the platform is intended for those 18+. However, Google Play rates the AliExpress app as Teen and Apple’s app store rates it 12+.

If your child has provided their information to AliExpress, you can contact them directly to remove that information.

Is AliExpress safe?

Is AliExpress safe?

AliExpress generally has a safe reputation. While some sellers might sell counterfeit items, the platform itself offers some protections to buyers, including support with undelivered items and refunds. It also offers support if you can’t reach a solution with a seller for faulty items.

Additionally, when  you make a payment on AliExpress, your information isn’t given directly to the seller. Instead, AliExpress handles the payment. This makes it a little bit safer.

While AliExpress does seem to have reasonable safety measures, you still need to look out for scams, counterfeit items and untrustworthy sellers within the online marketplace.

How to stay safe on AliExpress

How to stay safe on AliExpress

If you let your child use AliExpress, take these actions to help them stay safe.

  • Read and consider reviews: When looking at products, make sure children know to carefully check the reviews. That means checking the good reviews as well as the bad reviews. This can help users understand issues others faced and how sellers handled it.
  • Watch out for ‘brushing’ scams: With these scams, buyers purchase their product as a different user and then leave a positive review. In these cases, reviews will have a similar style of writing or similar types of names. If a product has hundreds of reviews and all of them are 5 star, that could indicate brushing. Encourage your child to ask you if they’re not sure.
  • Avoid big ticket items: Big brand items are often targets for counterfeiters or scammers. It’s best to avoid products from big brands like Apple or Nike on marketplace apps like AliExpress. The sellers tend to be smaller businesses and are unlikely to be official retailers of those items.
  • Use a protected payment type: If you face trouble getting a refund for faulty or missing items through sellers or AliExpress, you might need to take additional measures. Protected payment types like Paypal can help make this process easier, so could be a good option.

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