Aliexpress.com is a Chinese giant that we often compare to Amazon by its size but the similarity stops there because Aliexpress.com has a completely different economic model than that of Amazon. The difference for the end consumer (you and me) is very important and you have to understand this difference before buying from Aliexpress.com
On Aliexpress you can find anything and everything, the best and the worst.
But is it safe to shop there? How long will items take to arrive, and what happens if they don’t? Is AliExpress.com legit? And are you more likely to be the victim of fraud if you shop there? Here are the answers you need.
Important note: Aliexpress.com did not pay me to write this article and I do not work for Aliexpress.
I made my first purchase on Aliexpress.com in 2011 and have ordered more than 500 products. I am generally very satisfied but it is necessary however to think a little before making the buying decision.
Who is Aliexpress.com?
AliExpress.com is the international arm of the Chinese retailing giant Alibaba. It is, in fact, the group’s commercial showcase which acts as a gateway to the Chinese market for consumers around the world. Aliexpress has become the biggest Chinese e-commerce site. You can find almost everything except for international branded objects. For example, you won’t find an iPad Pro 2020 on Aliexpress.com, but you will find a range of quality Chinese smartphones and tablets.
Unlike Amazon, when you buy a product you are in direct contact with the seller of that product. Aliexpress.com only takes care of the connection and the payment between you and the seller. It is the seller who defines the warranty conditions, sending the package, tracking, customer service, etc. In the event of problems, you must, therefore, contact the seller rather than Aliexpress.com and if you cannot resolve a problem with the seller, you can involve Aliexpress. Most of the sellers are Chinese, so you have to use English to speak to them.
Aliexpress.com Buyer Protection Policy
Conformity guarantee: if the object purchased does not conform to its description, you are entitled to claim a full refund. Before getting there, you can initiate a refund request with the seller to see what they are offering without the intervention of Aliexpress.com.
Delivery time guarantee: if delivery takes longer than what was announced from the start, you are also entitled to claim a refund (total or partial). Please note, delivery time limits are generally 60 days, the vast majority of items, therefore, arrive before the expiration of these 60 days.
Product warranty: the warranty is offered by the seller, so it can vary greatly from one seller to another. It is sometimes possible to buy an extension of guarantee or a local guarantee (European or American) but again it depends on a seller to another.
The guarantee is one of the major differences with Amazon because with Amazon, the products are guaranteed in a uniform way and it is Amazon who takes care of the customer service. You must, therefore, read the conditions carefully before buying anything!
Aliexpress.com: The user experience
Aliexpress.com supports a multitude of languages but these translations mainly apply to the Aliexpress.com interface. The description of the products is mainly available in English with sometimes a very approximate machine translation in other languages. If you are not fluent in English, you can order without problems but if you want more information about a product or contact a seller, English is very important. You can always use a translator to communicate with sellers, they probably do the same to communicate with you.
Those who are used to Amazon will find themselves there very quickly. Aliexpress.com works the same way. The interface is not the most modern but it is often the case for this kind of platforms. You can find a product by browsing the categories or by the search engine. You can then classify the results by opinion, sale, price,… I find that the search engine is less efficient than Amazon’s solution, it is therefore sometimes necessary to fall back on the categories to find a product
Aliexpress uses a rating system like Amazon and this system will allow you to distinguish good products from the bad ones. However, I would add an important remark. If after buying a product on Aliexpress you have not given notice, the seller will receive a default evaluation and this will slightly distort the final result. So don’t be satisfied with the stars but also read the comments, they will teach you more than the stars. If the proportion of 1 or 2-star ratings exceeds 5%, you should avoid the product if there is an alternative.
4-Payment Methods – NO PAYPAL
Aliexpress offers a variety of payment methods, you can even pay with a local debit card (in Morocco anyway).
Some sellers will offer you solutions to reduce the chances of going through customs by changing the declared value or by avoiding certain carriers, but the risk will always exist.
Aliexpress.com, Is it Legit and Safe to Buy From in 2020?
When you buy on Aliexpress.com, you have two stakeholders. The first is the seller from whom you buy. You should contact them first in the event of a problem/dispute. In my case, I was able to solve all my problems through this. The second speaker is Aliexpress.com. If you do not get anything from a discussion with the seller, you can call on Aliexpress.com which will take charge of the file.
Here are some points to help you:
1. Complaint period: For each order, you have a complaint period that ends when you report having received the order. If you have not received your order and the complaint period has expired, you can either request an extension from the seller (if you think it is a simple delay) or open a dispute with Aliexpress.com. If you let this time pass without reacting, it will be more difficult to get support from Aliexpress. For the creation of a dispute, I always advise contacting the seller first.
2. Chat litigation
In your order list, Aliexpress.com provides a chatbot that allows you to solve a number of problems almost automatically. The robot offers a number of possibilities for automated complaint management.
3. Communication with the seller
Before creating a dispute, speak to the seller first. If you have the impression that he is trying to save time, open the case to put pressure on him.
What to buy or not to buy on Aliexpress.com?
We can buy everything on Aliexpress.com, but we must not forget that what you buy is covered by small sellers who sometimes can disappear after a few months of activity. So don’t buy high-value items from a new seller, the risk is too high. I mainly bought objects of max 200-250 € with a good guarantee.
I bought clothes on Aliexpress.com, the price defies all competition, for example, I bought beautiful shirts for 5 EUR delivery included. The shirts were of good quality, I don’t see any difference with the ones I bought in Morocco. The only point of attention is the size. Chinese sizes are not the same as in Europe or Africa, so you need to find the equivalent size before buying. I found shirts suited to my format (XL in Europe, XXXL in China) and the shirt is the right size, only the sleeves are a little too short.
Aliexpress.com is a huge supplier tank of small electronic items made in China. I bought a dozen types of TWS Earphones, memory cards, hard disks, mini PCs, etc. The price defies all competition. For example, I bought a magnificent V5.0 Bluetooth earphone for almost 25 USD while the price on the local market ( Morocco ) for the same product was more than 40 USD.
I bought many LED bulbs and even decorative lamps. You can find LED bulbs for one euro, hard to find better here.
If you use Aliexpress.com for products where the brand is not important, you will find your happiness. It is not a question here of buying a high-end lens for your camera but rather of electronics or everyday use, you will have many choices and very good prices.
Aliexexpress is not a scam, it is a very good marketplace. On the other hand as the site shelters many sellers, you will always find some which are not recommendable. Here it is common sense that prevails, look at the ratings, check how long the seller has been active, ask questions, Aliexpress.com customer support is not at the same level as Amazon’s, so you have to choose the products you buy well and test the field on the side of the sellers if you have doubts.
In the event of a problem, you must first contact the seller because without doing this, Aliexpress.com will not intervene. If you do not get satisfaction, do not hesitate to put a bad evaluation and then contact Aliexpress.com. On the few problems that I had, the bad evaluation always made react to the seller.
SIDE NOTES :
On Aliexpress.com you can find anything and everything but you can reduce your risk of problems by following a few basic rules:
- Do not buy a non-Chinese brand product (ex: Apple), it is probably a counterfeit
- When the price is very much lower than other Chinese sites, beware
- Look at the volume of reviews for the object and the seller (these are 2 different things), favor the sellers who are on Aliexpress.com for more than a year and which have an average above 90%
- Read the reviews which contain text and images
- If in doubt, contact the seller before buying
Aliexpress.com, Is it Legit and Safe to Buy From in 2020?
And you, what is your experience? Share it below to share it with everyone!