After placing 580 orders on Aliexpress.com within 4 months, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Aliexpress is full of scams and scammers. Buyer beware!
Welcome to my review of Aliexpress.com.
I have a unique perspective about Aliexpress because I worked with this site to drop-ship Aliexpress products for over 4 months back in 2013.
My review of Aliexpress will be primarily based on the perspective of the buyer, since that was my experience working with this company.
Price: Free to join as a buyer or seller
Owners: Jack Ma, Chairman. Jonathon Lu, CEO
Overall Rank: 35 out of 100
Aliexpress is a smaller sister company of the dominant well know Alibaba.com company.
Both are based on the business to business model providing buyers and sellers a platform to conduct business directly from China to basically anywhere in the world.
I promise you Victoria Secret does NOT sell their products on Aliexpress.com. As a matter of fact, you can get this bag for $10 less without the brand name on it!
Aliexpress allows buyers/importers/retailers/and wholesalers a way to find discounted “Brand Name” products at wholesale prices.
They also offers buyers the advantage of being able to buy wholesale products in smaller quantities (usually between 1 – 50 units per product).
But there are some problems with this platform.
The problem with Aliexpress – as a whole – is that there is NOT ONE single legitimate brand name product sold on the site.
It might look like there are plenty of brand name products on the site, but that’s only because the sellers use the brands product pictures, without the brand’s permission of course.
In other words, they steal the official pictures and use them to promote knock-off products.
This is called copyright fraud.
But its so common… especially with these type of platforms where most of the products are sourced from China.
China is well known for their ability to create knock-off versions of literally any product.
Since so many sellers make the same mistake, its difficult for authorities to crack down on them.
And even more difficult for the original brand to sue them, considering most of the sellers live over-seas and use fake names and contact details.
I would guess that 60% of their products are counterfeit while the other 40% are just truly generic products.
Real brand name products just don’t exist on Aliexpress.com.
If you’re looking for knockoffs to sell on your website or to purchase for yourself, Aliexpress offers a huge platform to find virtually anything you want.
You could also try 1Sale.com for that matter.
With both, you might be disappointed with the quality, as well as the return policies and customer service you receive.
This was my next step I took in my online career after messing around with Aliexpress.
1). Aliexpress offers a great website that is easy to navigate and you can find almost any consumer product you may be looking for.
2). You can easily search and find products within their system, review the seller & product ratings (Somewhat fraudulent -see below), and see product specifications.
3). Aliexpress has a great system to organize your orders, communicate with sellers, and track your order delivery.
However, it’s kind of ironic with the picture above. The first thing below All Orders is Refunds & Disputes. I didn’t mean to capture that part of the photo, but as fate would have it..
4). Aliexpress offers an escrow service to protect the buyer from blatant fraudulent orders.
5). You can find a good amount of quality products on Aliexpress but they’re usually things like bags or cell phone cases. Things that are easy to reproduce.
In short, if you need a basic product and you don’t care about brand names, Ali Express can be quite useful. The seller platform is also quite convenient.
The Bad: Scams
In my title I state that I was a victim to 57 scams in one day – and it’s true.
I had a rush of orders from my website for Micro SD Cards.
My old supplier was out, I chose a new supplier that I hadn’t yet worked with, but had 5 star ratings.
So I gave him a try based on positive feedback and high ratings.
He took all my orders, but unfortunately, didn’t fulfill a single one.
He took my money and tried to run.
The escrow service was one of the better features about Aliexpress and it ended up saving me a loss of $800 dollars.
However, my customers were furious with me when their packages didn’t arrive in a couple of weeks and I was notified by Aliexpress 3 weeks after placing the 57 orders.
That makes it impossible to provide good customer service as a business owner.
China is incredible about making knockoffs, so you can get some good deals there.
The problem is when the deal goes bad.
The Bad with Aliexpress:
If you plan to drop-ship or sell these products on your website, the most difficult issue you’ll have with Aliexpress is Quality Control and Refunds/Returns.
You see, you don’t really have a sure-fire system for quality control using Aliexpress suppliers.
You can look at the Seller Rating and read Feedback about the seller and the product, but most of the time it’s impossible to tell if it’s accurate.
Because sellers constantly “Bribe” buyers for good feedback ratings when an order goes bad.
How can that be?
When you buy a product that is either sent to the wrong address or is faulty, you naturally bring your complaint to the seller.
If you have a good relationship with the seller and buy products from them on a regular basis, they will usually ask for evidence of the faulty product or poor delivery, and then refund your money.
However, this is not the norm on Aliexpress.
Instead the seller will usually offer you a refund if you leave them a 5 star rating!
I was given this option about 70% of the time with my defective orders.
That should be an alarm that you’re looking at an online scam.
If you stand your ground and tell the Chinese supplier that you are not going to do this and demand your money back, they will pretty much ignore you or leave meaningless generic messages in response to your messages.
It’s a shame.
You then have the option to take your complaint to Aliexpress Arbitration (this is a freaking joke).
You explain your side of the story.
The supplier states they sent out your product in good condition. Then it’s up to you as the Buyer to prove the product is faulty.
See the example below.
My customer received a 32 GB Micro SD Card and not a 64 GB Card, but to make matters worse, the card only held 4 GB of data.
This is what I had to send the Aliexpress Arbitration system in order to get my $13.20 back.
So if you are drop-shipping products to your customers, you then need to contact your customer and get a picture or video of the faulty product.
Pain in the ###!
To make matters worse, uploading your evidence to the arbitration system is very limited on file sizes for photos & videos.
And even after showing considerable evidence that your product is faulty or incorrect, it’s like there’s nobody there to look over the facts.
Many times, you get an automatic rejection.
You eventually either lose your money or you are left with the option of shipping the item back.
Do you know how much it costs to ship something to China?
Many times, it’s much more expensive than the original item, making it a worthless endeavor.
If you are new to importation or online business, it will be easy for you to fall victim just like I did.
You get introduced to a website like Aliexpress that offers you brand name products at discounted wholesale prices.
However, the products are just replicas, counterfeits, or whatever you want to call them.
If you don’t realize this and you sell them as brand name products, you are committing a crime (at least in the United States) of selling counterfeit products.
If you are selling on eBay or Amazon, you can get yourself blacklisted and loose your selling privileges.
And if your products get reviewed by International Customs, you’ll lose all your inventory and the money you spent on that order.
Who is Aliexpress For?
Aliexpress is perfect for anyone who just wants to buy a generic product for themselves to save a little money.
But the quality of the product will most likely be (somewhat to greatly) inferior to the real product.
I would say that out of the 500+ products I bought from Aliexpress, 70% of them worked well.
From a business point of view, a 30% defective rate is not good.
That’s a lot of refunds and customer complaints.
If you take this route as a online business owner, you can expect delivery times anywhere from 10-40 days. Again, poor customer service.
Aliexpress Tools & Training
Aliexpress does have a help center and provides guidance on how to avoid online scams and fraudulent sellers.
But really no tools or training to speak of.
You can always get ideas for hot selling products through their Super Deals and Best Selling links. But that’s about it.
Like mentioned above, they offer a good escrow service to protect the buyer of orders that are taken and never fulfilled.
But if you end up having issues with the products themselves, they offer basically no support to the buyer.
Some sellers are legit and will refund your money, but this is rarely the case.
The owners of Aliexpress offer NO SUPPORT, as well, there is NO COMMUNITY SUPPORT.
And as mentioned before, the arbitration system is a sham.
Price: Free to join as a seller or buyer
Owners: Jack Ma, Chairman. Jonathon Lu, CEO
Overall Rank: 35 out of 100
My Final Opinion of Aliexpress
If you are looking for a knockoff product for yourself and it’s something like a bag or a cell phone case, you can find some good deals.
If you are looking for anything technical like an iPod, cell phone, or computer, beware that you could end up with a very poor quality product and have little recourse to get your money back.
I was looking for a real way to sell brand name products online with Aliexpress.
Unfortunately, that system doesn’t exist.
Use Aliexpress to sell generic products, but sell them honestly and don’t violate copyright laws.
It’s not a business model I recommend because of poor long-term potential.