Is Aliexpress Safe? Everything You Need To Know To Shop Safely & Effectively

Shopping on AliExpress is 100% safe, Find out how to shop on AliExpress without breaking the bank.

Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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Is Aliexpress Safe? Everything You Need To Know To Shop Safely & Effectively

aliexpress brand logo

With over 60 million active buyers, AliExpress is a hugely successful online marketplace, designed to connect buyers and sellers from around the world. It’s no wonder this ecommerce platform is growing at an alarming rate, with over 100 million products available to buy with just one click. You really can order almost anything you can think of from AliExpress.

Is it safe to shop with AliExpress? How long are the shipping times and what happens if the products never reach their destination? Is AliExpress legit? Is fraud more likely, given that it’s an international marketplace? This article will give you the answers you’re looking for.

What is AliExpress?

For anyone new to this online platform, let’s start with the basics. What is AliExpress? And is AliExpress safe ? AliExpress is an ecommerce marketplace filled with the a huge variety of sellers primarily from mainland China. It’s main competitor is Amazon. When you think how big and successful Amazon is on a global scale, you’ll begin to understand how incredibly successful AliExpress actually is. In fact, the Alibaba group who owns AliExpress, has a 56% share of all retail e-commerce in mainland China. If we put that into perspective, China has a population of around 1.4 billion people, so the number of active users on AliExpress is remarkable! Alibaba is an online e-commerce platform too, but unlike AliExpress, Alibaba specializes in b2b transactions rather than b2c.

Based in China, AliExpress was first launched in 2010. It now offers affordable products from around the world. You can buy almost anything on the site, from fashion and jewelry to powertools and drones, the selection of dropshipping products seems endless.

You can sell products on AliExpress as a manufacturer or a seller and you can also buy products in bulk, often with free shipping from the platform. It’s a fantastic site if you’re looking to buy in bulk as a small dropshipping business or start up and sell on for profit.

How Do You Start a Dropshipping Business With The Help From AliExpress?

dropshipping

If you’re interested in starting a dropshipping business and benefiting from AliExpress, dropshipping could be the right path for you. Dropshipping is quite a straightforward business model that involves listing products for sale on a website and sending a supplier an email to ship the products when a sale comes through. This means you never have to invest in a large amount of stock or find somewhere to store your products while you’re working on increasing sales.

AliExpress can accommodate a dropshipping business and will help you to find a supplier. But, be warned, not every AliExpress supplier is genuine and reliable. You’ll need to do your research first in order to find a good seller to work with.

Here are some top tips to find a reliable AliExpress seller:

  • 1. Read the reviews from past transactions. Pay attention to any negative reviews detailing bad experiences such as poor quality products, failing to deliver the products or long delays on shipments.
  • 2. Check the store’s history. It’s far better to choose a seller who has used AliExpress for at least 3 years.
  • 3. Use the AliExpress credits system to check whether a seller has a good rating or not.
  • 4. Check the goods return rates and dispute rates. If these figures are high, avoid this seller.
  • 5. Only buy the minimum quantity before committing to a large and expensive bulk order. This allows you to test out the product first.

The beauty of dropshipping on AliExpress is that there are no hidden upfront fees to pay. This means that you can easily test out products you hope to sell through your dropshipping business without having to pay an expensive sign up fee or commit to a subscription service.

Once you find dropshipping products to sell, it’s time to start listing them online. Take care to publish clear and professional images to increase sales. Dropshipping products that are not well photographed will struggle to sell as they may appear like an AliExpress fraud.

Is AliExpress Safe?

Some buyers doubt the legitimacy of AliExpress, believing that being a Chinese online marketplace, AliExpress isn’t regulated and scams are rampant. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Buying from AliExpress is extremely safe, in fact in many ways it’s safer than eBay or Alidropship, due to the extensive buyer protection, discussed on more detail below.

AliExpress provides a full refund in case the dropshipping product you’ve ordered doesn’t arrive on time or not as described. In fact, you don’t have to do anything as a buyer, full protection is offered regardless of what you’ve purchased on AliExpress.

Is AliExpress Legit? - AliExpress Money Back Guarantee

How do you know if you qualify for AliExpress Product Money Back Guarantee?

If you buy a product from AliExpress and it is not as described by the seller, or the item was not delivered within the Buyer Protection period, AliExpress will give you a refund 15 days after the claim process ends. This Money Back Guarantee works alongside the website’s Buyer Protection Period.

The process of getting a refund involves three steps. First, you’ll need to raise a dispute. This can be done before the order is complete or when the transaction has ended. Raising a dispute with a seller on AliExpress can be done up to 15 days after you receive the item or even before the order is marked complete. It’s vital that you do this within this timeframe. Failing to do so can mean you won’t be eligible for a partial or full refund.

Within the 15 day period you can open a dispute ticket with a dropshipping seller if you’re not happy with their response. This formalises the process. If you still can’t come to an agreement with the AliExpress seller, you have the option to escalate the issue and an AliExpress mediator will help you to resolve the issue.

If you do have a bad experience with an AliExpress seller, it’s important to fairly review them. Leaving an authentic and genuine review will help protect other buyers from becoming a victim to a bad seller.

How To Avoid Getting Ripped Off On AliExpress

AliExpress safety measures when it comes to dropshipping

Shopping on AliExpress is not that different from shopping on eBay, simply browse the website until you find an item that you want to but and click “Add To Cart”.

Unlike with eBay and Amazon, there are more things that you need to look out for when shopping on AliExpress. It’s worth remembering that AliExpress allows pretty much anyone located in mainland China to sell on their platform, such as retailers, factories, manufacturers and random people trying to make a buck.

For that reason, it’s best to use sellers with proven track record, such as high number of shipped orders and they generally must look legit.

Please note: This is pretty much the same due diligence you’d do when dropshipping from eBay and checking seller’s feedback score

Here are the key stats to pay attention to:

  • Seller’s feedback rating: I’d suggest you avoid sellers with a feedback rating lower than 4.5
  • Number of orders shipped: This should be a minimum of 100+ depending on the cost of the item
  • Number of reviews: At least 100 positive reviews. This becomes less important the cheaper the item, but 100 is an absolute minimum.
aliexpress iphone case reviews

The above ratings should be used as guidelines in order to avoid getting a bad product. For instance, you don’t need 1000+ reviews for a product that costs $4.12. However, if you were buying electronics or something rather pricey, then you’d as many reviews as possible.

Check Delivery Times

The vast majority of products are shipped from China, unless you’re lucky and you’ll get a local distributor, but that’s relatively rare, with only 5-10% of products being shipped from outside of China.

The iPhone case that I’m trying to buy in this example is shipped from China and these are the shipping options and shipping costs:

aliexpress shipping times

Today is 1 July, meaning that the shipping time for this item is roughly 26 days, assuming we choose the cheapest shipping option.

It is important that you check the shipping time carefully, as I’ve personally witnessed product delivery times as short as 7-10 days and as long as 40 days. It can vary quite significantly depending on where you live and on how fast the seller processing time is.

In terms of buying protection, it always lasts to the last day of the estimated product delivery time. In the above example, if I don’t receive my iPhone case by 26 July, I can claim a full refund.

Other things you should look our for include:

Item Not as Described:

One of the most frustrating things about shopping online is receiving a product that doesn’t live up to your expectations. When buying an item from AliExpress, you’ll need to carefully read the description of the item. Often buyers forget to read the product description of the item for sale and are genuinely confused when what they’ve bought isn’t in fact what is shipped.

Sellers attract buyers by using high-quality images of a product. However, the image isn’t always a good representation of the item for sale. In fact, the image used to attract a buyer might not even be of the item that is for sale. This common type of fraud is very annoying and misleading for a buyer. It’s vital that you carefully read the item description when buying from AliExpress. If the seller has provided an accurate item description of what they are selling and you forgot to check this before purchasing the item, you may find it difficult to get a refund.

Poor Quality Items

Another way a seller can mislead a buyer is by using a high-quality image of a product, but sending a low quality product alternative instead. Fake products, fake brands and poor quality products are all common scams used on online marketplaces such as AliExpress and Alidropship. To avoid becoming a victim of this type of fraud you will need to carefully review the customer reviews along with the product description. If the seller has provided an accurate description of the item in the picture and sends a different product, you are likely to gain a partial or full refund for that product.

Sadly when it comes to selling online, people will try to carry out scams to trick new buyers out of their hard earned cash. Being aware of the scams circulating on AliExpress will help you avoid running into badly rated sellers looking to make a quick buck at your expense!

Fake Products

Dropshipping fake products - is it allowed?

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. When shopping online, this is a great motto to live by. Often buyers can jump at the chance to buy a branded item at a seemingly ridiculous price, but beware! Often sellers will try to tempt you to buy a fake product by falsely claiming it’s genuine. Some sellers can even go as far as faking certificates of product authenticity to scam people. This is especially important when purchasing expensive products such as phones, tablets, TVs and drones.

Payment Methods

Once you’ve made up your mind about what item you’d like to purchase, click on the “Buy Now” button and fill all of the necessary shipping information:

aliexpress payment methods

There are many ways that you can pay on AliExpress, however the three main ways are credit/debit card, PayPal and iDeal.

It is worth noting that if you have PayPal in your country then it is the safest option for purchasing products, as you get extra buyer protection from PayPal on top of the buyer protection that you get from AliExpress.

However, depending on your credit/debit card provider, it might be a better option. For instance, I personally pay with my credit card, because that way I get points and can promptly dispute the payment, in case buyer protection offered by AliExpress takes too long.

Either way, regardless of whether you choose PayPal or credit/debit card, you’re still protected. Having both AliExpress and PayPal protection means the risk of fraud is virtually non-existent.

Check Your AliExpress Order As Soon As It’s Delivered

Shipping times from China can take a long time and you might completely forget about your order by the time it arrives. However, it is important that you check your order for quality as soon as it arrives.

As you might remember, the buyer protection only lasts as long as your delivery window. In the example of my iPhone case, I have until 27 July to file a dispute. So, if it arrives on the 27th, then I have to dispute on that day!

Make sure to carefully examine the goods and take action immediately, otherwise you’ll have to resort to disputing through PayPal or your credit card company, which may take longer and require more proof, as they’re less knowledgeable when it comes to AliExpress.

What To Do If Want To Get A Refund?

There are several things you can do, first you need to establish what happened. There are three possible scenarios:

  • Item not as described: This is where you have to be honest with yourself. Did you read the product description of the item before you bought it? Go back and check the product description and see if it matches with the item you’ve received.
  • Item not received: You will need to check the delivery status of your item with the seller and check their shipment information. Sometimes products being sent from mainland China can take several days and even weeks to be delivered.
  • Item is of very poor quality: The item does match the description however it is of very low quality.

1: Contact the seller

If you think that you’ve been wronged by an AliExpress seller, first give them a chance to explain. Contact the seller through the platform and explain what is wrong with the item or that you haven’t received the item. Sometimes problems with transactions on AliExpress can be down to human error and as a result products don't arrive on time. Perhaps the seller packaged the wrong item or forgot to mention a delay with shipment. Give them the chance to resolve the issue without needing to raise a dispute.

However, if the seller doesn’t respond to you within 24 hours, it’s time to raise a dispute. Also, do not continue to discuss an issue with a seller for several days, as the seller could be trying to delay you. If you wait and 15 days pass, you will no longer be able to raise a dispute and be protected by the platform under their Buyer Protection Scheme and as a result, money spent on that product will be completely wasted.

2: Raise a dispute

In which instances should you raise a dispute?

You need to raise a dispute within 15 days on AliExpress. This can be done through the platform and even if the transaction has not been completed yet. In order to open a dispute, you’ll need to log into your AliExpress account and go to My Orders. Here you’ll be able to see a button ‘Open Dispute’ next to the item you’ve bought. You’ll be prompted to fill in the dispute form. This is when you’ll need to detail the issue you’re having with either the product or the seller.

You can also add evidence to your AliExpress dispute with the attachment field. If a product doesn’t match the item described, you can take pictures of the item next to the product description as clear photo evidence to support your claims. If the product is of low quality, again take pictures showing why it’s of poor quality or faulty. Providing evidence is key to getting a full refund on AliExpress.

Now the seller has a chance to resolve the issue. However they may choose to not reply at all. They may grant you a partial refund, but if you don’t think this is suitable, you can counter-offer by asking for a full refund.

Warning: Sellers may offer a refund, but set the refund amount to $0, so beware

3: Get an AliExpress Mediator Involved

Can a mediator help you recover lost products?

If you can’t come to an agreement, it’s time to make things formal and get an AliExpress mediator involved in the process. Escalate a dispute with the seller if they don’t reply or they don’t provide a good enough resolution. Now your case will be assessed by a mediator. This can take days or in some cases weeks. By raising the status of your dispute, this might encourage the seller to offer you a better resolution or a full refund. During this time you can choose to accept it or wait for the mediator to be involved.

4: Provide negative feedback

If you have been scammed on AliExpress, it’s important that you leave a genuine review of the seller on their page. Yes, they might try to close down their account and re-open a new one, but by providing feedback, you are preventing them from scamming multiple people on this particular account. Since customer reviews are what a new buyer will review before making a purchase it’s your responsibility to let other people know about your bad experience.

5: Report the Seller

Finally, if you’ve been scammed on Aliexpress, you can report the seller. With thousands of sellers operating on this crowded marketplace, sellers rely on building up an account. This means that honest , genuine sellers can thrive through good customer reviews. To help make the platform a positive place for both sellers and buyers, if you know a seller is breaking the rules or misleading buyers, you can report them.

You can file a complaint if a product is faulty or of poor quality or the seller has not been honest with what they are selling. This misconduct is not tolerated on AliExpress and the marketplace relies heavily on it’s users monitoring and reporting scammers and fraudsters.

aliexpress

Conclusion

Is AliExpress safe? Is AliExpress legit? - We hope that after reading this article the answer is to those questions is obvious. If you want to start a dropshipping business, then there is no better place than AliExpress to source your products.

China is renowned for being the best country for bulk buying online. AliExpress helps connect Chinese sellers with international buyers and allows dropshipping businesses to thrive online. The website still remains by far the best site to buy cheap products in bulk online.

AliExpress gets it’s bad reputation mostly from buyers having unrealistic expectations. AliExpress isn’t like Amazon, where you’d expect higher quality products delivered next day. If you learn that one simple fact, then your AliExpress buying experience will be supreme.

It’s important to remember that AliExpress isn’t a marketplace where you’d find well known brands and if you do, there is a good chance that you will get products that are counterfeit.

Essentially, AliExpress is a Chinese version of eBay, making it super cheap, but with all of the products being unbranded.

Instead of being made up primarily of regular businesses, AliExpress is made up of a mix of small and big businesses, wholesalers, manufacturers and even regular individuals.

The chance of being scammed by an AliExpress seller are close to zero due to the fact that you get double from AliExpress buyer protection along with PayPal/credit card dispute system.

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Adam Eleiko
Adam Eleiko
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