AliExpress is a prominent online marketplace for purchasing things at significantly lower prices than Amazon and other comparable services. Alibaba, a big Chinese multinational firm specializing on e-commerce and computers and one of the world’s largest internet companies, owns the store, which was created in 2010. (En AliExpress)
So you spotted a good deal on AliExpress.com. Is it safe to shop on AliExpress, or is it a scam? How long will it take for products to arrive, and what will happen if they don’t? Here are the solutions you require.
What Is AliExpress?
If you’re unfamiliar with AliExpress, here’s a crash course. It is a massive online store owned by the Alibaba Group, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate that began as a business-to-business buying and selling platform.
Since then, it has grown to include business-to-consumer, consumer-to-consumer, cloud computing, and payment services.
To give you an idea of how huge Alibaba is, during the 11/11 Singles’ Day event time in 2021, they reported over $85 billion in sales.
Alibaba’s online consumer marketplace for overseas buyers is known as AliExpress (while TaoBao is for domestic Chinese). It enables Chinese small enterprises to sell to customers all around the world.
You can find almost anything there, exactly as on Amazon. However, unlike Amazon, all of the vendors on AliExpress are third-party. AliExpress doesn’t sell anything. It only serves as a marketplace. As a result, your experience will vary greatly depending on the seller.
How Does AliExpress Work?
To use AliExpress, you must first create a free account by clicking the sign-up link in the top-right corner of the main AliExpress website. Create a new account by entering your email address into the sign-up form or checking in with your Facebook, Google, or VK account.
AliExpress will ask for your first and last name, gender, date of birth, nationality, and a list of buying categories that interest you, like as men’s fashion, tech accessories, and consumer electronics, once you create an account.
Other information requested includes your marital status, the birthdays of your children, the industry in which you work, your average pay, and an estimate of how much you spend on internet shopping every month, as well as any other online stores you use
Except for your child’s birthday and other online retailers that you use, all of this information is required.
After you’ve created your profile, you’ll be able to explore AliExpress and search for products using the search box at the top of the page. Products can be purchased by clicking the Buy Now button on their respective pages or added to your shopping basket by clicking the Add to Cart button. The AliExpress buying experience is fairly similar to that of most other online retailers, such as Amazon or Target.
What to Expect When Using AliExpress
- Lower prices: When shopping on AliExpress, you may expect to see things selling for considerably lower prices than they would in other online or physical retailers.
- Adding Address and Payment: Unlike other sites, AliExpress will require you to enter your delivery address and payment method during the checkout step of your first order, rather than when you create your account. Once you provide this information, it will be saved to your account for future orders.
- Missing Locations: Some areas and cities may be missing from AliExpress’s drop-down selections when inputting your location, but you can manually enter these in the text fields for your apartment number or street name.
- English: The English on AliExpress is excellent, though you may occasionally come across some grammatical errors.
In general, even though AliExpress is a Chinese website, you should have no trouble comprehending the English.
AliExpress can be a fantastic website for getting a great price, but there are a few things to keep in mind when utilizing it.
Some AliExpress products may appear legitimate, but they are most likely counterfeit.
- Credit reigns supreme: AliExpress does not take checks, money orders, or PayPal for orders, instead preferring to accept credit cards. All major credit cards are accepted, which is great news.
- Be cautious of bootlegs: In general, few Western brands sell directly on AliExpress, and many non-Chinese products are counterfeit.
This isn’t a problem if all you want is something that looks like the real thing but costs half the price, but if you want authenticity, it’s definitely worth the time to investigate the seller and read the product reviews provided by other customers before purchasing. Although AliExpress is legitimate, some of its products are not.
- Long shipment time, no tracking: Most AliExpress sellers promise free shipping on their products. Choosing this option, however, usually means you’ll have to wait more than a month for it to arrive and you won’t be provided an AliExpress tracking code to check its progress. Depending on how quickly you require an item, you may wish to pay a premium for expedited shipping and a tracking number.
Most orders allow you to accomplish this during the checkout process.
You’re Purchasing Direct
For starters, you could be purchasing straight from a manufacturer, which lowers the cost of selling to you. China’s production costs are far lower than those of other countries. Lax enforcement of intellectual property rules could also play a role.
Many electronics (such as this 4WD Arduino robot we constructed) are extremely cheap on AliExpress because they are manufactured in China and may be purchased directly from the manufacturer. This means you avoid the retail markup that a middleman adds.
The second reason an item is so inexpensive is that it is either phony or fell off the production line, maybe as a result of severe brand quality evaluations.
China is notorious for its counterfeiting, and AliExpress is no exception. Unless you’re looking for a Chinese brand, the chances of obtaining authentic branded goods on AliExpress are limited to none.
Some merchants will engage in unscrupulous listing techniques in order to compete with hundreds of other sellers providing the same goods at a similar price. The most popular is to offer a little accessory as an optional purchase that is less expensive than the primary product. The price of the accessory, rather than the main product, is listed in the search results.
In the picture below, you can see a $4.64 brick toy marketed. That’s not bad for a 541-piece building set!
However, if you click through, you’ll discover that the vendor has added “bag of 10 balls” at $4.64. The block toy is actually $56.93. That’s a significant difference.
Although AliExpress has some good deals, not all products are legitimate, and prices are rarely as low as they appear. There are numerous imitation things available, ranging from electronics to apparel.
Of course, knowing the difference between a legitimate offer, a suspicious listing, and an evident swindle is critical when purchasing something from AliExpress.
How long does AliExpress take to deliver?
All items on AliExpress have an expected delivery time listed on the product page, which ranges from 20 to 60 days. In my experience, it’s also grossly wrong, so ignore it.
AliExpress has raised the “Buyer Protection Time” to up to 90 days since the beginning of the COVID-19 controversy. That is another way of expressing that you must wait 90 days before receiving a refund for anything that was not delivered.
Yes, three months is a long time to wait for something you ordered online! That doesn’t mean it will take 90 days; it just might.
Most products take about two weeks to arrive, according to my experience. During the 11/11 deals, more than half of the 30+ items we ordered arrived within two weeks.
Regrettably, this is also dependent on the shipping method utilized.
In 2018, AliBaba established Cainao, its own shipping service with warehouses and shipping partners in major countries. Cainao Global Economy, I’ve discovered, is a disaster.
Even if you receive notification that an item has arrived in your country, it may remain in the Cainao warehouse for a month or more before being delivered. One of the three packages supplied by Cainao took two and a half months to arrive, and another was misplaced (though I received a full refund, eventually).
In contrast, AliExpress Standard Shipping is typically delivered by Airmail, with the final mile handled by your standard local mail service (Royal Mail in the UK, or USPS in the USA).
Courier shipping services such as DHL or UPS are the most dependable, but they are also the most expensive.
All shipments (even those with free delivery) will have a tracking number after they are despatched, although it may take up to a week for a product to be dispatched before a tracking number is added.
After then, you should be able to track the box as it travels through numerous Chinese postal centers until arriving at your country’s customs clearing office after a lengthy wait.
If you haven’t received a tracking number after 10 days, you should contact the seller. However, you will not be allowed to initiate an official non-delivery dispute until the maximum delivery period has passed.
I’ve only had a few complaints for non-delivery over the last decade, despite spending thousands of dollars on AliExpress. One was traceable to my local customs office, although it had been there for a month. The vendor offered to send it again, and I did receive both items approximately a month later.
In other cases, a complete refund was issued. Only a portion of an order was delivered on one occasion. Unfortunately, because the seller had a tracking number, it was marked as delivered even though only a portion of the order had arrived. AliExpress won the case, and I was unable to obtain a refund. This story’s message is to video yourself unwrapping everything!
What About AliExpress Quality Goods?
In most circumstances, the things you purchase will be identical to those found on the high street. However, you may be dissatisfied with the goods at times. Perhaps the material thickness for a dress is not what you expected, or the colors are different. In that scenario, when contacting the sellers, you should be realistic.
Simply not like the things you purchased is not a good reason to claim a refund unless there is something specific in the ad that you can point to as being wrong. So, what can you do if you’re dissatisfied?
- Put it down to learning experience and never buy from that seller again. If the item was delivered and the product description and photo are correct, AliExpress will not assist. You got exactly what you payed for.
- You may be able to work out a partial return. If your first instinct was to give the product one rating, you are probably out of luck. Ratings are vital and may be your only tool for bargaining.
- You may be tempted to return the goods, but proceed with caution. Shipping something back to China is expensive—-often more expensive than the item itself, and that expense will not be repaid.
Tracking products shipped back into China is problematic at best, and they can occasionally simply vanish at the Chinese customs office.
Be honest with yourself about the price you’re paying. Check out some YouTube videos to get a sense of the quality to expect (“AliExpress haul videos” are now a thing). Furthermore, after you’ve found a shop you like, consider adding it to your “Follow” list for future purchases.
The Real Danger of AliExpress: Fraudsters and Fakes
When it comes to security, AliExpress and AliPay are reliable platforms. They aren’t invincible, but nothing is–and their track record speaks for itself.
So you can be confident that utilizing one of these services will not put your information at risk any more than using a more familiar provider like Amazon or eBay (remember, even eBay had a massive data leak).
I’ve had several credit cards stored in my AliPay account for a long time and have never had any problems with fraud. But keep in mind that because I live in the EU, my credit card is safeguarded by chip-and-pin technology as well as a verification number on the back that is not stored. US consumers are still subjected to decades-old financial technologies that makes it much easier to conduct fraud.
Never Purchase Branded Goods on AliExpress.
Most governments provide specific protection to brands.
You may not care whether a thing is genuine or not, but if you buy counterfeit items and your shipment is investigated, they will be confiscated. If you purchased a large quantity of those items and it appears like you are attempting to resell them, expect customs authorities to knock on your door.
Chinese brands are an exception to this rule, as they frequently have an official AliExpress storefront.
Check the Seller’s Feedback Before Buying
If a vendor has a bad reputation for deceiving buyers, evidence of this will most likely be found in their feedback and reviews.
Be careful of sellers that make any mention of failing to deliver or sending subpar items.
Be aware of stores with generic names like “shop325423456” that were founded in the recent six months.
Check Your Order Carefully When You Receive It
You can ensure that you received what you paid for since the escrow system allows you to delay payment until you receive your item. Check that everything is included, that it appears like what you ordered, and that if you purchased a brand-name item, it does not appear to be a fake. You should even video the unwrapping so that you have evidence if your product is faulty.
Once you’ve designated an item as received, you have 15 days to file a dispute over the item.
Be Careful With Storage, Memory, and Graphics Cards
It’s a typical fraud even if you buy from a market booth in Shenzhen, but it’s even easier to pull off online. You buy a memory stick that claims to be 64GB when inserted into Windows Explorer, but it’s actually much less. The firmware has been tampered with, but you won’t know until you try to utilize the entire drive. The scammer has long since vanished with your money.
If you’re ready to take the risk, make sure to test the drive as soon as you get it with a tool like h2TestW.
With the recent Chinese government crackdown on cryptocurrency mining, you should be cautious about purchasing a graphics card, since many miners will be seeking to sell used GPUs.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with buying used, but the strains caused by occasional gaming versus a year of intense 24/7 mining are vastly different.
How to Get a Refund on AliExpress
If a package does not come or you have another problem, file a dispute with the vendor. You begin the procedure by contacting the “friendly” Eva customer care bot, which can be found at the bottom of your orders overview page. Select the appropriate problem from the list and wait for the bot to load your orders.
It’s crucial to remember that due to supply chain and shipping challenges, the protection period for most orders has been extended to 90 days.
You will not be able to open a dispute if your order is still inside this delivery timeframe.
If the delivery window has passed or you’ve reported another quality concern, Eva will ask you to confirm that you want to file a dispute, and the process of negotiating with the seller will begin.
If necessary, you might include evidence to back up your claim. The vendor may reject your claim or provide an alternative, such as a partial refund, which you may accept or refuse. This process is repeated until both parties agree on a solution. If no resolution is found within 45 days (it’s unclear how they arrive at this figure), an AliExpress agent will step in and make a decision.
While I’ve had little issues seeking a refund, it’s evident from hearing other users’ feedback that new customers are treated differently than established customers. If this is your first order, any refund request may be denied because AliExpress has no motivation to make you satisfied.
In that circumstances, initiating a credit card chargeback may be your only option.
So, Is AliExpress Safe to Shop On?
According to the evidence, shopping on AliExpress is safe. Be cautious and realistic, however. There are deals to be had, just as there are low-quality products and con artists.
However, many of the same sellers are now listed on eBay and Amazon, and the prices aren’t much different.
Given that eBay and Amazon provide substantially better consumer safeguards, I’d advocate purchasing from them over AliExpress whenever possible, even if it costs a bit more.
If the item you desire is only available on AliExpress or the pricing is drastically different, make sure you investigate the seller before purchasing the item.
AliExpress has other competitors who also cater to customers wishing to buy a wide range of things at low rates. Among the most important are:
- The Wish App: Wish App, like AliExpress, connects Western buyers with merchants in China who can offer them popular things at a fraction of the price they’d spend at home.
- DHGate: DHGate has been in business for over a decade and sells products from Chinese wholesalers. It directly competes with AliExpress’ target audience and even duplicates much of the visual appeal of the AliExpress website.
- LightInTheBox: Products on LightInTheBox are slightly more expensive than those on AliExpress, but they are still far less expensive than those found online. What distinguishes LightInTheBox from AliExpress is that it has some warehouses in the United States, which means that some of its products will arrive considerably faster than if they were mailed from China.
How can I obtain an AliExpress promotional code?
Store Coupons can be obtained for free by visiting the store website or product detail page, or by swapping your coins for coupons.
Choose a Coupon Certain coupons can only be used in certain stores. Check the product detail page for your item to see if you can use a Select Coupon.
Who Can Make Use of AliExpress?
Users from all major parts in the world can utilize AliExpress. It has English, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Turkish, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, Hebrew, and Polish language versions of its website and smartphone apps.
What Are the Functions of the AliExpress Smartphone Apps?
The official AliExpress smartphone apps for iOS and Android simply allow you to shop on AliExpress and manage your account from the convenience of your mobile device.
These apps allow you to explore products, add things to your cart, and finish orders using the same account you use on the AliExpress website.
What Can I Purchase on AliExpress?
AliExpress sells a wide variety of things, including men’s and women’s clothes, toys, and gadgets, as well as hair and beauty products, jewelry, furniture, and even vehicles and motorcycles.
Weaponry, software, ebooks, and digital media are examples of items that cannot be purchased on AliExpress.
Why Are AliExpress Items So Cheap?
Unlike Amazon, the vast majority of AliExpress merchants are headquartered in China and source all of their stuff directly from Chinese producers.
This reduces expenses and allows them to offer free or extremely low-cost shipping.
What exactly is an AliExpress Dropshipping Center?
It’s a technology developed by AliExpress to assist merchants find winning products more efficiently. With a few clicks, you can examine hot products in many categories and identify reliable suppliers.