Online selling and shopping platforms have their perks and downsides. There are people willing to do genuine business and those that are not when it comes to online businesses. You need to ensure the platform you use has some safety measures, and to apply some safety measures on your end to avoid being scammed.
What is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a retail platform that connects Chinese manufacturers and small businesses to customers all over the world. It is an eCommerce platform under the Alibaba Group. AliExpress is one of the most visited sites in the world and ranks in the top 50.
Most people usually confuse it with the Alibaba platform. However, Alibaba is a global wholesale marketplace, while AliExpress is an online global retail marketplace. AliExpress and its parent company Alibaba are reputable organizations. However, this does not mean that the seller's quality is always consistent.
Is AliExpress Safe?
Yes, AliExpress is safe. However, you need to apply the measures the platform has put in place to protect you and use some of your own to protect yourself.
Here’s how you can use AliExpress safely:
1. Make use of Buyer Protection
Online businesses usually present numerous inherent risks. You cannot examine an item as you would in a physical shop. For example, you can not test the features of an electronic device from an online store or test an item's quality.
You may feel safer when purchasing a well-known brand with multiple online reviews. However, that would not entirely be the case on AliExpress. This is because there are many products from unknown brands that are not readily available at your local store. You will only use the photos and descriptions available to decide on a product.
AliExpress has put in place buyer protection policies to keep you safe from fraudulent sellers. The buyer protection is available in two guarantees. They include:
- A full refund for an order you don't receive. AliExpress will refund you within 15 days if you raise a complaint about the failure to deliver goods, or the goods take longer than the period the seller described.
- A partial or full refund if the product is not the same as described. In case you receive a product that is different from your expectation or the description, you can return it for a full refund. Alternatively, you can keep the product and get a partial refund.
2. Check the Seller Guarantee
A seller can also offer you a guarantee for the purchase of their products. More guarantees mean a higher level of confidence in the seller. Seller guarantees also increase the reliability of AliExpress. You will find that seller guarantees on AliExpress depend on the product they sell.
One product may have many assurances. However, this does not mean that these assurances will reflect on the other products. You should research the seller guarantees on each product instead of making assumptions that the guarantees are the same.
Sellers on AliExpress can offer four types of product guarantees. They include:
- Returns and Refunds. The seller accepts returns and promises to provide a full refund if the product does not fit the description they gave.
- On-Time Delivery. On this guarantee, the seller agrees to give a full refund if the product fails to arrive within the time they stipulate.
- Guaranteed Genuine. This guarantee mainly applies to highly-priced items, especially electronics. The guaranteed genuine means that AliExpress has verified the product as genuine.
- Domestic Returns. The domestic returns guarantee applies when the seller has a warehouse in your country. Thus, they will not charge any custom fees or shipping costs for returns.
How to Check Sellers Guarantee for an Individual Item
- Go to the product page.
- Click on Quick Info
- View the Buyer protection information.
- Go to the product page
- Look on the product images
- Click on Seller's Guarantee, which is just below the images.
3. Use the Seller Feedback Page
The seller feedback page on AliExpress is the easiest way to get a reputable seller. You can assess how satisfied the previous buyers are with a seller and their products. A seller with thousands of satisfied customers is usually more trustworthy than one with only a few satisfied customers.
How to View Seller Feedback Ratings on AliExpress:
- Select a seller's page.
- Click on the feedback tab.
AliExpress makes it easy to determine which sellers are more trustworthy. They provide a feedback score and a positive feedback percentage to help you decide. AliExpress converts the sum of all ratings into points to come up with the feedback score. One star and two-star ratings deduct a point, three-star ratings are worth zero points, four-star and five-star ratings get you one point.
The positive feedback percentage is a rate of positive feedback out of a seller's total feedback. AliExpress breaks down the ratings further into shipping speed, item as described, and communication.
These categories are available as you scroll down the seller's page. They use these categories to determine if a seller is above or below the site average. Furthermore, you can also view a seller's historical average.
4. Be a Smart Shopper on AliExpress
AliExpress may put many security measures for buyer and seller protection. However, you need to observe some measures on your own to ensure you use AliExpress safely. The platform will still offer some hints you can exercise to prevent fraudulent dealings. They include:
Contact the Supplier
AliExpress presents a Contact Seller option for the buyers. Ensure you reach out to the seller before you purchase a product. Inquire about the refund policy, quality of the product, warrant, and other relevant information.
Check for the consistency of the information as you analyze the answers. A good seller will offer as much help as they can with the information rather than trying to push the product. Furthermore, a good seller will also know all the details about the product and, in some cases, other alternatives to suit your user needs or budget.
Avoid Free Shipping for Expensive Products
Most of us are tempted by free shipping offers. However, you should think twice when it comes to an expensive item because it increases the risks your product faces. Sellers fulfill free shipping using the postal service.
The postal service provides no guarantees as to how they handle your product. This means that your item could risk getting lost or even damaged if it is fragile, and this could be a major loss for expensive items like a laptop.
We advise that you spend that extra money to get reliable shipping. The seller could partner with a reliable company like UPS, DHL, and more.
Use the Product Before You Confirm Receipt
The AliExpress system or the seller will ask for feedback shortly after the delivery of your product. Test the product to see if it fits the description provided and if it fully satisfies your needs. Confirm the receipt of goods only when you feel satisfied.
This tip also applies when giving the seller and the product reviews. Take some time and explore all the aspects of the product. For example, when you purchase a home theatre system, ensure the volume knob does not fall off after a while, and all the remote buttons are working.
Also, check if the Bluetooth is working well, among other features.
Don't Wire Money Directly to Their Account
Some sellers may ask you to wire money directly to their account. This will be a huge mistake. AliExpress will not offer buyer protection for those who transact directly with their bank accounts. There is a huge risk that the seller may fail to fulfill the products, and you cannot file a claim with AliExpress.
Is the Price Too Good to Be True? Check Twice
It does not make sense to acquire the latest for $20 or $10. Scammers set these prices extraordinarily low as they know that people are willing to risk the little money to get the product. They will gain a lot of money as many people will probably fall for it, and a little $10 or $20 from multiple people will collectively increase their earnings.
For the iPhone situation, it could be that they are selling an iPhone case or keyring. To avoid falling for these scams, ensure you thoroughly read the product title and description. Furthermore, such products will not have guarantees like the refund guarantee or the Genuine Guarantee from AliExpress.
5. Use Accepted AliExpress Payment Methods
AliExpress provides multiple options for payment methods. These two main categories include Credit Card and Paypal. Payment methods on AliExpress can be further classified into payment methods accepted on ap and payment methods accepted on the web platform.
Payment Methods That Can Be Used on the Website Version Through Your PC Include:
MasterCard, Visa, Maestro, Diners Club, and Discover Card, Webmoney, Wire Transfer, Yandex, American Express, QIWI, Western Union, DOKU, bancontact, Boleto, Pago, Mercado, iDeal, Giropay, TEF, Sofort Banking, Przelewy24, AliExpress Pocket, PayPal, Carte Bancaire (Carte Bleue), SMS Payment in Russia (MegaFon, MTC, TELE2, Beeline).
Payment Methods That Are Supported on AliExpress App Include:
Visa, Maestro, MasterCard, American Express, Discover Card and Diners Club Card, Boleto, QIWI, iDeal, bancontact, Przelewy24, AliExpress Pocket, PayPal and SMS Payment in Russia (MegaFon, MTC, TELE2, Beeline).
You can use either of these methods to get buyer protection from AliExpress. Moreover, we advise you to use credit cards if you wish to gain points.
6. Make Use of AliExpress Agents
AliExpress Agents provide a worry-free and hassle-free way to shop on AliExpress. You can rely on AliExpress agents for their experience in international shipping and dealing with suppliers on AliExpress.
AliExpress agents offer the following services:
- Purchase on Your Behalf. To purchase with an AliExpress Agent, simply select the items you want to purchase and order with these agents. They are readily available to offer assistance and guide you in case you need any help.
- Conduct Quality Checks. The agents will help you acquire the right products. They will use your order specifications to inspect each product and ensure conformity.
- Have Reliable Shipping Suppliers to Offer Global Shipping. The agents partner with reliable shipping companies to prevent issues like late deliveries or failure to deliver. You will select a preferred shipping method, and you will receive your products within 3 to 14 days depending on your location.
- Remove Unnecessary Packaging and Combine Orders. AliExpress agents will remove unnecessary packaging and combine orders to make a single package. This increases the shipping efficiency and saves you up to 70% in shipping fees.
- Offer Dropshipping Services. You can choose to dropship from suppliers on AliExpress with the help of AliExpress Agents.
AliExpress agents will offer the following dropshipping services:
- A vast supplier network. You can choose an unlimited number of suppliers to dropship for you.
- Build your own brand. You will get to attach your logo to brand your store and products.
- Remove price tags. They will help you tag the products at your own prices.
How to Resolve Disputes on AliExpress
To get a refund on AliExpress is just like other eCommerce websites. You need to work through their entire dispute process as opposed to merely clicking a refund button and getting your funds back.
People can raise a dispute on AliExpress if:
- You receive your order outside of the confirmation date.
- The product is not in a satisfactory condition.
AliExpress gives you 15 days after the order is completed to raise a dispute. The dispute process on AliExpress has three major stages. They include:
1. Reach Out to the Seller and Raise a Complaint
This is your only option if you have a complaint outside the 15-day window. If you have a complaint before the order is completed, you have to wait until it is completed and then proceed to raise a complaint with AliExpress.
However, you will be out of options if you have a problem after the 15 days, and the seller refuses to cooperate. You can still start with this option if you are within 15 days, and most sellers will be happy to help.
2. Open a Dispute Ticket If You Are Not Satisfied With the Seller's Response
You can only file a dispute within 15 days. File the dispute if the seller fails to cooperate after you reach out to them. The dispute ticket will make the dispute formal, and you and the seller will engage in a formal discussion. A formal dispute means that it is monitored by AliExpress, but they are yet to intervene.
3. Reach out to AliExpress
If the formal discussions are not satisfactory, you can now involve AliExpress as a mediator. AliExpress will help you and the seller reach a resolution.
Final Thoughts: AliExpress is Safe
AliExpress is safe, thanks to the measures it has put in place such as the seller and buyer guarantees. Furthermore, the safety measures you exercise as a shopper, such as checking seller guarantees or making inquiries help make the platform safer. You have a huge role to play in the safety of your purchase.
AliExpress is an eCommerce retail platform under the Alibaba group. Alibaba eCommerce site is a B2B (Business to Business) platform that deals with wholesale products. There is concern over the safety of AliExpress, just like with other platforms like Amazon or eBay. However, the platform and its shoppers can ensure the safety of the transactions on AliExpress.
The following seven measures will help make the platform safer during your transactions:
- Making Use of Buyer Protection. These are measures AliExpress has rolled out to keep the buyer safe. They include refunds for failed deliveries and unsatisfactory products.
- Checking the Seller Guarantee. Seller guarantees are guarantees a seller puts in place to reassure the buyer when making the purchase. They include domestic returns, returns and refunds, on-time deliveries, and Guarantee Genuine.
- Use the Seller Feedback Page. The seller feedback page is a page that includes seller ratings. AliExpress awards sellers a feedback score and also categorizes ratings into shipping speed, item as described, and communication.
- Be a Smart Shopper On AliExpress. To be a smart shopper, you need to employ some measures on your own. For example, you can contact the seller to inquire about the products, check if a deal is too good to be true, and more.
- Use Accepted AliExpress Payment Methods. AliExpress authorizes the use of PayPal and credit cards. Other direct payments to suppliers may be risky as they are not recognized and monitored by AliExpress.
- Make Use of AliExpress Agents. AliExpress agents will shop and ship the products on your behalf. They ensure quality, global shipping, and even offer dropshipping services.
- Resolve Disputes on AliExpress. In case the delivery or products are not satisfactory, you can file a complaint with AliExpress. It will start with direct contact and negotiation with the suppliers, if it fails, you can initiate a formal discussion, and if the previous one does not work, you can involve AliExpress as a mediator.