Apr
04

Alibaba SCAM Exposed!

Alibaba is a SCAM – you see this everywhere! And yes, you may get scammed on Alibaba if you don’t use your common sense… just like on eBay, Amazon and ANY OTHER online marketplace.

Really I kinda feel sorry for Alibaba as I know for sure it is not a scam. Alibaba is simply a platform where buyers and sellers meet. Yes, there are of course scammers on Alibaba but that doesn’t mean Alibaba itself is a scam.

With that logic you can then say that eBay, Yellow Pages and even your local business directory are scams as I’m sure you can also find some unscrupulous businesses there too.

The biggest problem this ‘Alibaba scam’ myth creates is that people who are new to importing are too afraid to even start their research process as they have that one line repeating in their heads – Alibaba is a scam, Alibaba is a scam, Alibaba is a scam…. that’s why, with today’s blog post I want to clear up the air once and for all and give you a step by step filtering system you can use to avoid 99% of scams on Alibaba and unlock one of the world’s biggest online marketplaces

But before we go into the actual verification process; let me quickly remind you that you cannot get any kind of branded items wholesale from mainland China.. I’m talking about electronics, DVDs, software, designer clothing, shoes and similar items. If you’re looking for anything branded, China is NOT the place to look as you’ll only receive fakes or get scammed.

Now back to Alibaba – they’ve actually improved their website and listings significantly in this regard – these days it’s very hard to find any “branded” items on Alibaba as they have removed most of these listing and suspended offending advertisers. Years ago you could do a search for any TV series and get hundreds of results. I just tried such a search and it returned ZERO results…

These bootleg DVD box sets were very popular – 24, Baby Einstein, Friends, Prison Break and others – all fakes, 100% copies, sourced for a fraction of the actual cost and sold back on eBay. Luckily, those days are over! Sure, there are still bootlegs available on eBay but not on the scale it was before.

Anyway, what does this have to do with our original topic – well the no.1 rule to avoid scams is – STAY AWAY from anything branded on Alibaba.com! You can only source un-branded goods wholesale from Mainland China! And once you eliminate branded goods, you’ll see that it’s actually very difficult to get scammed! To make it practically impossible, use my 10 step filter system…

1. Gold Supplier

If possible, I always try to stick with Gold Suppliers who are on their 3rd year+. Gold Supplier status still is the number 1 thing to look for when looking for reliable suppliers on Alibaba and to avoid scams especially when used in conjunction with filtering out 1st year and 2nd year suppliers.

The Gold Supplier status costs several thousand dollars each year – scammers simply can’t afford that kind of money. Besides that, they’ll never last longer than 1 or 2 years – by then they get caught and have to change the company name and register a new Alibaba profile.

That’s why I try to stick to Gold suppliers who have been trading on Alibaba for at least 3 years. If you see a Gold Supplier in their 6th, 7th or 8th year – it’s a sure sign that it’s an established company and the chance of them being a scam are incredibly slim.

I never do business with free members on Alibaba! I even don’t look at free profiles as that’s where most scams are hidden. If a Chinese manufacturer or trading company can’t afford the Gold Supplier yearly fee, it definitely says something about them.

2. No complaints in the last 90 days

This is a new indicator Alibaba recently introduced and it gives us a good idea of any potential problems with the supplier. I would filter out any supplier that has a complaint in the last 90 days.

3. Escrow Payments

Even if you don’t want to use Escrow on Alibaba yourself, if a supplier accepts Escrow then it’s a good sign that’s a genuine company (scammers will almost never agree on using an Escrow payment system).

4. AliExpress Store

This is a very good indicator that you’re dealing with a legit supplier. These days more and more Alibaba companies are opening AliExpress stores where you can shop safely for small MOQs and pay securely via Escrow using your credit card. If a supplier has an AliExpress shop, check it out. –Specifically, check out their feedback as it can tell you a lot about the product quality, how quickly the supplier dispatches goods etc.

And you can take this even further – quite often, just to save me time and avoid extra, unnecessary communication, I use a supplier’s AliExpress shop to order samples. This way you can check the quality of the product and only once happy with everything, place your real wholesale order by contacting the supplier directly through Alibaba or even the same AliExpress!

YES, even on AliExpress you can get significant discounts when buying in true bulk so if you want to stick with AliExpress & their escrow system, you can simply negotiate a deal with your supplier there. Just keep in mind that it will always be more expensive than to deal with the supplier directly as AliExpress takes their cut in fees for each transaction.

5. Live Factory Video

If a supplier has a video on their Alibaba profile, check it out. If it’s produced by Alibaba themselves, it’s a sure sign that the company is real and genuine. If not, still try to use it and look for signs that tell you this is the company you’re dealing with (logo / company name on office walls, factory footage showing production of the goods they’re advertising, trade show footage etc.).

6. Website

If a company owns a proper, standalone website in English,that’s another good sign that you’re dealing with a reputable company. You should also do a Who Is database check to find out when the domain name was registered; the older the better, of course.

7. Trade Shows

Whether it’s on a company’s Alibaba profile or their website, look for Trade Show information. Scammers DO NOT attend trade shows so if you see trade shows listed for up-coming months, or past trade show information with pictures, it’s another good sign. But always make sure to try and verify this information on the official Trade Show website (for example, China’s biggest trade show is Canton Fair).

8. Google Search & Global Sources Profile

Do a quick Google search of the company’s name. Quite often you’ll get links to their profile on other Chinese B2B websites, such as MadeinChina or Global Sources. If the company has a verified profile on Global Sources, chances of it being a scam are reduced to an absolute minimum as unlike Alibaba, Global Sources takes it’s verification process very seriously and there are stringent requirements for authentication. So depending on the number of stars a supplier has on Global Sources, you can be sure that you’re dealing with a real company.

While still on Google, do another search for “company name + scam”. Usually this will pull up any forum posts or scam reports associated with that company.

9. Invoice / Bank Details

When you’re already in the negotiation process and receive your first proforma invoice, always check the company address, name & bank details. It should be exactly the same as on their Alibaba profile.

NEVER send money to a personal bank account! This is the most typical scam played out on Alibaba – the supplier will tell you that they’re having a problem with their business account so please pay to our boss’s account. NEVER do that! Money that goes to a personal bank account is often nothing more than money gone down the drain.

10. Payment Options

If the only payment methods a supplier accepts are Western Union and Money Gram, run away! I would never even consider dealing with such a supplier. And while not all suppliers in China will accept PayPal, a bank transfer to a company’s account should be a default payment method that is always available to use. If they also accept Escrow, a letter of credit or PayPal – even better! But never only Western Union or Money Gram!

The only time that I’m happy to use Western Union is when paying for samples as it’s quicker and cheaper to send small amounts via WU than to do a bank transfer.

That is all pretty straightforward, right? Excellent!

Conclusion

So that is my TOP 10 filters to use when looking for a new supplier on Alibaba. There are of course many more, smaller ones, like – watermarked pictures. If a supplier has their own, watermarked pictures on their Alibaba product showcase, it’s another good sign that it’s a legit supplier (scammers usually don’t have the time or resources to get unique product pictures).

But overall, if you follow these 10 verification steps to check new suppliers, the likelihood of you getting scammed on Alibaba is really, really small. Sure, you can get unlucky – no one is protected 100%, risk is part of any business but in general, you’ll stay safe and avoid scams on Alibaba if you follow my advice.

Lastly, let me quickly note that there’s a difference between getting scammed on Alibaba AND simply getting a bad supplier with low quality stock or a supplier who is lazy, unresponsive and doesn’t want to hear about your problems after the sale is made. There are good and bad suppliers everywhere – be it China, UK, Argentina or anywhere else!

That’s why you should always start with a sample order, just to test the product quality and the supplier’s reliability. If you’re happy with the sample order, place your first real order but still keep it to a relatively small size and increase your orders gradually. Why? Well what often happens is that suppliers send out a perfect sample but then if you go ahead with a massive first order, they could send you a lower quality product.

Ideally, you would want to do some quality inspection for large orders but that’s an additional expense most small time traders can’t afford. So by gradually increasing your order quantity, you minimise the risk of getting scammed and it also acts as a product quality check.

That’s it for today. I really hope this helps you to stay out of trouble and avoid scams on Alibaba! As I said, there are actually not that many scammers left at all, but if you avoid branded goods and follow my 10 step verification process, your chances of getting scammed are reduced to a minimum.

Thanks,
Andrew

Comments

  1. Aliexpress never hear the buyer, they don’t have help center but only robot! So you never get help when you have trouble with this chinese seller! Not recommeded to source Chinese supplier from Alibaba or Aliexpress.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Asmara,

      Thanks for your comment & sharing your experience.

      Could you tell us a little bit more on what happened?

      As I have never had any problems with AliExpress and have found my best suppliers on Alibaba.com

      Would be great to hear your story.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • thor arne thorkelsen says:

        Much fraud on alibaba express.
        I have beeb doing much business on ali and aliexpress.
        Many good sellers.
        But there are many that try to rob you also. Alibaba dont do anything about it.
        I have tryed many times to report but impossible.
        It seems like alibaba don’t want to hear about it.
        How do they do it.

        Ok I try and want to order sets of tools.
        Very good bargain 45 sets for 250 dollar each. 11250 dollar .
        I want to pay by alibaba express.
        Company tell me . Tell me your mail add.

        On mail they tell me send mony by western union.

        They all insists to be payed on western union.
        There are many of them and i belive it is the same people is behind all sellers.

        I dont send 11250 dollar to a compant that dont have an address or a telephone.
        Hope someone that read this can do anything. Casew i have tried to complain to alibaba but they do nothing.
        Best regards thor arne from norway!

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Thor Arne from Norway!

          Thanks for your comment.

          Yes, of course there are many scammers on Alibaba – that’s why I published this post to help people filter them out.

          IF a company insists on taking ONLY Western Union, it’s a clear sign that something dodgy is going on. I would only use WU to pay for small samples some times and NEVER for real orders, even if it’s just few hundred dollars.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Wisal Sami says:

            Hi Andrew, I am wisal from Pakistan,

            I am also trying for some business, but i ask for a sample first.
            What do say about a company which is “4th year gold supplier”.
            They ask for transfer through Western Union, Pay-Pal or T/T.

            I cant decide about its authenticity.

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Wisal,

            What’s the link to the company and what products are involved?

            In general, if all looks good to you, un-branded goods are involved, and PayPal is offered – just place that sample order and see how it goes.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

    • I always managed to solve my problems in Aliexpress. I have won many disputes.

      Yes, Aliexpress is definetly a good marketplace to trade!

      • please tell me how i can send my pay safely ?
        because some one gave me a personal name to send the money, i ordered a stroller for my baby and they asked me to send via western union, ok but, it should be the name of the company like aliexpress for example, but it was a personal name so i didn’t feel comfortable
        can some one tell how does the payment work.

        thank you

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Lena,

          If you’re making a purchase on Ali Express, make sure to pay ONLY via Ali Express directly – online, using your credit card.

          And as a side note – if it’s a BRANDED stroller, just so you know – it’s 100% FAKE, Chinese copy and not original.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Order Number:
            61762738076141
            Status:
            Transaction Closed
            Reminder:
            Your order has been cancelled for security reasons. The fund for this order hasn’t been deducted by AliExpress. However, some banks may hold this payment, and the bank will reverse the payment for up to 7-30 working days before releasing back to the card holder. To avoid order cancellation in the future, please submit a claim for payment verification.
            ReAdd To Cart Want to Claim

            Can you explain this to me? Do I get my money back?

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Andrew,

            Thanks for your comment.

            Your payment was refused so they didn’t charge you anything.

            You need to submit a claim for payment verification so they can verify you’re the owner of the card.

            Then you can place another order and pay.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • They did charge the money has been taken from the bank, I checked on the bank statement however do I get my money back within those 7-30 business days? and I don’t want to put a want to claim for fear of scammers this is my second use of this website recieved my two products than this happens twice or three times

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Andrew,

            Are you sure the money was taken from your account? Or is it just a “hold/reserve”?

            As often times the bank reserve the money for transaction but do not take it from the account until merchant processes the payment.

            Andrew

    • BjornBorg says:

      Hi,
      Sometimes AliExpress functions well, sometimes it seems like there is a lot of corruption in China that also may affect AliExpress. In 2013 I have actively been using AliExpress. Most of the time sellers are nice, stuff is good and priceworthy. A few times I have stumbled upon sellers that were uuwilling/unable to supply advertised and bought goods. Usually I receive money back minus a small loss in exchange rates. One or two such occurances may be negligable, but when a few ow those happen it may sum up to some considerable “pocket money”. Since I live in a fairly small country; Sweden I most of the time have to accept dealing in another currency than my own. This time however something more deceiving happened to me. And it seems AliExpress is not fully functional in their customer service “Resolution center”.
      Here is what happened;
      I have been scammed of SEK 434.17 (US$66.96) on Order No “60236380432642″ I placed on AliExpress Oct 2 2013. Item was shipped with China Post registered mail “RB889234315CN”. All seemed fine at first, but since mid-October no update of goods whereabouts were made on any tracking service able to track China Post shipments. Last tracking stated it was in Beijing. Now most AliExpress sellers have a policy of offering customer “full refund if goods not received within 39 days”. So did this seller (WomanWorld) too. Now when I actively tried to push seller for a check where goods were by late November suddenly the seller extended his allowed delivery allowance. Well, beginning December I messaged seller again about what happened (>60 days after order and >45 days after last tracking notice with China Post). Since seller responded with something like “already shipped, please be patient”. Upon that I pushed the issue to AliExpress Resolution Center. Apparently they are not able to do anything but sit and wait. According to international Post routines a registered shipment is not possible to declare lost until 90days after shipment. Now we are some time around that timeline AliExpress has decided to close the case and release my funds to the seller, not to me – even though they with their trustworthiness back the sellers guarantee on their pages “full refund if not received in 39 days. And since case is closed I am not able to contact AliExpress Resolution Center again as far as I know. This just does not make me ever wish to have to deal with them again.
      Sorry that You should be the one I am posting such a story to, but I think such things should not be left int the shadows.
      Thank You for running this site.

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Bjorn,

        Many Thanks for sharing this with us.

        Your case again proves that when things go wrong, DON’T negotiate anything with a supplier. Just ask for a refund straight away or open a case. Don’t extend time frame, don’t accept partial refund.

        China Post in general is very un-reliable and chances are that the package actually was lost in the transfer. I always try to use a courier when possible and this eliminates most of these problems.

        Lastly – China Post registered packages CAN’T be tracked only beyond China’s border so it’s actually not a track-able shipping service.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

    • Hi I just want tp warning to you guys DO NOT ever have deal with http:// http://www.wholesalenice.com/ or their email is wholesalenice@maildak.com. Their website is selling replica of famous branded and they put really low price thats why many people interested. I have done my payment like 5 days ago but they didnt ship my items yet and after I keep force them to ship my orders and all they say is Sorry we wont post your items cos it would be hard through the customs and i asked what thats means and what about the money that i have been transfer and they said dont worrie we will give you refund but then they gone.. never reply my email again. There is something that I scare about is… because they know my bank details is it possible for them to steal money from my bank account? Do I have to report my bank about this?

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Andy,

        Thanks for your comment.

        I’m sorry to hear that you have fallen for such a simple and obvious scam – they even have “knockoff designer handbags …” in their home page TITLE!!!

        Stay away from any such sites, stay away from branded goods and replicas from China – they’re ALL scams or selling FAKES!

        But no, they can’t do anything really with your bank account number only, if you haven’t shared any login information, passwords etc.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

        • chris theard says:

          hey u say they are all scams if selling branded goods. I’m about to buy e cig supplies for my vapor shop and I’ve been weeding out quite a few sellers and even have escrow set up for payment with 1 seller on a big order of about 2-3k usd. they sell name brands such as kanger, innokin, vision, aspire which are all some top name brands of these products but they guarantee they are all original products and i have emails to prove it and they are using escrow. what do u think? shenzhen wellecs electronic co. ltd. gold member on alababa. also shenzhen HongTaiDaXin Science and Technology co. ltd. also gold member on alababa. any insight would be great. I know of a guy who gets all these name brands from these parts and I’m pretty sure its from a seller on alababa but of course he’s a shop owner and aint giving up his source lol.

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Chris,

            When I use term “branded product”, I’m mostly referring to Western brands – think – Sony, Apple, Gucci, Loreal and so on.

            With electronic cigarettes it’s different – most famous e-cig brands come from China – Boge, Kanger, Innokin etc. These are all Chinese brands and YES – you can get these, genuine items directly from China (as they’re Chinese brands).

            But be very careful as even these Chinese brands are being copied by other Chinese!!! Yes, there are plenty of fakes, copies, replicas in e cig World so I woould recommend you dealing with brands directly. You can find profiles for all these companies on Alibaba directly. If you can’t afford their MOQs, ask for re-sellers who can provide smaller MOQs.

            Hope this helps Chris!

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • chris theard says:

            hey so the actual names i just listed are selling directly on alibaba?? r u serious? how do i find them?

          • chris theard says:

            http://ecigarettesz.en.alibaba.com/company_profile.html

            is this the official innokin brand company? if so they only accept t/t or wu so is that ok since its the official company? or what do u suggest? I’m being careful as possible here cause I’m literally investing all i have into my vapor shop. I know it’ll work but this is def proving to be the most difficult part. your help is greatly appreciated man.

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Yes, that official Innokin Alibaba profile and should be perfectly safe dealing with them.

            Use wire transfer for orders.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • chris theard says:

            http://elego.en.alibaba.com/company_profile.html

            hey check them out i think I’m gonna start with these guys even tho they aren’t the manufactures. still very good price and i don’t have to buy as many as when going str8 thru the manuf. They seem pretty solid and on the up n up. again i appreciate your help. good looking out man.

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            they look decent, yes!

            Start with a small sample order and see how it goes.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

    • Totally agree, they are big fraud, they don’t stand for buyer anyway, their escrow is a big fraud….

    • olatona adebayo joseph says:

      pls thankm u very very much for this timely alert.may Jehovah God continue to bless u more and more.pls i placed an order now and im yet to confirm it because during the negotiation with the supplier he never informed me that there will be an ESCROW attached to it not until when i saw it on the confirmation page ,then my question is is ESCROW SERVICE FREE ON ALIBABA/ALIEXPRESS i got some information that it is free but my supplier charged me for escrow service pls could this be true?

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Escrow is not free.

        Well, for buyer it is (technically) but sellers have to pay Escrow fee, if used.

        So often times they add this Escrow fee to total invoice.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

    • I placed a large order for handbags with Aliexpress in the beginning of February. They charged my credit card and then last week the so called “SELLERS” cancelled all my orders.

      They are LIARS, CROOKS, FRAUDSTERS, STAY AWAY FROM THEM AND ALIBABA.

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Allison,

        You did place an ordered almost 2 months ago and all this time you just waited for a dispatch?

  2. Great article! The only suggestion I can think of is to get an express shipping account (DHL, FedEx, UPS) so you can easily have samples sent to you.

    In most cases the supplier will send you the samples for free.

    I have built a successful e commerce business and leveraged Alibaba to locate most of my suppliers.
    I have never had any problems and now I have invoices that are $30K ++

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Thanks Jason!

      Yep, that’s a good idea on the courier account – just to make sure suppliers don’t over-charge you shipping for samples. In general though I have found that Chinese companies, with their courier accounts get better shipping rates than we (in UK) can get.

      Just like you, I have found my best suppliers on Alibaba and I think that place is GOLD! People who look at it as a big scam, are really missing out A LOT especially when Alibaba now offers Escrow system and quality agent services.

      Good Luck with your business!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  3. James Brown says:

    On Alibaba is it the case that if it does not say “No substantiated complaints in last 90 days” you can assume that there have been complaints? Or do they tell you straight that there have been complaints against the company whose information you are viewing?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi James,

      Thanks for your comment & question.

      This is a new indicator they’re using – to be honest, I have yet to see one that would show any number for complaints. So not sure how quick they act and change this when a report comes in.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. I just did business with AliExpress. The transaction was fine but my credit card info was stolen. Someone made three unauthorized charges, I was notified and the card shut off.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Randy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Why do you think it was because
      of Ali Express?

      I highly doubt that Ali Express would steal your credit card data…

      Andrew

    • randyy help im from mexico and after buying on aliexpress they made 2 charges to my card that i dindnt and i cancelled , could you get your money back? What happend pleasee

      • I use a debit card in my business with them. I have a special account for them. Money for the business I want to conduct, otherwise the account is empty . So anyone stealing my card info is doing that for the fun of it. I suggest you do same if you can

  5. Bob Zerebeski says:

    ALIBABA ITSELF IS A SCAM!!!

    I paid for the Gold level and they took our money but SAY WE don’t qualify. Well, we are a Canadian Company that has been iN business 25 years!

    DO NOT PAY ALIBABA TO BECOME A GOLD SUPPLIER OR YOU WILL BE SCAMMED!!!

    oUR NUMBER IS 250-320-9569 IF YOU HAVE AnY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS!!

    I WILL BE PUTTING UP A WEBPAGE EXPOSING THEM ALSO!! I AM SURE I WILL GET IT TO PAGE ONE ON GOOGLE IF ITS THE LAST THING I DO!! I HATE PEOPLE STEALING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Thanks Bob for sharing your experience on Alibaba with us.

      That’s really weird that they take payment first and only then do verification..

      Andrew

  6. First time at AliExpress and directly a bad experience and the seller is proud of it and says everybody does it.i bougth 10 Power Banks oke.. Afterwards there are a lot of flaws with the accessories i forgave him and completed the order. Later on i discovered that the power banks are not 2600mah as discribed but lower than 1000 mah and he fucking admits like he is proud and told me not to contact him!!
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/330354 Milo Zhang
    Nice guy at first and behaves like a victem but after you give a good feedback and complete the order a 180 degrees turnaround.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

      This is quite typical with electronics and Chinese suppliers – they advertise on spec and send you something else.

      Here’s an interesting blog post by Dan on how this happens on large scale:

      http://www.youngmoneychina.com/2012/07/how-to-lose-20000-in-one-day/

      If you do volume orders, quality check is a MUST! 10 of course is not large order so not much you can do apart from choosing more established sellers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Yeah i know now that all electronics especially batterys or products with battery are bad. i will never buy such things again only simple things.. The people who scams in such way is very stupid. He can earn in short term some money, but he will never earn money from me again (long term) And all to spare around 0.50 – 1 dollar per product..

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          It is stupid indeed!

          You can’t build a sustainable business on such one time customers…

          Not much we can do about it, there will always be scammers in any business and industry.

          Lesson learned I guess!

          Thanks,
          Andrew

    • There’s a seller on Aliexpress and they go by the name store Washington, I wanna know if they’re legit because they never reply when I try to talk to them. I ordered a Redskins jersey for $26 and i chose the 5-15 day option for shipping and I ordered it on December 24, and it hasn’t got to me yet. Thank you

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Vez,

        Thanks for your comment,

        If you ordered Redskins jersey on Ali Express for $26, you can be 100% sure that it’s a FAKE! Even if the seller sends it to you, it’s a fake.

        You can’t get licensed jerseys from China.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  7. I ordered a jabbawockeez mask shipped thru DHL today. I paid thru Western Union here in Philippines.
    It is my first time to do online shopping. I don’t have any bank acct.
    But I am planning to do buy & sell business and get supplies from Ali.
    I really thought that this would be fun because there are various items and discounts there.

    Pls give me advice regarding financial aspects if I were to venture
    buy & sell business with suppliers coming from Aliexpress.

    thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jao!

      On AliExpress it really doesn’t matter which payment form you use as long as it goes through the Escrow system. I hope that WU transfer wasn’t direct to the seller? Then you don’t have any protection on your transaction.

      Best way to make orders on Ali Express is by getting a bank account and a credit or debit card. Then you can pay easily/instantly via Escrow system and get maximum protection from scammers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Aussie Spud says:

        Andrew, as of late 2013, Aliepress no longer accepts debit cards. (Though, mysteriously, a few people still say they manage to have their debit card accepted for payments.) I believe Aliexpress would prefer that everyone used direct bank transfer–much easier to get away with scamming the customer where there is absolutely no consumer protection! I spent 3 months manning a help desk trying to assist people scammed by Aliexpress & its sellers, and in most cases all I could advise was to write off their loss, there was no way the customer would be able to recover stolen money. The biggest scammer is Aliexpress itself hiding behind its fraudulent escrow service. They profess to not release your payment to the seller until you have received the goods. This is a lie. In almost every case of fraud, Aliexpress has released payment to the seller after a set time has elapsed and without ever taking steps to verify with the customer that the goods have even been received. In 90% of scams, the customer is unaware they have been scammed by Aliexpress until many months have elapsed, all that time believing the goods were on their way by slow postal service and that their payment was protected by its escrow service. Their payment was not protected at all, it was handed over to the scammer. It’s a racket, and Aliexpress is part of the fraud in the way it allows and encourages continual scams via its methods. The best advice I’ve seen for shoppers at Aliexpress, is to gamble only with what you can comfortably afford to lose. Aliexpress had a forum where shoppers could talk about their experiences and exchange advice, but in 2013 Aliexpress shut it down because it was acutely embarrasing to have all these scams aired in public. (For months now, the site has been advertised as “down for maintainance”. Go figure!) If you are a customer who likes a gamble, Aliexpress is the site for you! BUT YOU SHOULD ONLY PAY BY CREDIT CARD, AT LEAST THAT WAY YOU WILL GIVE YOURSELF SOME DEGREE OF PROTECTION IF YOU ARE DEFRAUDED. Good luck!

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi There,

          Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience.

          I haven’t personally been scammed on Ali Express so can’t comment on that but as far as Escrow service goes – this is clearly written in the description of it – money is automatically transferred to seller after the time frame for delivery has collapsed. And it only makes sense as otherwise, where would all that money go for all those transactions where buyers DO NOT confirm the shipment and release money manually?

          I’m sure the percentage of such transactions is huge.

          To avoid situations like these, always start a dispute BEFORE that time frame has collapsed, not after that.

          And as I have mentioned several times, use courier shipping services to minimize risks of such cases. In 99% of cases I use courier for Ali Express orders and maybe that’s why I haven’t been scammed.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • chris theard says:

            can u please give me info on the courier u speak of? I’m in isa and i just thought i use ems and it’ll come to my door from post office. any help appreciated

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Chris,

            Any courier is fine really – EMS, TNT, DHL, UPS – they all are good, I have used all of them with no big difference.

            If you use EMS and are located in the USA, your package will be delivered by USPS.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • I bought some goods from Ali a few days ago but I paid using PayPal. Do you think I am safe? I am unable to track the package because it’s shipping through China Post. My friend told me China Post takes a wife to update the movent of the package. I really hope I am safe with PayPal. Thanks

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Joshie,

            It depends on what kind of item you purchased, from what seller etc. The fact that you’r asking this question probably means that you haven’t done your home work and haven’t fully familiarized yourself with how importing works. Hopefully it will all end good but you should really do more reading before you buy anything else from Alibaba.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • I purchased some designer shoes. And contacted paypal to find out if the seller had a legit paypal account. And the paypal agent told me that they had a legit business account. I know it’s my fault I should have done research, but the seller told me goods will be delivered in 15 days yet I can’t track the package. I purchased on march 14th. I just hope my goods was shipped if not I will contact paypal again. Does this sound fishy? The name of the seller is “mens shoe ark”

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Joshie,

            Designer shoes, from China? Forget about it! Either you’ll get fakes or you’ll get scammed. Either way you end up losing your money as even if you do receive stock, you can’t re-sell it as it’s FAKES!

            If you can, initiate a case with PayPal straight away and ask for your money back. Cancel transaction asap.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

      • Hello ,
        EsCROW is hollow, my order was frozen, I could not complain anything, anywhere and in violation of Aliexpress buyer protection they already released the payment to the seller,
        before any confirmation of delivery.
        I paid via credit card so I will reclaim at Mastercard.

        17-4-2014
        Dear M Bagudu,
        With regard to your claim for the Order 61xxxxxx, seller has already been restricted from AliExpress due to fraud.

        However, since the order has been finished with the payment released to seller, we feel sorry that we could not assist you in recovering the fund.
        hope the above information will be helpful to you.
        Best regards,
        wujunjun
        Online TradeSecurity Department of Aliexpress.com

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Bagudu,

          How many days after the order you opened your claim?

          Andrew

          • Hi,

            my order was frozen and 3 days later I claimed, and they emailed
            me immediately I could forget the refund, since was already
            transferred to the fraudulent shipper.

            i have been aggresively kicking around at fora and at all
            known communication channels of Aliexpress and accused them of credit card fraud. Now they confirmed me a refund, I did not receive that yet, But normally when the system is stating that , the refund really follows.

  8. Hi Andrew, is it safe to buy a poker table from one of these suppliers especially if the supplier passes your 10 steps filtration process? I did some review research on Alibaba and found nothing but negative feedback. Your blog did give me a hope. Thanks in advance.

    Desi

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Desi,

      Thanks for your question.

      Poker tables are totally fine as long as they don’t have any brand names on them.

      If the supplier has passed my 10 step filtration process, you have already minimized your chances of getting scammed to minimum. But to be 100% safe, you can always do a factory audit using following services:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      AND use Escrow for the payment!

      If you do your research properly and deal with un-branded goods ONLY, Alibaba is a perfect place to be and there are actually very few scams along 3 year + Gold Suppliers.

      Good Luck!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      P.S. Feel free to email me the link to that supplier and I’ll personally check it out.

  9. Hi Andrew,

    I know you are getting plenty questions on here. Could you please tell me what you think about wheels purchased through Alibaba? I am looking to purchase replica wheels and China is the only one who makes the ones I am searching for. I have chatted with the seller in the last 2 days and they have told me PayPal is fine. It is my First purchase after signing on a couple months ago and I am not sure to proceed because of that. They are a 2nd year Gold supplier though.
    Here is the link, in the case you have time to check them out. I’ve also put the link in the Website space up above in the Speak Your Mind slots.
    http://skyauto.en.alibaba.com/company_profile.html

    Many thanks for your help,

    Winston

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Winston,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s hard to tell, I would recommend you first doing FULL factory audit using one of these services:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      This will cost you roughly $100-$150 but will give you added piece of mind that company is totally legit and actually do what they say they do.

      I have never dealt with alloy wheels before but those designs they’re copying – there could be some issues if those designs are protected by a IP? I’m sure you know that you can’t have any brand names/logos on as I saw there are some sets with Mercedes etc. on them.

      So you should probably start with this – how legal is actually to import and re-sell such replicas.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        Looking to buy a flambe cart. Been emailing a Alibaba company. They say they only take bank to bank transfers for money. They show a picture of their business license. They say they have 30 locations. What do you think? They don’t take any escrow payments.

      • I am thinking of buying branded goods from Pakistan, they only accept Western Union, Money Gram and TT, but they want me to pay with Moneygram. Does it sound dodgy do you think?

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Joe,

          Thanks for stopping by.

          DON’T DO IT!!!!

          It’s a 100% SCAM and you’ll never see your goods or money again.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  10. pls i am new to alibaba and i have read your article on scammers on alibaba. I would like to u to explain ‘brand name’ and recommend some VERIFIED and TRUSTED suppliers. Thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ayo,

      Thanks for your question.

      Brand name – when talking about sourcing products from China, by Branded products we mean any products that have Western brand on them, such as, Sony, Apple, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Adidas and so on. Not only these large, highly popular brands but also smaller, lesser known niche brand names.

      Any goods with such names coming from China will be FAKES/copies! With branded electronics, like Apple and Sony, very often you’ll get scammed and won’t receive anything at all, even not copies.

      Also, goods that carry any trademarks (logos etc.), characters (Disney, Smurfs etc.) are also classed as FAKES and you cannot import them from China! Those will be un-licensed products, illegal to buy and re-sell.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  11. CHEATING ON ALIBABA DISPUTE CENTER

    I think maybe alibaba cheating our dispute. I had a case where I am required to reply within 3 days or the case will be canceled by the administrator. But there is no limit to the administrator that do not take care of the case that I asked. example Case Number: 412830501 till date there is no handling of the administrator. Last answer of the administrator is dated 20/08/2013. I even can not find any chance to contact the Aliexpress administrator to say: What’s going on with my claim!? Actually I can not contact Ali if the status is not “Waiting for my response”. Ali administrators but sometimes seems to forget there is a claim not finished.

    I would not care, even if it takes a year I still would take care of this case and will not close it, before the case was settled. I also suspect that this is a collaboration between alibaba and the seller to gain time and cheat the buyers.

    NEVER TRUST ALIBABA OR ALIEXPRESS

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Erwin,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      I don’t really think Alibaba would want to scam you or anyone else – it’s in their interest to keep buyers happy as otherwise soon no one would do business on Alibaba.

      Of course, I don’t know the details of your case and chances are they’re slow on responding etc. (I have never had an opened case on Ali Express) but to blame them for being scammers is probably not the best way to describe this.

      Try contacting Ali Express directly to resolve your case.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • MARK VECCHIO says:

        hello. I just wanted to point out that not only does alibaba use that robot to help online, as someone referred to it as in a comment that I read, but even when you call the California contact number for Alibaba, there is not an option to even speak to an agent or rep. the only option they provide is to email them, and the statement was that Alibaba would respond within 24 hours. well that has been a week now. truthfully I personally don’t feel too comfortable dealing with anyone handling my money that I cant pick up the phone and call them to ask them a simple question! but they wont even return emails! that is pretty sad! so unfortunately ALIBABA has left a bad taste in my mouth for their service sir.I work too hard for my income. At this point I wont be using Alibaba any longer

    • Hi

      We have had the same experience on aliexpress. We have had refund for one dispute but took almost a year and could not contact them to see what was going on, you can only click on once to raise dispute, then you can never contact them again so wait for months on end until they decide to get hold of you, they are obviously also making interest on your money as they hold it for so long.
      We have done alot of business on aliexpress and have learnt some leasons. Always ask for original picture of product, they do start to hide the tags then you recieve branded forgeries but they have covered up label on tag. also some of the pictures differ so much from the product so ask them for original picture, some products are still good but different colors has they choose to photo shop them, there are so many brands out there that some items we did not even know was a brand until we came to sell and found it was a forgery like teddies and stuff brands we had never heard about so i do not know how to protect against that and what was very surprising was when we found it was a fake so we couldnt sell it aliexpress asked us to take a photo of original postal packaging, well we did not have it, 1. they sent small quantities separate for free postage reasons and we did not find out straight away, the suppliers will never refund, they dont understand about repeat business, Its not all doom and gloom we have got some very good suppliers now with quality clothing but everytime we find new products we ask for pictures and click the button to report before your time runs out as supplier says theyve sent it but there stalling for time because once the time is up you can not complain and your money is released. so in all aliexpress need to do much more for the customer and get rid of all sellers that are not reputable. I am know looking for much larger quantities of other items and we are now looking on alibaba, I hope we get a good supplier, i will be taking all the steps.
      Thank you all and good luck

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Angela,

        Thanks for your sharing your experience with other readers.

        Your comment and dozens of others only prove that free shipping is really not the way to go on Ali Express. If you’re using a courier, it’s just 4-6 days and you know for sure you have received your order or not, is it all in order etc. Regular mail can take up to 30 and sometimes more days. That’s not a viable business practice.

        As for branded goods – I usually just search for that item/brand on Google and if I see that there’s a company in USA/UK/EU/outside China, making those goods, chances are those in China are fake.

        But yes, it’s not that easy to tell, especially if you’re not familiar with that niche. Patents is another thing we can’t verify easily, but that’s another topic.

        Thanks again Angela & Good Luck with doing business on Alibaba!

        Andrew

  12. Hello Andrew

    I have tried on a couple of occasions to make an order on Aliexpress and it says for security reasons my order cannot be processed.

    I am not a business just a Londoner who Iikes to purchase online with my debit card. What am I doing wrong?

    Regards

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Josie,

      Thanks for your question.

      I’m not sure really – it could be that your card is not accepted?! Or that your billing address is different from your shipping address?

      Contact AE to find out what exactly causes this.

      And check out accepted cards here:

      http://help.aliexpress.com/payment_methods.html

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew

        I ordered some items from aliexpress and got emails saying payment successfully made. Later I get another email saying order has been closed. Payment could not be verified. So I went to my account thinking I did something wrong so I clicked on re-add to cart for one of my orders and ordered the other item from another vendor. And the same thing happens. I then click on veiw detail and it shows ‘Your order has been cancelled for security reasons. The fund for this order hasn’t been deducted by AliExpress. However, some banks may hold this payment, and the bank will reverse the payment for up to 7-10 working days before releasing back to the card holder. To avoid order cancellation in the future, please submit a claim for payment verification.” I clicked on claim and they wanted a copy of my ID, credit card statement and a copy of my credit card front and back. To me this is a red flag and I didn’t want to submit those things so I decided to order from ebay. Then 2 days later I get another email saying my payment was successfully paid. The order number was for the very first order that was cancelled by them. What’s up with this???? I’m calling my credit card company to file a dispute with them if they took any money out from my credit card.

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Sandra,

          Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

          But I’m not a representative of Alibaba or AliExpress – with such issues you have to contact AE support and find out what’s going on.

          Payment verification is a normal process that Ali Express carries out to protect themselves from scammers who order something and then do a charge-back. When you send scanned card, you can (and SHOULD!) hide the full number and back 3 security digits.

          If you’re not comfortable with verifying your identity/payment this way, then just don’t do it.

          But for this specific case, as I said, you just have to get in touch with Ali Express – I can’t help with stuff like this.

          Sorry, not much of a help – I know…

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  13. alibaba will take your money and never send you a product. they will give you no way to respond. our government allow people like this to work the internet.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi John,

      Alibaba is just a B2B platform – they don’t sell products, they act as middle man. If a supplier scams you, supplier is a scammer, not Alibaba.

      It’s exactly like with eBay – you don’t say eBay scams people when you receive a fake or seller doesn’t send you what you ordered…

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  14. Hi Andrew
    Dear Sir your post is very very very very good.Sir i want to start a import business from china to pakistan.i searching about it and find a blog which says

    Escrow: Escrow used to be the safety net you could rely on. Then crooks began setting up fake escrow services and continued on stealing as happily as before.
    Here’s reality. Real sellers don’t use escrow. They take your money up front. Then they ship you the package. That’s the way it’s done. They have the goods so they make the rules. If you want to use escrow and they agree to it, beware!!

    this is th blog addrees
    http://resources.alibaba.com/topic/303036/How_to_Not_Get_Scammed_on_Aliaba_or_Online.htm

    Please can you explain me why this person not support the ESCROW method?

    And one thing more i chat a chines about lower price and he said me a line
    ORDER MORE SAVE MORE

    is it true?
    please kindly explain.
    Hoop you replay soon
    Thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Bilal,

      Thanks for stopping by,

      I totally disagree.

      Escrow is still MUCH SAFER than making payments directly, before the shipment goes out. While it’s true that you shouldn’t use dodgy escrow services, Alibaba’s Escrow service is quite good and generally reliable.

      If you’re not dealing with high risk items/fakes, in 99% cases Escrow will be a sure sign that supplier on Alibaba is totally legit.

      I have also used Escrow.com when selling websites and domain names and it’s totally legit company that does exactly what’s said on the tin.

      As for buying more to get lower price – that’s true of course! In the wholesale business, buying power really drives the price. The more you buy, the less you pay per unit. Also, buying in bigger quantities means you’ll pay LESS in shipping fees PER ITEM which even further drives final price per item down for you.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  15. Hi Andrew,

    thank u so much for this useful article.

    im new on alibaba, and i never bought any online product before.
    i want ur advise is it safe to buy an evening dress and deliver to egypt. ? and if i cant buy through escrow, is it safe to pay through western union??

    Thank you and waiting fro your kind reply

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Riham,

      If you need just one evening dress, you better use Ali Express:

      http://www.aliexpress.com/

      It has a built in Escrow system for all transactions which will protect you in case of problems.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        I was hoping you had a chance to look at the supplier we were talking about. Please look at earlier posts. We just don’t want to get scammed. The carts cost around $1200. Thanks, James

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi James,

          Sorry about that – didn’t saw that post until now.

          The company looks totally legit to me from what I can see. Just make sure you pay directly to company (not a person) and you should be fine.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  16. Hello Andrew,

    Your postings are very helpful to people who are going to start a business, It highly appreciated. Sir i have a buyer who wants to buy USB flash drives in Bulk. I did some research on Alibaba filtering with your 10 steps on avoiding a scam. I found 2 Suppliers but they didn’t fulfill all your criteria points but they have been Gold suppliers for 10 & 9 years respectively & they both have been verified by Alibaba & a third party (TÜV Rheinland). The company video also has been verified by (TÜV Rheinland).

    I hope those information will be more than sufficient to make an order. But to get a expertise advice could you please check their stores. I’ll provide you the links.

    http://xianhedz.en.alibaba.com
    http://jmdeast.en.alibaba.com

    Please kindly look in to my matter
    Thank you
    Andrew

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Prasad,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Both companies look legit to me, apart from branded memory cards they have in their listings (don’t buy those!).

      For un-branded memory or your own brand memory they should be fine.

      But be very careful with memory products – first, always start with a small, trial order. Check quality and most importantly memory size (you’ll need a special software for this as quite often Chinese will fake it).

      If the real order is big enough, you’ll definitely want to hire a product quality inspector to randomly check products before dispatch. Just so you’re 100% sure you get what you paid for.

      Check out this post by Dan from YMC on this topic:

      http://www.youngmoneychina.com/2012/07/how-to-lose-20000-in-one-day/

      It’s about HDD but the story is same!

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

    • Hi Prasad,

      I’m interested to start a business with the 2 suppliers you listed below. Have you dealt with them so far? If so, how was your experience? Any further recommendations?

      Thx in advance.
      Yassine

  17. hi Andrew

    thanks for share..its very nice to filter scams step by step.
    i want to ask you if i pay through paypal is it ok?
    i asked them and most of them does not accept paypal but i find some suppliers who accepted but now i checked and they are 2nd year gold supplier.
    thanks for help

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kozi,

      PayPal usually is a good sign, yes.

      When you pay via PayPal – fund transaction with your credit card. Then if something goes wrong you can always initiate a charge-back with your credit card company and get your money back.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  18. Hi Andrew,

    great step by step guide.

    please explain why a supplier on alibaba is rated as a 5 year gold rated supplier yet when you look at their company profile it states that they were established in say 2011?

    Regards
    Mark

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your question.

      I’m not sure but it could be that they have bought that Alibaba profile from another company and then changed details to their own. This doesn’t happen very often but still – I have heard of such thing going on.

      You should ask that supplier – why they have an Alibaba 5 year gold account while company is just 2 years old and see what their response is.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  19. Hi!

    Thanks for this informing post!
    I was doing business thorough Aliexpress, buying clothes then selling.

    However in may past 10 shoppings the Aliexpress closed by transaction. They said I had to make claim: submit my id, credit card statement and so on.
    I did and did not get any response from them. It says i need to make a claim because my bank hold the money yet I spoke with my bank and they did not see any problem?

    So now I can’t shop on the wesbsite because my credit card does not go through? Is this a scam?? I am really worried. I have tried with three other different credit cards, yet still does not work?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jane,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      I know that they do such verifications to avoid/minimize charge-backs but have personally never been involved in a such verification process.

      Can’t help much with this one – you just need to get in touch with them and sort this out. Don’t use email! Login into your AE account and use direct contact form there (under Help section)

      Also, make sure it’s actually Ali Express that contacted you and not some scammer trying to get CC details from you for fraud.

      Sorry, not much of a help.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  20. My Case was too Simple i have Order a Mobile Phone $98 and with in 5 Days i got reply we will partially refund the $5 for Delay in Shippment as we cant sen u by DHL so plz Accept the Partiall Amount.

    I ask for $20 which they Accept and Refund and Closed my Order. and Then there was no response from Seller and i submit compliant to AliExpress too about the fraud happening..They did reply after 2 days and said we are checking the issue are we are getting the fraud compliant.

    The Big Question was when u Book any Order there is a ststus of Finished which was to be submitted by Client after recieving the Goods. But in my case after seller pay me partiall amount he Close my Order Status which he has to deliver the goods to me.

    When i ask Ali Express they say we have ban the user as get fraud compliant.

    My Question with AliExpress was that when we buy any Product Company says it will issue the funds to Seller until the product is Delivery and client submit the Finish Order. if its TRUE the how Seller can close my Order and without delivering the Product Company has Transfer the Fund to Seller and it Gone away with it.

    So it Show the Company is Fully envlove in this FRAUD SCAM….

    Plz Never buy any single product its all FAKE if still u wan to GAMBLE then Dont Cary after loosing ur Money………

    BAD Experiance……….BAD FAKE ChEATED People like any given Negative Feedback will not seen on AliExperess.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Tejinder,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with Ali Express.(this blog post is about Alibaba though, not AE).

      This is exactly why I always recommend buying ONLY from reputable sellers on AE with tons of feedback and ideally an Alibaba account too (Gold one). This way, chances of getting scammed like this, are greatly reduced.

      Also, a lesson to be learned from your experience – NEVER accept partial refund as this automatically closes transaction as completed! If there’s a need for a change in order, cancel it, get full refund and then place a new order for new amount.

      Lastly – fakes….it’s a well known fact that you CAN’T get any genuine/branded goods from China! You shouldn’t even look at them in first place! China is only good for un-branded goods, this is rule #1 when dealing with importing from China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        I am currently looking into purchasing quite a substantial amount of stock from some suppliers listed on alibaba so I am very happy to have found your post as this has been very informative. I have one or two queries and wondered if you could help me. I will be purchasing jewellery and will be making sure I get sample orders first. Do companies normally provide these free of charge if they are reputable?

        Also, i will not be looking for brand names so thankfully that is not an issue for me but I wish to put my own company name on some products…is this usually legal?

        Also, I live in the UK and because I have never traded before, I am a novice and unfamiliar with the rules around importing and exporting. Do we, as the customer have to pay VAT on our orders upon arrival into the UK or is this all something takem care of by the courier/ sellers used?

        Finally, do you know anything about the E-credit option? Is it recommended to a small business? Is interest very high?

        Apologies for the numerous questions….I’m just adamant that I know all I need to before taking the plunge and ordering as it is a big step.

        Kind Regards

        Lucy

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Lucy,

          Thanks for stopping by. I’ll try to answer your questions one by one:

          1) Samples. This depends on the value of samples. If those are very cheap products (like few pounds each), often companies they give away for free, you just have to cover shipping fee ($30-$50 for most small items).

          If items are more expensive, you’ll probably have to pay for them. Sometimes you’ll have to pay full/retail price for samples but supplier credits you back for this amount when you place your real order. Suppliers do this just to protect themselves from people buying in retail directly from them with no intention of making a wholesale order.

          2) Putting your brand name on items is totally legit and if you ask me – the best way to go to build a business around importing from China concept.

          3) Yes, you’ll have to pay VAT and import duty on these imports. If goods will be sent via courier service (such as DHL, TNT etc.), they will take care of taxes and documentation and simply invoice you for that amount + small processing fee (10-15 quid).

          4) Sorry, nope – haven’t heard about such e-credits….

          Hope this helps Lucy!

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Thank you, that’s all very helpful. Do the suppliers organise couriers or does the customer do this? (Sorry, may seem like silly questions). I was wondering if these taxes are extortionate and will defeat the whole purpose or if they aren’t too bad? My initial orders won’t be huge…not until I know more who to trust and have built up my capital a little.

          • Apologies for replying twice…just not sure you noticed the last one.

            :)

      • Aussie Spud says:

        Yes, so many shoppers get scammed by the “partial refund” fraud at Aliexpress sellers. Aliexpress profits by it, releasing your payment to the scammer and pocketing a percentage as their cut. The safest way to shop at Aliexpress is to negotiate with and PAY THE SELLER DIRECTLY USING PAYPAL. PAY NO OTHER WAY. If the seller does not accept PayPal, shop elsewhere. PayPal offers some protection against non-receipt of goods, faulty goods, and goods not as advertised.

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          again, this is how escrow works.

          There’s actually similar scam going on with PayPal – if seller sends partial refund, and buyer accepts it (during a dispute), buyer CAN’T open another dispute.

          So PayPal can be as dangerous as Ali Express escrow system.

          The most important thing people should learn from all of this is that they MUST READ THE RULES before making any payments, placing orders online etc. Yes, even small print as that’s the only way to avoid situations like these.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  21. Andrew Minalto says:

    Hi Lucy,

    Usually suppliers organize shipping via courier companies as they get cheaper quotes than you would.

    As for taxes – VAT is 20% for most products (there are some exceptions) and import duty depends on the product but usually is around 3% mark.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

    • So if your order is worth £1,000 you’ll be taxed £200 then another 3%. Seems expensive but i guess you just have to make sure to price things so they’ll cover this.

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Yep, roughly.

        You can’t really avoid VAT & import duty – that’s part of this importing business and everyone pays these taxes.

        Just make sure you count in them when making calculations – I usually just use a 25% and that will cover most products.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  22. This is the first time I have purchased goods from Alibaba online. The seller is very dishonest and deceive, I was very disappointed. I ordered a carbon monoxide detectors, but received smoke detectors. Following discussions with the seller, the seller asked me to mail back the goods, not only agreed to pay the freight from the U.S. to China, and also agreed for a fully refund. I also got the pre-approval before I mailed back the goods to China, but after I returned the good, the seller ignore my message and reject the refund. I spent total of US $ 193.05(include merchandise, shipping from china to US, shipping from US to China), lots of energy and time. Very bad experience.

  23. Hey I;m trying to start my own sock line and been looking for suppliers on Alibaba but only find ones with their own design already in them…Have you ever or know if any suppliers provide a service to custom make socks with your own company logo/design?? Have chatted with a couple of suppliers but seems they don’t know follow exactly what I’m asking…(a lot of fake branded socks on there as well)…any help would be appreciated

    Thanks!!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jay,

      Thanks for your email.

      99% of Chinese manufacturers on Alibaba will happily do OEM/white label for you! Maybe you’re asking it the wrong way? Or it could be that you have been contacting trading companies and not real manufacturers?

      Anyway, this shouldn’t be a problem if you can order in true bulk directly from manufacturers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  24. Hi, thank you for your article it was a really great read. Im currently looking to start a women’s clothing boutique & came across aliexpress/alibaba I was skeptical at first soI ordered A jacket as a sample. The quality was great the jacket was very thick quality of jeans so I do plan on ordering again. my question to you is, how do I find wholesalers that I can use to stock my upcoming boutique Im fairly new to business but this is something I’ve always had an interest in (owning my own business that is) thank you ever so much.

  25. Sam Ilyas says:

    Hi Andrew

    I have been looking for extra ordinary chandeliers for a while now and after exhausting all possibilities in the UK I started to look further a field and stumbled across ali baba, which I had never heard of before.

    After looking through the listings on there, it has made me realise either ive been missing out or its just too good to be true. So I decided to do some online research on alibaba – and your article has helped.

    I have selected a supplier which is both the most competitive (unbelievable competitive) and is offering an amazing product at a good price. I have followed your guidance – it is a supplier which has a gold supplier status, accepts escrow, has had its legal status confirmed and shows pics of the company.

    However one thing which is confusing and slightly concerning me – is the fact that the gold supplier status is showing the company is in its third yr however company profile states the company was established 1 yr ago.

    Also as dumb as it sounds, although I am in negotiation with the supplier what is the process for taking the transaction further. i.e. will I get an invoice, am I required to pay a deposit followed by a final payment, is the transaction completed via alibaba (like ebay/amazon) or independently … any advise?

    thanking you in advance
    sam

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The product – I hope it’s nothing branded and/or with characters/logos on them? Alibaba is only good for un-branded stuff. Anything branded and it will be fake. This also would apply to a back pack with Ben 10 on them.

      The Gold Member status – that sounds suspicious to me… it could be that they have bought that Gold member account from another company, but not sure. You should get in touch with them and ask – see what kind of explanation they come up with and then use your common sense.

      You can also do a search for this “company name + global sources” on Google to see whatever they have an account on Global Sources too – and check how long they have been there.

      If you’re still un-sure about the company, get company audit done by one of agents listed here:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      This will give you added piece of mind for roughly $150.

      When company is verified and you’re happy with everything, place a small sample order to check goods quality, how fast company ships them out, how well they’re packed etc.

      If you’re happy with samples, place your real order – yes, you’ll receive an invoice (Proforma Invoice) from them and if you use Escrow as the payment method, transaction will happen on Alibaba’s Escrow platform.

      Usually there’s a 30-50% deposit before production starts and you pay rest before goods leave manufacturer.

      Hope this helps Sam!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Sam Ilyas says:

        Hi Andrew

        Thankyou once again for your advice and guidance.

        The product is not branded. I have checked the gold member account a bit further and it appears that the parent company was established in 1999 and in 2010 they obtained the gold supplier status. After this point the sales department was established in 2012 – and hence there is a discrepancy. But this is all through my research as I have not been brave enough to ask the question – it seems that the company deals with orders way over the amount of my order with is aprox £4,000 so I don’t want to look stupid by interrogating the supplier too much.

        Ive done a search on global sources and although the search facility finds the company it is listed as an unverified supplier : ( in addition the address on the contact details on alibaba and the invoice do not match : ( however this could be due to the fact that the company has several offices etc.

        The supplier does accept escrow and I have insisted that the contract is drawn up and payment is exchanged via this method. Is this enough assurance that the supplier is guanine and that by xmas I will have my sparkling crystal chandeliers!!! I have never used this payment method before but am I right in saying that my payment will be held in a alibaba pay account. The supplier is notified in order to start the manufacturer process, and once I have rcieved the item and have confirmed this, will the escrow payment be released?

        They have requested for full payment and not a deposit again something which is making me slightly uncomfortable.

        Thanks very much
        sam

        BTW the email thread by Andrey is interesting – its so hard when you are trying to establish whether the seller is real, esp with them being located on the other side of the globe. Sometimes you have to trust you gut instinct I guess.

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Sam,

          Yes, that’s how Escrow works and in general, it’s the safest payment method available when dealing with Chinese suppliers on Alibaba.

          Still, do the factory audit and inspection of product quality so there are no surprises when you receive stock.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  26. Hello Andrew,

    I was ordering 20+ items from AliExpress by now, all with reasonably good quallity. Once I was so stupid to order a 512Gb flash drive, which obviously came as a small bick of metaql =)))

    Recenlyt I have ordered a cycling computer from http://www.aliexpress.com/store/314079 Shenzhen Discovery Technology Co., Ltd..

    One thing that started worrying me from the beginning was that the processing time was set to 70 (!!!) days. When I inquired why so long, I got the following answer. Do you think it is some sort of scam, shall I proceed with how they propose?…..

    The store seems to have 113 orders so far with good feedback and an own site: http://dream-spo.com/

    So it passes several of your tests! =)

    Here is the actual message from the seller:
    ——
    Thanks so much for your order and sincere support.

    I have just get a bad new from our manager that the warehouse of our factory was suffered a big fire yesterday. all DCY-438 models were lost and material Re-prepare will take too long time. Boss is so upset. we really sorry about bring you the bad news.

    To not miss your plan, we have come up with two solution below, hope to support you well.

    1) Pls cancel the order first and do choose “i have made a wrong order” when canceling the order, thank you very much. We have another upper GPS cycling computer DCY-180P to support you, with 10% discount , only $169 with 2.4G heart rate monitor/GPS tracking/ANT+ Combo sensor( Speed/cadence)/Altimeter/compass/ pc software analysis, etc.

    LINK for 180p (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/product/Free-shipping-DCY-180P-Professional-GPS-cycle-bike-bicycle-computer-with-heart-rate-monitor-Speed-cadence/314079_1225248124.html)

    2) Pls cancel the order first, once the item is in stock, we will e-mail to you, and if you make order that time, we promise to send you a Heart rate monitor or pedometer as a gift. Pls choose “i have made a wrong order” when you cancel the order, that is very importand for us, thank you very much for your understanding!

    Sorry again about bring you so much inconvenience. If there is anything we can do for you, pls feel free to contact us, we will try best to help you. Really sorry about that. Thank you so much for your understanding in advance.

    BTW: If you choose solution 1, pls do inform me to change the price for you. It can ship in 2 days!

    Looking for your reply soon. Wish you a nice day!

    Thansk and best regards,

    Lucy Liu

  27. hi Andrew, I have been reading a lots of ebooks all saying you can buy good laptops with great specs for as low as $20. how true is this? and if true, how do I go about ordering them?
    Thanks in anticipation of your very helpful replies.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Noel,

      Thanks for your question.

      That’s total BS! Where did you get that you can buy good laptops for $20???

      Unless we’re talking about some kind of dinosaur aged, broken laptops – that price is unreal. Even laptops for spares sell for much higher price than that.

      Sorry for bringing such bad news….

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  28. I have purchased an item with Order NO:60055724333002 from Aliexpress on August 21, 2013 and after 45 days I have opened a dispute, unfortunately the case was closed without my knowledge. I am sorry to say that ,if the supplier or seller is not reliable the protection from Aliexpress is very weak. I don’t know what I am going to do? the only alternative I have to do is to complain on the internet about the problem I faced. If Aliexpress officials can read this complaint, please try to see my case of the order: Order NO:60055724333002 and I expect your immediate solution to my case.

    Aliexpress E-mail ID: amanmeko@yahoo.com

    Dispute item:
    Order NO:60055724333002
    I hope I will get solution to my order
    Thanks
    Aman
    Cell +4740948818

  29. This was a very informative post, thank you! I’m in the US and want to start stocking bars with disposable e-cigs. The prices on AliBaba seem to be the best but after reading all the comments here, I’m still confused on how to factor in shipping and all the extras. If it gets too expensive I may be better off paying more for a domestic wholesaler without the bother. I’ll one be ordering 100-500 pieces at a time but I do want the best ROA possible so that I can get paid as well as the bar owner!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      If you want absolutely best price, you must have to import from China directly, as that’s where most e-cigarettes are manufactured.

      These are small, light weight items you can ship via a courier so you’ll receive your order very fast (3-5 business days). Not sure 100-500 is enough though for disposable ones to get a good pricing but if you can find a good supplier for that quantity, go for it! Always start with a smaller sample order and see how it goes.

      And of course – follow advice in this blog posts and only deal with verified, reputable suppliers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  30. Hi,
    Can you give me your opinion on this supplier: Shantou City Ya Li Long Toys Firm. It says they are 3yr gold member but says they were established in 2013.
    Many thanks.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your question.

      They look ok to me. They’re a trading company (middle man), hence the super low MOQ they have. I would simply recommend you placing a small sample order of $50-$100 and see how it goes.

      With toys, especially electronic toys, you have to be very careful and monitor quality as often Chinese will send you B, C and D grade toys with many DOAs and faulty stock.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  31. I’ve tried to buy things on alibaba and all my orders were cancelled for “security reasons”. They wanted me to send copies of my things like proof of credit card (a billing statement) and my social security number–basically things that freaked me out putting on the web. Have you ever had problems like this?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Alyx,

      Thanks for your question.

      This hasn’t happened to me but I have heard of such procedure, yes.

      Not sure why would they need your social security number? That doesn’t make sense to me…

      Proof of address, yes – as they do fraud preventing just like any online retailer.

      Make sure you’re actually communicating with Ali Express officials and not some scammer.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

    • Michael Huepfl says:

      same to me and I am not a first time user. There are concerns the website is redirected.

  32. Michael Huepfl says:

    I had already 2 satisfying orders and now ESCROW closed my order twice and insisted to get a copy of my passport, credit card and a credit card letter. Before that my payment was accepted and some minutes later everything was closed. They do not respond on the complaint form. Any idea what happened?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Michael,

      You have to contact Ali Express about this.

      If they ask you to verify your account, just verify it.

      If you don’t feel secure doing this, then I’m afraid you just can’t use Ali Express for purchases…

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  33. Luis Manrique says:

    I think one thing to consider when using Alibaba is that it is a place for BUYERS and SELLERS to meet and that is about it.

    If you are a serious business owner and want to consider outsourcing a product look at Alibaba as a window shopping experience. You’ll most likely spend anywhere from $200-$1000 on samples, shipping and paypal fees but this is considered necessary in finding a legitimate supplier.

    I always make it a point to check and see if the supplier has a website OUTSIDE of alibaba. This will most likely guarantee that this supplier conducts business on a regular basis and should be well aware of your interests. Also look to see how fast they respond to your requests. Communication is key here and if they cannot reply in a reasonable amount of time, unless they are on holiday, then simply move on to the next supplier.

    I’ve never directly used Alibaba’s services, I make sure to simply email the supplier and speak directly to them. Communication will be key here and it is important that you specify exactly what you are requesting. Quality control is an issue unless you make it clear on what conditions you want the product to be. Factories in China will cut corners on ANYTHING just to save a few pennies. And of course, you won’t realize these savings until the product reaches your warehouse.

    Another motto that I like to follow is after three shipments, consider finding a new supplier because most likely, the factory is already figuring out ways it can save a few pennies on your 4th order. If you don’t stay on top of them, they will easily manipulate you when you least expect it. The last thing you want is 10k worth of product that is complete garbage.

    Dealing with China suppliers is a game. Learn the rules or don’t play at all!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Luis,

      Thanks for your comments, I totally agree with everything you say.

      Alibaba is a MARKETPLACE and should be treated like that. At the end of the day, it’s just you and the seller.

      And you’re dead right on the quality issues too – many people don’t fully realize this – especially when dealing with complex items such as electronics. I recommend using quality inspectors for any order that is bigger than say $1k or $2k as that $100 you pay for such service, can potentially save thousands on stock you can’t re-sell.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  34. Hi,

    Thank you for your reply to a previous post.

    Could you give me your opinion on this supplier please: Shantou Chenghai Huajun Aeromodelling Plastic Toys Factory.

    Many thanks.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      As a company, they look ok to me.

      Can’t speak for product quality of course – with items like these you’ll want to order samples and probably quality inspector for bigger orders to check items before they’re dispatched to you. You can find and hire such inspectors here:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  35. Taj Patel says:

    This is a great post, thank you! I’m in the US and want to purchase banquet chairs . The prices on AliBaba seem to be the best but after reading all the comments here, I’m still confused on how to factor in shipping and all the extras. . I’ll be ordering 600 pieces at a time but I do want ensure that companies I deal with are legit. The 4 I am dealing with fulfill most of your criteria, but not 1 company fulfills all of them. What should I do? the companies are listed below. Any you can enquire to see I am heading the correct direction.

    Foshan World Furniture Co., Ltd
    BISM Furniture
    Foshan Fumai Furniture Co., Ltd
    YOUHUI FURNITURE CO.,LTD
    Foshan YuQi furniture Co,. Ltd.

    Thank you
    Taj Patel

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Taj,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      As with above post – I recommend you doing a factory audit using one of the agents listed on this page:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      This is the safest way to check out factory – you’ll receive a PDF file with pictures, factory data, certificates etc.

      As for shipping, you want to use a freight forwarder who will manage the shipping from factory to your door. In UK I recommend using this company but I think they also ship to US too:

      http://www.woodland-group.com/division/woodland-global

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  36. Hi and thanks for the article. I was asked to Western Union money to a hair supplier but I don’t agree with wirign anyone money directly nor did i find any negative feedback on them. I’m just getting started on selling Brazilian, Indian and Malaysian hair extensions.

    I want quality authentic extensions for the right cost. I decided to totally avoid China initially due to all the scamming. I was very proud of myself knowing that some of the key points you stated were my plan of action as well.

    Can you advise me of your opinion of the following company: Hair Style Exports? They are a 7 year company….

    Thanks

    -Wanda

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Wanda,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You did the right thing! You should never use Western Union to pay supplier in China, unless it’s small amount for sending samples. Via Western Union you send money to an individual and NOT company you’re dealing with which increases chances of getting scammed.

      But if you want to deal with hair extensions, you’ll want to use a Chinese supplier as that’s where 99% of hair extensions come from.

      As for Hair Style Exports – they’re based in India and they look ok to me. They have a professional looking website too: http://www.hairstyleexports.com/, domain name registered 7 years ago so it looks good.

      Organize small sample order and see how it goes!

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  37. I’ve made over 300 orders at Alibaba/Aliexpress and got NEVER scammed. Only buy from gold suppliers with 99%+ feedback and pay trough VISA with protection payments.
    Just that easy, it’s pretty clear that the creator of this article is a import beginner.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      HI There,

      It would be great if you would read the article, lol

      But Thanks for your comment anyway!

      Andrew

  38. hi,
    i have ordered 3 iphones for really cheap. the iphone 5s for 250. is this real? they said they will send it out and once i see its sent out i can pay. they take w u and m g. paypal in bulk orders. is this real or a scam? im new to this site and im not sure how to see there page again.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      HI Zach,

      Thanks for your email.

      100% SCAM! I hope you haven’t paid anything yet.

      Stay away from branded goods on Alibaba altogether!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  39. natasha mosby says:

    This website has helped me out an great deal… I look forward to using your tactics.
    Thank you

  40. Hi Andrew! Thanks for your article, it’s helped me with some things I was curious about! However, I’m wanting to order a wedding gown off of Alibaba; I saw you mention ordering a “sample order” a couple times. What does this mean? Could I do that before ordering the actual dress?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kristie,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      A sample order is a term we use in wholesale to order just few items to test quality etc. before ordering hundreds of thousands.

      If you need just one dress, you just buy it from Ali Express and not Alibaba:

      http://www.aliexpress.com/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  41. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for your great article. It’s very useful.

    I would like to buy some fabrics on alibaba.com for the first time, and the supplier is asking me for my express account to send me some samples, but unfortunately I do not have one :( Could you please explain what is express account (I assume it’s DHL, UPS, Feddex etc), why do I need it, is it free, how can I open it (can I open it without company?) and what’s the best and easier express account?

    Also the quote for delivery he is giving me (China to UK) is USD30. Do you think it’s reasonable price?

    Regards,

    Marta

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Marta,

      Thanks for stopping by & it’s great to hear you find my blog valuable!

      Yes, by express account, they mean your DHL, UPS etc. account details.

      But don’t worry if you don’t have one, you don’t need it! Just tell supplier that you don’t have a courier account and that you will pay the courier fee directly to supplier, so they sort it out for you.

      $30 is a very reasonable shipping fee for a sample order.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  42. Thank you so much :) Now, I feel more confident to buy the stock!

    All the best!

    Marta

  43. hi Andrew, thank you very much for your post. am new to business and want to start an online store its very scary for me as am investing my life savings into it. i have been wondering if alibaba.com really does work or if it was a scam and your post just cleared must of my worry hence am ready to take the steps in getting a supplier for the items i am interested in selling. i just needed to know that people had used the service before and gotten their supplies.

    can i involve you in the process? that would be of great relief to me, just having people who are familiar with the whole process involved.

    thank you

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Amaka,

      Alibaba is NOT a scam! It’s a B2B platform where buyers meet sellers. Period!

      There are bad sellers out there just like there are bad buyers, we can’t avoid them as that’s unfortunately LIFE! But you can eliminate most of the scammers by following my advice given in this post and always starting with small, sample orders and getting inspection done prior making bigger orders.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  44. oh and whats the difference between alibaba and aliexpress?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      AliExpress is basically a retail store for individual and light bulk orders.

      Alibaba is where manufacturers and trading companies deal in bigger quantities, offering much lower prices.

      While Ali Express is great for samples or very small orders, if you want to make real money with importing, you’ll want to deal with manufacturers directly on Alibaba.com

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  45. Hi,

    Thanks for an informative article. The comments section always has valuable feed back. I was going to email a supplier about a product on Alibaba, but the site wanted me to sign up first. I started to read the TOS but thought it might be quicker to find a review about Alibab instead. So here I am. The company supplier is from Germany but I wanted to know where the product was being manufactured.

    I personally wouldn’t touch products from China. Unless you can find someone you know who you trust could help you. The place is very corrupt and you could be scammed, or if you got something made then they could steal your patents etc. You know all they think about is profit and money. The melamine in the milk and the pet food sent to the states shows what ethical standards they have. You’d be better off dealing with businesses in other countries.

    I won’t join Alibaba. I will just get in touch with the supplier directly.

    Regards Barry

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your comment and opinion.

      I would also ideally deal with EU companies only, but the problem is that we only manufacture certain products and even on them, often times prices are un-competitive.

      But there are good examples too – I have actually had better prices, higher quality products from European manufacturer than Chinese. So if you can spend some time visiting trade shows in Europe, you can still find decent companies to work with and avoid China based factories.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  46. ALIEXPRESS IS FRAUD SITE AND I LOOSE MY MONEY TWICE IN THE PURCHASE OF MOBILE PHONES. THEY ARE COLLABORATED WITH FRAUD SELLERS AND CHEATING TO VALUED CUSTOMERS. THEY DONT HAVE CUSTOMER SUPPORT NUMBER AND EMAILs. THEY TOOK DECISIONS IN FAVOR OF SELLERS ALWAYS….

    SAME ON ALIEXPRESS… I LOSE MORE THAN 500usd ON ALIEXPRESS…

    MY CASE IS AS BELOW…

    Hello Aliexpress, I ordered this goods before 2 months and it is returned by the post office department.I requested to seller to extend delivery time till I get goods back but they are not done the same.Now shipping time is near to over. Now Shipment is returned to seller’s address and seller is also agreed for full refund in messages.I would like to have full amount refund from seller ASAP. Kindly help me to get full refund of the goods as earliest. Yours faithfully, Chiragkumar Jadav

    ABOVE CASE IS HANGED UP FOR 8 MONTHS AND ALIEXPRESS RELEASED MONEY TO SELLER WITHOUT ANY HELP TO ME. I DONT RECEIVED MOBILES AND MONEY BOTH…. BEWARE ALL BUYERS….

  47. Aliexpress is NOT a fair and balance plateform!
    Comparing it to Ebay is a blatant lie.

    For exemple:

    - You can’t cancel an order if you made a mistake (bought 2 in place of 1), you have to ask the seller to cancel it and of course he will usually not accept the cancellation.

    - The DHL delivery note is enough for the seller to proove the shipping BUT when you return the goods, the same delivery note is NOT enough for Alibaba to refund you, the seller has to admit to the delivery witch of course never happens. How is this a balanced plateform?

    - The seller has a ridiculous amout of time to ship the product (between 20-60 days) and you don’t know how long exactly at the moment of the purshase! On the other hand you only have 10 days to ship it back. Once again not balanced.

    All in all, there is no realprotection for the buyer on this plateform, I would not recmmand it.
    I’m questionning the reason you made this pro-allibaba post …

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This blog post is about Alibaba and NOT Ali Express.

      With that being said, I have also used Ali Express dozens of times and haven’t had a single problem. You have to deal with reputable sellers, with established profile and good feedback and then chances of getting scammed are minimal. There are always exceptions of course and no platform protects us 100%, even eBay. On eBay you can get scammed too.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  48. I’m planning to place an order on aliexpress.com to buy some bicycle helmets. Most of the well known brands anyway procure their items from chinese manufacturers but I do not know what to do in case I am sent low quality fake helmets as this is a question of life and death for a cyclist. Could you tell me what I should keep on mind while placing this order with any supplier. Thanks a lot.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your question.

      DO NOT buy such branded helmets from China – they all are FAKES!!!! You can’t get genuine, branded stock from Mainland China in wholesale.

      AliExpress.com is only good for un-branded goods.

      If you order such un-branded helmets, you’ll want to start with a small order to check quality + probably there should be some safety certificates that prove that helmets are valid for re-sale in EU market.

      But stay away from anything branded.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  49. Dhruv Sagar says:

    Nice article Andrew, will definitely go through your filters when I’ll be ordering from Alibaba. My issue is it’s been 3 days that I requested info on usb pen drives to directly a few select companies and now I’m flooded with Spam from Chinese companies supplying electronic items contrary to me requirement from mysterious email addresses like @132.com, qq.com, 126.com, etc. All the emails are via a different sender.

    How are these people getting my email address? Or did I mistakenly put up a request on a ‘forum’ where everyone can review the requirement?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Dhruv,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      It could be that or it could be that you posted a buying request on Alibaba?

      That would explain it….

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  50. Hi Andrew, I’m from Mexico and I’ve been buying from US suppliers only and I really want to give Alibaba.com and Aliexpress.com a try, but I have 2 main concerns:
    1.- Could I trust in Aliexpress.com Product reviews? I’m asking you this because I’ve found the very same Product at Amazon.com and at Aliexpress.com with totally different reviews (bad at Amazon.com and good at Aliexpress.com);
    2.- Being from Mexico I’m really afraid of import fees once the order enters into the United State, I know nothing about it, I only know that mexican import fees to chinese merchandise are OUT OF MIND, do you know if crossing US borders one must pay for import fees?

    Best regards,

    Alejandro Fuerte

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Alejandro,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I see that you only sell well known brand MMA stuff on your shop. You CAN’T get it from China!!!!

      All the products on Alibaba and AliExpress with brand logos on them are FAKES! You can get in trouble trying to import them as it’s illegal.

      So I would recommend you just staying with reputable US wholesalers who sell genuine products.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

    • Scamming method on AliExpress.
      I think that is new method how get money but not send goods. I send money for a 2 phones with shipping method DHL/UPS. But seller told me that he can not send via DHL/UPS can sent only by China post. He ask me refund 12 USD for each phones because China Post chipper. I refund an order was finished, I get no phones, he stolen my money. Hes e-mail ldong171@163.com but off course he will use new.

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Edward,

        Thanks for sharing this.

        You should NEVER accept partial refunds on Ali Express as it means you’re losing escrow protection. You should also never agree to change shipping to China Post, as no one uses China post for valuable items.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  51. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you for this article, I am new to importing and it has helped clear up a few things for me but I still have some questions:

    1. How much do shipping agents and customs brokers cost? Do I need one? Who decides the shipping? What is the most cost-effective way to go? Door-to-Door or Door-to-Port?

    2. Can I use escrow for the initial 30% deposit amount that factories require? How do you check the goods once it gets to the destination? Open a few boxes and repackage it?

    3. Does this audit: http://inspection.alibaba.com/search?&page=2 on alibaba cover before, after and during production? Do you inform them that they will be inspected after agreeing on the price and before production begins?

    4. My customers will order on demand, do I even need a warehouse? Can I just send them to the post office for them to pick it up or ship it to them directly?

    Thank you,

    Philip

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Philip,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      1) They’re not that expensive at all. In fact, if you use a good freight forwarder, you’ll actually SAVE money as these companies will offer you much better shipping quotes. For customs clearance they take just 10-20 quid. Door to Door is best as it means stress free importing process for you.

      2) No, you can only use Escrow on Alibaba for full amount. Yes, you should open random boxes, as many as you can to check products. Better to do this BEFORE goods are dispatched from China. (by hiring a quality inspector).

      3) Yes, yes and yes. You can get all services covered and when you inform factory that they’ll be audited, products checked, chances are that they’ll do best on quality side of things.

      4) You need warehouse to store goods you can then ship out to customers. You won’t be shipping from China directly.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  52. Hi

    You said we shouldn’t buy name brand goods from China. Does this include drinks (alcohol).

    I want to buying drinks in bulk but I’m moving very cautious after reading your blog

    Please could you help me

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Peter,

      Yes, of course – that does include alcohol too.

      I would never import alcohol from China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  53. Hi
    Andrew ,i had a faulty product from a seller on aliexpress,its a DOA dead on arrival tablet pc so i raised a dispute for full refund,now the status says ” if seller don’t respond in 2 days ,the dispute will be closed in your proposal,does that mean i’ll get my full refund if the seller don’t respond?

    Regards
    Jack

  54. I have a pending order on alibaba…it is pending because my bank debit card would not go through. I called my bank; they said visa blocks transaction to china for security; however bank can call visa, and block can be unblocked for 24 hours. This has led to some questions:

    1- my seller will take PayPal; I did a sample order with them and prepaid directly to them via PP account (PP is NOT an option at alibaba checkout); now I have this pending order with them; they will accept escrow

    2-I want redundancy in protection; ideally I think doing escrow with PP debit card (if alibaba accepted) would be best solution

    3-I am also thinking of getting a prepaid visa/MC card from Western Union or American Express dedicated solely for alibaba transactions

    4-I want a solution that gives me backup protection in case something happens, and alibaba escrow tries to hose me (many complaints out there about them)…thoughts, opinions, and recommendations please…

    …oh, I am in USA, if that is relevant

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Your best bet is really to use Escrow on Alibaba and un-lock your VISA for this transaction. Or get a pre-paid card as you say.

      Escrow still offers you more protection than PayPal without Escrow so I think if you have verified your supplier, it’s genuine etc., you better use Escrow.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  55. well personally I was hoping to find a digital camera on there but apparently that is against the first rule “No Name brands” What kinds of stuff do people ususally find on here that is good quality and people might want to buy?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Joshua,

      Thanks for your email.

      Digital cameras can still be bought from China, just no brand name ones.

      What kind of products?

      Just take a look @ Alibaba’s product category list – MILLIONS of un-branded products there:

      http://www.alibaba.com/Products

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  56. Peter MacMillan says:

    Andrew Hi,
    I have been reading your posts with interest and have found a lot of useful advice. I am hoping to import Fireplaces and Stoves etc., from a Foundry – Xuzhou Sunrain Foundry Co., Ltd., – The Web Site is -www.sunrainfireplaces.com – They have a 5 year Gold and use Escrow and Laser Card. Would you consider them a safe supplier to order from. I have imported from the UK and France but this would be the first time for China. I would be very grateful for your opinion. Thanks in advance.
    Peter MacMillan.

  57. Hi i want to ask you how i can check the bank information if it is his personal account or the companu account how i can do that with the number of the bank account ( excuse my english ) thanks dear

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Simo,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      No one sends money to a NUMBER. Bank account will always come with an account name. And by that name you can easily see whatever it’s a personal (person’s name) or business account (company).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  58. I won’t use them again! I bought some curtain rods that showed up not exactly as described (measurements, materials) but not necessarily intentional. They just wouldn’t work for my window. After many back and forth denials of my request to return the rods (they will talk you to death suggesting solutions–buy new rings in your town, use a different bracket…whatever, fine….), I was worn down and didn’t want to twice pay the exorbitant shipping (more than the cost of the curtain rod) back to China and decided I could make no headway requesting a different agent to speak with or filing a complaint. So I just gave up and will sell this useless curtain rod to someone at a loss. But the way they have the online platform, I can’t make a complaint since I released my claim. But there was no alternative. Just a pain in the butt in every way. Avoid.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for your sharing your story.

      Alibaba is really not a retail site and retail customers shouldn’t buy single units from China. The shipping cost alone eats up all potential savings you could make on item’s price.

      Alibaba platform is meant to be used by companies, wholesalers who buy in bulk – pallets and container loads of goods, have goods inspected before dispatch etc. etc.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  59. I have liked this article very much and your replies to questions/comments.
    I would like to ask a few questions to wrap-up what I have learned in the story and the comments.

    1. Should I trust inspectors found at http://inspection.alibaba.com/. Are they 100% trustworthy.
    2. Am I supposed to pay any taxes in China (or i will have only to pay import taxes in my country)
    3. Do you know of any trustworthy exporter to Africa, in particular Kenya

    Thanks very much in advance

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your questions.

      1) Yes, as long as you stick with reputable inspectors with good feedback score.

      2) No, you don’t have to pay any taxes in China. Only in your country.

      3) Sorry, I have no experience with exporting to Africa.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  60. I just bought a piece of equipment from Alibaba and was assured that it had a warranty from GlobalIPL and they completely ripped me off. The machine broke and the company refused to live up to the warranty or fix anything or give me a refund. When i complained at Alibaba, they did nothing to get this resolved. The company even admitted the machine was broken. Alibaba said that the fault was on BOTH PARTIES and didn’t even post my complaint of the company’s seller site. Alibaba does not protect anyone buy the seller. DO NOT PURCHASE ANYTHING FROM THEM!!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Shelly,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience but why do you blame Alibaba for this? It’s just a middle man – you are dealing with your supplier and not Alibaba,

      That is if you didn’t pay via Escrow.

      They key here is to deal only with good, reputable suppliers, get quality control in place when needed and ideally use Escrow for payment.

      I have never relied on Alibaba that it will protect me in any way. Do your home work first and then you’ll minimize your chances of getting scammed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  61. Hi Andrew.
    Simply, because I can’t find the right word (always hard to find the right word to appreciate good), I’ll say thank you very much for this. It’s so sooooo helpful. I am looking forward to starting my own importation business and have been doing my own research. I will be using either FedEx or DHL Express. In need clearity on these:
    1) On suppliers’ pages I come across statements like this: “US $ 4.63 / Piece to United States by Express FedEx IE.” What does that really mean? (I’m in Africa).
    2) Can I get good quality unbranded Tablet PCs that is as good as the branded ones from China?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ralph,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1) That shows the shipping price to the USA for 1 unit via FedEx Express service. You want to contact supplier to get a shipping quote for your location.

      2) Yes and no. Apple, Samsung quality? NO! But you can probably get something close to what cheaper brands are selling as at the end of the day, all tablets are being made in China. Just be prepared to pay PREMIUM price for premium quality goods.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  62. wrong, I’ve had nothing but bad experiences with sellers from taobao affiliated sites. conversely, I’ve had nothing but good experiences from ebay and amazon. When I left negative feedback on some purchases with aliexpress.com, that feedback did not appear in the feedback field for the seller. It is through and through a scam. While some sellers might actually have a deal for you, most fart around after payment is received, and a contract is established. If the seller raises the price after you buy, most likely it is a scam, especially if it is double or more for the same item.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ryan,

      Thanks for your email.

      Then you have been very un-lucky… or did not check companies properly.

      Personally I and dozens of my clients have bee dealing with hundreds of suppliers on Alibaba.com and had very few problems (most problems are product quality related).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  63. Hi Andrew,

    Excellent article, probably the best I’ve seen to help a beginner importer such as myself. I agree with you completely that Alibaba.com is a gold mine for the patient and cautions businessperson. I am located in the US and looking to import replacement motorcycle wheels for late model Japanese sport bikes to re-sell on ebay or amazon. I have been communicating with several manufacturers and trade companies and I think I have narrowed it down to one for my first order: Zhejiang Feiyue Vehicle Co LTD. The company passes some of your key tests, but not all. They have sent me a sample wheel that should be arriving in a few days (I paid them $120 via WU). When I asked what form of payment they could accept for the shipping of the free sample, they said they couldn’t accept Visa, MC, or Paypal.

    I am trying to do as much research as possible so my interactions with the supplier don’t leave them thinking I’m a novice.

    I have a few questions:
    1. How should I expect to pay for the 50% up front and the 50% before shipment? T/T or L/C?
    2. I understand that L/C is more secure, but I don’t know where to begin? Should I contact my local bank? How does that process go?
    3. Should I find an inspector before the manufacturing process begins, right before the wheels leave the warehouse, or both?
    4. I initially asked them their MOQ and they stated 200. Is it typical to negotiate that figure? I was hoping to order closer to 100 as the first order and based on how smooth the transaction goes, ramping that figure up in subsequent orders.
    5. Do I have to have an established business to get the goods or can I complete the first order as an individual? I wanted to see if this is going to be a viable business before going through all the steps required to legally start a business.

    Thank you in advance for your thoughts!

    -Vlad

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Vlad,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you find my blog interesting & valuable!

      I’ll try to answer your questions one by one:

      1) Ideally you want to pay via Aliababa’s Escrow system. If your supplier doesn’t accept that, then normally we pay via bank transfer (T/T).

      2) Yes, L/C is more secure but most suppliers will take that only on big orders – $50k+

      3) Yes, do both. Get factory inspected right now and do quality check inspection before you pay remaining 50% and goods leave China.

      4) Yes, you should be able to negotiate it down to 100. Most suppliers are ok with lower first order as they know you’ll come back for more in future.

      5) You can do first order as individual, no probs with that.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  64. Well, it has been 3 year for me and aliexpress is my main platform for all my items.
    I never feel that they dont help.
    They have their own system, just follow this and you get auto refunds even if there is fake supplier,
    I mostly deal with Gold supplier,,
    Remember: Alibaba and aliexpress do not give your money to supplier until you complete your order by yourself and mark them as satisfied,
    NEVER listen to Excuses from Supplier, professional suppliers never excuses they just do their work or refund you..
    Aliexpress also says of you do not get your item before deadline always opened the dispute and supplier need to provide excuses and reason to aliexpress not to you
    If you listen excuses from supplier and do not involved aliexpress, THIS IS YOUR MISTAKE
    Mostly new buyers do it and blame to aliexpress..

    at the end i will advise everyone that online- Fraud and Business are just like cousins
    Listen to Parents (your Business platform guide and documentations AP or etc..) You will never get trouble or chances are very less to have any issue.
    I Hope this helps
    Take care

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Alexa,

      Thanks for your comments and for sharing your experience with us.

      I totally agree with you 100%!

      Most people who say Alibaba is a scam simply don’t know what they’re doing, don’t follow rules, source wrong products and just don’t do their homework. This is BUSINESS and it’s not for everyone! You have to be ready to take risks but most importantly – you HAVE to know what you’re doing!

      if you do, 99% of scams on Alibaba can be avoided BEFORE sending money to anyone.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  65. So u reckon i ahould buy nike free runs from alibaba Ali express bcoz its branded

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      you SHOULDN’T buy them, yes.

      Anything branded on Alibaba, AliExpress OR any other Chinese store for that matter will be FAKES!

      China is great only for un-branded stuff or your own brand stuff.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  66. Hi thank you for the post. its quite imformative. I am based in South Africa and would like to order shoes for my import business from oullus.en.alibaba.com are they a reputable company?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mamo,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, they look ok @ first look. Make a small sample order and test product quality. If products are all good, get factory audit done. If that looks all good, then you can place a bigger order. Still, to stay safe, use quality inspector which will check manufactured shoes prior dispatch to you.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  67. Michael Wolfe says:

    Hello Andrew,
    You have been a lot of help. I am trying to start a small business selling e-cigarettes and have come across scammer after scammer on Alibaba. It seems they either try to overcharge for the shipping or the weight of the products being shipped. They are even so bold as to list there products as twice, three times, or even four times the actual weight. Shipping is a big deal for me because am pretty sure it is a lot more expensive to ship to the U.S. Virgin Islands than the regular USA. I am not sure though because it is impossible to get an actual amount from DHL itself. It seems stupid that they try to do this. All I have to do is weigh the package when I get it. If it isn’t the weight they said I will not fulfill the escrow. I am really tired of all these Chinese suppliers assuming I am a total idiot. Please help!!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Is it for sample orders or real orders? For sample orders it’s quite common that suppliers in Chine charge some extra – to make some profit out of these sample orders.

      But if they’re big/real orders, I have never really had a problem with this as if supplier is legit and genuine, they’ll try to help you and get as cheap shipping price as possible.

      If no other way, you can get your own account with DHL, FedEx, TNT or any other company and then they’ll pick up packages for you in China and bill the amount you owe them. But just so you know – this may actually be more expensive as from my experience, Chinese get much better shipping rates than we do, if we sort out shipping in UK or USA.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  68. Thanks for the advice Andrew! You helped me a lot. I am interested in starting a business in the beauty industry and oh boy, it is difficult to find real 100% remy human hair extensions. I had nowhere else to look, so I started looking for suppliers on alibaba.com. Good to know about the gold star rating and the escrow service. Still a bit nervous about this though, but I am thinking of giving it a shot. Samples are very important people!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Marie,

      You’re welcome!

      And yes, Alibaba is the place you want to look for 100% remy human hair manufacturers. Always get samples first and check whatever product is made of materials what it should be.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  69. fashionmode says:

    Now, I really prefer to buy everything from Thailand now, this is where I buy my stuff, for $20 “Personal Shopper Bangkok” (Google it I don’t have the exact link) will go shopping for you (anything), cheap and good, I would love to find the same cheap service in Paris or New York !!!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      This is more about B2B transactions though but I’m glad to hear personal shopping works for you!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  70. Thank you for nice article .
    I want to ask you :
    - HOW I can protect myself when i pay by paybal(because this is the first time i make business)
    - How I can guaranty that the product will be like the sample.
    - I want by sticky bad for car and I choice this suppler ,can you give me your opinion on it (this is the link )
    1-http://donyou.en.alibaba.com/product/495675329-212797713/Strong_Sticky_Anti_Slip_Pad_For_Cars.html?edm_src=sys&edm_type=fdbk&edm_grp=0&edm_cta=read_msg&edm_time=realtime&edm_ver=e

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      1) When you pay using PayPal, ALWAYS fund the transaction with your credit card (and not PayPal balance or bank account). This way, if something goes wrong, you always have the option to initiate a charge-back claim with your credit card company.

      2) If you want to be 100% sure about product quality – hire a quality inspection who will check all goods before they’re dispatched from the factory.

      3) Get samples ordered first and then you can do further verification on this supplier. From the link alone I can’t tell anything good or bad about that company.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  71. Hi Andrew!

    hope you are well :)

    I wrote to you before and I must say you were very helpful – thanks! I’m coming back to you with one more question regarding shipping, please…

    I would like to order some fabric from company in China to UK and they are giving me two options for shipping. The first option is by air and it will cost me around $400. The second option is by sea and cost of that is $40! I will have to wait longer (I don’t mind), but it’s a lot of cheaper.

    Now, my question is: If I choose sea shipping option, shall I be aware of any extra costs, taxes, paper work? And what is custom clearance?

    Thank you!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Marta,

      Sure, no probs! Always glad I can help out!

      It doesn’t matter whatever you’ll be using air freight or sea freight – you’ll have to pay VAT and import duty when goods arrive in UK. And take care of customs clearance.

      That’s why I recommend using a freight forwarder in cases like these – they will take care of everything, deliver goods right to your door and issue invoice for taxes, shipping fee and small service fee. Get in touch with this company to get a quote:

      http://www.woodland-group.com/division/woodland-global

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  72. Hi!

    I’m a really big fan of iPhones, but I don’t have enough money. So I started doing research online and I found alibaba.com. I found some cheap iPhones, but it’s probably just a scamm, right?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kaja,

      Thanks for your question.

      YES, of course! It’s a 100% SCAM!

      You can’t get genuine iPhone from China. Either you’ll get scammed and receive nothing OR receive a cheap, Chinese made clone of iPhone.

      Best place to purchase an iPhone is from your local authorized re-seller or at least from a reputable eBay seller.

      iPhones can’t be bought cheaply so forget about it.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  73. After my last experience purchasing from AliExpress… SCAM is the first thing that comes to mind!

    Short story: I purchased battery, tracking number provided invalid, never arrives. I give adequate time to seller to deliver 90++ days. Seller lied, now refuses to respond. No problem, this happens in a market place. AliExpress has buyer guarantee…. except there is no way to register a complaint. So I snoop, find a corporate executive here in the USA to complain to… I get the runaround, then finally a real live customer service agent that explains that it’s my fault that the seller did not deliver the goods….. Hmm… This must be Chinese Customer Service.

    Finally I get a complaint on their “Trade Security” desk that promises resolution if the seller does not respond in 3 days…. Oh, it’s been 15 days, no resolution, no way to contact, no way to complain.

    OK, time to do a chargeback through the bank. I bank with USAA, the only company I trust. They refunded the money.

    I’ll never do business with AliExpress, not because of the scammy seller, but because they botched their buyer guarantee.

    There are no ifs ands or buts about it, AliExpress is a SCAM, and I have the paper trail to prove it.

    Andrew, do not recommend using AliExpress or Alibaba as an e-commerce platform. Their platform is designed to protect dishonest sellers, and not buyers. By endorsing their service you are putting individuals and businesses at unreasonable risk.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Josh,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      Sorry for being so harsh – but why did you wait 90++ days before filed a dispute in Escrow? Especially when tracking number is invalid?

      You should have acted straight away – there’s an option in AliExpress escrow system where you can cancel order, dispute it if you do it in correct time frame.

      Once again sorry for your bad experience but I’m doing all my business via Alibaba and many of my customers do same, without any problems.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  74. Andrew thanks for the posts, these are really useful. I bought two days ago this product: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free-shipping-2013-New-Arrival-Lenovo-P780-Black-MTK6589-quad-core-1-2GHz-4000mAh-1280X720-Camera/1541953689.html

    The normal price here is US $245.00 – 269.00, but this guy offered a 45% discount two days ago, that was a limited time offer of course. Now after reading all your comments and others, I don’t know what to say about this seller. Do you think he /she is legitimate? I have sent him/her a message just to see if he/she responds but nothing so far.

    I would appreciate your thoughts.

    Thanks in advance,

    Zamir

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Zamir,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Buy a branded smart phone off AliExpress @ 50% discount from a seller with NO feedback?

      That’s not very smart thing to do, sorry. I would try to cancel the order as soon as you can and hope that you won’t get scammed. Don’t accept any partial refund or anything else – cancel for full refund. If the item hasn’t been shipped out yet, this shouldn’t be difficult. (go to your orders > Cancel).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        The seller has apparently shipped the item yesterday, my bank has not yet authorized the payment yet, I actually called the bank to keep it on hold for now. One of my friends bought a Lenovo phone from Aliexpress, it arrived on time and it was not a fake one, totally legit. I know Aliexpress sells genuine Lenovo phones (these are made in China anyway) and the average price of Lenovo P780 is about $250 (on Ebay as well). This guy offered a 45% discount only for few hours. I am still unsure, probably you are right and I should cancel the payment.

        Thanks so much for your advices.

        Zamir

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          If you can Zamir, cancel it.

          Lenovo is a Chinese brand? If so, it could be that they can be bought directly from China. But 45% discount seems way too much, especially coming from an account with 0 feedback.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Yes, Lenovo is a Chinese multinational technology company with headquarters in Beijing, they bought IBM’s PC business for $1.25 billion. Anyway, back to the point of the discussion, you might be totally right and I might have fallen victim of a scam. I will try to cancel the order if possible.

            Thanks again,

            Z

          • Andrew, just to let you know you were right, I got scammed but today I got refunded by Aliexpress.

            I gained trust in them, I will surely buy there again.

            Thanks.

            Zamir

  75. I’m not sure they are as legitimate as you say, trying to get a response from them regarding a dispute is impossible. I have been waiting on a response on an escalated claim for over 6 weeks, I was told I would receive some response or comment within 3 working days; it has been over 15 working days, still nothing. If the so called ‘BUYER PROTECTION’ existed and you receive no response from the store, I should reclaim my money or in some form of credit, as I haven’t received my product.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      HI Anika,

      Yes, you’re absolutely right! 15 days is totally un-acceptable….

      You don’t say which site you’re referring to Alibaba or AliExpress? As this article/blog post is about Alibaba and not AliExpress. People often mix these two up and even though they’re under same mother company, they are two separate websites.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi, Andrew and thanks so much for you info.
        You mentioned above about white ladeling that a lot of manufactures on alibaba do that, my question is Who dose the design , logo, for the box and the actual item ?

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Martin,

          Depends on supplier – many suppliers will happily do designs for you, if quantity you order is enough. Others will ask you for design files.

          One thing though – often Chinese made designs are quite low quality so you want to check what they can offer before moving on with order. For this reason, I always do my own designs and supply design files to supplier.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Thanks for replying,
            Because of the low quality how do I brand on my own? Like what do I need to do is there a few stepls like getting a logo, designing a box or tags , [in simple words What's The process on creating your own design?]

  76. Hi does anyone on here know a good pet supplier fr from china on alibaba. Ideally one that takes escrow and is cheap. Ta

  77. Miwan Ibrahim says:

    YOU WILL GET SCAMMED. DO NOT BUY FROM ALIBABA. I have been a member of alibaba for the past four years. I have been taken advantage of on several different occasions. Alibaba does not care about its costumers and has sided with swindling merchants. They do not resolve issues even after several attempts on my part to resolve issues. Do not buy anything off of the website expecting to receive what was advertised. YOU WILL GET SCAMMED. DO NOT BUY FROM ALIBABA. USE E-BAY, AMAZON or some other site that has some respect for you and your hard earned money, not a scam from china who you cant see or even speak with in most instances. STAY AWAY FROM ALIBABA>>>>>>>>

  78. Hi Andrew,

    Merry Christmas to you and your family :)

    I was wondering if you could give me an advice on shipping from China to UK.

    I did wrote to you couple of weeks ago asking which shipping option to go for: sea or air? You did reply to my question, but still I have difficulties with understanding and checking the additional costs :( By air, I mean: FedEx, UPS etc. At least that’s what I think it means. This kind of shipping will cost me around $400 and the goods I’m buying (fabric) will cost me around $250! If I choose sea delivery option the fee is only $40. Now, the supplier says that it’s easier and cheaper for me to go with air shipping (FedEx, UPS etc) and that they will just deliver it to my door with no paper work to fill out, no additional costs, while the sea shipping will be lots of hassle, paper work and additional costs. I don’t know if they just say so, coz it’s easier for them or they are honest and telling the truth.

    Have you ever dealt with sea shipping before? Which option would you recommend and why? What shall I know about shipping goods from China? Is the sea shipping safe? What does it mean: FOB Shanghai?

    I’m so sorry for so many questions :( but please I need your help!!!!

    Marta

  79. Alibaba is a big scam. My evidence is they don’t make a rating for good supplier for a reason. I found this site here been scammed 3 times on alibabaas a pro alibaba to fix their image on the net. I have the big one is by alibaba themselves by the scam of supplier being a gold .They took my money big Bull Shit , don;t ever trust them.

  80. Hi
    I have send to Alibaba seller 120$ [T/T][[http://www.shenzhensciconn.com/]], he have get my money and didnt answer to me!
    Any chance to get money back ?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Martin,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      No, you won’t ever see your money – that company is a SCAM! They “sell” branded electronics for ridiculously low prices. It’s a classic scam scheme set-up to take advantage of people like you.

      You always have to remember that you CAN’T get branded products from China!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  81. Regarding brands, I have to say that if you’re byuing Chinese brands than Aliexpress is a good place to get discounts.

    I have bought Huion digital tablets, tracing board and around 5 digital pens, they are straight from the factory original Chinese Huion brand, work wonderful, flawless. The only difference from buying from some ‘fancy’ store or directly from Huion is that you get the products in an ordinary brown cardboard box, instead of a ‘shiny branded one’ oh and there’s the LOWER price! But I guess the important thing should be the contents of the box, and not the ‘shiny’ box itself.

    Sorry – off topic – I’m a professional illustrator, and have worked with ‘evil’ Wacom untill I discovered Huion. I’ll never go back to Wacom – overpriced in relation to performance.

    Conclusion: there’s Brands and BRANDS. As long as you stick with Chinese brands, and the rules from this article it should be safe.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Irene,

      Thanks for your comment.

      YES, Chinese brands are generally ok to buy BUT if you do, you should only buy from brand factories directly. There are many Chinese brands that are being copied too, so be careful even if it’s a Chinese brand.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  82. Hi i have some
    Questions i find product supl is 6 y gold mamber but he wont me to transfer cash via alibaba esxrow and personal email like gmail ,hot mail or yahoo stay away?

    • ——————————————————————————–

      Best regards
      Linda Peng
      Witshine Tech Limited
      Mobile:86-18975686597
      Tel: 86-755-83593130
      MSN: witshine22@hotmail.com
      Skype: witshine22
      E-mail: witshine22@gmail.com
      Website: http://www.witshine.com.cn
      Addr.: 27C1,Block C,Electronic Science and
      Can you chech that company for me? Cheers

      • Andrew Minalto says:

        Hi Mike,

        Thanks for your question.

        At first glance they look ok to me. Looks like they’re a trading company, not a manufacturer as they sell all kinds of various brands of e-cigs & accessories in low quantities.

        Product listings say they accept PayPal – so I would recommend you use that.

        The fact that email is gMail, Yahoo etc. doesn’t really mean anything – it’s very common in China to use these, even for businesses (as they’re reliable).

        Start with a small sample order, pay via PayPal and see how it goes.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  83. I have found plenty of good clothes that I want to order but I wanted to ask if u can give me the names of good cloth’s sellers

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Rose,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I can’t give you any specific names – just follow this guide and you should be able to quickly filter out good sellers from bad ones.

      Then start with a small sample order and see how it goes.

      If you have any links you want me to take a look at, let me know.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  84. CHUKWUEBUKA PROSPER says:

    Pls i ordered for samples from 2 different suppliers and the charges for a sample product was far higher than expected and the mode of payment was skeptical. I was told to make transfer but i wanted to pay through alibaba. Pls am i really safe?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Nothing is 100% safe in this World, so you should always do your home work and check supplier – whatever it’s legit or not.

      No one will take such small sample fees via Escrow though. For samples we usually pay via PayPal, bank transfer or in worst case – Western Union (but only if company looks 100% legit).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  85. Hello.
    Im new to ordering things online and I purchased some items through Aliexpress which I believe is associated with Alibaba and I wanted to know if my items will arrive at my doorstep/home mailbox or willI have to go pick it up somewhere. Please answer as soon as you can.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Reyna,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It depends on what shipping method did you use?

      1) If you selected courier (EMS, DHL, TNT etc.), package should be delivered straight to your door.

      2) If you selected China Post, package will be delivered to your local post office and you’ll have to collect it from there.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  86. i found a customer from alibaba.com and i order a 100pcs of micro sd cards they send me a good memory cards ,then i trust them i again order a 300pcs micro sd 474usd value and they send me a fake memory cards that not detect in any phone or computer ,now they not reply me
    what can i do for this

    there details

    Beneficiary Name: Esunko Development Electronic Limited
    Bank Name: Hang Seng Bank Limited
    Beneficiary Account: 255594319883
    Swift Code: HASE HKHH
    Bank Address : 83 Des Voeux Road Central,HK

    Jingang Development Electronics Limited
    Address:18# Fuming Road,Futian District,Shenzhen,Guangdong,china.
    Website:www.jgusb.com
    Mob:86-15627456032
    Tel: 86-0755-33136032
    Email:jason@jgusb.com
    Msn:jasonjgusb@outlook.com
    Skype:jasonjgusb

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mahesh,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m afraid you can’t do anything about it. If you paid via bank transfer and they scammed you, money is gone for good.

      It seems that you didn’t properly check supplier before making an order. A quick Google search shows many scam complains about this company:

      http://bit.ly/1lAI75I

      This only proves yet again that you want to do more research before you order anything from China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • I was considering ordering from aliexpress.com and could use some advice, the person I will be ordering from has excellent reviews but do you think that I should use fed ex shipping to ensure my package gets shipped to the U.S so it can be tracked? and do you recommend a visa green dot card or a money transfer from my bank? any great advice helps. thank you! keep up the great work.

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Angie,

          Thanks for stopping by.

          A courier will always be safer compared to national postal services, so yes – if it makes financial sense to you, always try to use courier services for such shipments.

          You can use VISA or money transfer – up to you really! I have always used VISA card for all Ali Express orders, with not problems whatsoever.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  87. Mathew Peters says:

    Hey, can you order quality brazilian hair (real human hair) from an alibaba supplier or will you receive cheap synthetic hair? I’m considering placing an order with guangzhou-baoxing-hair-business-firm

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Matthew,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m not an expert in these products BUT as far as I know, you CAN get genuine human hair from Chinese suppliers. You’ll just have to do some research on how to check quality of these and order samples from several suppliers.

      That company looks ok to me but still, do some further research and get some samples first.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  88. Ameenah Beliz says:

    Hi

    This article is really helpful, but I still have no idea where to even begin. I would like to order wholesale t shirt dresses. I see a supplier that I would be interested in purchasing from. They say they offer free samples. I have an account with UPS when I have to pay the carrier fee, how do I go about that? Since there is a language barrier sometimes I am unable to understand what they are trying to convey. Please take a look at the link and tell me what you think about the supplier please. I would really really appreciate it.

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/1541219998/indigo_women_daily_tshirt_dress.html

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      HI Ameenah,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      That company looks ok to me, only thing – STAY AWAY from any items that have team logos/characters on them. They’re not licensed merchandise.

      But if you’re interested in plain t shirt dresses, start with samples. As you already have a UPS account, and samples are free, you simply provide this information to supplier so they can organize samples for you.

      The shipping cost will be billed to your UPS account.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  89. Ibrahim M.I. says:

    Hi!
    I wanted to buy some stuffs on Aliexpress but the seller has zero feedback, what other things do i look for in order to shop free of scam?

    Thank you

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ibrahim,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I personally NEVER buy from a seller on Ali Express with zero feedback. It’s just too much risk to take on. Look for more established sellers that sell same item and order from them, even if the price is a bit higher.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

    • thor arne thorkelsen says:

      Never buy anything if company that dont have record.
      They are robbers or they are new in business.

  90. David Garrett says:

    Hi, sorry to be another person asking the same, but what would your impression be of :
    HIMAN Industrial Supplies Co.,Ltd. Store No.806954

    I was considering buying R162221420 and R185331310 industrial linear bearings from them but cannot find a standalone website for that HIMAN name.

    Any advice would be very much appreciated as the price is almost too good to be true, but they may just surplus items from factories hence the low price?? I’m torn over whether to risk the money or not.

    Regards, David.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your question.

      If it’s a BRANDED product (and from the look of it, IT IS), then I would strongly recommend staying away from Ali Express or any Chinese retailer for that matter.

      Even if it’s genuine item, it didn’t come via official channels, could be faulty or simply stolen from the factory.

      For anything branded, China is really not the place to go for.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  91. Hello. I know many people have answered before. But I have my suspicions with a seller on Aliexpress. The name is Price Grabber – Best Price & Service
    The aliexpress page is this one:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/feedback-score/227847.html#rating-displayer

    This is the product I want to buy from them:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Aoson-M99G-Allwinner-A31S-Quad-Core-3G-phone-call-tablet-pc-9-7-inch-10-points/1548840618.html

    I’ve read a lot, but have overlooked one thing that got me extremely suspicious, and that is at the end of the description and many other descriptions of the products of the seller. It says at the very end:

    “Elijah store insists on doing the honest and efficient business!”

    I cringed. I mean what? I have already transferred the money, and the money is on the way to the escrow account. Now I am thinking of canceling the order. This frightened the hell out of me. I am asking myself how to proceed. I invested long time researching, but stumbled upon your blog post here just recently. Damn, I overlooked this insane message there, otherwise I would’ve never bought from them.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Artur,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Sorry, but what’s so special about that line? Why it made you suspicious?

      The seller looks established to be, with tons of good feedback…

      Let me know.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Yes. That seems to me to. I have just never seen a line like this. Otherwise I can say these sellers answered my questions and so forth very quick, and were friendly and adapting. That line just destroyed all my senses. Anyways, thank you very much for your answer. Your Blog here is actually very well done and informative. I will reply here again if there is something new.

        Kind regards

        Artur

      • Oh, yeah. Why the line got me so suspicions. Well, it was kinda irritating. Like if you make a deal there, you won’t get the proper communication, because they don’t care. It seemed like: “If you are unlucky, you are unlucky mate, you are the guy we get money from”. But until now it wasn’t like that. So, that’s what made me afraid. Otherwise they have a good amount of feedback.

        Kind regards

        Artur

        • HI Artur,

          I wouldn’t pay that close attention to their broken, un-readable English…

          You see all kinds of such texts all over the Alibaba and Ali Express.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  92. You just have to be smart when buying. For example, my daughter wears fine boutique clothing such as Mustard Pie, etc. I see several suppliers who use the model pictures from Mustard Pie. I know those clothes are produced in China, but then why would they use professional photos of white children if it’s produced in China? Also they refuse to send samples. Verdict: don’t buy from them!

    Another instance in which I was very very happy was I ordered 10 necklaces in bulk (not solid gold or anything just some cord necklaces with pretty flowers) and passed them out as mothers day gifts to my friends. They were nice and everyone loved them, they still wear them as well. It just honestly didn’t matter if the necklaces were awful bc I knew they were not a brand, were not real gold, etc. But they were lovely, so I knew what to expect. You have to use your brain in this, common sense will save you a lot of misery.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Angie,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience with my blog readers.

      You’re 100% right, on everything! People really forget sometimes that product quality can vary greatly, seller service can vary greatly and everyone should use common sense when importing goods from China. Very often people go just for the lowest price (too good to be true) just to find out later on that they’re scammed or have received low quality stuff. DON’T DO IT! And always start with samples.

      Such simple advice but still….

      Thanks again,
      Andrew

  93. haz moraes says:

    hi Andrew,
    I have used your advice and i’m researching all sellers thoroughly. there are several 3rd+ year gold sellers that i have found using the escrow filter, but when i enter their page it has no mention of escrow only these payment option L/C,T/T,Western Union,MoneyGram. i’m a little confused.
    thanks for this great post

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Haz,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      This isn’t 100% accurate, yes. Often times it works the other way around too – seller takes Escrow only after asking about it.

      In most cases it will work as it should by default though.

      Either way, you want to get in touch with supplier and ask whatever they accept Escrow via Alibaba or not. Some will take it but only if you cover Escrow fee, which is around 3%-5% mark.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  94. This is such a great article. Our company is considering using Alibaba to find suppliers and this information really helps. I just have two questions and if someone could help me out, I would really appreciate it.

    In regards to the second point in the article, where do I find the information regarding complaints about a company? In other words, I cannot locate the spot where it says whether or not a company has complaints about them.

    Second, what are the legal implications of doing business with suppliers in China or other foreign countries? For example, if I ordered a product from China which injured someone due to faulty manufacturing, what is my legal recourse? From my understanding, China does not uphold judgments made in U.S. courts.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Natalie,

      Great to hear you’re enjoying my blog!

      To answer your questions:

      1) Currently they have taken down that information so you won’t be able to find it.

      2) You, as a importer, hold FULL responsibility in such cases. You’re responsible that products are made of quality that meets trading standards. In USA I guess, you can’t even start this without having an insurance in place.

      Hope this helps Natalie!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  95. Hi Andrew,
    Thank you for lots of valuable information you provided. Great website!
    I have got question.
    How would you treat Gold Supplier company on alibaba whose membership year doesn’t match establishment year? I came across companies having 3, 4, 5 year gold supplier mark but company profile says established in 2012 or 2013… Do you think is a scam?

    Many thanks,
    Kinga

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kinga,

      Thanks for your question.

      It could be a scam, yes but there could also be a logical explanation….

      I have heard that some companies do purchase existing Alibaba Gold accounts, change company name etc. and that’s how they get older Alibaba accounts than the actual company is.

      Your best bet is to contact supplier and ask directly about this, confront them with a direct question why your Alibaba profile is older than your company? And see what they say…

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  96. Hey there,

    Thanks for the post, it’s very helpful! I was wondering if you could tell me if you think this company is legit? I’m planning to order $350 worth of product and shipping. They won’t let me pay through escrow and they haven’t listed paypal on the product I wanted to order but have it listed on other products. Is that unusual? They only offered me Moneygram, Western Union, and T/T. Also, does Alibaba on site inspection and verification really mean much?

    Here’s the company:

    http://aonedigital.en.alibaba.com/

    Thanks!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Sarah,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Very rarely a company on Alibaba will accept Escrow with such small amounts – $350, so that’s nothing un-usual.

      But I would recommend paying via PayPal – even if they haven’t listed it online, chances are they still can take it.

      If we talk about this specific company – don’t order anything from them! They sell FAKE, counterfeit goods which are illegal to import and re-sell.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  97. I have a pending order at aliexpress that needs payment, unsure if I will use my credit card directly to pay the seller. Now, my question would be. Is it safe to use credit card payments using aliexpress website?

    Thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mark,

      Thanks for your question.

      I have always used credit card to pay for Ali Express orders with no problems whatsoever. It’s not that seller is processing your transaction – it’s Ali Express. And they keep money in Escrow until you receive goods and mark order as received in your Ali Express account.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  98. Hi Andrew, I have been researching purchasing from Alibaba for the last few weeks and noticed their customer feedback on the site has the exact same feedback under different names and when I Googled the names the information was different to the site so I have my concerns. I Google Alibaba feedback and found this which is great and very helpful advice. I will definately ask for a samples before I buy.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Sheryl,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Not sure about those feedbacks but I have been using Alibaba for many years to find suppliers in China. You have to evaluate each supplier individually as Alibaba won’t do much to protect you if you decide to deal with a scammer. Follow my filters and always start with a small sample order.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  99. charles perry says:

    Kudos to you and your efforts.
    When speaking of Aliexpress, is it dangerous to use WU as you have mentioned on previous posts and why.
    Also you mentioned using a debit card, which I understand ( from my bank) that there are no protections because it is just like a check and can be charged again and again without your authorization.
    How long should I wait to receive goods before I should protest?
    If Aliexpress is just a middle man, and won’t protect you, is buying with a credit card your only protection?
    Thank you, Chuck

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Chuck,

      Thanks for your questions.

      I would never use WU, even on Ali Express to pay for full orders. There’s no protection then, there’s no Escrow and you’re simply shooting in your feet. Only use Ali Express checkout page, pay with a credit card (and not debit card) and stay away from high risk items and sellers with bad feedback.

      How long to wait? I wouldn’t wait for than 10 days for courier shipments and 30 days for regular post.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  100. Hi Andrew,

    Just came across this supplier, Haojue Hardware Furniture Factory, looks okay to me…but your advice would be great as I am a noob..

    Thanks in advance…

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Azzie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      They look ok to me. Organize samples and then see how it goes.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  101. Nice website and thanks for this great articles, you have done a very great job in enlighten those how are interested in doing importation from China. Thanks a Million

    Am a reseller of memory cards and external hard drives. i have been purchasing from Aliexpress.com before now with no itch. but upon trying to expand my business and buying in bulk from Alibaba.com i was scammed a chunk of $280.

    but i still believe there are honest and trusted suppliers of memory cards in midst of those scammers like you said. i have been making a deep research into alot of supplier using your top ten guidelines. leaving me with only Ibiz Asia Company limited and Jimpower industry. To your own professional examination,what do you recommend.

    I would also be very greatful if you have any trusted supplier you can recommend to me that is honest,trusted and dish out quality cards in wholesale.

    Thanks aLot.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Abdiel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m afraid I can’t recommend any specific suppliers as I don’t deal with memory cards and related products but if you say those two companies look good to you, order sample from each and see how it goes!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  102. Hello Good day Andrew…have some questions bothering me.

    Can the escrow service really be trusted? And is the 5% charge fixed?

    How long those it take for one to get a refund if items supplied are not of good quality.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Abdiel,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I have never had problems with escrow on both Alibaba and AliExpress but that doesn’t mean it’s 100% safe either. Read through comments in this post, plenty of people share their negative experiences.

      I personally think that IF you do your home work, research potential supplier, stay away from high risk items, Escrow is as safe as it gets when importing goods from China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  103. Paul Jayson says:

    Hi Andrew/All,

    Im currently placed an order in Aliexpress until I saw your blog.

    I sent my items via China Post Mail going to Philippines.

    Now I’m scared it wont arrive here. but my order status is still in processing orders.

    They say it will took 20 days.

    Anyone out there who have successful shipping to Philippines via China Post Mail? Or should I opt to a more pricier shipping option (DHL, UPS, etc.) ??

    Thanlks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Paul,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I don’t know how reliable/fast is China Post to PH, so can’t comment.

      I personally never use China Post as it’s very un-reliable and slow. HK post is better but still – most of the time I just make my orders bigger to justify additional cost of using a courier service. I would recommend you do the same and take out the hassle/long waiting times of China Post.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  104. Hi Andrew,
    I Just got done reading your blog and I’m kind of nervous that my my package won’t arrive. I just ordered it (Date:Jan. 21 2014) Time: 19:28 and the seller isn’t a company it’s a person. The seller started his business since March/12/2013 The seller’s feed back score is 749 , So do you think it’s a SCAM?

  105. Many of the products i intend ordering, have names; android and blackberry phones. Is this what you mean by products with branded names? Is aliexpress the right place to order these from?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Cosmas,

      Thanks for your question.

      YES, Blackberry phones are BRANDED goods and you should stay away from them on any Chinese platform! Those won’t be genuine items but fakes/copies.

      This doesn’t apply to Android phones though as they can be Chinese brand or un-branded phones (totally ok) with Android operating system installed on them. This is fine.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  106. Fatima Ally says:

    Hi has anyone ever used this supplier – Suzhou Hedy Clothing Co., Ltd. on alibaba.com?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Fatima,

      Thanks for your comment.

      http://hedysz.en.alibaba.com/

      First year company (I never deal with such new companies), probably using stolen product pictures.

      Don’t know what else to add – I personally wouldn’t order from them simply for the reason they’re so new to Alibaba and deal with high risk items – clothing! You can of course risk and order one dress but why not simply find a more reputable, established company?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  107. Andrew could you comment on a company named, Hengtang bamboo and wood crafts factory.

    Thank you

  108. Thanks for the reply on heng tang bamboo and wood crafts. I went to place and order and their site says western union or TTonly.What is TT? Thank you.

    • Hi Vegas,

      TT stands for telegraphic transfer (wire transfer) which is basically bank to bank transfer.

      It does not offer ANY protection – once you send the money, money is gone for good. If they scam you, you won’t be able to get your money back.

      That’s why for first orders it’s always better to use PayPal.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  109. Thank for your article.

    I have contacted a few different companies on Alibaba and they always tell me to contact them via what appears to be a personal email address. Is it customary practice for sales agents in China to use their private email address as a point of contact?

    Cheers,
    Baxter

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Baxter,

      Thanks for your email.

      Yes, this is quite common, especially if company you’re dealing with don’t have a website outside Alibaba. And even if they have a dedicated website, very often sales reps will use yahoo and other email addresses.

      Just make sure details on invoice are correct, bank details match company details on Alibaba, if you pay via wire transfer.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  110. Andrew, I am in the research stage for a import/export start up. I have yet to do any business on Ali. But I have found your info VERY informative & helpful. Just wanted to thank you for what you have done.
    Ray

  111. Flora Rong says:

    By the way Andrew scamming works both ways, being a Gold supplier ourselves on Alibaba we have come across purchasers who will try and extort a product from you without payment. once a product is shipped the cost of retrieving from overseas is a waste of time. LC are not really feasible under $20.000 USD. the Escrow system in Alibaba is not conducive to good business practice. As a company why should we fund a purchase for up to 120 days which can happen on the existing Escrow system. Escrow might work for Aliexpress were you purchase a few hundred dollars but it’s certainly a different issue for $10,000 USD and Alibaba is pushing this hard mainly as it’s a revenue raiser for them much like PayPal or Amazon and selling it to buyers as being safe.

    We sell successfully on Alibaba using 30% deposit and payment on shipping trusting partners works both ways, the idea is to build trust then trading terms can be more flexible for the purchaser.

    The problem we face like most companies is the stigma from the shonky suppliers, but being a first year Gold supplier on Alibaba ( sorry according to you stay away from us) we have found that the biggest problem is the spammer purchasers and the fake RFQs. what is amazing is purchasers actually think things cost nothing if they come from China.

    Also a lesson for the people about business in China 85% of products shipped from China aren’t supplied from factories that have a export liscence. This means that it’s likely you won’t pay into a bank account that would accept USD that matches the company name. Is this a problem not really those Gold suppliers you talk about that have 10 years do business this way.

    Remember one thing in China most of the companies that you do business with are not the same as you do business at home they only look at the order in front of them not the longer term partnership. is this strange yes but no if you consider the issue . The purchaser is a non face half a world away they make promises to purchase 1000 units to leverage the best price and then buy ten units and you never hear from them again.

    It’s logical at home in the UK you can go knock on the door on the other side of the world what can you do..

    In summary I agree and disagree with what you say Andrew a little common sense goes a long way when purchasing from a distance but if you follow your guidelines to the letter you would never do business outside your own country.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Flora,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your experience as seller on Alibaba.

      I can totally understand that buyers can scam you too, especially when Escrow is used. Still, many companies on Alibaba are happy to use Escrow service and I always pay in companies bank account when dealing with wire transfers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  112. Hi Andrew,

    I’m new to the Alibaba service and found your article to be very helpful. Could you please tell me more about the Alibaba quality agent service?

    Separately, in your opinion, is Shenzhen Too-Star Technology Co., Ltd. legitimate? Here’s a link to their website: http://too-star.en.alibaba.com/

    Thank you!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Tina,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Not sure what you mean by “Alibaba quality agent service”?

      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        I believe I saw you described “quality agent” in one of your earlier responses to another reader – thought I’d inquire about it.

        Separately, have you used the Alibaba inspection service? What is your opinion of the service ? Is it worth while?

        Lastly, what is your opinion of the company I described before?

        Thank you very much for your input!
        Tina

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Tina,

          I think you’re referring to same Alibaba inspection service here.

          YES, it’s great and worth every penny. I highly recommend doing inspection with each supplier, before placing order.

          That company looks ok but they sell fake/un-licensed products. Stay away from such products, they’re illegal to import and re-sell.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  113. Hello Andrew
    I new to the Alibaba and Aliexpress and your articles are very helpful.
    I am am dealing with 2 Aliexpress suppliers and one 5th year Gold member in Alibaba.
    Hope I can trust 5th year gold memeber but I am not sure about the Aliexpress suppliers.How can I check them as they give only their names instead of company name? Could you please help me to find out whether these suppliers are reliable?

    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/126767
    http://www.aliexpress.com/store/826538

    for the Alibaba supplier they are not a accessed supplier but they are 5th year gold supplier.because of the gold member I can trust this supplier.Am I right?

    Thanks
    Priya

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Priya,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Both Ali Express sellers have decent feedback, so very un-likely they’re scammers.

      With Alibaba supplier – Gold status is good but carry other checks as pointed out in my guide to make sure you minimize risks of being scammed.

      And lastly, most importantly, with all these suppliers – start with a small, sample order and increase your orders gradually. That’s best way to keep your potential loses to minimum.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  114. kaya cheshire says:

    Hi,
    I was just wondering if i could get some advice,
    great article by the way!

    I’m quite new to buying wholesale, but wouldn’t say i was naive.

    I have bought 6 lots of wholesale stock from Alibaba over different periods of time.
    My most recent stock, half of the fashion items were not the colour ordered in the picture and
    i have lost out around £100 as its stock i won’t be able to shift.
    I have emailed the seller explaining the situation, but am unsure where to go from here.

    Its been 5 days since i emailed the seller.

    many thanks,

    Kaya

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kaya,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Most suppliers in China are on holidays right now and that will be most likely be the reason why you haven’t heard back from them yet.

      Give it another week and then contact your supplier and try sorting out this issue either via an exchange, partial refund or credit for your next order.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  115. Hi Andrew
    We are interested in importing around £7,000 to £10,000 of garden giftware from China rather than buying from wholesalers in the UK. We emailed a company some weeks ago for pricing information. Since then we have learnt about Alibaba and find the company is 2 years gold verified and passes your other tests. Looks gegit. Before sending pricing information they wanted to know our VAT number. Our turnover is such that we are not VAT registered (and would prefer to keep it that way for as long as we can). Why do they want to know our VAT number and how can we move forward with this supplier without it. Is this typical for Chinese manufacturers? The types of products we are interested in aren’t listed in Aliexpress otherwise I would use that to purchase some samples.
    Thanks
    Tris

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Tris,

      Thanks for your comment.

      That’s actually first time I hear a Chinese supplier asking for a VAT number… you sure it’s VAT number they asked for or it was EORI number?

      Can’t see why would they need to know your VAT number….

      And of course, you can still import and buy from China if you’re not VAT registered, it doesn’t make any difference to Chinese part.

      Did you asked them why they need your VAT number?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  116. Hello Andrew

    Thanks for your reply.I am bit confused with Alibaba supplier. (Guangzhou Cappuccino Leather Co., Ltd.)
    I couldn’t fit the supplier with 10 steps filter system. They are in 5th year gold member but year of establishment in 2012.CTI Test report dated 2010 I don’t know about this report..The website name come as Topmart fashion. could you please help me?
    Thank you once again for your time and advice.

    Thanks
    Priya

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      They sell 100% FAKES, stay away!

      You can’t get BRANDED goods from China in wholesale, forget about it! You’ll get scammed or receive fakes.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Thanks for your reply.

        Why Aliexpress suppliers don’t give their phone numbers?
        How does the email sysytem work?
        Sometimes they ask my email address? I receive emails from suppliers both for my personal and Alibaba or Aliexpress message center,sometimes either they send it to personal email only or Ali message center only.

        Thanks
        Priya

  117. Anupreet Gulati says:

    I don’t own a credit card, and for some unknown reason can’t use my maestro debit card either.
    I borrowed an uncle’s credit card and made a payment of about $11.

    The next time when I used the same credit card for $113, it says the payment wasn’t verified. I do not feel comfortable in asking him to provide me with his identity proof, and he himself said that wasn’t required.

    The money hasn’t been refunded either. Even though it has just been 2 days, and it says it takes about 7-10 days, I am still worried about losing such a large amount.
    I don’t know how to make the payment.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Anupreet,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Are you talking about Ali Express?

      If you don’t have a VISA card, you still have some alternatives, bank transfer and western union being most popular. You can learn more about these payment options here:

      http://help.aliexpress.com/payment_method.html

      If you don’t want to validate your uncle’s card, then simply ask AliExpress to cancel this transaction and refund money back to the card.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Anupreet Gulati says:

        Sorry for not having mentioned about the site name.

        The problem has been temporarily resolved. Would get to know by this month end.

        Thanks a lot. :)

  118. Julito Yranela says:

    Beware of Henan jinxin machinery commercial and trading company ltd. I bought a steam bun machine from them. I followed your advice and still got screwed I was sent a used machine with no directions and a cut power line. So I called them no response for 2 weeks
    I complained to alibaba tough luck. Oh the agent was emily Kong I doubt if this is her real name

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Julito,

      Thanks for your comment.

      With such business/industrial machinery, you always want to use a pre-shipment inspection service. It costs just $100-$150 and would eliminate such possible scenario when you receive defective/used machine.

      The problem with such orders is that you can’t order any samples, due to size, weight and cost of these machines, so effectively you’re taking risks when going forward with an order from a supplier you haven’t dealt with.

      Hopefully the machine works at least and you can make use of it.

      Still, continue contacting supplier and try to resolve this matter. It’s Chinese New Year holidays right now and that could be the reason why they haven’t answered your emails yet. If a specific sales rep. doesn’t answer you, get in touch via the main company contact email. Could be that an employee is already gone by now.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  119. hi I would like to know if hanaco limited in uk London is legit to make business, any help would be appreciated

  120. Hello,

    I wanted to reach out and let you know I found your articles to be very high quality and incredibly helpful!

    I also wanted to find out if you offer any sort of advertising or link placement on your site? If so, could you send me some sort of pricing information if possible?

    Thanks!

    Debbie

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Great to hear you find my blog valuable and interesting!

      At the moment I do not offer any paid advertising on my site, sorry.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  121. Hello,
    I have made an order today on aliexpress.com and after 4 hours it comes a message on my e-mail adress that :

    Thank you for shopping on AliExpress ! Unfortunately, your payment could not be verified and Order No. 61089824191443 has been closed for security reasons.Please be assured that the payment for this order was not deducted by AliExpress.

    To avoid order cancellation, please follow the below steps to submit a claim:
    1.Sign in to AliExpress
    2.Go to My Orders and locate this order
    3.Click “View Details”
    4.Click “Want to Claim”
    5.Submit the following documents:
    •A copy of your personal ID/passport or driver’s license
    •A copy of your card and bank statement if you paid with a credit/debit card or a copy of your bank statement if you paid with your checking account

    Just a gentle reminder – a bank statement is a document that shows all the money that went into or out of your bank account during a particular period of time. If needed, you can contact your bank to get this document.

    For security reasons, please conceal the middle digits of your card number. However, please make sure that we can locate the card holder’s name, card issuing bank as well as the last four digits of the card/account number.

    Once your card information is verified, you can place your order again.

    Sincerely,
    AliExpress.com
    2014.02.13 05:01

    This is an automated system email. Please do not reply to this email.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————-

    I think this is a scam !
    how can anybody sand a copy from his bankcard, passport or personal ID. ?
    Normaly you must protect your data and bankcard and not give anybody a copy of it.
    when a person knows your personal bankcard data, than he can buy everythink he wont from tha internet .
    I think that aliexpress and no other internet seller hase tha right to ask you for a copy of your bankcard or passport.
    instead to send this data to aliexpress, we shold all go to tha police whit this e-mails.
    the e-mail wose send me from : ” transaction_service@service.alibaba.com

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Lucian,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Do you know how many scammers each day make purchases online with stolen credit cards? If you know this, then it shouldn’t surprise you that Ali Express has some security limits in place to protect themselves from scammers.

      This is actually a very common practice in USA too, when I deal with wholesale companies there they often ask for wire transfers only OR if pay by card, various documents are required to prove I’m the actual card holder.

      As that email says – you should BLANK OUT all the sensitive data – leave just 4 last digits shown on your card, you don’t have to scan the BACK of your card where security number is. No one can use your card knowing just last 4 digits of it….

      If you’re really worried, you can always buy a top-up credit card and use that for Ali Express purchases.

      Lastly, if you don’t feel confident doing these security checks, don’t buy from Ali Express.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  122. I just want to thank you for this post. Just what I needed to read :)

  123. Thanks for your reply.

    Why Aliexpress suppliers don’t give their phone numbers?
    How does the email sysytem work?
    Sometimes they ask my email address? I receive emails from suppliers both for my personal and Alibaba or Aliexpress message center,sometimes either they send it to personal email only or Ali message center only.

    I have one more question ,Would it be safe to pay by debit card for the samples?

    Thanks
    Priya

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Priya,

      I don’t know why they don’t give their phone number – most likely because they don’t have a call centre for support.

      I have used VISA card for dozens if not hundreds of orders on AliExpress with no problems at all.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  124. Hi Andrew,
    Great post! Thank you so much for sharing. I recently cancelled some orders on aliexpress because the seller had taken so long to ship them out, and it was rejected and the orders were sent out immediately! lol. Does this mean that some sellers need to be constantly reminded to ship out orders that have already been paid for? Also, a seller just told me that they were yet to re-stock some designs of jewellry that I had already paid for and I was wondering if they weren’t incompetent. Am new to aliexpress and would appreciate your take on this. Regardless of these, Aliexpress has been really a great online shopping site,imo.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Olive,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes and no – depends on the seller really. You must watch out for the dispatch time listed in listings as some sellers have crazy time frames of 10 and more days (they’re probably just middle man who hold no stock).

      But yes, if they don’t dispatch order in stated time frame, simply cancel it (they have no rights to stop that as long as they haven’t dispatched it yet).

      Each seller is different – that’s why you always start with small sample orders to see how professional and fast they’re.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  125. Hi Andrew…after considering your Top ten steps to recognize a scammer in Alibaba. after making a concrete research on this supplier which Goes by the name JImpower Trading LTD. it seems to have all the qualities you mentioned about knowing a good supplier.
    But to your own perspective is this suppliers legitimate?
    I have sent him series oh mail via their representative and the responses have been fantastic, what your take on this.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Abdiel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      At first glance they look ok but as branded items, memory cards are involved, you have to be EXTREMELY careful. Yes, they’re HK based and yes, you can get genuine branded electronics from HK but still – there are plenty of scammers in HK who will scam you or send fakes.

      My advice would be to place a small sample order, pay via PayPal and check goods for authenticity.

      If all looks good, increase your orders gradually and look for ongoing product quality (no fakes).

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  126. I used Aliexpress for the first time last night. Today my bank called and said there was an unauthorized charge on my credit card at a Walmart in Virginia today. I think its more than a coincidence, don’t you?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Caylynn,

      Thanks for your question.

      Don’t know about that, did you pay directly via secure SLL checkout on AliExpress? If so, then there’s no way
      of them getting your card details.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  127. fiona thomas says:

    hi i am looking at buying some spa pedicure chairs from Healthtec nanhai xiarun massage equipment co.ltd
    all good constant email back and forth for several days asking questions and they alsways reply promptly they are on alibaba and ali express everything seems to be good i have just emailed them with payment concerns they have said 30%T/T as deposit and balance before shipping they said they would take photos and email to me??? so you know anything about this mob?
    thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Fiona,

      Thanks for your comment.

      That’s a standard payment procedure – 30 or 50% up-front payment and balance paid before dispatch.

      I can’t find that company on Alibaba though – you sure it’s exact and correct name?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  128. AliExpress IS a feeding ground for scammers and the company don’t care as long the money comes in.
    Its impossible to email AliExpress, and the complain-function is sending people in circles all the time.
    I have benn scammed and AliExpress is at no help at all, OK I should have checked better, but how much checking do an average buyer have to do?
    Today I warn everyone “don’t trade on AliExpress/AliBaba” don’t trade on china-sites, there is no security, its a scammers paradise.
    So AliExpres made me antichina, make me avoid all Chinese food, goods etc. from that country.
    Congratulations with that AliExpress, a Chinese face in the world ;)

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and sorry to hear about your bad experience.

      Both Alibaba and AliExpress sites carries risks and that’s the price we all have to pay if want to import directly from China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  129. Do you recommend consumers use alibaba to source products like furniture made in and sold in retail showrooms in the US? I learned that Restoration Hardware is making their very expensive salvage wood table in China now. I saw the same table available on alibaba from Hangzhou Lestero Home Deco. Co., Ltd. and wonder if it safe to purchase from this company? I was able to verify a few of the things on your list, but can’t find where they list payment options or complaints. Also, their trade show record is active in 2012 and blank for 2013. Does this indicate a problem?

    http://hzlestero.en.alibaba.com/product/1647857545-215790442/French_Vintage_Style_Long_Solid_Wood_Table.html

    I’m completely new to Alibaba- if the company is legit, should a newbie use a trade agent for a one-time purchase from a company or will a freight forwarding company be enough?

    Grateful for your advice,

    Alex

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Alex,

      If this is your first importing deal, you’ll need some sort of assistance. ideally use a sourcing agent that can go to factory, verify everything, check goods before dispatch etc. And then use freight forwarder for sea freight shipment and customs clearance.

      I can’t tell you whatever it’s safe or not to purchase from that company as further checks need to be done. They’re only 2nd year Gold supplier on Alibaba and as you say – with no recent trade show record.

      If you really want to order from this company, get inspector over there to do full factory check for you.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Hi Andrew,

        I was reading your recommendation to use a sourcing agent in China. Is that the same as the Alibaba inspection agents? Any recommendation on where to locate good sourcing agents?

        Many thanks!
        Tina

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Tina,

          No, these are not same.

          Inspection services just check companies, you have already found. Sourcing agents on the other hand will help you find those companies and products in first place.

          Here’s one good place to start with:

          http://www.thewholesaleforums.co.uk/forums/sourcing-freight-services/

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Hi Andrew,

            Thank you very much for the link. It seems this site is based in the UK, any such service for US retailers? In addition, could you please explain the pros and cons of (1) finding companies through Alibaba and use an inspection agent vs. (2) use a sourcing agent to source the products? Thanks again for your valuable insight!

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Tina,

            I don’t know any specific US companies but you can do a Google search for these and get plenty of results.

            In general, using sourcing agents is easier BUT only if you can find a good, reputable company who takes good care of you. Many of thee sourcing companies won’t want to work with small orders, some mess things up etc. and leave you with wrong items or delivery issues.

            When you do your own research, find companies, do inspection via inspection services, you keep 100% control on everything and if something goes wrong, it will be only your fault and not someone elses.

            Ideally, if all sourcing companies would produce results they promise, it would be the easiest/best way for newbies to get into importing.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

          • Thank you – you’ve been very helpful!

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            You’re welcome Tina!

  130. Jacqueline says:

    Hi Andrew,

    My name is Jacqueline from South Africa, please assist i need to stock brazillian hair online. which company or factory do you prefer as they a lot and its my first time. i am scared to be scammed as i’m trying to open a small business to sell and get a profit.

    kind Regards
    Jacqueline

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jacqueline,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately I personally don’t deal with Brazilian hair products so can’t recommend you any specific, tried & verified supplier.

      What you simply have to do is start doing your research on Alibaba – search for the product, filter out best looking companies using my 10 step system. Then get in touch with best looking suppliers, get quotes, samples etc. etc.

      That’s how product sourcing and importing works.

      No one will just come and share their best suppliers with you. It’s something you have to do on your own.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  131. I started reading all of these posts and then decided to skip down to the bottom after reading so many negative things about AliExpress. I’m just a normal consumer who randomly shops on this website as I please and have made over 25+ orders with AliExpress. My co-worker and I spend our lunch hours shopping on their websites and aside from incorrect sizing information, neither of us have ever been scammed. The longest we have both waited for shipping was about 20 days but we have ALWAYS received our orders and we have never been incorrectly charged. One time they did lose my order temporarily and that seller sent me a gift box of cute accessories to compensate. I just thought I would share my positive experience with this website! Thank you for posting this article!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kelly,

      Many Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience with others, this helps a lot!

      I know this is the reality – while millions of people are making purchases on Ali Express hassle free, they won’t go online and write about their good experiences. Only people who have had problems usually do this, hence the skewed ratio of good and bad feedback here.

      This is totally normal. For example, take a look @ PayPal’s page on Trust Pilot:

      http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/www.paypal.com

      If you read comments there, you would think that you’d NEVER want to deal with such company!!! But again, those are only bad experiences, which are in small minority compared to hundreds of millions of people who use PayPal hassle free (including me).

      Anyway, Thanks again Kelly for your comment!

      Andrew

    • Nice experience Kelly.

      Thanks for relating this to us.

  132. Holly Morris says:

    Hi Andrew
    first of all thankyou for your article i found it very helpful
    Secondly I am looking to start a small online clothinh boutique and found an wealth of great stock on the ali express app. I was wondering if you could clarify a few questions i have..
    on ordering a sample on the app once you press buy now it took me directly to putting in debit/credit details with no options for payment is this normal? and is this covered by the escrow service?

    also if it tells me 60 days processing time does that mean im waiting 60 days before the order is even proccessed for delivery?

    lastly i have opened a new bank account with a debit card and only neccesary funds purely for alibaba transactions would you say this is wise?

    many thanks
    Holly

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Holly,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1) I have never used the Ali Express app on my mobile, so don’t know how it works and what it shows.

      2) Yes, processing time means how long it will take for seller to dispatch item to you. 60 days is wayyyy too long obviously, you should buy from sellers who have 1-3, maybe 5 days max processing time.

      3) Yes, that’s a good idea.

      I would recommend you ordering from the full website on your computer, not the app as chances are app has some glitches etc., that shows wrong processing time.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  133. I have been contemplating on this but i said no let me share this with you and get your own view it.

    I have been chatting with the sales representative of SHENZHEN LANYU GROUP LIMITED. they supply memory card OEM. they gave me there price quotation and their communication perfect. But where am not too Ok with is that they only accept Western Money,Money gram and Bank transfer. and they don’t accept payment via Escrow services.

    So i ask for their Bank account details. the account name is same as their business name which sound Legit but i still need you to help me make some check to see if in your own opinion there are OK.
    Account details giving to me is

    Beneficiary name: Lanyu Group Limited
    Beneficiary a/c number: 112-316781-838
    Beneficiary bank : HSBC Hongkong

    The sweet part is that they even gave me their Phone number, which i can use to get in contact with them +8675583171934. then number tally with the number in their website and in their Alibaba website.

    Please, i need you own review of this Supplier please.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Abdiel,

      Have you made a small sample order yet with them?

      That’s what you should start with.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • I tried doing that but they told me that the minimum number of items i can order for sample is 100pcs. what do you say about that? if they can’t agree to sell a sample for me to make my own assessment of their products.

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Abdiel,

          I would never deal with a company that can’t sell me one sample to test product quality etc.

          Only deal with companies who can provide you with samples.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  134. robert fry says:

    hi Andrew. your 10 rules is great . I followed them but still unsure to follow my leads. don’t know if you can help with these 2 companys . yiwu carnival garment ltd. plus also Guangzhou city sanyuanli yaxin leather. has im a first time buyer. your thoughts would be welcomed. thanks rob

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Robert,

      If you find companies that meet all 10 criteria, you can order samples pretty safely. Even if there’s a small chance of dealing with a scammer in such situation, you’ll lose maximum of $50 or so in shipping costs.

      Importing carries risks – be ready for this and just make your first sample order.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  135. Many people who have lost their money thru AliExpress/Alibaba say the company told them they refuse to post neg feedback about any seller unless the seller agrees to it! How can you say the site is legit?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry, but where did you get that? You can freely leave negative feedback on AliExpress, leave 1 star reviews etc. You don’t have to ask seller’s permission for that.

      Andrew

  136. http://www.aliexpress.com/store/218197

    Can someone please take a look at this, I’d like to order from them but do you think it’s legit?

    Thanks!

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Sarah,

      It looks ok to me, feedback is good.

      Use courier shipping option and you should be fine.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  137. Hi, thank you for your article.
    Stumbling upon Google and found your website.
    Because I got story too.

    I bought a Xiaomi smartphone from ALIEXPRESS.com, as a first time buyer I felt very happy, received the phone yesterday, the shipment almost took a month, and turn out to be a fake one. It is functioning but the specifications are way below the original (bad AnTuTu Benchmark score, app crash, can’t download nothing, bad camera, etc). I hope that I can get my refund. This is my first time experience buying from ALIEXPRESS.com and I got scammed.

    The link is here : http://www.aliexpress.com/item/In-Stock-Original-Xiaomi-Red-Rice-WCDMA-Quad-Core-MTK6589T-1-5GHz-MIUI-V5-Xiaomi-Hongmi/1572840119.html

    and my order is here : http://www.aliexpress.com/snapshot/315678157.html

    I don’t know what to do but to expect having my refund.And spreading the word, tell people about this ali express site so that what happened to me will not happen to other people.

    Be careful again if you want to buy stuffs online. I just wanna say NEVER BUY ANYTHING FROM ALIEXPRESS.com.

    It cost me USD 210. Not that much, but I just feel so sad that I didn’t get my original favorite phone.

    I hope no more people get scammed by ALIEXPRESS.com.
    It’s just sad.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Andrea,

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

      If only you would do some minimal research BEFORE that purchase, you would know that you CAN’T buy BRANDED products from China.

      China is only good for un-branded stuff…

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  138. Thank you very much Andrew Minalto for this great post! It really helped me a lot. =)

  139. Dear Andrew,

    Lots of thanks for your guide to aware about the scammer about alibaba.com

    I want to start a business and for that I have searched for some machineries in alibaba.com

    Finally I have selected that my machine is available with Zhengzhou Ali-Partner Machinery & Equipment Co. Ltd. and they are 2 years gold members of alibaba.com.

    I’m seeking your guides whether I can place the order to them.

    Their payment term is 50 % booking by T/T and 50% by seeing the faxed B/L by T/T or by Western Union.

    Please guide me.

    With regards,

    Kiran Deb Mondal

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kiran,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If that’s the ONLY company you can find that supplies item you’re after, first thing you should do is get an inspector over there to inspect that company:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      You should know that it’s a trading company and NOT manufacturer, which means they act as middle man and maybe not as professional/educated on these machines as a manufacturer would be.

      Whatever you do, make sure you do pre-shipment inspection too, to make sure correct item, brand new and in working condition is being sent to you.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  140. Andrew,
    Great article. question: I am a start-up business selling my own brand of martial arts equipment. I contacted several gold suppliers and decided on a 5 year. I paid a couple himndred bucks to get samples of my “prototype” equipment (with my own logos, details, etc..) They were really nice quality. Time to place the full order…I got a proforma invoice for the full production run. The terms were 60% to begin production (via WU or bank transfer), then the remaining 40% when ready to ship (DHL or EMS-they shipped DHL for the samples). Mind you, this is Alibaba, not Aliexpress. The manufacturer is in Pakistan not China. Here comes my concern. I paid the 60% via WU and was given a 5-6 week timeframe. E-mail communication has been good. Today, I received an e-mail from a “very slightly different e-mail address” requesting I send the balance today via WU – they noted that the “TO:” name had changed. I contacted the manufacturer via our “old e-mail chain” (with the original e-mail address) and asked for confirmation. I got a response from the original e-mail address saying, yes, that was them (my concern was that the new e-mail thread was a “hack”) and that I should go ahead and send the money. I questioned him regarding the Bank Transfer-vs-WU and the response was that their bank account had reached “Tax-Free” transaction limit and that Bank transfer would cause them to be taxed at a high rate. Is it correct that bank transfer is really no more secure than WU? Either way, what do you make of this? I contacted them again and asked them to send pictures of the gear ready for shipment and am currently waiting on those…. Thoughts?
    Thanks,
    Eric

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Eric,

      I hope it ends all good for you…

      You should have never paid via WU in first place, no matter what supplier says. Yes, bank transfer is as safe as WU in terms that they both can’t be reversed BUT with bank transfer at least, you know exactly where you send money to – is it personal or companies bank account, check if all details match etc.

      With Western Union payment – you send money to some individual in Pakistan and God knows what he does with it. Yes, he could “give” the money to company he works for but he could also simply disappear with all your money.

      Anyway, as I said – let’s hope this is not the case and everything will end just fine.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Yes, I am hoping…Note that, there are ZERO Pakistani suppliers (at least in the Martial arts market) that do Escrow, and ZERO that take credit card. Not sure why that is. Note also that Pakistan is the world’s largest exporter of these particular products. So, in those cases…what are your suggestions (if any)..The Chinese manufacturers have much lower quality of product, presumably because they are “relatively” new to this market….Hoping for the best.

      • Also, I ntoe that there is no “investigator” feature for the Pakistani market?!

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Eric,

          Unfortunately I have no real experience dealing with suppliers in Pakistan so can’t help you with that…

          Let’s hope it all works out for you.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • I was able to find an inspector (out of China-but regional) that can do a pre-shipment inspection before I send final payment.
            Thanks!

  141. Go to China and look for reliable sellers that is the only way to know they are legit. If you are a businessman then at east that proves that you can invest your money then why not go there?…Take a vacation and scout for good suppliers build friendship then settle transactions tell them you will order online the next time you order. Smile :) Peace to everyone.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Mj,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Well, going to China can of course speed up the process but only if you have some serious cash ready to invest in stock. Going blindly is not worth it really – you’ll need someone local, translator who can show around, help with communication etc. If you go to big trade shows like Canton Fair, expect huge masses and most suppliers won’t spend much time with small time buyers.

      Surely, if you have at least $20k-$30k+ to invest, going to China can be an option but as most people start with way less than that, they’re better off searching for suppliers on Alibaba and just invest $100-$150 to do inspections on selected suppliers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  142. Hi Andrew.

    Been reading through your blog and it has been very helpful.
    One question, I’m in the negotiating process on alibaba, the seller states I can pay using pay pal which is good news, but one thing, the pay pal account is a personal account not a business account. I know in your blog you state not to send money via bank transfer to a personal bank account, was just wondering if the same applies to pay pal accounts.
    Your feedback would be much appreciated.
    Thanks
    Harry

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Harry,

      Thanks for your comment.

      No, same rule does not apply to PayPal accounts. As long as I remember, I think I have only seen personal PayPal accounts for China Mainland based companies. Maybe they even can’t have PayPal company accounts, not sure.

      Either way, this is fine and as long as everything else is spot on, shouldn’t create any problems. Make sure that you fund transaction with your credit card so you always have that option on initiating a charge back if something goes wrong.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  143. I want to buy a machine from China which I found on ALi Baba.
    both suppliers are asking for payment via TT and will not accept payment via Ali Express.
    I offered to pay the full 100% rather than the 30% but via a third parity.
    Both have refused
    Can anyone shed some light on these two companies ?

    http://www.housenmachine.com
    http://www.mingyuemachinery.com

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Abdul,

      No one can tell you for sure if these companies are legit or not. And even if they’re legit – it doesn’t mean anything when you buy such complex machinery… They could send you wrong spec or refurbished machine or broken machine or send nothing.

      You should get someone – a sourcing agent – who could help you find supplier and machine that fits your needs and check everything before you pay, and check everything once again before machine is sent out to you.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  144. Hello!

    thank you so much for your helpful advice. Being a first time buyer at ali-express i have but 4 concerns.

    Following your steps, i have managed to narrow down many suppliers that did not meet the criteria you set, however, i have problems verifying the following sites:

    1. sylvia zhou’s store Store No.822408, website: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/822408

    2. Wu Children Clothing Store No.117788, website: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/117788

    3. Babyhouse2013 Store No.520070, website: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/520070

    4. E-Best Industry (HK) Co.,Ltd. Store No.913211, website: http://www.aliexpress.com/store/913211

    please verify the following suppliers on ali express before i make an order by e.m.s or dhl as advised for smaller orders.

    in future how do you determine a store on ali -express is legit, since they have limited or no info on their contact information, are sometimes not listed on b2b companies like global express and charge very high or low courier fees on dhl etc than others.

    Much grateful, please help,
    Ida

  145. Hello I have question have you order with Aliexpress? You said that you should pay with Escow but when you go to pay there is only options to pay with cards and bank accounts on Aliexpress?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Dan,

      There’s a built in Escrow feature for ALL Ali Express transactions. You pay with a card (or any other supported payment method) and that money goes into escrow – on hold. You release it to seller once you have received and checked goods.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Oh ok thank sorry another question would you recommend buying at aliexpress if so what would be your filters there?

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Hi Dan,

          On Ali Express I just look @ feedback really and how long the seller has been on Ali Express selling.

          I have NEVER been scammed on Ali Express! I don’t look for branded goods, I don’t look for memory cards and other high risk items and always use courier for delivery. People who are having problems with Ali Express in most cases use free, slow, un-traceable shipping methods which cause all kinds of problems.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

          • Oh ok would you consider ePacket a courier because some there have that as a deliver choice and what others?

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            I haven’t used ePacket myself but it looks ok, 3-5 day delivery time, online traceable.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

  146. Jerry Cheung says:

    Dear Mr Minalto,

    I would like to start off by saying thank you for the invaluable help and information you provided us. I bought a few things from aliexpress before and felt nervous, but it turned out great and I want to take it a step forward.

    Some of my concerns are that I am now buying from alibaba and it’s from a seller without much information.
    http://pk1024189115.trustpass.alibaba.com/product/152461433-106592017/BJJ_GI_SHOYOROLL.html
    He is a gold member, but registered on December 26, 2013. From what I tried to research, there is no previous buyer history.
    Another concern I have is that the product brand “Shoyoroll” is very known and highly sought after, I was wondering if this is a red flag considering you said to stay away from those brands.

    I understand sometimes these companies are new and just entered the market, and if this is one of those cases, can this one be trusted? I don’t wish to spend a few hundred just to have it lost.

    Sincerely,
    Jerry

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jerry,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m not an expert in martial arts brands & clothing but from the research I did, it seems that this company is selling various brand items which very likely are FAKES! I can’t say for sure as some of these may originate from China? But from the looks, most of these are Western brands, Japan or Korean brands. So most likely they sell fakes, yes but without buying a sample and comparing with original, it’s really hard to tell.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Jerry Cheung says:

        I’ve requested some additional pictures to make sure he actually has the product and he came through. Although I realize they can be fake and therefore mean less quality, I am can live with that as long as it is not a scam. Although you probably advise against this seller, do you think it is a scam? or just fakes?

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          I really can’t comment that Jerry, as I said, I’m not familiar with the martial art brands so don’t know if they’re fake or not.

          Sorry about that.

          Thanks,
          Andrew

  147. Hi Dan,

    I wanted to thank you for your input you have provided in previous e-mail. It has been helpful. I am very new to this and I have a dumb question, but I am currently using a middle man to purchase my supplies in bulk. He is located here in the United States. I trust him and it seems that he has a reliable souce that he uses. The problem is that I feel if I could just figure out how to do this myself I could cut my cost in half.

    I just don’t know how to get started or if I should just not do anything and be lucky that I have someone who I can work with that I trust and can get me a better deal than if I made the purchases here in the United States.

    I also noticed that no one has provided a main contact person that could be shared with everyone. Is there a reason for that? I figured someone would of post something about a good experience with a supplier they have worked with on a long term basis and provide the name to everyone else.

    Any input you have would be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance!!

    Have a great day!!

    Nathan

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Nathan,

      What’s stopping you from doing this on your own? It’s really not that difficult process – you find suppliers, verify them, order samples! It’s pretty easy and straightforward.

      There’s no such a thing as MAIN CONTACT – there are tens of thousands or probably hundreds of thousands of suppliers/manufacturers in China! They all work in their niches and do what they do best. There isn’t ONE, main company that sells everything or knows everything.

      Just start doing some research on Alibaba and get the ball rolling!

      Andrew

  148. robert fry says:

    hi. I found a supplier and have had samples from them which were good. they asked to pay by paypal which I did. now I want to order 110 pcs they still say pay by paypal . is this normal. thanks rob

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Robert,

      Sure, it’s normal. PayPal is safest payment method when dealing with suppliers on Alibaba, apart from Escrow.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  149. Adeleke Adelani says:

    I want to order a piece of wireless router which does not cost more that $100 (hundred dollars). Which one do you advice i use? Alibaba.com or aliexpress.com?

    Thank you for the great jobs you are doing.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Adeleke,

      If you’re after just one piece, for personal use, you should use Ali Express of course as it’s easier, quicker & safer.

      But why would you want to buy an un-branded wireless router for $100 from China? When you can get a very good, branded one locally – for same money?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  150. robert fry says:

    hi. when you ship from china . is tax and vat included in with the shipping cost. thanks. rob

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Robert,

      No, they’re not.

      VAT and import duty you’ll pay when goods arrive in the UK. Amount depends on value of goods,. In most cases it’s roughly 25% of the shipment value, for VAT and import tax.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  151. Hello,
    I have found a company on Alibaba that has been a gold member for 1 year. However, after reading your article I checked their company profile and they haven’t been to any trade shows as they are a new company as of 2013. I checked MadeInChina and they pop up, but do not on Global Sources. When I select to have only companies show that allow Escrow, are gold members and have an On Site Check they stay on screen.
    Does this company sound legit?
    Thanks,
    Kevin

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Kevin,

      There’s no one answer to that – they could be real, they could be scam. 10 filter system I share on this page – it’s just a guidance, adbvice – not some strict formula that works 100% of the time.

      If you’re dealing with un-branded goods and this company looks good to you, order sample first and see how it goes. If sample satisfies your needs, place a small trial order and increase orders gradually. This way you won’t risk with lot of money and will be able to verify supplier properly.

      Alternatively, if small orders are not an option, do full inspection on this company before you place your order.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  152. How do I make sure I am paying with the escrow service?

    How do I find out if they are a gold supplier?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Eryn,

      You need to look @ supplier’s profile – it clearly shows is it a free or Gold member.

      Escrow service – there’s an automated link for Escrow on listings from suppliers that take Escrow OR better ask supplier to send you a custom link when you have agreed on order terms.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  153. ruby roces says:

    I ordered instruments from willmedic a diviaon of willing ways enetrprise of pakistan. It was a verified supplier on alibaba and i dealt wt dr fadnan in good faith. I paid thru moneygram as this is faster and he answered everything without delay until the shipment of orders. It was delayed and delayed gor several months as he will promise to send it next week and next week. He funally send only about 1/3 of the amount i originally ordered and paid. He kept on sating he will send anlgain until now after7 months he stopped answering my calls. How do you protect yourself from people who are verified suppliers by alibaba yet they didnt deliver

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ruby,

      First, I usually recommend staying away from 1st and 2nd year Gold Suppliers and if at all possible, deal only with 3rd year + supplier.

      Secondly, you shouldn’t use Money Gram or Western Union for such orders. Only PayPal, Escrow or bank transfer and make sure bank account details match the compenie’s details you’re dealing with.

      Lastly, before making any such large orders, you should order smaller – sample order first. Scammers usually won’t bother with sending even samples out so potentially you would lose smaller amount of money.

      Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  154. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for a great article – such a great response from the public as well, its great to see the varying experiences.

    I am in the middle of putting together a custom branded sporting goods order from Alibaba. I am not sure yet if i 100% trust the seller and in particular the quality. I would like to do a factory audit and use quality control on the finished goods before shipping – can you recommend a reputable company to do these checks?

    Also do you think that it is ever possible to negotiate zero payment until the complete order is checked by a third party and ready for shipping? The total order will be US$17k so even losing a 50% deposit would be a huge blow for me as a first time importer.

    Thanks so much for your help!

    Anton

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Anton,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      For inspection services – go to this page and ust pick company with decent feedback and that covers your region and products of interest:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      As for zero payment – no, I’m afraid no factory will do that. If it’s a wholesaler, with all products in stock, then yes. But factories will always take 50% or at least 30% deposit before they begin manufacturing process.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  155. Hi Andrew,

    Thanx for the useful tips & advice. Very handy!!

    Greetz
    Alwin

  156. I have ordered a supercard mini sd for my GBA from aliexpress, the item came but it does not work. The seller is ignoring all my messages, I opened a dispute for a fuul refund and the seller refused that. I opened again and the seller refused again. WHAT TO DO??? Thank you so much!

  157. I received a message on my cell. I do not give out my cell number to anyone I do not know locally. The message said, Call SC – Bank. Important Notification and gave the number to call. I have never heard of the bank. The number was missing a digit , only 9 digits. I traced the number to AliExpress. It is not possible to communicate with Aliexpress without joining first. Under the circumstances I would not do that, however I did find the so called phone number as a number of an item for purchase made in China. So at this time I am assuming that this seller from China sent me a false message to get me to call in an order for the item. But how did they get my cell number?

  158. hi Andrew thank u very much for your write up, its really mind- opening. please I want to go into real bizness in alibaba. I will be majoring in shirts, jean trousers, flash drives and memory cards. could u please suggest some trustworthy suppliers that deal in these? I appreciate your help in advance. thank u big time

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      I’m sorry but this is something you have to do on your own – find and evaluate suppliers.

      No one will give you these on a plate.

      Andrew

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      the company looks all good.

      Only thing – is Backfire a BRAND? If so, it’s probably not Chinese, is it?

      • It’s their own brand, according to them. They ask me to pay via western union. But I asked them if I could pay with paypal. I opted to pay via paypal. Thanks for replying man. :)

        Would you recommend getting a buying agent in alibaba?

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          ok, good stuff!

          Probably start with a small sample order and see how it goes!

          • do you have any tips to avoid being scammed on ali express?

          • Andrew Minalto says:

            Hi Roden,

            Yes, here are some tips on avoiding scams on Ali Express:

            1) Stay away from any kind of branded products, especially electronics, tablets etc.

            2) Buy ONLY from sellers with good, established feedback (at least 100 feedbacks with a positive rate of 95%+)

            3) Use traceable courier for all shipments!

            If you stick with these 3 guidelines, it will be very difficult for you to gets cammed on Ali Express.

            Thanks,
            Andrew

  159. Margaret N says:

    I ordered 30 naked 18 inch dolls after buying a sample. Only thirteen are fit for purpose – i.e. to sell with extensive clothing wardrobes for children. The seller accepts that one is faulty with missing eye, four with body seam gapingopen, but two of these plus twelve others have hard dark lumps showing through the body covering and the seller believes these are ok because they’ll have say a dress over them. Have filed a claim, but though the Aliexpress website indicates I can escalate the claim in dispute, I cannot do this because there is no such option on my order page. I feel I am running out of time and I want Alibaba or Aliexpress to arbitrate in this matter. The latest thing is that the seller says I did not specifically order pure white filling, but I think the black lumps are the armature that allows the dolls limbs to rotate. In thirteen it is buried within the body stuffing, as it should be. I feel I have been given reject product and these faulty dolls are of no use to me and I seek a refund or replacement with first quality dolls.

  160. I have read this whole blog just about, I came from ioffer to aliexpress as I think the person I just bought from on ioffer is trying to rip me off, or could just be my paranoia. So I thought hey I’ll try aliexpress. Well I feel very VERY uncomfortable using my credit card or bank to pay to some escrow I have never heard of. I usually only deal with PayPal and that’s it. Are you 100% I can trust escrow? Will I really get my money back? I really wanted to use my PayPal funds though. Please I’m a mom of 3 kids I don’t have the money to be wasting. I just wanna buy something and not get ripped off. I did use PayPal on ioffer but seller won’t give me no tracking # and ok wondering if I should file a dispute on that now so I don’t get ripped off, although its only been 2 days. I just don’t wanna waste money. But yes please lmk of this escrow stuff is for real. I don’t need to be giving my card number to some weird Chinese person to have fun with.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      If you want to stay 100% safe, please do not import anything from China as it always carries some risks. Just buy from local, trusted retailers and wholesalers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  161. Hello,
    I am a beginner in this way of buying and I want to ask something:
    Does anyone has cooperated with: Shenzhen Factop Trading Co., Ltd ?
    Does anyone can give me information on that company?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Met,

      Do the usual checks explained in this guide/post – then get in touch and arrange sample order (if all looks good).

      If you receive sample and it’s all good, then you can think about placing a bigger order.

      And of course – stay away from any branded goods!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • In my case it comes to smartphone (Origianl Lenovo S750 4.5 Inch Quad Core SmartPhone IP67 3G GPS Android4.2) and I have discussed only for one sample.
        the company is 2nd year gold supplier.
        this company i can not find on globalsources.com

        so all these indications suggest me that the probability to be scam is large??

        • Andrew Minalto says:

          Even Lenovo (a Chinese brand) is being copied so if the price looks too good to be true to you, probably they sell fakes.

  162. Margaret N says:

    Further to my post of 21st March, no reply from you. Are you able to help me escalate this dispute, please?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      I’m sorry Margaret but I don’t work for Alibaba or Ali Express so can’t help you really.

      You wan to escalate dispute to Ali Express so they deal with it.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  163. hi i am denny. i never buy any goods from alibaba. i found 1 supplier called SS JOINT SUPLY http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Dymatize-ISO-100-5lb_164148436.html
    can u help me to identify if this is trusted supplier?
    thank you

  164. Hi Andrew, great post.

    I have a question.

    I have quotes from two manufacturers/resellers in the same industry, I have been sent a PI with their payment info.

    Both suppliers have the same bank account details in Hong Kong. Is this a normal thing or should this be questioned further?

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for your question.

      It could be that they’re sister companies or something but obviously, it does ring alarm bells.

      Ask them directly about this and let’s see what they say.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      • Just waiting to hear back, will of course let you know what they say!

        Both companies seem legit from the outset. Both 3+year gold suppliers on Alibaba, one is listed on brands website as authorised reseller and the other is present at trade shows.

        They do have different prices for the same products though.

        Anyway, lets see what they say!

        • I purchase rhinestones from 2 different listed companies and had them all come together. I correspond with 2 different people, but was told they are “sister” companies, and the products come from the same place. It actually makes it easier when I may just buy 1 item from one store and then have a larger order with the other. They combine it all so I only pay 1 shipping charge.

  165. Do NOT DO BUSINESS WITH http://www.kwwinnerapparel.com/en/. A man named Jerry took USD $2,000 from my company for garments and did not send me any product or return my funds as promised. He claims there was a tax issue and he cannot give my company back. This has been going on for a year and now his email bounced back! Scam artist company!

  166. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your article. It is very useful for those who are not used to deal with Chinese. I run a trade company and I post my products to Alibaba and other internet trade platform. Though I agree most of what you say in your article, I would also like to mention that many small companies and private businesses, especially start ups, with their own products are not Gold Suppliers. I do believe there are many honest small businesses, like us, on Alibaba.

    I think the most effective way to avoid scam is to look at the payment terms and don’t be greedy. If you are offered unreasonable low prices and asked cash transfer to whoknows account, then you are in good chance to be scamed.

    Thanks
    Tony

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Thanks for your comment Tony!

      I’m also sure that there are many legit companies using free accounts on Alibaba, but unfortunately it’s scammers paradise too, hence I recommend avoiding free account users.

      Andrew

  167. hey all,

    thank you for your shared thoughts and stories.
    there are sellers with no rating that have GREAT prices(3d printer,and some of them has 11 orders on some of their items,
    i want only one piece and the price is below two hundred dollars which is a way below the standard price at another golden or good rated companies,
    i am going to pay Via Alipay,so am i going to be protected?

    thank you

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      I would never purchase anything on Ali Express from a seller with no feedbacks at all.

      Especially high risk items like 3D printers.

      Andrew

  168. Greetings,
    On March 10, 2014 I ordered a $300 product. 10 hours later on March 11, 2014, I cancelled the order because the product description was misleading so I decided that I did not want the product. The company refused to cancel the order and shipped the order although I requested on numerous occasions via Ali Express to cancel the order. On March 11, 2014 after the company refused to cancel the order, I contacted my Bank and opened a case regarding this matter. Between the dates of March 11, 2014 and March 20, 2014, I expressed to the company on even more occasions that I wished to cancel the order. The company refused and shipped the product on March 20, 2014. The packaged arrived March 25, 2014 and I have been instructed by my bank to return the package unopened to the sender/company and to obtain a package tracking number and the bank will handle the matter once the unopened package has been shipped.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      hmmm, not sure why you could not cancel the order automatically?

      In my experience, if goods are not shipped/marked as dispatched in AE, I can cancel the order WITHOUT asking supplier anything…

      You didn’t have that option?

      thanks,
      Andrew

  169. Hello there i need help before i buy A gtx 780ti nvidia graphic card from ali express.

    The product costs $111 usd on ali express and $460 usd on amazon

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Peter,

      Stay away, it’s a FAKE not a real nVidia card.

      You can’t get genuine, branded products in wholesale from Mainland China, it’s impossible.

      Andrew

  170. Hi Andrew

    Ok, so I have been looking for an inflatables company in china for the past week solidly now. I have stuck to your main points as I agree that if they are all followed that everything should be fine! Please see the link: http://zzwinsun.en.alibaba.com/company_profile.html#top-nav-bar

    They basically meet all the requirements, but I am so worried due to the high amount of scammers on Alibaba that I just don’t know anymore! I have read the Supplier assessment reports (which run out in a couple of days) and everything seems legit. If I pay through the Escrow Alibaba service do you think the transaction should go ok?

    Thanks in advance, and for posting a very helpful article!

    • Sorry, I also forgot to ask another question. I was also thinking it may be good to get them manufacturer to write my name on a piece of paper and put next to one of their products in a picture and send to me, however I do recognise that potentially some legitimate manufacturers may not bother with doing this simply because they feel they should not have to prove themselves to that degree. What is your opinion please? Thanks again

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Josh,

      That company looks totally legit to me so it should be all fine.

      Andrew

  171. I’ve been purchasing from several companies through AliExpress for a couple years now. I only had one experience where the product was defective and the company insisted it was good and wouldn’t replace it.

    My biggest complaint is that I can’t use my Washington state address. When I try to have items shipped I get the message that their Escrow Service isn’t legal in Washington State. I’ve tried to find out why, but haven’t been able to. Would you know why? Fortunately I’m right on the WA/OR state line and I can have my purchases shipped to a Kinko’s/FedEx in Portland for pick up.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Ken,

      Hmm, can’t help with this one as it’s first time I hear of such restrictions…

      Andrew

  172. Janie Saunders says:

    Hi Andrew

    I wanted to buy some 3M 8210 N95 face masks. AliExpress.com was selling them significantly cheaper than anywhere else. Having read your article, I thought that they would probably be fakes but as Beijing has a well-publicised problem with air pollution, I also entertained the possibility that they might be genuine. The company’s name is Shenzhen xiangxing electronic co., Ltd. Store no: 508874. I’d welcome your opinion, Thanks.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Janie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      With 99% certainty I can say that those are FAKE 3M face masks. It doesn’t matter that these masks are being made in China – 3M would NEVER allow manufacturer to sell them directly to general public.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  173. Hello, is a scammer able to fake the gold supplier label? I’m looking to order from 2 companies that look pretty legit according to your guidelines however one of the companies opened in 2013. I asked them to send me their business bank account info and I’m a little nervous because the beneficiary name is a persons name and not the company name. But at the bottom it says…

    “Remark:
    The Correct Beneficiary Name is LI WEI instead of Yiwu Forher Jewelry Factory”

    Im not sure if this is good or bad… I also called the company and got a Chinese recording. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad either…
    Can you give me your opinion on these 2 companies?
    http://forherjewelry.en.alibaba.com
    http://holykay.en.alibaba.com

    Your help would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you,
    Eryn

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Eryn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      NEVER send money to a bank account on person’s name!!! ONLY company bank accounts should be used and nothing else.

      Both of these companies offer PayPal on their product pages, so why not use that instead? And as they have a MOQ of just 1 for some items, why not put together a small sample order and see how it goes?

      I would personally stay away from 1st company though as they’re just 1st year Gold Supplier. The second company look much better and is more established which should minimize risks of getting scammed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  174. Roy Dias says:

    Good Morning:
    I have been reading your posts, I am a single 44 yo dad that is starting up a company on e-com and also inhome parties for products. I am very new to this world! My past experiences has been in the remodeling and building industries and having a 2.2 million dollar company in the past which was lost in a divorce with my ex wife of 16 yrs due to medical issues and almost loosing our daughter due to illness and then she took it all personally and became sick herself. Which caused her anger and leaving me with our son and nothing but the clothes on our backs. We have struggled and now tring to get back on my feet I have worked very hard and learning how to make a online buisness a success. I am seeking a mentor to help me where my budget is limited still tring to provide for me and my son. I have hosted with Hostgator and have a programmer building my e-com sight I am working with distrubators here in the US and abroad. Alot of this is really hard for me due to the fact I was always a hands on person not a computer person. I am seeking a mentor to help me provide for me and my family along with building a future finacial nest for my disable daughter that some day when she becomes of legal age my ex will want nothing to do with her and walk away. This is very stressfull along and very emotional. I would like to chat with experts in this field to assure I am doing this right. Not Loosing the little I have to rebuild. I know god will help guide me on the right road.
    Thank you
    Trying Dad

  175. Alibaba is indeed a big SCAM, just like the company ENXUN who is a more bigger scammer.
    They sell poor quality products and it will brake within few weeks.
    When you contact the company contact person SKY, or BRIAN they will give you the blaim.
    They will say that YOU broke the camera and wont give any service at all.
    YOU WILL LOOSE MONEY, SO STAY AWAY FROM ENXUN!!!!

  176. Hi!
    Here’s a product I just found on impossible price:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Brand-New-Sealed-Razer-Blade-RZ09-0102-i7-Core-256GB-8GB-14-2-2GHz/1763988390.html

    I think that they’re scammers but I’m not sure because they accept master card and there some buyer protection stuff also. I’m not really experienced in buying stuff on aliexpress so I’d really appreciate if you can take a look at this page and share your thoughts.
    Thanks! :)

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Andras,

      It’s a 100% SCAM! That price is un-real + you simply CAN’T get genuine, branded products from Ali Express.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  177. Philip Beauford says:

    Hi,
    Ive bought plenty from both Alibaba and Ali-Express, with no major problems and great inventory. However my question now is how do we try to sell our stuff BACK to china and other countries. We sell used iPhones, smartphones, iPods, iPads etc.. and I have been looking for safe ways to export these devices for years now. I tried posting some iPhones on Alibaba but they took them down because they had the Apple or iPhone brand in them. But I see the iPhone brand all over the site so Im not sure if its possible to use Alibaba to SELL/EXPORT back to china.
    I know how to buy from Alibaba, but is it possible to sell our high quality, high end used phones safely on either Ali-Express or Alibaba?
    Thanks

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi Philip,

      Unfortunately I have no experience doing this so can’t really help…

      Theoretically you should be able to sell on Alibaba – you just have to get in touch with them and find out about rules/proof they need so you can sell branded iPhones there. Many HK based trading companies sell branded electronics on Alibaba, so it should be possible.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  178. I’m interested in buying LG LCD panels on Alibaba, but I’m hesitant to import panels from China because of possible defects, however the price is half what I can find elsewhere.

    What do you think of this seller: http://jyhk.en.alibaba.com/product/699566380-212146889/LM270WQ2_SLA1_LCD_.html?edm_src=sys&edm_type=fdbk&edm_grp=0&edm_cta=read_msg&edm_time=realtime&edm_ver=e

    A 4 year gold supplier, but doesn’t have much other info or any complaint history/feedback that I can find.

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      Hi There,

      You probably want to do the inspection first:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      Then, if all looks good you can make a small test order, check goods etc. When doing full order, again – get pre-shipment inspection done to check all products and confirm that they’re in working condition.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  179. Theoseveios says:

    We have suspended this seller’s account because we detected unsafe trading activities. All of your pending orders with this seller have been frozen for your security.

    We have asked this supplier to provide supporting evidence, such as shipping documents and qualification certificates, within 3 working days. Normally, it takes 15 calendar days to close the case.If the supplier is unable to provide the evidence or if the evidence is insufficient, we will close the order and process the refund for you.

    We apologize for this inconvenience. At AliExpress we are committed to ensuring you enjoy a safe shopping experience. We will continue striving to improve.Your understanding and cooperation are highly appreciated.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? WILL I TAKE THE MONEY BACK? ANYONE ELSE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM? THANK YOU…

    • Andrew Minalto says:

      From the sound of it – yes, you’ll get your refund.

      They’re investigating the case so if the seller tried to scam you, you should get your money back.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  180. Hi andrew,

    I have seen a gold suppliers from USA that sell branded Iphones with affordable prices. In addition, there are suppliers from Hong kong and brazil for supplying APPLE products. please tell me that this suppliers are safe to communicate especially the one from USA as golden supplier in ALIBABA website

  181. Andrew Minalto says:

    Hi Layth,

    No, it’s not safe. Apple products are never safe unless you deal directly with Apple.

    I wish I could tell you something else, but products like iPhones, iPads etc. are scammers paradise with very, very few legit suppliers.

    Thanks,
    Andrew

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Online ratings and supplier reviews – Many B2B sites also offer resources and security features such as badges to indicate whether a supplier is verified or not, ratings, and reviews. Here are more tips in filtering overseas suppliers from B2B sites. [...]

  2. [...] how to avoid scams, how various shipping and payment methods work and so on. You can check out this guide on how to filter out scams on Alibaba (as that’s really the best platform to start [...]

  3. [...] 2) Find the best suppliers using these filters. [...]

  4. […] can start with Alibaba as it’s the most popular platform. You can also read my Alibaba Scam Guide here to learn how to verify suppliers and avoid […]

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