AliExpress Review: The Rise of E-Commerce Sites
Gone are the days when people worried about online shopping. It has become the go-to option when buying a last minute gift, sourcing a hard-to-find item, or simply procrastinating. The popularity of e-commerce has spurred the proliferation of numerous e-commerce sites all eagerly competing for shoppers’ eyes – and dollars.
The Alibaba Group is an e-commerce giant based in China with numerous portals that provides business-to-business and business-to-consumer shopping as well as consumer-to-consumer commerce.
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AliExpress is one of those portals. It provides consumers with factory-direct products, allowing shoppers to benefit from cheaper prices. Unlike Alibaba, customers routinely make single purchases and are not required to shop in bulk.
The dubious reputation of Alibaba has made consumers eager for AliExpress reviews. Alibaba users have complained in the past of scammers and undelivered goods. The question, “Is AliExpress legit?” has made online shoppers a bit hesitant about signing up, and this AliExpress review will go over what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Product Quality (Aliexpress Reviews)
Reviews on AliExpress frequently criticize the quality of the e-commerce site’s products. The products carry factory prices, but consumers may be paying in other ways. AliExpress complaints mention poor quality clothing, both in terms of manufacturing and materials. The delivered product, according to reviews, rarely looks like the photograph shown on the site.
Additionally, reviews for AliExpress point out the site’s indifference to counterfeit goods. While a savvy consumer in most cases can tell when something is a cheap knockoff, this disregard for trademarks has underscored the untrustworthy feelings consumers have about the site.
Reviews for AliExpress’ product quality also point out that there is limited buyer protection and multiple users expressed frustration that they had basically sent their money down the drain. The majority of reviews on AliExpress’ products mention poor quality and lack of support when reporting unreliable products.
Reliability (Aliexpress Reviews)
Many users report difficulties receiving their products on time. Additionally, many AliExpress complaints express frustration about the company’s customer support when there is an issue with a product. Shoppers will likely experience frustration with the inconsistent policies practiced by customer support representatives.
Representatives can either be understanding of the situation and issue a refund or insist that you send cumbersome amounts of documentation and proof. This can be especially challenging if you are reporting that a product did not show up at all.
Furthermore, reviews for AliExpress warn potential buyers of the very long wait times. While the site says that shipping times are agreed upon between the buyer and the seller (and indicates that they can be anywhere from 3-60 days) customers report that it usually takes up to 30 days. Most AliExpress shoppers are aware of the wait times. It is considered a trade-off for the cheaper prices, not a form of deception on the site’s part. They key issues are that it can take additional time to be sent out of the factories or arrive later than the already long wait time specified.
AliExpress reviews from shoppers who have had positive experiences on the site recommend reviewing the feedback and ratings left on a vendor’s page. AliExpress shoppers report that the site often takes the side of the vendor. Purchasing from someone whose reviews suggest they are trustworthy makes things easier for shoppers in the long run. There is a lower chance of issues, and if there are issues, you can sort them out with a reputable seller.
An additional issue is location. Some users may experience hefty shipping fees that make solving a complaint more expensive than taking the loss. One AliExpress review titled “Non-Chinese residents should not buy” stated,
“I live in USA and I bought shoes from Ali-Express. It was completely different than the description of the shoes. It looked so ugly when I [wore] it. I was ready to return and they asked me to pay for the shipping fees [where] shipping cost was more than the shoes cost. So, in either side, I am in loss. So, if you live in China, you can buy from Ali-express. It will be easy to return and get your refund.”
Another shopper expressed a notable percentage of issues but expressed their willingness to continue shopping with AliExpress, writing:
“I have been a regular shopper on this site for more than a year and made almost 100 transactions (around 150 items purchased) and found them to be a great supplier. I have had about half a dozen disputes during this time for goods not received or faulty or not as described… And I used the dispute procedures and every dispute was settled in my favour and my money refunded to my PayPal account.”
Aliexpress Reviews: Customer Service
AliExpress.com reviews are critical of the site’s customer service. This is evident even in the reviews for AliExpress written by those who like the company and routinely order from them. The site – and positive reviews – point out AliExpress’s Buyer Protection as reassurance for those who are hesitant to use the site. AliExpress’s Buyer Protection policy states, “If you can prove that you did not receive your order within the delivery time, you will get a full refund.”
Proving that something was not delivered is quite difficult, and the back and forth required to come to a satisfactory outcome requires a huge time investment on the part of the buyer. The biggest complaint about AliExpress’s customer service is its lack of action or understanding when handling customer issues.
Is AliExpress Legit? When Buyer Protection Does Not Apply
In some cases, buyer protection does not apply, and shoppers should be aware of these limitations. If there is a fraudulent charge made to your card after making a purchase, AliExpress does not address this problem. Instead, individuals are advised to speak to their credit card company about investigating the charge. Additionally, if an AliExpress payment option is not used, and a buyer pays a vendor off the platform, Buyer Protection does not apply.
A couple of the limitations to AliExpress’s Buyer Protection reveal where many of the AliExpress complaints come from. If the shipping company’s records indicate that a product has been delivered and the buyer claims it has not, AliExpress will not cover that product. Moreover, if a buyer challenges a product because it is not as described and the seller proves that it is, AliExpress does not cover the cost of the product. Naturally, deciding whether a description is fair can be subjective.
THE VERDICT: Aliexpress Reviews
While there are attractive prices, the site requires additional work on the side of shoppers who will need to take the time to read AliExpress reviews of vendors and carefully read the specifications (i.e. color, size, etc.) of the products that they order.
The shipping time is also quite long. For some, these characteristics are an acceptable tradeoff for low prices. For others, the risk of unscrupulous vendors makes the e-commerce site not worth it.
Is AliExpress Legit? Avoiding Fraud on the E-Commerce Site
The best way to think of AliExpress is as a marketplace: the marketplace in and of itself is not a scam, but there is the potential for scammers within that marketplace. The AliExpress complaints fault the company for its perceived allowance or indifference to such practices.
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AliExpress reviews ways that visitors can shop smart and avoid fraud, such as:
- Being critical of prices that seem too good to be true for the product
- Refusing to pay directly to a seller’s bank account (AliExpress requires users to report individuals who do not pay through AliExpress)
- Not confirming delivery before actually receiving the product (and refusing to do so if a seller requests it)
- Reviewing sellers’ feedback before placing orders with them
AliExpress Review: The Merchandise
AliExpress is meant to provide an alternative to shoppers and businesses looking to benefit from bulk prices without bulk quantities.
There is a wide variety of goods available on the site, including clothing, office supplies, electronics, beauty products, and even car accessories. A large part of AliExpress’s popularity has been due to the wide variety of goods coupled with the cheap prices.
In some cases, when people ask, “Is AliExpress legit?” they are referring to the authenticity of the products sold on the site. AliExpress and its parent company AliBaba have become notorious for the sale of counterfeit goods on its platform. The company’s founder, Jack Ma, has attributed the difficulty in preventing the sale of counterfeit goods to the high quality of the knock-offs being sold.
Buyers should be aware that if the price of a luxury brand is too good to be true, it probably is.
AliExpress Payment Options
At present, there are a number of payment options available on AliExpress, including all of the popular, convenient methods including:
- Western Union
- Bank transfers
AliExpress does have plans to expand its payment options in the future.
Another option for AliExpress shoppers is Alipay. Alipay is the brainchild of Alibaba founder Jack Ma and his colleagues who created a payment process similar to PayPal. It goes a step beyond PayPal by providing users access to a number of traditional banking services including savings, wire services, and investing.
All of this is done from your mobile phone, and none of this banking requires going into a physical bank.
AliExpress Review: Should You Use this e-Commerce Platform? Is AliExpress Legit?
On the whole, AliExpress is not a scam. It is legit.
The e-commerce platform boasts happy users who are pleased with the prices. In fact, from the consumer point of view, the website is less a scam and more like an occasionally challenging platform. It is more of a scam for luxury brands that must compete with a juggernaut that hosts counterfeit goods.
If you are looking for a cheap alternative to online shopping, AliExpress hosts many factory-priced goods, but keep in mind that those low prices can sometimes require due diligence and verification of vendors’ ratings on your part.
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