Avid online shoppers are not new to websites that sell them products for an invitingly low price. AliExpress is usually on top of that list. Started in 2010, this Chinese company functions on a B2C basis.
They have become as popular as they are by using intelligent business strategies. AliExpress solely creates a framework of communication between large-scale manufacturers and private customers, thereby creating a large, worldwide online market with sellers usually being from China. Organizations of this scale go through multiple rounds of scrutiny on a regular basis, and we will tell you why.
There’s no getting around it, so here we go. Here are a few risks of shopping with AliExpress:
When we shop in person, we make sure the product we spend our hard-earned money on is worth its salt. With the introduction of online shopping, consumers had to give up on personal quality control. With sites like Amazon and eBay, since the sellers are individual merchants and the sites take certain steps to control quality, there are fewer complaints in that area. However, with AliExpress, you buy directly from the factory, and that means zero quality control.
By now, it is obvious where the shipments are from, it is understandable that the deliveries might take a few days longer, or a few weeks longer, or a few months. Yes, you read that right, despite the technological improvements today, customers have to wait up to 90 working days in order to receive their products.
Customers usually receive a tracking number, which, if not provided in 10 days after placing the order, it is best to reach out to the seller via mail or message through the website. This is a decent, up-to-date option provided by AliExpress, but if the seller hasn’t sent it out of China in 45 days, you can expect your delivery to take longer. You also have to wait 60-90 days, depending on the seller, to raise a complaint or request a refund.
If the product you ordered was not up to your mark, the best thing to do is to chalk it up to a shopping experience and remember to never buy from that seller again. You will have learned to read the reviews and read enough to make the right choices in the future.
If the purchase was hefty and you want a refund, make sure you don’t comment or rate the product. It will be the first thing you will be asked, and most customers are tempted to give them a bad rating with a well-worded review. This will take away your chance at a full refund.
Partial refunds can be avoided by going the longer route, which includes opening a dispute and explaining in detail why you want a refund. The dispute will be checked, and once confirmed, it will take 3-20 working days for the money to get credited back into your account.
Returns, on the other hand, are slightly trickier. It is tempting to send back a bad product, but shipping to China is expensive and often more than the price of the product itself. The refund on the returned product is only sent if the product reaches the seller. In more cases than not, the products are likely to get lost in Chinese customs and never reach the seller, and you can forget about that refund.
Most products on AliExpress don’t cost much because the products sold on the website are goods you use at home, clothes, shoes, and other personal or home accessories. Scam sellers set up their prices lower than the average seller price on the website and never actually ship you the product! In other cases, they sell you counterfeit or lower-quality products. It is no surprise that the counterfeit industry exists, and it is mostly based in China.
The Chinese economy, to the most extent, survives on products they copy and make their own. Some products make it out, and some don’t stand the test of international buyers. These products are sold on AliExpress. Fake Gucci bags are one thing, but a fake iPhone should be an easy tell, or so you would think. Fake smartphones from China are very difficult to tell apart from their originals, and in most cases, they arrive with a part or two missing!
Is it safe to buy from AliExpress? In general, yes, but only if you are a smart shopper. You have to know your way around the scam sellers, read reviews and ratings, and know never to buy an internationally known brand from AliExpress unless it is a Chinese company. If you aren’t an anxious shopper who waits by their window after they order something online, AliExpress is an option.