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Aliexpress is a giant eCommerce platform for Chinese businesses and individuals to sell products directly to international buyers.
As an eCommerce platform, Aliexpress doesn’t sell products to customers. It operates as a middleman connecting international buyers with Chinese sellers.
The success of Aliexpress is based on the large selection of products at a cheap price. You can literally shop for anything on this platform.
People from all over the world come to Aliexpress to purchase products for themselves and/or for their online business.
Aliexpress has become the main source of suppliers for many dropshipping businesses.
However, most international business owners don’t realize the risks of doing business with Chinese suppliers until it is too late.
Before making a business decision to purchase from Aliexpress, I suggest you read this Aliexpress review and ask yourself: ‘Is Aliexpress a safe, legit, and reliable suppliers for my business?’
Tired Of Scams And Pyramid Schemes?
AliExpress is owned and operated by Alibaba Group Holding Limited. It’s a Chinese multinational eCommerce conglomerate specializing in retail, Internet, and technology.
Before Aliexpress, this Chinese business group launched a Business to Business (B2B) eCommerce platform called ‘Alibaba’ on April 4, 1999, in the city of Hangzhou, China.
Alibaba was created to improve China domestic eCommerce market by allowing Chinese businesses to conduct wholesale and export their products to the global market.
As a B2B eCommerce platform, sellers and buyers must purchase products in large quantity. You cannot buy a single item on Alibaba.
Aliexpress was launched in 2010 to expand Alibaba eCommerce platform into the retail market or Business to Consumer (B2C). Using Aliexpress, Chinese merchants can now offer their products at wholesale price in small quantity, single item.
Aliexpress retailers are mostly Chinese individuals or businesses with a few from Singapore. This eCommerce platform offers mainly Chinese products to international buyers. Buyers can access AliExpress in the following languages: English, Spanish, Dutch, French, Italian, German, Polish, Portuguese, and Russian.
Aliexpress is a marketplace that connects sellers with buyers. It does not sell products. Aliexpress business model is similar to eBay. The eCommerce charges Chinese merchant service fees to sell on its platform. All AliExpress sellers are independent business owners using the platform to reach international buyers.
Aliexpress and Alibaba operate on the same eCommerce platform. So, when buyers register with Aliexpress, they can use the same account to access and purchase on Alibaba.
Purchasing products from Aliexpress, buyers have a little more protection compared to Alibaba.
Payment for Alibaba orders is completed via bank transfer with little or no protection if sellers did not deliver.
With Aliexpress, buyers can pay with credit card and funds are held in Alipay until products delivered to buyers.
The creation of Aliexpress offers buyers some protection and the ability to purchase small quantity which is perfect for international buyers to operate an online drop shipping business. So, they thought!
Is Aliexpress Safe To Buy From?
Aliexpress is a safe platform to buy from. However, you have to check sellers’ feedbacks to avoid the non-delivery problem.
Sellers not delivering products have been a big problem for both Aliexpress and Alibaba. To combat this problem, Aliexpress requires all purchase payments held in an Escrow Alipay account until the product is delivered to buyers.
When you purchase on Aliexpress, you can safely pay with a credit card. Alipay will hold the funds and not release to the seller until the product is delivered and confirmed by the buyer.
The Alipay Escrow sounds good in theory, but buyers are not totally protected.
There are too many instances where unethical sellers switch products or shipped low-quality items to buyers. Well, the seller did ship the products, but not the purchased item. In this case, buyers only option is to open a dispute with Aliexpress.
For non-delivery cases, Aliexpress will issue a full refund. However, the problem here is different. The buyer receives an ‘item that is not as described.’ In this situation, buyer and seller have to work out their dispute. Aliexpress will not get involved until after 15 days. Scammers will use this option to force buyers into accepting partial payment.
Here’s how ‘item is not as described’ scam works
- A buyer purchased 50 pieces of headphones for $500, ($10 each).
- Aliexpress seller shipped 25 good headphones and 25 low-quality headphones.
- The buyer filed a dispute for ‘item not as described.’ Buyer is a business and cannot wait 15 days for Aliexpress to get involved.
- The seller knew buyer situation and offered the buyer a full refund if return the 25 bad headphones, or the buyer keeps the headphones with a partial refund of $150.
- The buyer is in a tough position. It costs more than $200 to ship the 25 headphones back to China, but these headphones are worthless if he keeps them. Either option buyer will lose money.
- If the buyer chooses to ship the items back, the full refund is $250 (50x$10), and the shipping cost is over $200. If the buyer chooses to keep the items, the buyer gets $150 back.
- Most of the time, the buyer chooses to take the partial payment, even when the buyer knew the headphones are worthless because the loss is smaller.
- The buyer just got scam $100.
You might look at this and say: what’s the big deal? It’s only $100.
No, when I had my online business, most of my orders are in the thousand pieces. Take this $100 and multiply into thousands, now can you see the scammer profits?
Aliexpress is a safe site for individuals to purchase for personal consumption because non-business buyers can wait 15 days or return one item to the seller with little or no loss.
When doing business, Aliexpress is not a safe supplier. You can be working with the same merchant for months. Then one day this same Chinese merchant decided to run an ‘item not as described’ scam on you, you could lose everything.
I always advise business not to place a large order of products on Aliexpress or Alibaba unless you have met the seller. Even then, you are still not safe.
Is Aliexpress Legit and Trustworthy Resource Of Goods?
China is the land of knockoff, and Aliexpress is full of them, especially when it comes to brand name products.
Never buy branded products on Aliexpress to resell on eBay, Amazon, or your own dropshipping business. If you do, you will get in trouble for selling and distributing counterfeit goods.
Most branded products are protected by international intellectual property laws. These laws are not strictly enforced in China. However, it is not the same in other countries, especially the USA.
Individual buyers are unlikely to face a counterfeit good seizure for purchasing a single item.
Business purchasing bulk items from Aliexpress is different. If custom and border agents inspect your shipments and discover counterfeit goods, they will immediately impound them. Even if you thought the products are real, You just lost all your investment.
The trouble doesn’t end there. You might also have to pay fines or even face a criminal charge.
Don’t trust Aliexpress sellers when dealing with branded products. Most of the time these goods are counterfeit.
Is Aliexpress Reliable as A Supply Source?
Aliexpress is a reliable eCommerce platform, but you are dealing with independent merchants, not Aliexpress. These merchants can come and go anytime. Even Aliexpress doesn’t guarantee the seller’s reliability.
AliExpress does have a merchant approval process. Since most Aliexpress merchants are from mainland China, no one knows how the merchant approval process works. But according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the primary customer complaints are reporting of non-delivery and non-refund scams on Aliexpress site. So many, in fact, that the BBB has issued warning urging customers to be careful when buying from this site.
Here are a few tips to verify Aliexpress seller reliability.
1. Read Seller Feedback
Aliexpress offers a feedback system to assist buyer verifying seller reliability. Always check the seller feedback rating before buying. Look out for buyer comments regarding non-delivery or delivering low-quality products. The best way to protect yourself is to build a relationship with new sellers by directly contacting them or purchasing samples first before committing to a big order.
2. The Price Is Too Good To Be True
Low price is the reason to buy from Aliexpress. Scammers use price to reel buyers in promising huge discount on brand name goods. When the discount is extremely low, you should check other eCommerce sites to compare prices before buying. Be sure that the price on AliExpress isn’t far too low.
3. Seller Use Multiple Company Name Without A City
Businesses or individual merchants selling on Aliexpress are required to provide name and contact information. They can have multiple accounts, but they should have the same business name with the same contact information, at least the physical address and city. When you come across merchants using different names and without contact info, be careful and don’t buy from these sellers. It looks like they are trying to hide their identity. Most Aliexpress scammers use this tactic.
4. Merchants Slow Don’t Respond To Pre-sell Questions.
Scammers don’t like to interact a lot with buyers. They avoid answering buyer questions or requests for product information. They never provide any pre-sell customer service. You should avoid these sellers, because how are you going to resolve order problem if sellers don’t want to communicate with you.
5. Merchants Require Direct Payment
Never provide payment information directly to the merchant on Aliexpress. Always use the Alipay Escrow system to protect your credit card or bank information. Alipay doesn’t disclose buyer payment information to the seller. This helps avoid identity theft and ensure buyer received the goods. If you get scammed, at least you can get some help from AliExpress.
6. Don’t Buy Brand Name Products on Aliexpress
Most branded products on Aliexpress are knockoffs. It is unlikely that a small Chinese merchant on AliExpress could acquire these products at a deep discount price. Most branded goods protect their brand and never sell their products at an extreme discount.
Scammers are common on Aliexpress. Buyers are responsible to check the merchants trustworthy and reliable. Aliexpress can only help but cannot protect buyers from all scammers.
There are a lot of merchants on Aliexpress selling the same item. As a buyer, you must carefully research and evaluate seller rating for reliability.
If you are using Aliexpress as a supplier for your business or drop shipping, you must reach out and contact the sellers directly. You have to discuss with the merchants about their product, delivery time, return, and refund to make sure you’re working with someone reliable.
Is Aliexpress Good To Buy For Resell Business?
Business orders through Aliexpress are riskier than personal orders. Business owners are a priority target for scammers because of large order volume.
It is very profitable for Aliexpress scammers to carry out an ‘item not as described’ scam on business buyers. When this happens to you, you are not only losing a lot of money but without products to resell or deliver to your own customer. You might even have to close your business. This happens to a lot of dropshipping businesses.
There is a better way to make money with Aliexpress. With this business opportunity, you don’t have to deal with the product delivery or refund. You earn a payment when a product is sold on Aliexpress. This is Aliexpress Affiliate Marketing business opportunity.
Yes, Aliexpress does have an affiliate marketing program like Amazon. It is much easier to make money with the Aliexpress Affiliate Program than reselling because you don’t have to deal with the order processing. Your job is to promote Aliexpress and when someone purchases products you earn commissions.
I suggest you check out the Aliexpress affiliate program before launching a dropshipping business. Affiliate marketing is a very lucrative business to make money online.
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Aliexpress is a legit eCommerce platform to buy products, but not for doing business. It is too risky.
A better option is using the Aliexpress affiliate program to make money. But before you can do that, you must learn the process of starting an affiliate marketing business. I invite you to follow the link below and register for a free training account.