AliExpress has been called “the Amazon of China” by many. It’s a lot like Amazon; you can buy just about anything from it, including, allegedly, earrings made to appear like toilet paper. Though, in contrast to Amazon, AliExpress has extremely low-priced items for sale, which adds to the excitement of it all.
Researching whether or not it is secure to shop on AliExpress is essential before going on an online shopping spree. And if it’s relatively risk-free, are there other factors to consider? What are they, if any, and how can you stay away from them? This comprehensive guide will cover all these topics and more about the legitimacy of AliExpress.
What Is AliExpress?
Here’s a quick introduction to AliExpress for those who aren’t already familiar with it. The Alibaba Group, now worth billions of dollars, began as a B2B marketplace and now owns this massive online store. B2C, C2C, cloud computing, and monetary transactions are only a few of the areas where it has subsequently flourished.
In 2021, during the 11/11 Singles’ Day event sale, Alibaba recorded sales of nearly $85 billion. Alibaba’s online customer marketplace for foreign buyers is known as AliExpress (while TaoBao is for domestic Chinese). It opens the door for Chinese SMEs to sell to consumers all around the globe.
It’s a lot like Amazon; you can find almost everything there. Contrary to Amazon, however, all AliExpress vendors are independent contractors. In and of itself, AliExpress is not a retailer. The market platform is all it offers. That implies your mileage may vary greatly from one vendor to the next.
Is AliExpress Legit?
The Alibaba Group, which includes the online marketplace AliExpress, is a publicly-traded company that is one of the leading online businesses in the world. People’s inflated expectations are the primary cause of doubts about AliExpress’s validity.
In the United States, before a product even reaches the shelves, it must pass a series of inspections to ensure it is of the highest quality possible. If you buy something on AliExpress, it is probably coming straight from the factory with no intermediate steps (depending on the supplier). Therefore, what you receive in the mail is often a total surprise.
There is no established name to associate with the product, and the quality may not meet your expectations. Even worse, you run the risk of having things that are fakes or knockoffs given to you in the mail.
By the way, this is why drop-shipping from AliExpress is not a viable long-term business strategy. Issues with quality control, slow shipping, and inadequate customer support make this a poor business choice.
Is AliExpress Safe?
It’s common knowledge that you may find high-quality goods at lower prices on AliExpress than in your own country. The Alibaba Group, of which AliExpress is a subsidiary, specializes in e-commerce and media. Products lost, stolen, or damaged in transit are eligible for full refunds through AliExpress.
AliExpress is best understood as an online marketplace comparable to eBay, except that all goods for sale are generic. Individuals, small enterprises, and even factories offer their products directly on the AliExpress platform.
Buyer Protection Program
If this is your first time using it, you may be curious about AliExpress’ Buyer Protection Program. AliExpress has a program in place to safeguard its customers called the Buyer Protection Program. If there are any issues with your AliExpress purchase, you can rest assured that this program protects you.
So, what exactly does the program guarantee to buyers? AliExpress will replace or refund your purchase if it does not arrive, is damaged, or does not match the description provided. The plan also covers any instances of deception or theft of personal information.
- If you receive a defective or otherwise unsatisfactory item, you must notify AliExpress immediately.
- You should file a dispute if the seller is uncooperative.
- AliExpress will reimburse you if the seller involved in the issue has gone silent. The money will be sent to you within 2 weeks after the issue has been resolved.
Why is AliExpress So Cheap?
It’s obvious that items on AliExpress are relatively inexpensive, but certain items seem to be priced lower than their average elsewhere. To what end are the prices so low, and why only here? There are two primary factors that come into play here.
First, you can save money by avoiding intermediaries and purchasing goods from a Chinese manufacturer. China has far cheaper production costs than other countries. A possible contributing element is the poor execution of intellectual property laws, which allows convincing knockoffs to be created quite easily, and without any consequences.
This tied into our second point; if a product is unusually low in price, a possible explanation is that it is fake. Everybody knows that China is a haven for fakes, and AliExpress is no exception. While AliExpress is a great place to get discounts, not all of the things sold there are legit.
Is AliExpress Reliable?
Depending on the vendor, that’s an entirely other ballgame. Some vendors can be trusted completely. On the other hand, most vendors can’t be trusted, and some may give you defective or broken goods, or they may disappear without ever delivering.
Often, it is not the seller but the delivery firm that makes a difference in dependability. Because of the greater distances involved in international shipping, there is more potential for mistakes with most products. Products may also experience delays at customs. Nobody, not even the most trustworthy seller, has any say over that.
Products are often seldom held for more than 10 days by customs, but this can happen if they need to double-check the item. Although it happens infrequently, packages can be held up in customs for several weeks or months.
AliExpress Scams to be Kept in Mind
While AliExpress is completely real, not all merchants always adhere to the site’s policies. Here are some common tricks used by dishonest AliExpress vendors:
Fake tracking number scam
The seller gives the buyer a different package’s tracking number. At some point, the box does arrive (but not at the buyer’s preferred address), and the buyer contacts the seller with a complaint. However, the seller maintains that delivery was made, and the buyer has no recourse.
Cheaper shipping scam
If a consumer pays for express shipment, but the vendor instead uses the cheaper standard shipping method, the buyer has been scammed by a shipping scam.
Dispute closure scam
A buyer may need to file a complaint with the seller if there is a problem with the purchase. Some vendors will contact the buyer and provide a resolution (a refund or a new product) if they agree to close the dispute. After the buyer has resolved the disagreement, further communication from the seller is terminated. It is far more difficult to get a refund or replacement after an AliExpress dispute has been concluded.
While the types mentioned above scams sometimes occur on AliExpress, they are by no means commonplace. Things that purchasers typically report as “scams” could also be honest mistakes unless vendors repeatedly pull similar methods.
Brushing is a strategy many vendors use to gain an edge in the market. This scam is unusual in that it appears to have no victims, but because it includes identity theft, you need to act quickly if you believe you have been the target.
Some vendors on AliExpress will use illegal listing practices to get an advantage over their rivals. Advertising items at prices far lower than their market value is a prevalent practice. For example, AliExpress allows vendors to display multiple T-shirt sizes for each design they sell.
Nonetheless, some misuse this ability. Products are described in detail; however, the listed price is for a cheaper add-on. Buyers may perceive the offerings as fair. However, when you click them, you’ll find that the prices shown are for less expensive add-ons and the actual products cost more.
Tips for Making Safe Purchases and Avoiding Scams
Even though AliExpress has a robust return policy, there are other precautions shoppers may take to ensure their safety and avoid scammers. Because settling a disagreement can take some time. To make matters worse, using AliExpress to stock your online store could cause delays for you and your consumers.
You may shop with confidence on AliExpress by following these guidelines:
Buy from reputable sellers
A seller’s reliability can quickly be determined by their ratings and reviews. To find them, click the seller’s feedback tab and count the five-star ratings and positive comments. Authentic, trustworthy vendors typically have five-star ratings and glowing testimonials from happy buyers.
Number of orders shipped
Look for sellers who have a track record of timely and successful shipping. Issues are less likely to arise when more transactions are made.
Check out the Seller Guarantees section to see if any shopper-friendly guarantees are made. Some common examples are promises of on-time delivery, exchanges or refunds, free returns within the country, and assurances of genuine high-priced equipment.
Never give your personal information to an AliExpress seller
Occasionally, a vendor may try to contact you to find private information. A more insidious tactic is to link to a third-party site that requires you to enter your AliExpress credentials after visiting. They commonly say they need your information to complete your transaction.
Don’t offer them any information that could identify you or your assets. It’s likely an effort to steal your identity by creating a fake website and convincing you to visit it. You can also complain about this to AliExpress by following the steps outlined on the Help Center page, talking to a customer support rep is the most ideal option.
Use AliExpress’s internal payment system
It’s also not unheard of for a seller to require payment via money order or some other method not associated with AliExpress. If you do this, you risk being scammed or having your details taken. Instead, contact support and explain what happened.
You shouldn’t give money to a seller who isn’t on AliExpress for two more reasons. Suppose you choose to deal with a seller whom AliExpress does not verify. In that case, you will not only be forgoing the security and monitoring of AliExpress, but you will also likely be assisting the seller in stealing a portion of AliExpress’s sale commission.
The Final Thoughts
AliExpress is legit and safe if you play smartly and keep yourself away from scams. Be cautious and practical. You can save money, but you must watch out for low-quality goods that are clearly spun to look like unbelievable deals. If something is too good to be true, it probably is.