Is it safe to shop on AliExpress? Where everything is so cheap!

Is Ali Express Safe

What’s the deal with AliExpress.com? Can you safely shop on there and get the sorts of bargains you can only dream of on other online shopping giants?

What Exactly Is AliExpress?

Firstly, AliExpress is an enormous online retailer – like eBay or Amazon. It started life as a B2B buying and selling site, but it expanded into the consumer marketplace and it’s now home to 100 billion products and counting. Owned by AliBaba, the China-based company, AliExpress is the international version of the AliBaba online marketplace. It’s a platform for small businesses in China to sell to consumers all over the world. Again, no different from Amazon or eBay. However, unlike Amazon, there are no AliExpress-branded products on offer and everything for sale comes from third-party sellers.

But What Makes It So Cheap?

With AliExpress, you’re taking out the middleman and often buying direct from the manufacturer. Buy it somewhere else and it could cost you more.

It might be a counterfeit product[1] but that can be said of many stores and online retailers. However, an AliExpress product might simply be excess stock from the production line or last season. Again, the same type of products as you might buy in the UK high street store, TKMaxx.

Can It be Trusted?

As with many online retailers, sometimes you get the product not as advertised. It might look very different when you compare it back to the online image, but this can happen anywhere.

It might take a while to arrive, as it’s coming from China, but it can also arrive in just two weeks. It depends if you want to wait or pay more for instant delivery from a different site. You may find the option to choose your shipping partner. This means you can go for a known shipper, like UPS, but you’ll pay for their service.

Any Top Tips?

The price that you see on the product page isn’t the price that you’ll pay. VAT is added automatically as you click the checkout button, so remember to add 20% when deciding what to buy. If you’re spending over £135, VAT is added by the shipper instead so you might find that you have VAT added, along with a handling charge and import duty.

The quality of AliExpress goods is, in the main, fine. If you do want to take on a retailer for a refund, it’s not always as easy as with other online retailers. Unless you can find a clearly obvious flaw or discrepancy, you’re likely not to get a refund or any customer support from AliExpress. They’re pretty hands off. Shipping back to China will also be – most likely – at your cost. Beware!

Payment is as secure as it is on any online retailer and AliExpress even has its own payment system called AliPay. All online systems are open to fraud, but AliExpress is no worse than other brands.

Spot the Difference

As with all major online retailers, there are many pros and cons. It can come down to what you’re used to. You might even find that your family and friends are paying more for the same product from the same retailer, but they’re just shopping on Amazon or eBay….

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