AliExpress is an online store where you can buy products at much lower prices than other similar services. This online store was founded in 2010, and it is owned by Alibaba, a massive Chinese multinational company focusing on e-commerce.
Most of the products are legit, although there might be some limitations. You can easily jump on the first or cheapest seller’s page you find, and you can expect high-quality products from the same. There are selections of some amazing as well as affordable products for you to find.
It is definitely not the scammy service provider that some people think. Some Chinese brands like Huawei, Xiaomi, and Baseus have even featured their products on this online store, along with hundreds and thousands of other smaller businesses.
How Does AliExpress Generally Work?
AliExpress works like any other online stores where you normally search for a specific product, and the website will show you the available options from multiple sellers.
You can see that most of the products are divided into different categories like sporting goods, clothing, beauty and health, consumer electronics, jewelry, and a lot more.
This online store ships everywhere, and you can make the payment by most international payment methods such as credit or debit card, PayPal, bank transfer, Pioneer, etc. To use AliExpress, you would first need to sign up for a free account on the official AliExpress website.
You can create a new account by entering your email address in the sign-up form, or you can even login with your Facebook or Google account. After you have created your account, AliExpress will ask you for your first and last name, date of birth, gender, nationality, and a few more things you can find when you have just created an account.
Who Can All Use AliExpress?
Anyone from anywhere in the world can use AliExpress as it is open to all users. It even provides different language versions of its website and the smartphone app, such as English, Dutch, German, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Turkish, Italian, Japanese, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese, Hebrew, Arabic, and Polish.
What Items Will You Be Able To Purchase On AliExpress?
You can find a wide range of items on AliExpress, from men’s and women’s fashion, electronics to hair and beauty products, furniture, jewelry, motorcycles, and even cars.
Why Are All The Items So Cheap on AliExpress?
Most merchants selling their products on AliExpress are based in China and get all their products directly from some Chinese manufacturers. This keeps the costs low, which means they can offer free or very cheap shipping, unlike some other online stores.
Is It Safe to Purchase From AliExpress?
Once you have created an account on AliExpress, you will definitely start browsing stuff on AliExpress. You will find that all of the items are cheaper on this website, raising questions and doubts among the people. Do most people wonder if it is safe to buy products from AliExpress?
AliExpress is a completely safe and legit platform to buy products from. When you are about to buy an item on this online store, you will have few options to contact the seller, get a tracking number, track your products, and then you can even get a full refund on the items that arrive damaged, late or don’t arrive.
But, when you are shopping on AliExpress, you need to be a bit smart. One of the reasons the products they sell are cheap is because you are directly buying from a manufacturer, but there is another reason, which is that some of the items are fake.
To avoid such fake products, you need to check out the reviews of the products from other buyers and check the seller’s rating on the website before buying something from AliExpress.
Is AliExpress legit?
Much like any other eCommerce platform, AliExpress is a web portal for shopping. However, it is a Chinese website available for people worldwide to order anything. It is a branch of Alibaba Group as a retail branch.
The primary aspect of AliExpress is to offer direct sales from manufacturers to customers. Over the years, it has developed into a conventional eCommerce with B2B, B2C, C2C, etc. In other words, almost anyone can sell anything on AliExpress now.
Therefore, as far as the credibility of AliExpress goes, it is a legit platform. The same can’t be said for the products available on AliExpress. As it is an open-platform now, you will find various dealers, manufacturers, and business owners using this service. The chances of counterfeited products have drastically increased, especially since the platform is from China.
Primarily, you will come across China dealers, regardless of which part of the world you’re buying from. It is to boost China’s economy and to help local business people. Therefore, it can take several days (10-30) for you to receive the order. Many premium companies and Chinese brands like Huawei also utilize AliExpress to showcase their products and sell them.
You can compare AliExpress to Amazon and other big eCommerce websites available across the world. It is a multi-billion dollar company but doesn’t have substantial control over the quality of the goods.
Overall, if you’re worried about a scamming website, AliExpress is not one of those. It is an authentic website with proper security and payment methods. The objective of AliExpress is to connect you to the dealers in Chinese for you to buy your things.
Therefore, AliExpress’s policies, safety, and other aspects might seem a little ‘gray’ or ‘shady.’ However, there’s no denying that it is a 100% legal platform. You will learn more about it as you read ahead.
How To Shop Safe On AliExpress?
It would be best if you practiced caution as you shop on AliExpress. The same applies to any eCommerce platform, but the urgency increases as it is a Chinese platform. Here is a complete guide to help you get the best deals and products on AliExpress:
Feedbacks & Reviews
The first step to buying almost anything on any eCommerce platform is checking the users’ feedback and reviews. It applies to AliExpress, strongly. As there is a higher chance of finding low-grade products, you need to sort the products through reviews and ratings. This will help you get most of the genuine products.
Apart from higher ratings, it’s better to check and read the reviews. Sometimes, the reviews seem like a lot, but they might be automated or fake. Thus, it’s good to check for the user profile who has left the review, especially the positive ones. This will help you determine how much you should trust the product and dealer.
Always Compare The Pricing
Think of this step as a general rule of thumb for online shopping. It applies to AliExpress and every other platform. Always compare the pricing of the product. As AliExpress is a hub to multiple business owners and manufacturers, you will most likely find the same option at cheaper rates with other dealers. However, at that point, you also have to check reviews to ensure it is a genuine dealer.
Comparing the prices can lead you to save some extra bucks. Some might have an expensive product but free shipping and vice versa. It’s because they secretly cover it in some way.
However, it’s better to have separate charges for shipping and the product. It prevents you from having any legal repercussions. Remember, as you are importing goods, it will never have free shipping.
Too Good To Be True Rule
This is a crucial point to remember. If the deal seems too cheap and ‘too good to be true,’ the chances are, it will be a fake deal. Either the product would arrive damaged, or not what you expected.
The information is often misleading. Instead of selling a 64 GB memory card, you might receive a 64GB card with 32 or 40GB space. That is a possibility.
Similarly, you might receive an utterly fake product. Remember, you’re on a Chinese platform, and due to the low production cost, you might get something slightly cheaper than others, but a massively cheap deal is just a red flag. You can gamble away if you’d like. However, it’s not advisable.
Don’t Opt For A Brand.
Never contemplate brands on AliExpress. China has always been a hub for counterfeited products. If you order anything branded, you will most certainly receive a fake copy of the product. If the dealer is selling you any branded option at the same or even cheaper price, believe it! It’s going to be a fake copy.
As a general rule, you are looking for useful products that are of high value for money. You have to forget about brands and genuine dealers. Your aim should be to get the ‘bang for your bucks.’ In other words, the best deals on the item you want at the budget you have. That’s the benefit of AliExpress. Play in favor of its key strengths, not against it.
Authenticate The Product & Seller
You can conduct a Google search or use other methods like contacting the seller to see whether they are genuine or not. Alternatively, always check the product image and see if it’s a copy or not. High-resolution photos are better to help you make the decision. Furthermore, read the description of the product.
The first step to finding mistakes would be the grammar mistake. Any authentic dealer would avoid grammatical errors. Next would be to check the essential information. Some dealers hide specific details. Check for the fine prints, and remember, the devil is in the details.
As mentioned before, check the reviews, don’t gamble on the product with low or no reviews. There’s no reason for you to fall for a brand.
Guarantees And Policies
Finally, always check to see if the dealer is offering any warranty on the product. Most Chinese products don’t come with any guarantee—however, some dealers, to build strong customer relations, offer money-back guarantees and what not. AliExpress also authenticates and certifies the dealers. Those would be the ones that you prioritize.
Of course, if dealers are offering additional guarantees or warranties, it will positively play in your favor. Primarily, you wouldn’t have to make the ‘Dispute’ claim on AliExpress. So, it will save both you and the dealer some headaches. Both you and the dealer can settle the problem without any problem.
There might be some fake or fraudulent dealers, but there are equally genuine dealers working to earn honest income and boost their company.
Taxes & Customs
Aliexpress allows you to purchase goods from anywhere across the world, especially China. Therefore, as the goods arrive in your country, there will be unavoidable charges.
You will get VAT or Goods & Service Tax. In short, it is the tax that ‘customs’ will charge you for the importing of the goods, whatever it is. The rate of import tax varies according to the country. For example, in the EU, you have to pay around 20% of the VAT on the goods you get outside the country.
Now, there are two methods this can be handled. Most of the courier (cross-country) service providers will handle it by themself. They will add the charge of the shipment to your overall order.
Additionally, they may even charge you extra for the convenience fees. The convenience fees are what you pay these shipment service providers for handling the tax and customs for you. So, if there is a free shipment offer on AliExpress, it might be too good to be true. It would be best if you varied about it.
Many sellers often send the package as a gift from their country to another country. As a result, some packages are more comfortable to pass through the custom without tax. When this happens, you are receiving the goods illegally without paying the tax. Are there, backlashes? Most likely not, as long as customs don’t catch it.
Sometimes, sellers use other similar methods to bypass the taxes for you. As a result, if it gets seized, you don’t have to take the blame. As long as you have the right documentation, you can work around it. However, customs may seize the order, and you might have to visit them and fulfill the tax and duty payment.
Customs can also seize your order if:
- The order declares a lower value than it is, and customs catch it.
- Documentations are missing from the order.
- The item you ordered doesn’t meet the rules and regulations of your country. For example, ordering a weapon that your country doesn’t allow.
- Counterfeiting or unauthorized order.
Is It Safe To Purchase From AliExpress?
AliExpress is a prevalent website worldwide as a multi-billion dollar company with millions of satisfied customers. Every day, it receives thousands of orders with successful payment gateways.
It utilizes high-grade AI technology, cloud security, and other integrations. As long as you use AliExpress, it will automate shopping once you make the payment.
There is a company’s owned shipment facility and the standard shipment facility. Both of them will give you an order number, the ability to track your order, and other essential notifications. There’s a refund and return policy in Aliexpress, which might take longer, but it is active.
Let’s take a look at the two different aspects of Ali Express that makes it safe:
AliExpress Buyer Protection
AliExpress practices a firm policy known as buyer protection for its users. It is a fixed amount of time you get after you’ve initiated an order after purchase. Usually, it used to be a shorter time frame, but the company has increased the buyer’s protection duration to 90 days after the recent pandemic. Now, what does it mean?
It is essentially a 90-days money back (refund) policy for you. You can extend the days by going to your account or wait for the item to arrive. Of course, if the item doesn’t arrive within the given timeslot, you can contact the support team to rectify the problem.
The buyer’s protection policy also entitles you to a refund of up to twice the value. That’s right! If you got the wrong delivery, damaged goods, or a counterfeited product, you could report it to their support team. You will most probably get your returns.
However, it is a double-edged sword. The point of the Buyers protection is also to give enough time for the orders to reach you. In other words, you would have to wait at least 90 days to report if your order wasn’t delivered at all. Then you can receive the refund.
Similarly, you have to wait until you receive your goods to report whether it’s damaged or wrong and so on. It’s a little unclear whether you need to report them within the buyer protection time or do it after it. For example, what if your order arrives on the 90th day of the buyer’s protection?
Well, for that, you can always extend the buyer protection time frame immediately by going to the account. So, overall, it is a valuable addition to their policy. Of course, this is not the only policy or protection AliExpress has in motion. There are other guarantees and guidelines you might want to check out.
The ‘Disputes’ is a function from AliExpress, similar to customer support or ‘reporting issue’ with the order in other eCommerce platforms. It is when you don’t receive the order or receive a faulty product.
There can be any case, but in simple words, it is to get a refund and to return the product, if needed. Most of the time, people don’t have to go to the Dispute channel.
Apart from the Disputes option, you have the freedom to contact the seller directly. You can talk to them and come to terms, if possible. It’s a great way not to damage their business prestige while they will solve the problem.
However, if the seller doesn’t comply with your request, you can always take the official steps. Here’s how you create a Dispute request:
- Login to the account which you used to order the product. You can use the app or website.
- Go to ‘My Orders’ and find the order you have the problem with.
- Click on ‘Open Dispute Link,’ which is generally an option tagged with the order number and information.
- A pop-up window will appear, asking you for the reason and the action you want to take.
- Follow up, and the next step will be to upload evidence. It will be a photo, video, or other proof for the order and reinforce your claim.
- Finish the submission
Now, the dealer will have around fifteen days to respond to your request. They can comply with the request and initiate the refund or waste the 15 days. If the 15 days limit is over, AliExpress’s executive team will take over the claim and case. They will do everything possible to get justice served.
In other words, they will overview the request, and if it’s a genuine request, they will side with you to help you get your refunds.
What is the purpose of a partial refund in Dispute requests?
Some buyers are more flexible in making adjustments. They would agree to keep the product, in the condition, with a partial refund. Others might ask for the refund they deem is the correct value. It’s for a sense of fairness. If your product was excellent, but you received it late, it’s better not actually to make a claim higher than half refund.
What kind of evidence should you provide?
Video recording while you unpack your order is usually the best and most compelling option. You have to provide the evidence. It will always reinforce your case. You should always video-record unpacking and unboxing any order, you receive from any eCommerce platform. It is a healthy practice that still benefits you.
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Yes, shopping on AliExpress is safe and legit. Or else, it would not have been one of the most visited online shopping stores all over the world with millions of users daily. The online store successfully processes hundreds and thousands of orders daily, shipping to them worldwide.
The protections are automatically applied to all the users of this website. Well, as a buyer, you won’t even need to do anything extra. If you are purchasing the products directly through AliExpress, your products will be protected no matter what you are buying on the online store.
This store follows a standard e-commerce model. When you are about to buy an item on the service, you will get a tracking number, you can track your products, and you will even get an option where you will be able to get a full refund if the items have arrived damaged or late, or if the items don’t arrive at all. Alibaba Group is its parent company, which is behind Alibaba Cloud security service.
Keep in mind that even though they might help you save some money and effort, there are websites like AliExpress, which often raise security concerns among the buyers.
We have heard that the products which are manufactured in China, in general, have a reputation for poor quality. However, it is not true in all cases. You may even get a well-made item for just at a cheaper rate than usual.