Buying From AliExpress: How To Stay Safe And Not Get Scammed

Written by Franklin Hatchett

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Our goal at EcomElites is to help readers get the information they need, we partner with companies to help bring you that information. If a purchase or signup is made through our partners, we receive compensation for the referral. Learn More

AliExpress is that largest dropshipping product supplier online.

It's an online marketplace like Amazon where you can find anything that you would want to sell. It is China’s version Amazon, and a vast majority of the products come from China and Hong Kong.

Despite this, there are also many sellers on AliExpress that have warehouses in other countries like the UK, Germany, and even the United States. You just need to read through their profiles or product descriptions to find out.

AliExpress is home to millions of products, and thousands of manufacturers who sell their products for a very cheap price. As such, you should understand the implications of such a marketplace. Where there is money, there is evil.

And where there are cheap goods, there are also counterfeits and low-quality products.

AliExpress is full of quality and low quality products. It's the best place to find products are a great price and products you can sell via dropshipping.

Let's go over some tips on how to buy products off AliExpress safely and how to find good quality products, and how you can spot people who take advantage of others by selling fake goods.

We will also discuss some tips to help you choose suppliers who can actually make your business a success rather than a massive failure.

How To Buy Products From AliExpress

Now, we can argue that ratings can be fake. While that is true, we also need to take into account that you cannot fake thousands of reviews.

Besides, you cannot leave a review in any product on AliExpress if you did not make a purchase. So, it does not make sense for sellers to fake it, as they will pay transaction fees to AliExpress just to be able to fake a review.

The first thing you need to check is the seller’s ratings. To do this, click on a product that you want and take a look at the upper section of the product listing.

Here, you can find an area that lists the seller’s overall average.

  • Item as Described
  • Communication
  • Shipping Speed

These three are measured out of five stars. They are also measured as Below Average, Average, or Above Average.

Ideally, the overall rating should be not less than 97%. What this means is that for every 100 orders that the seller fulfilled, three are unhappy. It is completely up to you to lower your standards, but don’t say you haven’t been warned.

Next, do not deal with sellers who have two rating categories lower than Average. What this entails is that this seller cannot do his job right.

Related: The Ultimate Guide To AliExpress Standard Shipping Tracking

Next, click on the word that says Average, or any rating, and you will be taken to a page that shows a lot of details about this seller’s performance. Take the time to read about the negative comments, and see if they are justified, or if you can live with them.

Since AliExpress is an international marketplace, you will see comments on other languages. Do your due diligence. Copy and paste them to Google Translate, then read them.

If the seller is underperforming, run away no matter how good the product looks, or no matter how cheap it is. You will pay dearly for it, that we guarantee.

How To Research Safe AliExpress Sellers

The second thing to do is to investigate the seller as much as you can. If you are looking at a product listing, check on the upper left-hand area of the screen, and you will see the seller’s store name.

Now, go to Google and investigate about this seller’s online presence. If the seller has Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, then you are probably looking at a serious seller who is intent on doing business. Go to these social media accounts, and look for customer comments.

A seller that has no social media accounts raises red flags. Stay away from these sellers as they are likely only to sell in AliExpress, with no regard to what their customers say about them.

You see, establishments that have social media presence are opening themselves to criticism. If they are not afraid to be criticized, then they mean serious business.

It's much better if the company has its own website. You can see the quality of the company’s website, and if purchases can also be made from there. What you are looking for is a seller that is actively engaged in the online world, and not just in AliExpress.

A good example of this is SheIn, an international brand that sells on AliExpress. It has its own website that is actively selling its products on an international scale. You can also see that the website was made with so much thought, as it is highly professional.

Read The AliExpress Refund And Return Policy

Look for the seller’s return conditions. There has to be one. If the seller does not accept returns, go away and look for a new supplier.

Just because the seller accepts returns does not mean you should go all in. Make sure that the refund terms are reasonable. And how will you figure this out?

First, how long will the shipping take from China to your country? If it takes 60 days, and the seller only accepts returns within 30 days, then it does not make sense.

Second, how will the seller issue the refund? Some AliExpress sellers only issue refunds through PayPal. Do you have this means to accept money? If not, move on and look for a new supplier.

Only Pay On AliExpress

The site has a buyer protection program, and you can file legitimate disputes if you are unhappy with what you bought, provided that you did it on the AliExpress platform.

If a seller tries to take you off the site and convinces you to transact outside the payment system off AliExpress, you are likely dealing with a scammer. Sellers like this do not want to pay their transaction fees, and there is no way you can get your money back if they did not ship your item.

The worse thing that can happen is that even if you file a dispute, AliExpress cannot help you. You cannot prove that you bought from this seller.

Read the Terms and Conditions of the Buyer Protection program, and stick with the platform’s expectations.

Related: AliExpress Paypal: Guide On Using PayPal To Buy Items On AliExpress

Check The Number of Items Sold

How many products were already sold? If you are looking at a product listing, you must also check if this product is in stock and if it is hot.

Naturally, people will never recommend a bad product to their friends. As such, you should never buy a trending product from a seller if it has only sold a few pieces, and if the feedback is bad.

You can see the number of products sold just below the product title.

You can also see the number of people who rated the product, and the product’s rating.

Read The AliExpress Product Description

This is how people get scammed all the time. They think that whatever it is that they see on the picture is what they will get.

If you are a beginner at dropshipping still learning the ropes and you have this mindset, you are bound to fail.

You see, just because the picture shows a woman with pants and shirt does not mean you will get both. Certainly, only one is being sold. It is either the pants or the shirt.

Read the description, and you will also find out some interesting details like:

  • The product does not come with a battery
    Has no box
    Colors may vary

Be wary, for this will let you know if a gadget is not compatible with a brand as opposed to what the product name said. For example, a charger might have a long product name like Samsung Apple Motorola Asus charger.

And when you read the description, it is not compatible with Samsung. So why even bother putting that brand name on the title?

The answer is SEO. There are sellers who do this so when someone searches for Samsung chargers, their product will be shown on the listings. This is unethical, to say the least, and you should stay away from sellers like this.

You should also stay away from fake. No seller in AliExpress will ever say that the product he is selling, say, Nike, is fake.

Instead, the seller will use terms like OEM or Original Equipment Manufacturer. Upon reading this, one would think that he hit the jackpot. No, he did not.

Think about it. If you are the original equipment manufacturer for Nike, do you really think Nike will allow you to sell its products on your own?

No, that will be a breach of contract. The manufacturer will get sued, and lose Nike as a client. Therefore, it is not worth the risk. And therefore, anybody seller who claims he is an OEM for a brand is not an OEM but a fraud and a pirate.

A wristwatch for $5? You have to be kidding!

While it true that you can find really cheap trending products for this price, you have to take note that the product must be of extremely low-quality. You need to understand that while manufacturers create products in volume, quality entails higher costs, too.

The reason being is that the raw materials are more expensive, the processes are more stringent, and there are experts who get paid to check the quality of a product before it finally comes out of the production line for sale.

Quality comes at a hefty price. And cheap products completely ignore quality in the name of quantity.

If a product is too cheap, you are likely going to be selling poor quality products that no one will ever recommend and no one will like. If you do this, you are guaranteed to have a massive headache for refund demands.

You should also expect your customers to bash you online. Angry customers are the ones who are more likely to take the time to leave reviews and write long and angry comments in your social media pages.

Do not risk this. Forget about high-profit margins and think of quality all the time. Consumers will not mind spending money if they know that the product they are buying is durable.


Now that you know how to stay safe in AliExpress, the remaining thing to do is to execute them. Never risk your safety and security just because you want to operate your store right away.

The internet is a place chockfull of fraudsters, scammers, and people who sell low-quality products. It is also a place where sellers who have no idea what customer satisfaction is about can peddle their wares.

As mentioned, AliExpress can be a gold mine if you are looking for drop shipping products to sell. But beware, and protect yourself.

Many people who get frustrated in the drop shipping business did not meticulously look for good partners. As a result, they lost money, and then they make claims that AliExpress is a fraud, or that the entire dropshipping business is a scam.

Do not be fooled. Your failure has as much to do with scammers and fraudsters as much as your lack of diligence.

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