People often have concerns about how safe it is to shop from AliExpress. While AliExpress is a genuine e-commerce retail (and possibly wholesale) platform, it is always good to be aware of the risks you may encounter.
AliExpress is an extension of the multi-billion dollar company Alibaba Group. You’ll find that AliExpress is one of the largest drop shipping online supplier companies to exist. They are trying to make their way into the market and challenge tycoons like Amazon and eBay. While most of the products come from China and Hong Kong, AliExpress has warehouses all over Europe and the US, considering a major chunk of their audience resides in these countries.
Is Aliexpress Safe? Are Aliexpress Products Genuine?
For anything you type in the search bar, you’d probably find enough results for you to choose from. There are millions of products on AliExpress, some for a really cheap price, that it may make you feel as if it is too good to be true. In those cases, your concerns will be valid. In the upcoming parts of this red, you’ll find all the concerns listed, and some tips on how to check if the AliExpress product or seller is genuine.
Safely Buying Products from Aliexpress
Simply put, some AliExpress sellers can take advantage of you by giving the ruse of ‘cheap prices’, in the hopes of a deal of the century. But cheap goods can mean fake products and counterfeit goods.
Then again, there is a reason AliExpress products are so cheap. On the site, you can find sellers that sell products that are directly manufactured in China. This allows the seller to sell at a cost that’s void of retail markup, and middleman costs. These products come directly from the manufacturer. These products can be left out of the list of ‘cheap products you should worry about’. The general cost of production is low in China, hence the low prices. (Keep in mind that when shipped, there will be customs unless mentioned otherwise).
Then, there are some products with low prices with genuine sellers, the product might not be counterfeit, but know that the value of the goods you pay is the value of goods you get. For instance, a $2 worth charging cable will give just that much value. You can’t expect much out of it.
Cheap Products that are good
In the example below, you can see this product costs only $0.62. You can’t expect a product like this to work like a fast charger.
But there is another category — where the products are just unusually cheap, yeah, you guessed it right, they are classified as certified fraudulent. One of the best ways to check these things and keep yourself safe is by checking the seller reviews and product reviews.
Cheap products that are fake
Take this for example. In the image below you can see this phone which is advertised as a Samsung S21 but costing only $83 odd. A product like this is surely fake.
The seller reviews can be indicated in a dropdown menu on their homepage. A fake seller who wants to sell you counterfeit goods is going to conceal their identity. One of the foolproof things to identify is by name. It’s going to look something like this.
Here are things to take note of:
- The name of the store looks undoubtedly shady.
- The description of the itemized list
- Item as described
- Shipping Speed
- A detailed history of feedback received in the last 1,3, and 6 months.
You can notice unsatisfied reviews. While you might argue that the ratings can be fake, you should also know about the AliExpress policy on making reviews or rating products. According to their policy, unless a transaction has been made and a fee is levied, you cannot make a review. For sellers to pay so much transaction fees on their products to add fake reviews doesn’t make sense.
A legitimate, safe and genuine product/seller page would look something like this. This store is awarded as one of the Top Brands. It acquires this position after maintaining a series of good ratings, communicating with its prospective buyers and providing relatable shipping. You can spot such brands by looking for a ‘medal’ icon. As long as you actively and consciously look for products from such buyers, you’re in the green zone and you’ll be faced with high chances of receiving real, safe, genuine products.
Shipping concerns on Aliexpress
If you’re opting for AliExpress standard shipping, be prepared to wait for a period upto 60 days. It can also be as low as 20 days. If a seller says that, it’s perfectly normal. It does not indicate that the seller might be fake. But there are some things to be vigilant of — shipping methods, payments and timing.
When using AliExpress Standard Shipping, the product is usually delivered by air mail, and then it reaches the local authorities and the local post facility in your country to be further shipped to you. Even though these products may have free shipping, you will receive a tracking ID that keeps you informed of the status of your delivery.
Although the tracking ID might not be available as soon as you place the order, you may have to wait for a few weeks for your order to be shipped in order to receive a tracking ID on your dashboard. Typically, you should receive a tracking ID within 10 days of placing your order. If you don’t, make sure to contact the seller. No response indicates that there is probably something fishy. Feel free to raise a dispute in such cases. You’ll either get a full refund or a partial refund depending on the case.
Hidden Charges on Aliexpress
When you’re shipping internationally, custom duties and import taxes are almost always involved. Sellers often try to avoid those taxes by marking your shipment as a gift. But the customs officers are aware of these techniques and keep an eye out for such things. Frankly, this is illegal. It is important to have a conversation with the seller you’re buying from about such concerns.
Depending on your country, there will be a percentage of that that you’re going to have to pay. In countries in the EU, a 20% tax is levied on anything bought internationally. Sometimes, the shipping company pays your import duties for you and charges you upon delivery. A lot of buyers are surprised by that and give the seller a bad review, because of having to pay extra charges. Even though it is common knowledge, sellers must put a disclaimer stating taxes will be levied, just to avoid a happenstance like this one.
If you’re getting a shipment from premium delivery, such as DHL or FedEx, prepare to pay a 20-25% customs + handling fee on your shipment. Some sellers are labelled as bad for no fault of others. So be aware of some of your buyer responsibilities as well.
Related : Aliexpress standard shipping vs ePacket
AliExpress buyer protection
Ali Express has a number of buyer safety options in place to protect a customer’s needs at all costs.
Some of the protection used is listed below.
Ali express offers a full money back guarantee if you receive a product that is not as described by the seller, damaged or not delivered within the specified buyer protection period.
A customer’s money will be refunded at a maximum of 15 days after the claim process is completed.
This guarantee is in addition to statutory rights as a consumer in your country.
Sellers that provide the ‘Free return’ service will have the icon showing on the item details page. With this service you get 15 days (on top of the on-time delivery date) to decide if you want to keep or return the item for any reason, as long as they are unused, unwashed and in their original condition, complete with the original packaging and tags. It’s simple to do, easy and fast.
Some local sellers offer ‘Local Return’ service. It will be listed on the item details page. With this service you will get 15 days (on top of the on-time delivery date) to decide if you want to keep or return the item without any reason.
All sellers must comply with all other relevant legal requirements such as warranty and returns that apply in the buyers home country.
Tips to buy safely on AliExpress
Buy from sellers with positive ratings and ones that are trustworthy. Check customer reviews if positive or not.
Look at the number of orders the seller has shipped successfully.
Check seller guarantees such as on time delivery, return and refund policy.
Pay only through AliExpress and not directly to a seller. If you do you will not be eligible for AliExpress’s seller protection policy.
What is good about AliExpress?
AliExpress is home to some stellar manufacturers and factories that directly put up their products for retail, rather than involving a middleman who feeds off of commissions and added selling costs.
As long as you stay vigilant and follow precautionary procedures while buying on AliExpress, I doubt you’ll come face to face with a fraudulent seller. To an extent, AliExpress is safe and the products available are genuine. At the same time, putting your effort into buying a product will save you from unnecessary bad encounters.