Story Time for Temu's Very Annoying Referral Process for a "Free Gift"

TLDR: Temu referral seems easy, really isn't. And the 24 hour time limit is hard and fast. Will lose all progress if not done in time.

I didn't see anyone else post about Temu Referral process, so I thought I'd share my experience, since it was so annoying! (and a failure in the end)

The app makes you choose two gifts (first one you can search, second one is from a predetermined list).
When you refer enough people and gain enough "money off" you get those gifts with free shipping.
It has all these annoying animations that tell you that Temu is giving you a head start. Basically, it seems like you only have to get $4 more off and then your gift is yours.

First person I refer gets me $1 off, and Temu doubles it. So only $2 to go.
Second person gets me 50c off, and Temu doubles it. So $1 to go.
Third person gets me 20c off, and Temu doubles it. 60c to go.

They don't tell you when you choose the gifts but you only have 24 hours to refer enough people.
Since they were so deceptive about the other aspects of the referral process (there is no consistency in how much gets taken off for each referral) I assume that the timer is also deceptive, in that they will give me another day (how can you make meaningful referrals in just 24 hours?)

I wake up the next morning, the timer is reset, and all three referrals now mean nothing.
At that point I give up.

Very annoying, I wish they just went "refer 5 people and get a free gift" but instead they utilise "gamblers fallacy" in saying "$40 free credit, you just need $4 more!" to get you hooked. But don't even give enough time to actually refer people.

Yes I could have maybe faked some referrals by using burner phones etc, but I didn't have them on hand.

Anyone, very frustrating process, especially with the lack of transparency. Has anyone had success?

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  • +11

    Don't fall for their time wasting marketing BS just to acquire more land fill.

  • +1

    Surely you can fake better referrals than peanut BS with ur burner phones. Like 50 -100 fold better ones out there .

  • +2

    I am shocked that those kinds of tactics would be used by that style of platform. Shocked.

  • +2

    Got my 3 free gifts lol

    • How many did you refer for it? Were they real people or just burner phones?

      • +4

        I only had to refer like 3 people. And I just used dummy emails to register. Did it on a work phone and tablet where I could use different profiles.

        It did take a bit of mucking around but for ~$35 worth of freebies, I'll take it.

        • Can u share a screenshot of your free gift? How come you only needed 3 referrals

  • -2


  • +4

    This explains the massive amount of spam on some platforms of people begging for referral clicks. It's basically a big pyramid scheme for some cheap tat.

    Not to mention they are able to get extremely cheap shipping by exploiting their position within the Universal Postal Union and costing other nations considerably.

  • +4

    How much time did you waste trying to get a $4 trinket?

  • thought temu = wish basically, so I avoided it. I use Aliexpress, but didn't get into Tao bao.

    • +1

      Wish with fast shipping. Very fast shipping.

      The pro over aliex is everything is basically free shipping with combined $15 spend so you don't have to sift through multiple listings only to find out displayed price is actually not that cheap with shipping added.

      • ok thanks for that, is taobao better though…? thought ali etc just drop ship from them.

      • only pro about them is price include GST, not dodgy like Ali. I got a couple of coupons with $100 savings but just like the other Chinese platform to get all that you'll waste a fair amount buying junk so it's best to work out what you get out of it most and be done with it.
        As for OP, thanks for warning us so I will stay clear of that referral thing, too much time wasted. Who knows what those popups do at the background, some of it purposely stay on. I'll remove it out soon when all of my 50% discount stuff arrived.

  • Had a look through and found things to be more exp than Aliexpress. Are people using it for the shipping and returns? I don't get the 1 item per order free return thing, wouldn't you just make separate orders then?

  • I ordered a Mother's Day gift last week from an Australian small business online which advertises that a free gift (unspecified) is sent with every purchase.

    I messaged the owner beforehand to request that the order be sent sans free gift and she was shocked that I didn't want the freebie.

    She even said I could select which freebie as she had several and I declined as I wasn't interested even knowing what it was and knew my Mum wouldn't be either.

    I think it odd that a business thinks an unspecified GWP would entice people to buy.

  • +1

    I hate referral spam, why would you try and suck others into what is clearly a pyramid scheme? For a few bucks worth of trash?

  • +1

    Reset timer…but they have still captured the contacts info for their marketing….for free…you did ALL the hard work for them.

  • Darn .. and now my Ozb ads are for TEMU…

  • +1

    Consider how much effort goes into getting these ‘free’ gifts. Is it even worth your time, for the sake of some cheap Wish-level garbage?

  • +1

    I'm waiting for my free coffee machine & Lenovo headphones. My husband is waiting for his free keyboard & Lenovo headphones. My friend is waiting for his muscle massage gun & Lenovo ThinkPlus earbuds.

    You can refer existing users up to 4 PPL & the rest must be new. Just need to ask the whole family to clock each other's link and share to some friends.

    Worth or not depending on the items you choose I guess.

    Edited to add:

    My friend who referred me is also waiting for her 2 free gifts and so is her friend who referred her.

    All the freebies should be due to arrive this week, impressive postage time frame.

  • The referral process seems to involve obtaining the app also. I referred my alias google accounts, registered and logged in but because it was the same app on the same phone I suspect it did not validate.

    A lot of work.

    • i reformatted my spare phone a few times for it, but after the 3rd one or so, it said 'game not available to some users' or something similar.

  • I found fishland easiest of all other referral tasks. As it gives you 7 days to complete and not just 24 hours like others.

    • It will be impossible to get 6 fish fed in 7 days without referring to more than 4 people or buying more than $40 from them waste my 7 days

  • Was trying to game referrals with spare devices I have.
    Got gamed back.
    5 accounts referred and it looks like I'll need at least 3 more unless the referral 'bonus' gets cut again.

  • +1

    I got sucked in too but at least I realised and stopped wasting time. Instead I think I'll just create new accounts to use the 30% discount codes. Happy with the delivery speed and hassle free refunds. Hint: if for whatever reason you want to return something then just apply to return. They will automatically refund and tell you to keep the product. Done it twice for a total of about $13 worth of products.

  • +2

    Sharing my bad experience on this.

    Referred a friend, who signed up and validated using their mobile number. Needed this referral to complete the game and claim the free gifts.

    Waited for the system to recognise it. I eventually spoke to their help centre about it. Got various excuses from the user was a security risk, to the "activity entrance is randomly opened" (whatever that means), game is in beta so some new users are not eligible.

    All random excuses to not pay out.

    I asked them if the user was a risk, why were they allowed to stay on the platform and not booted straight away?

    Dodgy game, dodgy company, fraudulent behaviour.

    • IIRC, when you open temu for the first time after downloading it, it asks for permission to read once from the clipboard to get the reference (but it asks it in a funny way). So if your friend declined the access, your referral was probably lost then.

  • +1

    I joined Temu early July and didn't know about the referral system then. Tried it out later and…won 3 times! Twice fishland and once at the 5 free gifts, for total over A$150. I've got proof but have no idea how to upload it here. Didn't have to buy anything or invite any new users so far.
    That being said, it's quite a bit of work. Takes a lot of time and attention to get the necessary clicks from other users.

    • One of the lucky ones not to get scammed

  • The strategy TEMU used is the same as their Chinese version PinDuoDuo, a very famous internet shopping app in China mainland. In early years (probably 6~7 years ago), when PinDuoDuo started to take the market, they used exact the same marketing strategy to attract new users. Of cause, you will NEVER get your free gift, no matter how many people you referred. IT IS DECEPTIVE, but it smartly uses GREEDY, the nature of human being.

    • You cannot rely on 1-2 people to get the free gifts. Join Temu group or form a group of your friends. Between me & my family we have received many free gifts without any issues, some of them without having to shop as well because they keep adding extra time to finish the game.

  • Almost like a dodgy tacky scam site selling worthless plastic junk is dodgy and scammy.

    • I find Temu quality is hit & miss, but they offer free return for 1st time of each order. I have no issue with this, have kept many and have returned some. Overall this is 2nd best after Amazon for me, even better than Ebay IMO. Each to their own.

      Not to mention how many free gifts / credits I have managed to get as well. :)

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