Lawsuits Accuse Temu of Customer Privacy Violations — How to Keep Yourself Safe

It's not the only trouble Temu finds itself in, either.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

Apr. 30 2024, Published 12:42 p.m. ET

Temu app facing lawsuit
Source: Getty Images

Just about everyone who watched the commercials that aired during the 2024 Super Bowl got a lesson on how to pronounce Temu, the name of the e-commerce app sells customers overly cheap and discounted merchandise. While jokes were originally flowing over America's mispronunciation of the Chinese company's name, it seems unlikely that Temu is still laughing after being hit with multiple class action lawsuits.

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Temu (pronounced teh-moo, according to the Super Bowl ad) is accused of intentionally including malware and spyware into the app, giving the company unfettered access to just about anything users have on their phone. That's not all that has been alleged against Temu, either. Keep reading to learn more, including what you should do if you still have the Temu app on your phone.

Temu lawsuit
Source: Getty Images
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Temu is facing multiple class action lawsuits over privacy violations.

Temu (or Whale Co, Inc, as it is named in the suits) has become popular since its launch because the app's users can get a variety of products at dramatic discounts, since Temu connects customers directly with manufacturers, cutting out the middleman. But questionable labor practices have raised red flags for shoppers, who are worried about the ethics of shopping with a company accused of using products that were potentially made in internment camps, like those in Xinjiang.

Multiple lawsuits have been filed about this, including in 2023 and again in 2024, when lawyers representing people from Illinois, Virginia, California, New York, and Massachusetts filed a class action suit, accusing the company of deceiving consumers about what was included in the app, as well as how they would use any data that was collected by the app.

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In addition to failing to notify customers of what all they would be downloading, the suit goes on to accuse the app of avoiding security systems put in place by phone manufacturers, allowing Temu to read personal messages on a user's phone and to giving them access to cameras and microphones where they could conceivably collect biometric data as well.

For their part, the company has responded to the allegations of privacy violations with a statement of denial, according to ABC News affiliate WPVI.

Temu stated: "We categorically deny the allegations in both lawsuits and intend to vigorously defend ourselves against these meritless lawsuits. The complaints are essentially taken from a short-seller report by Grizzly Research, which has stated clearly that its reports are not based on statements of fact."

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Amidst these class action lawsuits, here's what to do if you've shopped at Temu to keep yourself protected.

Customers who have already had trouble with Temu should reach out to the Better Business Bureau to file a complaint. Although, they'll have to get in line, since Temu has acknowledged more than 30 of the consumer complaints levied against them.

For those who haven't had any trouble, or just want to be proactive, your best bet may be removing the app from your phone entirely until Temu can either prove the allegations against them are false, or come up with a way to ensure customers that both they and their data are safe from the online retailer.

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