Intro: Is AliExpress Safe or Is AliExpress a Scam? Reviews
If you’ve spent any time searching for the best online deals, you’ve almost certainly come across Alibaba and AliExpress.
Promising quality goods at ridiculously low prices, these websites draw in consumers who are actively searching for the best deals on clothing, electronics, children’s items, and a wide array of other odds and ends for around the home.
But is AliExpress safe? Can AliExpress be trusted, even with its AliExpress buyer protection program?
In this AliExpress review, we will take a look at whether or not an AliExpress scam exists as well as answer the question, “Is AliExpress safe for credit card payment?”
Before we delve into the finer details of the AliExpress buyer protection and payment verification, let’s take a look at what this e-commerce giant actually does.
Image Source: Pixabay
What Is AliExpress?
AliExpress is a part of the Chinese e-commerce platform, Alibaba, which aims to connect merchants and vendors in China with consumers worldwide. Merchants can include brand name retailers or smaller local businesses that sell goods manufactured in China directly to customers in the United States.
People often ask if Alibaba or AliExpress can be trusted. This conception is often legitimized by the fact that the company itself claims not to profit from the sales made through its e-commerce platform.
If the company does not profit from the sales that are made, it is reasonable to assume that it has very little stake in correcting poor customer service experiences and purchases that go awry. Even its cofounder, Jack Ma, describes it only as a site that assists others with e-commerce, being very clear to separate itself from traditional retailers.
The volume of sales through the Alibaba website rivals even those made by e-commerce giants Amazon and eBay. In fact, it has been referred to as the “Chinese Amazon” due to its popularity and sales volume. It offers consumers the opportunity to purchase goods directly from a manufacturer in China at a steeper discount than what can be found elsewhere. Alternatively, counterfeit products also run rampant on these sites.
So is AliExpress safe to make purchases from? The answer most often depends on your ability to spot the difference between an AliExpress scam from an unidentified and unreliable merchant and a quality vendor. However, AliExpress has put some safeguards in place to protect end users from the fallout of shady vendors.
AliExpress Buyer Protection
With increased complaints from consumers that there may be an AliExpress scam involved in their purchases, the company now offers AliExpress buyer protection. Even with this protection, some customers are still asking, “Is AliExpress a safe site?” Let’s take a look at exactly what the AliExpress buyer protection offers.
AliExpress buyer protection offers two main courses of action for every shopper:
- Full refunds: Full refunds are available through the site if your items never arrive by the promised date. Keep in mind that items are shipped from overseas, and the expected wait time can sometimes be extensive.
- Partial refunds: If your items differ significantly from the description offered by the merchant, AliExpress gives you the option to keep the item and receive a partial refund. This is great for items that are bulky and would be cumbersome to ship back. If you prefer not to keep the item due to the differences, you can also ship it back and expect to receive a full refund.
Some vendors may offer additional guarantees or offers on their products. Not every shop will honor these, but they are great features to look for, particularly if you’re worried about the safety of the site.
- Domestic returns: If you’re unsatisfied with the product for any reason, you may have the option to return it domestically instead of shipping it overseas. Products must still be in their original packaging and completely unused. Apart from that stipulation, these returns will be accepted with no questions asked.
- Guaranteed genuine: If the product you order turns out to be a counterfeit, you will get a full refund including the shipping costs.
The AliExpress buyer protection does offer some peace of mind for shoppers who may be rightly asking questions like, “Is AliExpress safe?” or “Can AliExpress be trusted?”
How Does AliExpress Buyer Protection Work?
In order to make the best use of the buyer protection security, you must first understand how to pursue any issues that you may have:
- Contact the seller. This is the first step in the process if you never receive your items at all or find them not to be as described on the website. While some buyers find this to be the worst part of the process, you can do a few things to lessen the hassle. Before making your purchase, make sure that you look at the seller’s feedback. Even AliExpress helps to warn consumers of potential areas of fraud, and one of its recommendations is to only purchase from sellers that have good feedback scores.
- Open a dispute. If your attempts to communicate with the seller have left you less than satisfied, continue to pursue your refund by opening up a dispute. This allows you to formally discuss the issues with the seller.
- Escalate your dispute. After you have tried the first two avenues without resolution, you can choose to escalate your dispute to AliExpress’s attention. It will then investigate your claims and provide mediation to help you reach a resolution.
Is AliExpress safe? The company has definitely put a few good ideas into practice in order to better protect end users. However, the problem still remains that you could end up doing business with a less-than-stellar seller. Doing your own research and due diligence before making a purchase goes a long way to safeguard yourself from an Ali Express scam.
Is AliExpress safe for credit card payment? Everyone has heard horror stories of online merchants phishing information and stealing identities, so this is a real question in terms of AliExpress’s ability to protect its shoppers.
Image Source: Pixabay
According to review sites like Make Use Of, AliExpress doesn’t have any significant security vulnerabilities that have been made public. The one public security issue it has experienced over the last few years was in relation to cross-site scripting, a vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to skim large amounts of consumer data through the site. This issue was handled quickly without a significant data breach.
Apart from the AliExpress buyer protection, making use of its escrow service is an excellent way to protect yourself from any Ali Express scam. Its escrow service allows you to make payments for your items without handing over sensitive details, like your credit card information, to the merchants. It also stores your money in a separate account until you verify that you have received your items as described. Only then will the funds be released to the vendor you purchased from.
Make Use Of also notes that, instead of going through the seller, as you would have done with the AliExpress buyer protection, any refunds that you might be entitled to for a shipment that goes awry will be handled directly through AliExpress. This should make the process significantly easier and faster so you can either purchase a different item or have your funds available for other uses.
Can AliExpress Be Trusted?
Is AliExpress a safe site? Reviews abound on the Internet detailing customer service experiences through AliExpress. While it seems that it might be possible to find a diamond in the rough and receive a great bargain on quality items, far more buyers have had terrible buying experiences.
Trust Pilot has collected over 2,000 reviews from real consumers who made purchases from AliExpress. Unfortunately, the company received an overall rating of just under three out of a possible score of ten. The overwhelming majority of the reviews rated it as a one-star experience, with major complaints being a lack of support, lack of customer service, and AliExpress’s inability to stand behind the AliExpress buyer protection.
SiteJabber’s compilation of consumer reviews gave the site a similar score (two stars out of five). With almost 1,600 reviews, over 1,000 of them issued the site the lowest score possible. There was a plethora of similar complaints about the final resolution in buyer protection disputes.
Image Source: Sitejabber
Is AliExpress Safe? A Few Final Thoughts
Is AliExpress a safe site? It seems that the jury is still out on whether or not there is an actual AliExpress scam. Many reviews would conclude that it is definitely possible to receive great deals on items through the site. However, the majority of the evidence seems to point to the fact that it depends on the seller more so than AliExpress itself. If you decide to risk a purchase through AliExpress, make sure to do plenty of research on the seller beforehand.
Is AliExpress safe for credit card payment? Security measures appear to be in place to protect consumers from phishing and fraud in terms of its credit card payments through the site. You can always add an additional layer of security by opting to pay through its escrow services instead of directly to sellers.
Purchasing through AliExpress would definitely mean taking a risk on receiving your products in general. Perhaps, more specifically, you are taking a risk on receiving the product you think you’re ordering based on the description.
Is AliExpress a safe site? There’s definitely potential for a safe and satisfactory experience, but be prepared for the worst-case scenario to help you safeguard yourself from being a victim of an Ali Express scam. Make good use of the AliExpress buyer protection program to open up a dispute against a seller if necessary.
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