AliExpress has grown a lot since it was first launched in 2010. More and more shoppers find the site every day but many are suspicious of the dirt-cheap products sold on the platform and are quick to call it a scam.
Is AliExpress legit and safe to use or is it a scam? As a dropshipper, I feel qualified to answer this question for you.
In the past 4 years, I’ve made thousands of orders from AliExpress and worked together with hundreds of sellers on AliExpress.
AliExpress is a great marketplace to find dirt-cheap items but you have to be very careful with your choice of products and sellers.
What Is AliExpress
AliExpress is an online retail shopping platform based in China that functions in a similar fashion as Amazon does.
However, unlike Amazon, AliExpress does not sell products themselves. Each product sold on the AliExpress platform is provided by an external seller.
AliExpress is currently the 6th most visited eCommerce and shopping site in the world and is growing more popular every day.
Is AliExpress Legit?
AliExpress is very much a legit website.
In fact, Aliexpress is part of the Alibaba group, the third biggest eCommerce company in the world. They are just behind Amazon and one place ahead of eBay in the world rankings.
If that doesn’t prove that AliExpress is legit, I don’t know what will.
The problem with AliExpress isn’t the website, it’s the individual sellers on the platform that cause issues.
Anyone in China can start selling on AliExpress.
Some sellers see it as an easy way to make a quick buck off naïve international shoppers who fall for the ridiculously low prices.
AliExpress has hundreds of thousands of sellers, of course, there will be some bad apples. Just like you’ll find bad apples on Amazon and eBay.
Aside from those bad apples, the majority of the sellers on AliExpress are legit and deliver decent goods for affordable prices.
So yes, AliExpress is legit but you have to do your own due diligence and check out the sellers reputation before ordering.
Is AliExpress Safe?
While AliExpress may look a bit spammy, buying from AliExpress is very safe. Just as safe as buying from any other online marketplace such as Amazon and eBay.
AliExpress even protects its buyers from fraudulent sellers. If the product doesn’t arrive, takes too long to arrive, arrives broken, or is not as described, you will get a full refund from AliExpress.
Here’s how you can get your full refund:
Go to your AliExpress orders page and find the order you wish to get a refund from, click on ‘View Detail’.
Next, open an AliExpress dispute.
Choose between refund or return goods. Next, explain the situation and state why you would like to get a refund.
If the seller doesn’t respond to your dispute, AliExpress will step in.
In most cases, AliExpress will support the consumer, not the seller. Therefore it’s very easy to win a dispute and get your money back.
Contrary to popular belief, AliExpress is very safe to buy from. Sadly not many buyers know how easy it is to get a refund for junk orders.
How To Safely Buy From AliExpress Without Getting Scammed
To avoid buying junk merchandise from bad sellers, here’s a quick guide on how to safely purchase products on AliExpress.
Once you’ve found a product you want to buy, you’ll want to do a quality check.
You can easily do this by looking at the product reviews. If you can’t find any product reviews, or very little product reviews, I would not recommend buying from that seller.
Instead, you should try looking for a different seller. AliExpress often has multiple vendors selling the same product.
In order to find another seller, type the key words from that product into the AliExpress search bar.
Next, you want to filter by “orders”.
This search will display every AliExpress vendor that sells that specific product, ordered by most the most orders.
In most cases, the products with the most orders have plenty of reviews
Once you’ve found such a seller, check out the reviews and see what others have to say about the quality of the product and the comments on the seller.
You want to look for image reviews and reviews from the US.
Ideally, a product has at least 100 positive reviews.
Next, you want to check the feedback rating of the AliExpress seller. Ideally, the have at least a rating of 4.5 and above.
You can find the seller on the top left, next to the AliExpress logo.
Hover over the ‘Positive Feedback’ to get to see the detailed seller ratings.
Here you can also find how long the store has been open for, make sure the store is at least 2 years old.
Once you’ve found a product that has many positive reviews from a seller with a rating of 4.5 and above, you can be pretty certain you won’t get ripped off.
AliExpress Delivery Times
AliExpress delivery times differ from seller to seller.
The majority of the orders from AliExpress come directly from China, meaning it can take a couple of weeks to get to your doorstep.
Most sellers give you a variety of options to have your goods sent to you.
You can usually get your order a lot faster by selecting a more expensive delivery option such as DHL.
You should always opt for a shipping option that offers order tracking, this way you can see where your order is at all times and you don’t have to wait around.
Tracked shipping options are also always faster than non-tracked shipping options.
Some AliExpress sellers have fulfilment centers in other parts of the world such as the United States, Spain, France and so on.
While these are rare, they can greatly decrease the shipping times.
The fastest time I’ve ever received an item from AliExpress was 5 days.
But one time I also had a product on the way to a customer for more than 60 days.
I would also like to note that AliExpress orders always have a processing time.
A processing time is basically the amount of time it takes the seller to send out your product.
They usually do this once a week to save costs. So if you order a product on Saturday and Friday is the day they usually send out products, you might have to wait 6 days before your product finally gets send out for delivery.
AliExpress shipping times depend on your location, the shipping method you chose and the time it takes for the seller to ship out your product.
How to Safely Pay On AliExpress
A primary concern for many online shoppers is they feel they cannot safely purchase from AliExpress.
Something about it being a Chinese company, rubs the wrong way with people.
The truth is, ordering from AliExpress is just as safe as ordering from any other popular online shopping platform on the web.
AliExpress uses multiple encryption systems to ensure a safe checkout, they have many different payment options and you are always protected by their buyer protection program.
If you still feel unsafe paying on AliExpress, you can use a credit card to complete your order or checkout using PayPal.
You are always protected when using your credit card online. If something iffy happens all you have to do is call your credit card company and dispute a transaction.
Those who truly feel uncomfortable paying on AliExpress’ platform can opt for PayPal checkout.
PayPal transactions always happen on their own website for maximum safety.
They also have a great dispute system that is known for always choosing the buyers side.
However, not every AliExpress seller allows the use of PayPal as PayPal has bigger processing fees than their competitors.
Bottom line is, you can always safely pay on AliExpress with a credit card or PayPal.
You’re always protected from fraud through your credit card company or PayPal but also AliExpress themselves through their buyer protection program.
Inspect The AliExpress Goods Immediately Upon Arrival
AliExpress products are often very cheap, this can result in cheaply made products arriving at your doorstep.
These products are mass-made and undergo very little quality control.
AliExpress products are often very cheap. These products are mass-made and undergo very little quality control.
It’s important that you check the quality of your order as soon as it arrives.
This way, you can still file a dispute if you find that your product is not as described.
AliExpress lets you dispute up to 15 days after you have confirmed receiving your items.
Every AliExpress order has a date by which time the order will automatically be closed, you can check this time on your AliExpress orders page.
Make sure to always check this time has not expired yet.
AliExpress Products You Should Avoid
While you can find pretty much anything you want on AliExpress, there are definitely some products you should never buy from the retail platform.
Here is a quick list of products you should avoid buying from AliExpress.
Branded, luxury products like Louis Vuitton and Nike can be found on AliExpress.
While these products are very cheap, it’s never worth buying them.
They are not the real deal but counterfeit versions of the real brands. The quality will be noticeably lower and you can potentially get in trouble with customs for importing them. Stay way from luxury products on AliExpress!
You can find ridiculously cheap charging bricks on AliExpress. However, these don’t undergo the same quality control we are used to and saving a couple bucks isn’t worth it if your house burns down.
Batteries sold on AliExpress are known to not work. Don’t be that cheap person that gets batteries sent to you from China.
Yes AliExpress sells condoms. I hope I don’t have to explain why that’s a bad idea.
Things that break
AliExpress sellers aren’t known for packaging things all too well. Fragile items tend to arrive broken, stay way.
Be careful with clothing sizes
Buying clothing from AliExpress is fine, just be sure to check the measurements and not use your western sizes as you will end up with clothing that is far too small for you. Asian sizes are very different from American sizes.
Wish vs AliExpress
Both Wish and AliExpress are online retail platforms that solely work with third party sellers.
While AliExpress is owned by the Chinese Alibaba group, Wish is actually owned founded in the United States.
However, that doesn’t mean Wish uses American suppliers. On Wish, you’ll find the same products as you would on AliExpress for the same prices, offered by the same people.
Essentially, Wish and AliExpress are doing the exact same thing, just owned by separate companies.
In fact, many sellers use both platforms.
Wish charges a higher (10%) commission rate to their sellers than AliExpress who charges only 5% commission.
This results in products often being more expensive on Wish than they are on AliExpress.
Bottom line, Wish and AliExpress do the exact same thing, only AliExpress is often cheaper and thus the better platform to shop from.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are items so cheap on AliExpress?
AliExpress’ cheap pricing is a combination of many factors.
The first factor being that the labor cost is a lot lower than we are used to in the US or EU.
You’re also buying directly from distributors in China which is of course a lot cheaper than buying products directly from Target or Walmart.
And lastly, the products are made in bulk with cheap materials.
What items can I buy from AliExpress?
You can find just about anything on AliExpress. From electronics to clothing to remote controlled cockroaches (not joking).
If it exists, someone on AliExpress will likely sell it.
How long does AliExpress take to deliver?
AliExpress delivery times vary widely depending on a number of factors such as the delivery option you chose, the processing times of the seller and whether or not the products are being sent from China or a local fulfilment center in your country.
The average order on AliExpress takes about 2 to 3 weeks.
Do I have to pay Import taxes on AliExpress orders?
AliExpress does not cover customs duties or taxes.
In the event your package get seized by customs, you’ll have to pay for that.
However, AliExpress sellers tend to add a really low value to packages which causes them to be rarely picked up by customs.
So as long as you don’t buy expensive items from AliExpress, you likely won’t have to pay import taxes or customs duties.
What is the difference between Alibaba and AliExpress?
AliExpress is a part of the Alibaba group.
While Alibaba takes care of wholesale, AliExpress takes care of retail selling.
Alibaba primarily focusses on B2B while AliExpress is focussed on B2C.
The reason AliExpress is often looked at badly is mainly because of the unrealistic expectations buyers have when they buy low-priced products.
Cheap pricing often results in low-quality products. That’s just common sense.
This doesn’t make AliExpress a scam, or any less legit.
You can still find many good deals on AliExpress as long as you do your due diligence and make sure you’re purchasing the goods from a reputable seller, of which AliExpress has many.
I myself have found some really good products on AliExpress that I’ve been able to use for years.
AliExpress’s checkout is very safe and you are always protected from fraud through AliExpress’s buyer protection program.
As long as you check the quality of the product and dispute within a reasonable time, you will never have a bad experience on AliExpress.