The popular Chinese platform, AliExpress – owned by Alibaba Group – is well known for offering much cheaper products than other big players like Amazon.
Deal-hunters – which in most cases suffer from CBD (Compulsive Buying Disorder) – are regular visitors to the platform, and they spend a good amount of time toggling between windows until they find the best deal. Unfortunately, they are sometimes biased by the flashy ads, and they end up falling into the scam trap.
This leads to the question: Is AliExpress reliable?
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is an eCommerce platform that allows Chinese individuals and companies to sell their products to international consumers. Shoppers do not have minimum order requirements; however, they may find products sold at higher prices than Alibaba — but cheaper than other marketplaces.
Since its release, in 2010, AliExpress has been functioning as a host e-commerce site, or middleman, allowing small 3P companies to offer their products without having to act as a seller itself. Which is why it is often compared to eBay.
Although AliExpress started as a B2B (Business-to-Business) buying-and-selling portal, it has now expanded its business capabilities to offer the following services:
· Business-to-consumer (B2C) – It is an Internet and eCommerce model that allows a financial transaction between a business and consumer.
· Consumer-to-consumer – This model facilitates commerce between private individuals.
· Cloud computing – This is an on-demand availability that provides different services through the Internet such as data storage, servers, databases, networking, and software, allowing to save files to a remote database.
· Payment services – As a payment service provider, AliExpress offers companies on the platform a variety of payment methods to facilitate transactions, such as direct debit, bank transfer, and real-time bank transfer based on online banking.
AliExpress is currently available in the following languages:
AliExpress does not allow customers in China to buy from the platform and doesn’t allow non-Chinese individual sellers and companies to open stores.
How to Avoid Scams on AliExpress: Is AliExpress Reliable?
Before jumping the gun, let’s find out if AliExpress will live up to your expectations.
AliExpress’s focus isn’t customer service, and that is a point worth considering.
If you are expecting to receive a quick response to your queries and humble apologies from AliExpress directly– this is not the e-commerce platform for you.
However, AliExpress is trying to improve in other areas of customer service, such as delivery, returns, and refunds.
How to Avoid Scams on AliExpress: Delivery, Returns, and Refunds
You can ship products from 3 countries:
· United States
*If you live in the U.S., you can just get your products delivered from a local distributor, and get your products a lot faster (4-10 business days).
If you live outside the U.S. you will receive your products from China via ePacket Shipping.
You can also protect yourself from late deliveries by always checking the sellers On-time Delivery time and make sure your desired delivery date falls within this time-frame.
Note: Any product delivered to you that fails to match the seller’s description is eligible for a refund. You can also work out a solution that is agreeable to both you and the seller.
Refunds and Returns
Luckily, the platform does protect the buyer when it comes to refunds.
Here are AliExpress refunds guarantees:
1. You’ll get a full refund if… the item does not show up, or even if it does not arrive within the delivery time promised by the seller.
2. You’ll get a partial refund if… the item you purchased is significantly different from the seller’s product description. Also, you’ll have two options:
a. You can return the product and get a full refund
b. Get a partial refund and keep the item
If your order does not arrive within the seller’s guaranteed delivery time, you can submit refund requests up to 15 days after you submit your order. You can do this by opening a dispute on the order details page. Keep in mind that you can only open one dispute per order.
How to Avoid Scams on AliExpress: Counterfeit Products
Although Alibaba Group has been taking action on the counterfeiting issue by streamlining the candidates’ scanning process, it is still very hard for them to ensure that all the individual sellers on the platform are 100% legit.
And, since you are buying directly from manufacturers – which is the reason why products are cheaper than other platforms – practically, you’ll find yourself rolling the dice, expecting these sellers are as authentic and honest as possible.
These are the actions AliExpress has taken on the counterfeiting problem:
Although finding a trustworthy seller is a bit daunting, AliExpress does offer guaranteed genuine products, and they are visible to you through the following insignias:
· Medals (good reputation),
· Diamond (very good reputation), or
· Crown (excellent reputation)
Sellers receive the Guaranteed Genuine green insignia when they follow these guidelines:
· Numbers of years selling on the platform
· Number of orders processed
· Positive feedback rating
· Item as described
· Speed of shipping orders
If the seller doesn’t meet the guidelines above, their listing will appear in red.
If you received a counterfeit product, you’ll get a full refund (shipping costs included). No questions asked.
Now that you know that AliExpress functions as an intermediary, not as a seller, it is easier for you to adjust your expectations on what the platform can do for you in the event of a mishap.
If you have any questions about the product you will purchase, we highly recommend that you contact the seller directly to avoid any unpleasant surprises. You have the right to ask the seller about the authenticity of the product, packaging procedures, shipping methods, guarantees, or anything else that comes to your mind.
If you’d like to sell your products online, following a customer-centric approach, or wish to consider other options that make sense for your business capabilities and marketing plan, contact us, we have the best option for your new project or business needs.