Is AliExpress Safe? 10 Things You Should Know Before You Buy

Many shoppers using AliExpress will usually have the following concerns: Why has my package not arrived after two months of delivery? How can I know the location of my delivery if there isn't any current logistics tracking information? Why do dealers make me wait for a longer period once I file a dispute? Therefore, many AliExpress customers would feel uneasy and wonder whether it’s safe and reliable to shop there anymore.

In this article, we'll be examining the top 10 concerns AliExpress shoppers have. We will then provide you with some useful advice for you to avoid these issues and have a successful purchasing experience on AliExpress.

Is AliExpress legitimate?

The answer is YES. The famous retail website AliExpress is absolutely legitimate.

Headquartered in China, AliExpress is lawfully operated by Alibaba Group, enabling cross-border trade between buyers and retailers. AliExpress is similar to eBay as they are both considered B2B companies that directly sell to individuals.

AliExpress has established a number of laws and regulations, including that sellers should be legally registered so that the transactions are held according to the law.

What makes AliExpress’ prices so low?

Many reasons can make AliExpress so cheap. Starting with the sellers’ location: China, where workforce and raw materials are the cheapest, and the industrial chains are available with the lowest prices. That allows the vendors to trade their products at very competitive prices.

Another thing, AliExpress sells directly to consumers without any intermediary which also makes the prices cheaper than Amazon or eBay since they use go-betweens

Besides, the sellers always choose a low-cost shipping option. And although it contributes to making the prices cheaper, these shipping methods lead to late delivery.

Is it safe to buy from AliExpress?

No one can deny that AliExpress is actually very useful. It’s a well-known online marketplace containing hundreds of millions of users among which 150+ million are active purchasers. It’s a great site if you’re willing to get cheap made in China products.

AliExpress takes responsibility for these 3 main features:

AliExpress shipping online

  • Preserve your personal information: Your bank account details are totally safe while shopping on AliExpress.
  • They ensure a refund in case the customer doesn’t receive or receives their package after a significant delay
  • They also ensure a refund in case the products delivered are not as described in the listing.
    Overall, there’s not much to worry about concerning AliExpress.

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Why do some people think AliExpress is a scam?

“Scam” is a little too much. In fact, there are more potential problems that can occur in international trading that are really complex. And when these problems take place, customers typically assume AliExpress is to blame.

In fact, 3 main issues are the cause of 70% of AliExpress’ bad reviews on Sitejabber; shipping delays, product issues, and unpleasant dispute process. Often, displeasing dispute resolutions cause bad customer service experience. Little by little, a growing number of customers start believing that AliExpress sellers are unreliable and that the site cannot provide them with adequate legal protection.

AliExpress negative review

Customers feel uneasy for four key reasons.

  • The delivery of the package is way behind schedule.
  • The tracking information is not updated.
  • Customers do not receive the goods they ordered.
  • Some buyers believe "buyer protection" is ineffective

The package arrives very late

Usually, the cheaper the shipping is the longer it takes for the goods to arrive. The period can go from 20 to 30 days and up to 50 days in some locations. However, delivery times can reach 60 days and could go as high as 75 days in several nations and regions. The worst case scenario is the package being lost in transit.

Even though AliExpress offers low prices, it can be annoying for customers if their packages still don't arrive in 60 or even 75 days. That pushes a lot of them to request a refund.

AliExpress delay in shipping

The tracking information is not constantly updated

1 to 2 weeks after placing an order, you might always locate your package in the same airport in China or the landing country without any other updated shipping information. But if the package doesn't arrive after 60 days, it becomes hard to judge whether it's still in transit or has been lost.

In that case, the customer will ask the seller about the parcel shipping situation, while the seller himself doesn’t have any information about it.

Customers do not receive the goods they expected

You may not expect that, but in case you receive a wrong or damaged package, 99% of the sellers would be happy to resend you another parcel. Still, if you don’t wish to wait for a longer period, asking for a refund is totally fine as sellers would agree to do it.

Apart from that, there is another scenario: it’s when the product you receive doesn’t meet your high expectations, and you assume it’s fake or of bad quality. But you can’t expect that much if you purchase the “latest pair of Nikes” for $30 and with free shipping. The shoes would probably look very different from the original ones and the sellers have nothing to do with it as long as the quality matches the paid price.

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Some buyers believe “buyer protection” is ineffective.

Some buyers believe that the “buyer protection” program of AliExpress is useless and is not doing its job properly when it comes to defending the customers’ rights.

The image below is an example of a client who received a damaged and useless product. He filed a claim for a complete refund but the seller totally ignored that. The platform then intervened in the disagreement and decided that the product only required a partial refund because it could still be used; and in case the buyer insisted on a full refund, he would have to pay to send the product back to China.

AliExpress buyer protection

The platform will further review the evidence in order to make a decision. When it comes to a damaged parcel, it’s easy to prove it. But with the product’s usage, the evidence must be strong and convincing. If not, it would be impossible for AliExpress to state that the product is entirely useless. That is why the customer in that case only received a 50% refund.

If you still insist on getting a full refund, the only choice you have is to return the goods which will definitely cost a lot of money. And that is when you should decide what to do depending on the product’s value.
But commonly, if your parcel is shipped from China and there’s something wrong with it, you’ll immediately get a refund or they’ll resend another unit.

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What are the most used shipping methods for AliExpress retailers?

Those are the 4 most common shipping methods on AliExpress:

Economy Shipping

  • Delivery time: 20 to 60 days.
  • Transporters: Cainiao Super Economy, China Post Ordinary Small Packet Plus, SunYou Economic Air Mail, Yanwen Economic Air Mail, Correos Economy, etc.

Saver Shipping

  • Delivery time: 30 to 50 days.
  • Transporters: AliExpress Saver Shipping, Cainiao Saver Shipping for Special Goods.

Standard Shipping

  • Delivery time: 10 to 45 days.
  • Transporters: AliExpress Standard Shipping, Cainiao Expedited Standard, China Post Registered Air Mail, ePacket, Special Line-YW, etc.

Premium Shipping

  • Delivery time: 5 to 10 days.
  • Transporters: AliExpress Premium Shipping, DHL, EMS, e-EMS, TNT, UPS, FedEx, GATI, DPEX, and so forth.

Clearly, the better the shipping method is, the shorter the delivery periods get, but the premium options also cost the highest.

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Why does the package take so long to arrive?

Choosing a low-cost shipping method is usually the reason the delivery takes so long. People usually ship through China post air mail and their packages take up to 60 days to be delivered, especially for shoppers in remote areas. Also, customers can’t check the delivery details in the country of destination. The worst case scenario is a package being lost in transit.

Here’s why China post Air Mail takes that much time to deliver:

A few unsuitable parcels

Shipping warehouse

Typically, the security check process is kind of complicated. Instead of opening the bag to check the products inside, they check the whole bag to see if there are problems with the goods. If so, the bag will be unpacked and refilled.
As for the small packages, it would take too much time to unpack them and put them back in a bag. This is another crucial element influencing the clearance time of international logistics.

Transfer flights

The shipping isn’t usually done through direct flights. That’s why it would need 2 to 3 conversions causing a longer delay in the delivery period. Not to mention bad weather scenarios and other unpredictable circumstances.

It takes time for the aircraft warehouse to fill up

Since air shipping is very expensive, logistic companies won’t ship a half empty airplane and they’ll have to wait until the logistics space is full. That’s why your package won’t be transported until it’s collected with other parcels which can take a long while.

Poor customs clearance efficiency

The least expensive international logistics approach is postal collaboration between China Post or other logistics companies and the postal services of other countries. The postal service delivers 70% of the foreign e-commerce shipments. The public officers of each country are the ones in charge of customs clearance and delivery
With that being said, many governments won't invest in the customs clearance service because of the low budget. Therefore, customs processing and delivery, particularly for tiny postal goods, will take a while. You can make the process shorter, but you’ll have to pay extra money for special line logistics.

Customs checkpoint issues

customs-checkpoint AliExpress

Sometimes, it may occur that a customs checkpoint unexpectedly declares they won’t receive a lot of foreign parcels. In this situation, the packages will have to be transported to another customs checkpoint which will eventually take extra days.

Major events, shopping days, and holidays.

Staff from logistics and distribution as well as customs will be off during big holidays. Therefore, customs clearance operations and package delivery will take longer.

After every shopping node, there will typically be a lot of packages piling up in the airport and the customs warehouse, and logistics will consequently slow down.

As for major events, the massive covid-19 for instance, multiple overseas flights had to be canceled and a lot of staff members chose to stay at home. So if you ordered anything from AliExpress shortly before the start of the pandemic (February or March) your package will probably take a very long time to be delivered.

Aliexpress-shipping-delay-in-Covid-19

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Why is AliExpress tracking information unavailable or not updated in a timely manner?

Despite the low prices of the products on AliExpress, consumers and sellers complain that the global shipping service is difficult to use. For certain inexpensive logistics, all the information you’re provided with is the expected arrival time of the package and the destination country. You cannot get any specific shipping data.

Also, some logistics companies only inform you that your parcel has just left China without providing any further logistics details. Thus, it is simple to misplace the package.

shipping-info-tracking

In fact, 60% of small packages on AliExpress are shipped using cheap shipping options. China's express and the postal service in each country are the only existing cross-border economic logistics. And obviously, the postal service cannot keep the logistics data up to date like commercial express.

Since each country has distinct national conditions, the postal services vary, particularly in terms of delivery and logistics tracking. Generally speaking, distribution and tracking will be more effective in advanced countries in Europe or America. However, in some other parts of the world, it can be challenging to deliver and track the package on time, and it might even be lost during transportation or security checks.

Moreover, cross-border logistics leads delivery companies from China and other nations to work together. It’s difficult to realize the uninterrupted links such as the prompt sorting and end distribution once packages reach the destination country. This makes the logistical information update harder.

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If you don’t want to wait that long, what should you do?

We are fully aware that cross-border e-commerce shipping has some drawbacks: logistics data is usually out of date, deliveries take a long time, and packages sometimes arrive damaged or don’t arrive at all. Every seller involved in international e-commerce has a sole purpose that is finding a delivery solution that would increase his consumers’ satisfaction. And as we mentioned earlier, the delivery time or quality of the service depends on the prices. And as the fees get cheaper the service gets worse.

On AliExpress, sellers frequently select the Economy Shipping choices for the cheaper and smaller items (around $5 or less). That means you won't be able to obtain shipping tracking information, and the transportation process will take a while. And if you wish to prevent these issues, you can spend more money on Standard Shipping alternatives . However Premium Shipping solutions are not advised since they’re pricey and are only essential when shipping high-value items like electronics.

And as sellers often opt for economy shipping which is free for the client, they won’t be able to track the parcel or know any details about the goods. That is why you need to be a little patient and wait a few days until your package is delivered. This will take a maximum of 60 days.

And since you want to shop on AliExpress because the prices are low, then you should typically be willing to wait for quite a long period until you get your package. But in case you don't want to wait that long, you can try one of these methods.

Look for a local warehouse

Many major retailers build offshore warehouses to reduce the problem of delivery periods. This method allows them to be more competitive and to draw more customers.

As shown in the picture below, if you want to purchase a swimming suit and you want it delivered in one week for the summer, you need to verify whether the supplier has a warehouse in your country. And you can pick the dispatch location, which will significantly shorten the shipment time.

AliExpress local warehouse shipping

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Look for a special line delivery option

Here’s how it functions: The cargo is transported by air or sea to the target nation, then the merchandise is distributed and delivered. China and other countries opened special lines logistics because it’s obviously more efficient.

Let’s take Special Line-YW : It delivers to many other countries in Europe and the Americas, including Brazil, the US, Russia, and others. Special lines are a good alternative. They come in between the high-cost commercial express and the cheap and super slow postal parcels, providing an acceptable delivery period with decent prices.

It's important to keep in mind that prices may not always be the lowest when AliExpress sellers ship items from their international warehouse or using Premium Shipping. As we should consider the cost of storage and logistics that will certainly be calculated with the product's price . In this situation, you can take a look at the product's price on eBay and Amazon, and compare. If the prices are close, just pick the fastest option.

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How can I choose trustworthy sellers ?

Most merchants operate honestly. However, there are some scammers. You can come across a dishonest supplier who offers low-quality or defective goods, just like when you purchase on eBay. For safer online shopping, you must pick a reputable source.

You should focus more on the product detail pages in addition to reading customer reviews and shop ratings. A decent detail page must have all the information you require. You should also consider the following two aspects:

A good product description is needed

At least six product photographs are needed to show the structure and design of the goods. Sometimes several sellers can add a brief video to demonstrate how to use the product. For instance, this retailer of fishing lures shows in a short movie how to manipulate the fishing lure.

fishing lure on AliExpress

All the product's specifications, such as the material, packaging, operating instructions, delivery date, after-sale service, etc., will be listed in the product listing area so that customers can feel secure enough after reading all these details about the product.

As we can see from this fishing lure, the product listing seems to be very detailed and precise and it’s followed by a delivery time chart. This proves that the seller is very focused on fishing lures since many small sellers or startups are unable to provide such details about such a product.

delivery-time-of-different-countries

Avoid paying suppliers who are not on AliExpress

Sellers who require that you transfer money to their accounts directly and not on AliExpress should be avoided. This doesn't always happen, but it is important to consider. If the supplier delivers the wrong goods, or nothing at all, you'll lose your buyer protection.

Keep in mind that you should never make a payment outside of the AliExpress website. Many customers rather use credit cards and PayPal over other overseas payment methods since these two are most likely to open a dispute if there is a problem with the order and even offer a refund. Other possibilities include debit or credit cards, WebMoney, PayPal, and so on.

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When should a dispute or claim be opened?

Customers have expressed a lot of concerns regarding that issue. For instance, when buyers have waited a long time and still haven't received their packages, they may contact the sellers about the shipping status and unfortunately they don't get any answer. And in case they do receive an answer, they'll be told to wait longer or change the delivery date for a longer period (from 60 to 90 days). In such situations, Customers should decide to ask for a refund on AliExpress.

However, you must follow a guideline in order to file a refund request on AliExpress.

the-AliExpress-dispute-process

There are two main causes that can lead you to open a dispute: either you didn’t get your package on time, or at all, or you didn’t get the products you asked for.

The first case

The confirmation date has passed and you still haven’t received your order. It’s important to mention that confirmation dates vary from one seller to another and they don’t often pass 60 days after the dealer confirms the order has been shipped.

And even though you believe it’s urgent, you may only open the dispute after the confirmation date that you and the supplier agreed on.

Counting from the moment you open the dispute, the supplier has 15 days to attempt and fix this issue. If no resolution is found after 15 days, the disagreement automatically turns into a claim and is now in charge of the The AliExpress Case Management Team.

In case you feel like your supplier is not making any effort or that the negotiations are not progressing and the seller is not even responding, you can totally file a claim 3 days after the dispute and you wouldn’t have to wait for 15 days.

Therefore, you shouldn't worry too much if you don't receive your package because you can get a complete refund.

The second case

As when the products you ordered are in bad conditions and don’t function in a proper way, you should also open a dispute and it would be better if you outline the problem you’re facing with the product with a short video or some images. Then, you should contact the supplier for partial or total refund.

Again, if you don’t hear back from the seller in 15 days, the dispute becomes a claim and is now handled by AliExpress. And if the seller turns out to be fully responsible, you can surely get a full refund from AliExpress.

The supplier is given 15 days to address the issue due to the unpredictable international logistics on AliExpress. That’s why the refund process will be slow. You simply need to wait patiently and always check your bank account because the duration may differ depending on the bank account of the client.

Amazon on the other hand, handles the dispute directly without granting 15 days for the seller to try and solve the issue. This allows you to receive your refund more quickly.

All in all, you can still get a return on AliExpress and not lose your money, but you need to reach the seller first which can make the process longer.

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To sum it up

You can always shop on AliExpress without worrying, but you just need to pay attention and do it in the right way. Now let us know in the comments if you have any other questions or remarks.

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  • Having trouble finding the appropriate product? Enjoy our sourcing services, we directly find the right suppliers for you!
  • You don't trust your supplier? Ask our experts to do quality control to guarantee the condition of your goods!
  • Do you need help with the logistics? Our international freight department supports you with door to door services!
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