August 19, 2019 by Andrew Minalto - 1489 Comments

Alibaba SCAM Exposed! Tips & Tricks for 2020!

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“Alibaba is a SCAM” – you’ll find this written everywhere online! The truth is, yes, it is possible that you may get scammed on IF you don’t know what you’re doing. However, with the information you learn in this blog post, the chances of you getting scammed on Alibaba will be very slim.

Just to be clear: Alibaba itself is not a scam. In fact, it’s one of the largest companies in the world, with a market value of tens of billions of dollars. is simply a platform where buyers and sellers meet. Yes, there are some scammers on Alibaba, just like any other online platform, but that doesn’t mean Alibaba itself is a scam. By that logic, you can say that eBay, Amazon and Gumtree are scams because you can find MANY unscrupulous businesses on those websites, too.

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

Also, we need to differentiate scams from bad suppliers. A scam is when you buy something and never receive it. Or receive a fake item. That’s a scam. A bad supplier is someone who suddenly changes an item’s price in the middle of the order, has a high defect rate in the final order, sends you poor quality goods, etc. That’s a bad supplier, but it’s hard to call it a scam, as maybe they simply can’t produce goods that are up to quality you want. That is a whole other conversation, of course, but this article is specifically focused on obvious SCAMS where the “supplier” takes your money and disappears with it.

Before we get into the actual verification and scam filtering process, let me quickly remind you that you cannot get any kind of branded items wholesale from mainland China. I’m talking about everything from electronics, video games and software to designer clothes, shoes and other similar items. If you’re looking for anything branded, China is NOT the place to go. At worst, you’ll get scammed and receive nothing. At best, you’ll receive worthless fakes.

What is a BRANDED product?

By branded products, I mean products that are manufactured by well-known companies, like:

  • Apple
  • Under Armour
  • Samsung
  • Nike
  • Sony
  • Lego
  • Etc.

These are brands that are well known to everyone, and even though most of their products are manufactured in China, you CAN’T buy them wholesale from Alibaba or other similar sites—you simply cannot!

Companies with manufacturing operations in China have very strict distribution policies in place, so it’s not like someone can walk out of a Foxconn factory (they do most of Apple’s products) with ten iPhones or iPads in their pockets to sell on Alibaba. It is simply not possible to buy iPhones directly from Foxconn, even though they’re the ones who manufacture them.

This is NOT how things work in China!!

All of those well-known brands only distribute their goods through official, tightly secured channels. You won’t find these products advertised on Alibaba. If you do see ads for such products, there’s a 99%+ chance that it’s a scam!

Another product type you have to be VERY careful with is licensed products. These are products that carry some sort of intellectual property on them, such as:

  • Disney cartoon characters
  • Images of famous people
  • Sports team logos
  • Olympic logos/themes
  • Video/mobile game characters (Angry Birds, Pokémon Go, etc.)
  • Automotive industry logos, trademarks (Audi, BMW, etc.)
  • And so on!

To produce products with intellectual property designs on them, a manufacturer needs a special license agreement with the IP owner and has to pay fixed or ongoing fees for each item they produce. Most suppliers in China don’t have any such agreements in place, so they basically use these designs WITHOUT the owner’s approval. This is illegal, of course, and purchasing these items can get you in a lot of trouble.

In some cases, large manufacturers will have licensing deals in place, but you should always ask for proof and try to verify it if possible. These will be very rare situations, though, so in general, I recommend you STAY AWAY from any products that involve IP designs when ordering from Alibaba and China in general.

Now, back to Alibaba. The company has actually improved its website and listings significantly in regards to counterfeit and unlicensed products. These days, it’s very hard to find any “branded” items on Alibaba as they have removed most of these listings and suspended the offending advertisers. Years ago, you could do a search for any TV series and get hundreds of results for DVD box sets. I just tried a similar search and it returned ZERO results.

These bootleg DVD box sets were very popular at one time—24, Baby Einstein, Friends, Breaking Bad and others—but they were all fakes, 100% copies, all sourced for a fraction of the actual cost and resold on eBay. Luckily, those days are over! Sure, there are still bootleg DVDs available on eBay, but not on the scale it was before.

And with streaming services like Netflix, Apple, Hulu and others taking over the world, I can’t see the market for these DVDs/Blu-Rays surviving for much longer anyway. The good old days of pirated media are almost over!

They now even put up a special message when you make searches like these, warning you that it’s a branded product and you need to be very careful when ordering such items from suppliers on Alibaba.

Anyway, what does any of this have to do with our original topic? Well, the number one rule to avoid scams on Alibaba is: STAY AWAY from anything branded! You can only source unbranded goods wholesale from mainland China!

That’s what you want anyway, right? I mean, if you want to source products from China to sell on eBay or Amazon, you will want genuine manufacturers who can supply you with products you can put your brand on, provide custom packaging, etc. There’s only a very small profit in brand-new branded goods for online resellers (in most cases), so it’s not even worth considering if you want to build a profitable business.

Marketplaces are full of sellers offering branded items and because multiple people sell the exact same product, the only differentiator is the PRICE! Whoever offers the lowest price for the item makes the majority of the sales. And trust me, when your competitors deal in tax evasion, grey imports and even stolen goods, you won’t stand a chance competing with them.

Once you eliminate branded goods, you’ll see that it’s actually very difficult to get scammed on Alibaba because most “normal” product suppliers on Alibaba are genuine companies.

Plus, Alibaba offers a range of tools to help us verify the supplier, use safe payment methods and they cover the whole transaction inside Alibaba’s Trade Assurance platform.

Still, by using the following Alibaba scam-filtering system, you will quickly and efficiently filter out bad suppliers and identify the best of the best! As I said, it’s not enough to simply filter out scams, you also need to avoid bad suppliers as no one wants to deal with defective products, delayed orders, mispacked items, etc.

Without further ado, let’s get straight into the process of finding GOOD suppliers on Alibaba, while avoiding 99% of the scams out there.

15-Step Alibaba
Scam-Filtering System

This whole system relies on your ability to analyse a supplier’s profile on Alibaba (and outside of it). If this is the first time you are using Alibaba’s website, take some time to analyse a few supplier profiles. This will help give you some context for all the information I cover in this post.

Once you become more familiar with the process, you will realise that you can filter out suppliers VERY quickly just by taking a look at their profile. So, there’s a small learning curve involved, but it’s really nothing to be afraid of.

Here are the 15 KEY elements to look at when you evaluate a potential scam on

1. Gold Supplier

What is GOLD supplier status on Alibaba? It’s a premium, paid account status for suppliers and it costs several thousand dollars per year. Having this status doesn’t necessarily mean that the supplier is 100% legit, but scammers usually don’t pay for Gold supplier status because they need to change accounts very frequently and this extra cost is simply too much for them.

Scammers usually stick with FREE Alibaba accounts and simply hope that newbies are unaware of this because they don’t understand how Alibaba works.

I personally NEVER deal with any free account suppliers as the concentration of scammers is the highest within this group!

If possible, I always try to stick with Gold suppliers who have at least a three-year track record on the site. Gold supplier status is still the number one thing to look for when searching for reliable suppliers on Alibaba and to avoid scams, especially when used in conjunction with filtering out first-year and second-year suppliers.

To see if a supplier has Gold status or not, you simply go to the product page or supplier profile and look for the number, which also tells you how many years the supplier has had that Gold status. This is the same number you can see in the search results, so if you get a huge list of suppliers for the product you’re searching for, you can identify the most established suppliers right from the search results.

If you see a Gold status supplier in their sixth, seventh or eighth year, it’s a sure sign that it’s an established company. The chances of them being scammers are incredibly slim. Scammer accounts simply don’t last that long. They get caught sooner or later.

There’s a scam currently going on involving Gold suppliers, though, as scammers sometimes HACK Gold status supplier accounts or buy them from companies that go out of business. This is a very smart tactic because you, as a buyer, could tick all the boxes I cover here, and it could still turn out to be a scam.

So, how can you spot these scammers? In 99% of cases, scammers will use the Gold status supplier accounts they’ve acquired to sell highly popular BRANDED goods, like PlayStations and similar. Remember, I’ve already warned you that Alibaba is NOT the place to look for such items, so if you see these types of offers, you will know immediately that it’s a scam.

Furthermore, when you start communicating with scammers, you will quickly realise that they’re full of s**t! They oversell to you SO HARD by offering incredible deals, like “Buy two PS4 consoles and get one free”. All with FREE delivery, of course. C’mon! It’s way beyond a too-good-to-be-true deal! Plus, they will only use unsecure payment methods, which we’ll cover in more detail later in this post.

2. Verified Supplier

You can select the “Verified Supplier” filter right from the search page, if you want. I don’t do this, though, as not all suppliers are verified, so if you’re dealing with a product that is not very popular, you could filter out many suppliers who could be good, even though they’re not verified.

“Verified Supplier” means that a third-party inspection company (such as SGS, Bureau Veritas, TUV SUD or others) have carried out an independent inspection of the company. They check and verify things like:

  • Company profile certification
  • Business scope certification
  • Enterprise qualification certification
  • Product R&D capability
  • Quality assurance capability
  • Aftersales service capability
  • Associated factory
  • Cooperative factory
  • Etc.

If the supplier has been verified, you will see the special verified logo on their Alibaba profile, as well as a list of things that have been verified.

Then, you can click on the individual items to get more information or access visual materials on the aspects that have been verified. This is a super powerful and easy way to see if the supplier is who they have said they are.

I have been in the business of importing goods from China for more than 15 years now and I have seen how Alibaba and suppliers on the Alibaba platform have progressed over the years. A decade ago, all we had to go by was the Gold supplier status—that’s it!

Nowadays, we get so much information, pictures, videos, certificates, verification seals, etc. It has never been easier to spot scammers because the good, genuine suppliers have nothing to hide. They know that people have “trust issues” with Alibaba, so they invest their money into Gold supplier membership, verification, panoramic images, videos and everything else!

As soon as you start researching suppliers, not only will you be able to filter OUT scammers and bad suppliers, but you will also be able to filter IN the really professional, established manufacturers from the short-lived trading companies and other middlemen.

So, please use all this additional information to your advantage. Be sure to check out all the verified documents, images, videos, certification and compare suppliers to find the most professional and reliable ones.

Ok, the next part of my filtering system is:

3. Trade Assurance

Trade Assurance is Alibaba’s own platform for placing orders and managing payments. If the supplier accepts Trade Assurance, it’s another great sign that it is a legit company. When orders go through Trade Assurance, IF DONE PROPERLY, you will get protection for your order and you will be able to use safer payment methods, such as a credit card.

Now, if you don’t use it properly, things can still go wrong with a Trade Assurance order, especially when there are differences in opinion about the quality of the items delivered. To minimise problems, you have to be very specific with your order, have all the item specs written down in your order, stick to the payment deadlines, etc. I won’t get into all the details in this article as I have written a separate guide on Trade Assurance here.

Just like with the Verified Supplier filter, you can select the Trade Assurance filter directly on the search page, under the Supplier Types dropdown menu:

Trade Assurance is definitely a good sign of a trustworthy supplier, but you shouldn’t automatically eliminate everyone else. Some perfectly legit suppliers do not use Trade Assurance. Basically, you have to look at it from the perspective of how many suppliers there are for the product you are searching for. If you get TONS of results, then it can be a good idea to only contact suppliers who accept Trade Assurance.

On the other hand, if there are only seven suppliers and three of them don’t use Trade Assurance, I would consider all seven before making any decisions.

4. Transaction History/Level

Transaction history is indicated by the small, orange diamonds next to the supplier name. These are also shown in the search results. Basically, it indicates how much in sales a supplier has done on Alibaba and, obviously, the bigger these numbers are, the better. It is a good indicator that it is a legit company with regular orders.

I wouldn’t rule out any supplier simply because they have no transaction history, though, as only Trade Assurance orders are included and many companies work outside the Trade Assurance platform.

Just keep this filter in mind as an option for extra proof that you’re dealing with an established seller.

5. Ratings & Reviews

This is a relatively new feature on Alibaba, but it is highly welcomed as we can finally see what other buyers think about the supplier and their products.

It’s great that they also list which product the feedback/review was left for and the buyer’s country. I don’t know how much feedback manipulation goes on within this process, but so far it seems quite believable because the review numbers are not that high and, in most cases, they do seem quite honest to me.

It’s probably not that easy to scam the system with fake reviews as these are from genuine orders that go through Alibaba itself, so it would be a lot of hassle to game the system that way.

Anyway, I wouldn’t base any decisions on looking at the reviews alone—unless they’re very bad, of course! If they clearly indicate that the product quality is low, the supplier made mistakes with the order, etc., that’s a good reason to remove that supplier from your shortlist. As time goes by and the number of reviews increase, this will become a much more useful tool for buyers.

6. Factory Inspection

This is a SUPERB way of looking behind the curtain and seeing whether the Alibaba profile of the company matches with what they’re actually doing. One of the biggest problems that buyers encounter is separating trading companies from true manufacturers. An inspection report solves this problem as it will be OBVIOUS from the images in the report if it is a factory or trading company.

Trading companies usually don’t do these inspections at all, and if they do, all you will see is an office building or office space with chairs and desks. However, factory inspection reports will show you their manufacturing plant, the tools they use, their warehouse space, etc.

I have already written a guide on how to do Chinese supplier inspection on your own, but it’s great to see that Alibaba has implemented this into their portal and allows suppliers to do this on their own by uploading inspection reports on their profile page.

One thing to look out for on these inspection reports is the DATE of the inspection. If the report is several years old, a lot of things could have changed with the supplier. They could have moved locations or sold the business altogether. Ideally, I would want this report to be no older than one to two years at most.

Not all suppliers will have them uploaded, so it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are not a good supplier. I have often done inspections on my own, even paying for them if the final supplier I have picked for a product meets all other requirements, offers the best prices, has great sample quality, etc. Again, you can read more about that process in my Inspection Reports blog post.

7. Certificates

Many suppliers will show off scanned certificates for their products (CE, for example), their manufacturing facility (ISO) and other parts of their business. It’s just more proof that you’re dealing with a genuine supplier.

Also, there will be some products that require specific certificates to import goods from China, so be very careful when sourcing such products and always look for companies who have those certificates on hand.

Be warned, though! There are cases where suppliers use fake certificates, so to be 100% sure, you should verify these certificates. Usually, you’ll find the company/organisation name of the certificate issuer on the certificate itself. You can then contact them and ask for verification of that certificate.

Many testing houses even have online testing facilities that allow you to check such certificates for free, instantly, like on SGS’s website, for example.

8. AliExpress Store

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 store, 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.

How do you find out if a supplier has an AliExpress store?

Simply go to the supplier’s profile, then click on “Contacts”. Usually, suppliers will put a link to their AliExpress store under the website links option—if they have one, that is.

And you can take this even further. Quite often, just to save myself some time and avoid unnecessary communication, I use a supplier’s AliExpress store to order samples. This way, you can easily check the quality of the product and, if you’re completely happy with everything, place your real wholesale order by contacting the supplier directly through Alibaba or even through AliExpress!

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

Again, not all suppliers will have an AliExpress presence, so don’t eliminate any supplier just because they don’t have a store. True manufacturers usually don’t deal with retail customers, so they typically won’t have an AliExpress store. Often, though, they will have sister trading company that deals with retail customers, so you can always ask the supplier whether their products can also be purchased on AliExpress or not.

9. 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, use it to look for signs that this truly is the same company they claim to be (logo/company name on office walls, factory footage showing production of the goods they’re advertising, trade show footage, etc.).

And this also applies to the images a supplier uses in their profile and product listings. I’m always wary of suppliers who use stock images in their profile or listings. Only one thing crosses my mind: they have nothing to show!

Trading companies are usually the ones who do this. They only have a few office images, stock product images and some mysterious, blurry factory images, so you can’t really understand what is going on there.

My ideal supplier has tons of pictures showing their factory, the entrance to the factory, the reception desk with a logo on it, etc. The more images there are with the factory name or company name showing, the better!

10. 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. In this case, the older, the better.

But don’t expect world-class website design here! Most Chinese supplier websites are very basic, even old-fashioned, and they load very slowly. This must be something to do with the internet connection speeds in China or their hosting, but it’s okay. In fact, it’s completely normal.

On a side note: even if a company has a decent website, I usually stick to dealing with them through Alibaba. Sometimes, there can be exceptions. For example, sometimes the sales agents on the website’s live chat are much faster to respond than those on Alibaba. This is most likely because they view a website lead as being much higher in value than an Alibaba lead, where they get lots of time wasters.

So, yes, if you need to make contact and the website has live chat, do try to use that option.

11. Trade Shows

Whether it’s on a company’s Alibaba profile or their website, look for trade show information.

Scammers, in general, DO NOT attend trade shows, so if you see trade shows listed for the up-coming months or past trade show information with pictures, it’s another good sign that you’re dealing with a legitimate business.

However, always try to verify this information on the official trade show website (for example, China’s biggest trade show is called Canton Fair). As you are now aware, some Chinese suppliers like to make things up, so you can’t blindly trust everything they say and show. Make an effort to verify all information on your own before you believe it.

12. Google Search &
Global Sources Profile

Do a quick Google search of the company’s name. Quite often, you’ll find links to their profile on other Chinese B2B websites, such as or

If the company has a verified profile on Global Sources, the chances of them being a scam are reduced to an absolute minimum because Global Sources takes its verification process very seriously and has extremely stringent requirements for authentication.

So, depending on the number of stars that a supplier has on Global Sources, you can be sure that you’re dealing with a real company.

While you’re doing your due diligence on Google, do another search for “company name + scam”. Usually, this will pull up any forum posts or scam reports associated with that company.

13. Invoice/Bank Details

When you’re already in the negotiation process and receive your first pro-forma invoice, always check the company name, address and 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 common scam played out on Alibaba: the supplier will tell you that they’re having a problem with their business account and will ask you to please send the money to their boss’s account. NEVER do that! Money that goes to a personal bank account is usually money down the drain.

Scammers will also often try to use different companies for receiving money. If the company name on the invoice is different to what you’re dealing with on Alibaba, be very careful. It could be that they have a legitimate sister trading company set up for dealing with international clients, but you definitely need to ask questions and get answers that 100% confirm what they’re saying.

14. Payment Options

If the only payment methods a supplier accepts are Western Union and MoneyGram, run away! I would never even consider dealing with such a supplier. While not all suppliers in China will accept PayPal or use the platform’s Trade Assurance, a bank transfer to a company’s account should be a default payment method that is always available to use.

If they also accept Trade Assurance, a letter of credit or PayPal, even better! But never use a supplier if the only payment options are Western Union or MoneyGram!

The only time that I’m happy to use Western Union is when paying for samples, and that’s only because it’s quicker and cheaper to send small amounts via WU than to do a bank transfer. But even then, I’m also prepared to lose that money if everything goes wrong (I’m talking about small amounts here, always less than $100, usually less than $50).

Nowadays, however, there are very cheap ways to pay for samples and get mid-market exchange rates without going near Western Union or MoneyGram.

With companies like TransferWise,​ your money is always converted at the mid-market exchange rate, making them u​p to eight times cheaper than banks​ when paying international invoices.

Setting up the payment is simple, too. You sign up for a free account, set up your transfer by entering your supplier’s bank account information, state what currency you’d like to pay them in, and then fund your transfer. The funding options include bank transfer and debit/credit card. Your supplier won’t need to do anything. For them, it’s just like receiving cash into their bank account.

With over five million customers and co-founded by the first employee of Skype, you can be assured that your money is sent securely. However, just like with a normal wire transfer, your money is not protected if your supplier turns out to be fraudulent, so it’s best used when you’re paying a supplier you trust.

You can find out more about TransferWise in my post ​here.​

15. Product Selection

The last filter on my list is product selection. By that, I mean the types of products the supplier has listed on their Alibaba profile.

For scammers, the strategy is simple: they have a limited time to use the account before it gets banned, so they will try to list all kinds of unrelated but very popular products to lure people in quickly. They know that they can’t use brand names in their listing texts and titles (because Alibaba filters them out), but they can still do it by uploading images of branded goods, which are much harder to spot.

It’s not uncommon to see a scammer profile on Alibaba that sells iPhones, Nike’s and PlayStations all under one roof. Again, you already know by now that branded goods on Alibaba mean it’s a 100% SCAM! But you still have to be cautious and do your due diligence, even when you’re searching for unbranded goods.

True manufacturers will usually offer one type of product, cover one product group, or deal with groups of similar products. They won’t offer socks along with electronics. Yes, there are trading companies who do this, and they can be totally legit, but our goal (in most situations) is to find product manufacturers, not trading companies. So, I would recommend staying away from profiles that have all kinds of unrelated products listed.

Another reason to be cautious is that a genuine Alibaba supplier profile could have been hacked. For example, consider a profile that sells gardening hose products. A scammer hacks it and lists a few highly popular products that are in the household goods category (say, TVs and other related products). For them, it’s an easy way to lure people in. They’re using a legit profile, so they can ask for payment via Western Union, MoneyGram or a personal bank account and scam the buyer while hiding behind a legitimate business.

These situations are very rare, though. If you avoid branded goods and follow my 15-step filter process, the chances of you getting scammed are down to almost zero.


So, how do you feel now about getting scammed on Alibaba?

After reading through all of the steps in this blog post, I’m sure you’ve come to realise that it’s the people who don’t investigate suppliers or who don’t know much about the platform who get scammed on Alibaba. I mean, we have so many tools and so much information at our disposal.

You have to be very greedy and avoid every red flag and common-sense warning to fall for those scams.

Just stick with this guide and you will avoid 99.99% of scams. There are, of course, many smaller filters you could also use, like watermarked pictures. If a supplier has their own watermarked pictures on their Alibaba product showcase, it’s another good sign that they are a legit supplier because scammers usually don’t have the time or resources to get unique product pictures.

You also have to consider the communication style and how aggressively the supplier is offering incredible deals (offers like: Buy 2, get 3, FREE shipping, etc., which are all clear signs of a scam!). In short, use common sense! If it looks too good to be true, it definitely is!

Sure, you can get unlucky. No one is protected 100% and risk is part of any business, but in general, you’ll stay safe and avoid scams on Alibaba if you follow the advice in this blog post.

Let me quickly remind you once again that there is 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, the 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, then you can place your first real order. I recommend you keep your first order to a relatively small amount and increase it gradually. Why? Suppliers often send out a perfect sample. If you place a massive first order and they send you a lower quality product, you’re stuck with a lot of it.

Ideally, you would do a factory inspection before you place your real order if an inspection report is not already available on the supplier’s profile page. This way, you can verify that the supplier is actually what they appear to be and reduce the chances of you getting scammed.

Verification is also important if you want to deal with manufacturers ONLY, as many trading companies advertise themselves as manufacturers when they’re actually just a middleman and don’t have any manufacturing facilities. An inspection report will reveal the truth!

Well, 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 not that many scammers left on the platform at all, but if you avoid branded goods and follow my 15-step process, your chances of getting scammed are reduced to an absolute minimum.

To educate yourself more on this topic, please check out my TOP 10 Scams on Alibaba article to familiarise yourself with the telltale behaviours of a typical scammer and spot them before it’s too late.

If you have any questions, I’m here to help! Please leave your comments below the post and I will personally answer them within 24 hours, Mon-Fri. I’m happy to share my knowledge and 15+ years of experience with anyone who is new to this process and needs help.

Lastly, if you would like to learn more about importing products and building an Amazon FBA business using your own branded goods, check out my Amazon Sharks program:

It’s got 20+ hours of video lessons on how to start a successful Amazon FBA business that take you from A to Z. Branding, importing from China and everything else you need to know is covered in great detail in the course. You will also get my personal support, various bonuses and free updates for life. So definitely check it out here.

Good luck with your importing and stay 100% SCAM-free! 🙂

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  1. Harry Singh

    So if you get scammed then is there any way to get the money back

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, correct.

      If you pay via wire transfer, Bitcoin, Money Gram, Western Union and similar forms of payment method, there’s no way to reverse the payment.


  2. Nayland Glaznieks

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for the guide, I’ll looking at importing yoga wear. I’ve found suppliers by filtering:-
    1. Only Gold standard suppliers (3 years+)
    2. Only verified suppliers
    3. Only manufacturers (using verified reports)
    4. High number of transactions

    Q1. Some of the suppliers don’t have an export licence according to the verification report, yet they export 90% of products. Is this a red flag?
    Q2. I’m been trying to verify the company location using google maps but when I put the address into google maps it can’t find the address. Is this a red flag?

    Many thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nayland,

      Thanks for your comment.

      1) It could be. But on the other hand, many factories in China will have “sister trading companies” who will deal with exporting clients. So, the fact that the factory doesn’t have an export licence DOES NOT automatically mean that they’re a scam, no. Just contact them and ask on how they handle exports when they don’t have an export licence.

      2) To be honest, I have never used Google Maps for China – from what I know, it could be widely inaccurate or you simply don’t know how to properly use it/find the address. Either way, yoga wear is not a high-risk item and you should be able to find legit suppliers using normal verification procedure, ordering samples etc.


  3. Sorry Andrew, I just got another question. It seems to be difficult for some reason to find a Gold standard supplier on my niche. There are very good ones with years in the market with trade assurance available like I said on my last post and they are verified suppliers too, but I cannot help but notice why there does not seem to be much of any with Gold standard in addition to the other badges, I know you said badges are not all, but what would be the best thing to do in this case, would it be better to find another niche that has the three badges?? Many thanks again and sorry to keep troubling you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alicia,

      That does sound unusual to me as in most niches, most of the suppliers have the Gold status.

      Are you sure you’re not looking for some high risky/branded goods?

      As that would explain the fact that you can’t find any Gold suppliers.


      1. Hi Andrew

        I think I am confused, so the gold symbol is not there, but when I press the number of years say 5 years it takes me to the explanation about the Gold standard, so I assume the suppliers are Gold standard then they just no have the symbol, but instead the years. Is this correct?? Thank you so much again!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Yes, correct 🙂


  4. Hi Andrew,
    I just want to venture in importing and I spoke to some supplies for sample order
    I really have a good read on what to look for
    But she asked for to drop my orders on her WhatsApp
    Is that safe?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nicki,

      Thanks for your comment.

      No, you shouldn’t really place an order via WhatsApp. It’s best to keep all the communication on Alibaba and place orders via Trade Assurance.

      Otherwise, you won’t know who you are dealing with really – maybe it’s an ex-employee or something and the company is not responsible for their actions.


  5. Hi, Would really appreciate your help, if someone has trusted supplier and also Trade Assurance, but not Gold Standard is this ok? It just makes me wonder why especially because some of the suppliers have been on Alibaba for years, why do you think is this? Thanks very much, Alicia.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alicia,

      These “badges” alone doesn’t mean anything. Even a Gold supplier can scam you, especially if you’re looking for high-risk items.

      BUT you can minimise these risks and one rule to follow is to deal ONLY with Gold suppliers. So yes, unless there’s no choice at all, I recommend that you stick with Gold suppliers only.


      1. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply. I will look into other suppliers then. I am taking my time to figure things out.

  6. This was so helpful! I’ve ordered little stuff (unbranded) here and there but I’m a filmmaker and so decided to look up some film cameras / drones.

    Without any hesitation I put in an order for a drone that was 1/4 the actual price and now the supplier says he’s out of stock till next year, yeah right!

    I was about to make a second purchase with another supplier for a very expensive camera but I knew there was no way this camera which generally cost $8k would go for $1k.. is there anyway to report these sellers?!

    The supplier insisted this was the real deal but I knew it was too good to be true! I found out it was a scam because they only wanted to use moneygram /western union .. great read, thanks for your help!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nima,

      Glad I could help! 🙂

      Yes, they’re all scams. Don’t even think about buying such branded equipment from Alibaba.

      And there’s no point in reporting them anyways, as they close down and create new profiles all the time.


  7. Hi Andrew

    Thank you for in-depth guide on alibaba. I am just in the process of chatting and requesting samples from a supplier. They have asked for my address and phone number and email address. I am just wondering if I can pay through alibaba for the samples. I am reluctant to provide my phone number in the event I get scam calls from them.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nic,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Technically supplier can set-up Trade Assurance order for samples, yes, but usually it’s not done that way. If you can’t trust supplier with the sample, which is usually a small amount of money, then you shouldn’t use that supplier at all OR shouldn’t import from China at all.

      As for scammers getting your phone number – I don’t know – in over 15 years of doing this and sharing my phone number thousands of times, I haven’t faced this problem. Yes, some suppliers will send you messages, but it’s super easy to block them (if you want). That’s it.


  8. Hey Andrew, thank you for this article. I have been looking for suppliers of genuine customized name necklaces. Should I go ahead because I’m not really sure if it’s okay to buy jewelry on Alibaba or not.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Milimo,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What do you mean by “genuine”? Are you after some kind of branded jewellery? Then no, Alibaba is not the place to use.


  9. Question, if a customer buys a product from your website which means you would have to use the customer’s money to buy the product from your Alibaba supplier along with having the supplier ship the product to the customer. Is there way you can request the supplier to send your invoice with your companies title excluding the supplier’s invoice so that the customer doesn’t get confused seeing a different company name and price on their invoice? How does that work?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Florence,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What you’re describing is called dropshipping (not wholesale). Alibaba can’t really be used for dropshipping in 99% cases as MOQs will be hundreds or thousands of units. So, you need to buy the item in bulk, ship it to yourself (or Amazon) and then sell individual units to customers.

      If you want to do dropshipping, you need to look for specialised dropshipping companies, who will also be flexible with the shipping and invoicing options.


  10. Hi Andrew. I had a good read and truly thank you for your efforts and time for this article.

    I’d like to thank you in advance if you happen to read my comment.

    It is my first time purchasing from Alibaba and I’ve engaged a few suppliers. One supplier stood out as he was very responsive and friendly. All of them MOQ is 10,000 bags as I need some customization on the size of it. I truly understand that, however, I wanted to purchase just 100 bags for sample and if all goes well. I will purchase another 10,000.

    The supplier that has been in touch with me the most has decided to make this special request for me. He has fulfilled most of your pointers such as gold status, 2 years in the market, and seems pretty genuine. He even emailed me the quotation through their company domain name email. However, he doesn’t have an Aliexpress store and I couldn’t find them on Global source profile.

    I have recently encountered a tiny issue, which I’m not sure to mark it as a red flag or perhaps just some miscommunication. I sincerely seek your advise.

    So, I requested for 2 cartons which is equivalent to about 100 bags for sample. After much negotiation, he decided to do it for me. Then came a payment through the Alibaba chat. I paid and didn’t look at the quantity, 1 day later, i did the maths and found it abit way too cheap so I double check and the payment was actually for only 2 bags instead of 2 cartons. I messaged him on the error and he said that they are doing it seperately because it is hard for them to customise to my requirements at such a low quantity. I can understand since he is doing me a favor. However, I asked again, since you’re already going to make 2 bags. Why can’t you just make 100 bags on the way? In the end, he said ok. He will make 100 bags for me.

    So a payment of the remaining 98 bags came. The price per bag was good. But the shipping was very very expensive. I wonder if they can adjust it or is it through alibaba. The first payment i made for 2 bags was $44. The second payment i made for the remaining 98 bags is $582. This is issue that I’m unsure if it’s supposed to be like that. He mentioned that they are using DHL air shipment that is why is it so expensive. If it is a big order, they can go by sea which is $600(shipment fee) for 10,000 bags.

    I’m not sure if it’s a red flag or i’m just new. Please advice. Below are the possible red flags.

    1) 2 bags instead of 2 cartons
    2) Initially he told me it’s hard to make 100 since I’m requesting for a bigger customized size which is understandable. However, if he can make 2, why not just make it 100.
    3) I realised that based on the size that i want. The quotation per bag is cheaper when i ordered 100 bags compared to ordering 10,000.

    The quotation was about $0.80 per bag for 10,000 bags.
    But the sample of 100 bags is $0.50 per bag.

    Is there anything weird here or am I thinking too much. Sincerely hope you can advise me. Appreciate it.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I really can’t tell you whatever it is a scam or not, but I can’t see any major problems with the story you have outlined here.

      The only thing that doesn’t add up is that price for the bag is CHEAPER for the sample order compared to the 10k order. That can’t be right.

      But maybe they simply added the extra cost to the shipping fee they charged you? That would make sense and the numbers could work out.


  11. Fantastic article, Its a must read for people that want to buy products in China.

    Here my dilemma, how you can help.

    Since 10 years i buy products from 2 companies in China. They are in a niche market and they are also the only ones producing this type of equipment for the whole world.

    Last month i discover a new company in Alibaba that cleans to be doing the same type of products. The company is 1 year old registered and gold supplier. There is videos and images of the new products, and company registration was verified. They have also registered a trademark, that i confirmed is legit…

    Now it comes that i already catch them in a lie last week.
    On Alibaba company page there is 3 registered people to handle customers requests. 1 of them being the supposed boss. Last week i discovered that in place of being in talks with with 2 persons, like they let me believe, i was chatting with the same person, the boss. So the boss let me believe that i was in communication with 2 persons while he is the one playing 2 characters.

    Then i think, if he lie about such small things, he will lie about anything.

    The problem is that there is no other manufacturers producing this items.

    What would you advise i should do?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Why do you need/want to change the supplier? If you have a good working relationship for 10 years now, why would you want to change that?

      For a cheaper price? I wouldn’t risk that with a brand new supplier. And even if they’re good, you should ask your current suppliers whatever they can lower the price for you BEFORE you switch over to a new supplier.

      At least, that’s what I would do.


  12. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for your informative website/blog. I’ve been scammed by a third party supplier from Alibaba named SOMJAI KHONSONG CO. LTD and the shipping company is ASIA MARITIME LOGISTICS CO. LTD. both from THAILAND. Beware of these companies, very dishonest !!!!

  13. Hi Andrew I just placed an order for 2 different type of items. The first item I ordered about 50 and received them, the 2nd item I purchased 20 and they send another item instead. What should I do, they stated they would send me the item I ordered but I would need to pay shipping is that normal? I don’t want to be out of more money. Thank you.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Tae,

      If they made the mistake, they need to cover the additional costs.

      You should send back wrong items too.


      1. They want me to cover half of shipping to get me the items I ordered. They told me to keep the other ones. (Or ship them back but I would have to pay) I told them I didn’t want the other ones and they said they wouldn’t pay for shipping to me on the right items and basically if I don’t pay then I wouldn’t get them. They did offer to refund me on the ones they didn’t send. I just don’t know what to do. Should I try to open a claim on them or something.

        Thank you for responding.

  14. OMG!!. Thanks for this Andrew. I have been trying with Alibaba since 10th May – 26th September 2020. I named them “Alibaba and the 40 thieves” and left the site. I have literally been checked hundreds of suppliers, sent sooo many emails asking for RFQs, etc., trying to place orders for Amazon Fire Sticks, and then BAMM!!, every “company” sent a what’s App message with info to pay by money-gram, various cash-apps, or western union. I thought to myself, “my God, why aren’t these people using Banks?”

    They all want money sent, usually not in the country where the factory is “supposed” to be listed/located, eg one factory owner supposedly in China, but a 2nd person who contacted me lives in Saudi and he directed me to make payment to a 3rd person living in the US!. None of their email address & websites exist. Everyone wants you to contact them via What’s-app “for fast payment, processing and delivery”, thus avoiding the official platforms I suppose.

    No way I was going to pay some 3rd or 4th party in another country, or anyone for that matter an unsecured payment. This was the M.O. of EVERY Supplier that contacted me, and I became suspicious, reported & deleted their What’sapp messages. Now thanks to you i will go back and try one last time. Will let you know how it goes.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Nire,

      Please don’t waste your time – Alibaba is NOT the place to source branded goods like the Amazon Fire sticks you’re mentioning.

      Alibaba is only good for un-branded goods.


  15. Hello Andrew,

    thanks for this article, it helps a lot. I contacted recently few suppliers concerning the same quantity and type of product. However one demands 600USD and the other one 1000 USD for a DDP delivery (product price is 1200 USD). I am not sure if the second one is just very pricy or the first on is trying to avoid VAT and import taxes. Do you know if there is a way to proof this`? Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Viktor,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In general, I strongly recommend to NOT use DDP terms as in 99% of the time, they’re bogus. Please read this post for more details:


      1. Thank you! I guess I will have to overcome my fear of doing the customs clearance by myself and make a DAP or CIF order instead. Would you recommend one of these more than the other?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Why not use a freight forwarder who can handle all that for you for a fixed fee?

  16. Hi, is it possible for deposit to be returned from Alibaba if supplier has changed quantity due to additional packaging for same cbm (LCL shipping), although supplier has reduced their price the shipping per unit has now increased making it less attractive proposition.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Sorry, I don’t know the answer to that. You should ask TA support or at least read through the small print in TOS.


  17. Alibaba is a scam, I mean Alibaba as a company. They support the suppliers they list on their website as a gold supplier even though the supplier continue to scam people . Each time you will chat with their agent they will come up with different excuses and the most dumbest agents I have ever experienced. The agents have no clue and put the responsibility on the dispute team and you cannot chat with the dispute team directly. Result you will wait forever after raising a dispute eventually giving up. This explains why each scammers are so bold and continue to flourish scamming more and more people. My advice stays away from Alibaba

  18. Jamie Sewell

    I purchased an electric bike from someone named Sunny, and yes I realized it was to good to be true. but I looked at the amount of diamonds and read the reviews. I received the tracking number and of course I new it could take a long time as it sat at Hong Kong port for about a 45 days, and finally reached the US and then at the Garden Grove Post office and delivered! I was floored, . I called them directly and they said every thing was right, even the tracking #. Then I looked more closely at the site and it said e packet, and I called the post office and they told me e packets are small. Then I contacted the Help Icon and told them what happened and they opened an investigation and I got my money back.
    But what gets me is her site is still up, but there are no products. when I clicked on how many sold it took me to a page that showed the sales and my info was one of the buyers! That infuriates me.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Jamie!

  19. Hi, thanks for your information. I wished I’ve read it before I ordered products from Alibaba. The supplier is from Thailand. They said my shipment is stranded at the Paris airport because it was labeled for business so I need to produce an “import license”.
    Is this a scam? I just want to use the products for giveaways for the holiday. Any suggestions?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Noelle,

      What kind of products did you order?


  20. Stephen marin

    Hi there I’m wondering if you could help me this company had Alibaba insured. I ordered two electric 1500w motor bikesfrom Alibaba website I even took picture of the transaction of what it said in the advert . Too cut a long story short . When they arrived to my house in the uk . No paperwork no eec/ COC don is I’m complete stuck with ; bikes that can’t be registerd

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Stephen,

      I’m sorry, but there is not much you can do about it…. you shouldn’t have bought these from China, without doing proper research/home work.

      You could try getting them certified by a UK based testing house, but:

      1) It will be very expensive
      2) They may not even pass the certification…

      I would recommend that you try selling them off, maybe to a country where the laws are more relaxed.


  21. I really want to try ordering from Manufacturers in Pakistan, they have much lower MOQs. However none of them use trade assurance but I know lots of companies use Pakistani Manufacturers. What’s the best way to go about paying them?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Well, you will have to do your best to research the company as much as you can and then – just take the risk. Maybe you can find an inspection company that does inspections in China? This would at least guarantee that you’re dealing with a real business.

      Also, not sure if PayPal is available in Pakistan or not, but that’s another payment method that gives you some protection.


  22. Hi, we ordered for 2 units of laptop and they would send too much. They also sent products that we didn’t order. Is that scam?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      100% SCAM.

  23. I think I’m being scammed right now
    A supplier I’ve already paid for items is asking me for $375 to clear clearance and I’m tracking my items through Dania Direct Log. The tracking is working and it is updating, is this a real company or not? I’m lost

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      It sounds like a scam to me. Why do you have to pay your supplier to clear goods through Customs? The supplier has nothing to do with Customs. Shipping company would contact you directly if there are any Customs fees/procedures involved with your shipment.


      1. Can I know is FOB cover the custom clearance and taxes?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          No, it does not.


  24. Very informative thank you.
    Newbie here ,I have a dilemma received goods from alibaba supplier but part of the order where damage broken to be exact .seller agreeing to refund will you just agree refund on the broken pieces?or will it be prudent to ask refund for some part of shipping since not all goods where received in good condition. Please advise

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      I would be happy with a refund for broken items, yes. Many suppliers won’t even cover that, so you’re actually in a good position here to receive a refund on the broken items, without spending money on a 3rd party inspection.


  25. Great article. I’m new on Alibaba and been talking with a vendor from Kenya that sells Kef speakers at one third the cost. Gold member since 1 year and accepts bank transfer, WU and Moneygram but no CC or Paypal or Trade Assurance. They say they say they bought huge stock ok speakers. I really wish they’re legit. What do you think?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It’s a 100% SCAM! Stay away!


    2. These guys below are huge scammers on the platform. They got our order wrong, then told us they were a small company (they aren’t) and begged me accept only 50% replacement stock and they will replace the rest in future orders.. They then forced me to PAY for the replacement stock, which i only did as i was in urgent need for it. Then, when i went to place my next order, they refused to supply. I realised afterwards this was all so i didn’t report them to Alibaba as bad suppliers.

      Zhongshan Bloomingflower Children Products CO. , LTD.
      Add: NO.9, Yongjun Road, Dongsheng Town, Zhongshan City, Guangdong Province, China
      Tel: 0086-760-2363 3126
      Fax: 0086-760-2363 3138
      Mobile: 0086-18676295590
      Name: Roger or Forever or whatever other names they come up with as they seem to always change staff.

      STAY AWAY from this company. If you mention this complaint to them, ask the mods of this site to get in contact with me to prove what I am saying as I kept all communication of their false promises and admission of fault with no effort to fix it without is paying.

      They are heartless, cold, and evil.

  26. Sedalia Washington

    Hello the info was very helpful but I’m very new. Ordering some disinfectant spray from a company jining kaishang Trading LTD..are they a scam Ralph Weber is his name the person I’ve been communicating with…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry, but I can’t verify the suppliers for you – it’s something you have to do. I have plenty of guides/articles on my blog about this process, please check the archive page:


    2. Hi,

      I saw your question about Ralph Weber. I ordered Lysol from hi. And I have been waiting for 3 weeks. It started at $500 then he needed more money to clear customs and then another $100 for rerouting it. It is a scam and I already notified alibaba. Did you order it from him? Did you receive it ? It was a scam

      1. Hi

        Did you ever recieve your order? I was very close today in buying disinfectant spray from an Alibaba Supplier. Luckily for me the cashapp tags the supplier provided came back as fraudulent. So Cashapp returned my money. When one cashapp tag failed, the agent provided me with another. Both came back as fraudulent and both times cashapp returned my payment to me. The supplier provided some excuse that Cashapp have been having issues these days, told me to leave the “for” field in cashapp blank, and proceeded to give me a 3rd cashapp tag to send paymen.. At this point I told her I no longer feel comfortable with this transaction. I had already agreed to take the transaction outside of the Alibaba platform to the Watsapp, pay with cashapp, and now you want me to try a 3rd cashtag?? I told her that if she would accept half the payment order now and half when shipment arrives then I would proceed to send a cashapp payment. She was willing, however at this point I no longer felt comfortable and lost all confidence that this was a legitimate
        business deal. She was too aggressive and wanted to complete payment so quick and kept saying “I know it is scary but it is 100% guaranteed shipping, none of our packages come damaged”. I did get
        her to agree that if my package does not arrive or my product is damaged, she will assume the costs. This is my 1st experience on Alibaba, did not understand branded products are not allowed on Alibaba’s website. I told her to give me a moment to think, which is something they do not want you to do. She text me all day asking if I sent the payment, tried to call me several times. I am so glad I came across this article because it answered questions that I couldn’t find anywhere else. I trusted this particular company because their Alibaba page looked great, have all the credentials I was looking for – gold supplier, trade assurance, 5 star reviews, certifications. Only downside was they had been in business for only 1 year. Which was okay in light of all the other accolades. She also claimed the product would ship from Hollywood, CA in 4 days, door-to-door. Shipping fee 10.00, don’t have to worry about custom fees. I felt I asked all the right questions but if scammers are hacking into other suppliers website and using their credentials to seem legitimate – we need to be extra cautious!!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Good for you that you didn’t pay! It was a 100% scam! I have a more recent article on this type of scam here:


  27. I got a message on where I usually chatted with suppliers. The message have a linked Is said Is this your products? When I look up the person who sent me message hidden all info, business info and I never deal with that supplier. I immediately deleted the message and blocked that person. I think they tried to hack my phone. So scary

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, it could be scammers trying to hack your account.

  28. Cristine May Ricardo

    That helps a lot! Could you give some tips on how you are going to know if you’re negotiating with a legit shipping agent in Alibaba? As it’s my first time planning to import an item. Hoping to get a reply. Thank you so much!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Cristine,

      You don’t really need to take the additional risk of using a shipping agent in China. You can use local freight forwarders for the shipping process, such as:


  29. Charles Glaman

    Great info!
    Ok, stupid question. Listings for Polaris Slingshots. 2019 & 2020. China 1000-1500 USD per unit, England supplier 4000-6000 USD per unit & India or Pakistan supplier 2000-3000 USD per unit. In US, at a dealership you are looking 20,000-30,000 USD. All 3 are Gold suppliers. There is a catch here, what is it? Are they not US DOT compliant (30 years ago in Taiwan you wanted to ride in a Mercedes cab, rather than a local made cab, because the Windshields in the Mercedes were made of safety glass

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Charles,

      Those are ALL SCAMS! Don’t believe a word they say. You can’t buy such items at such ridiculously low prices on Alibaba. Those are all scams.


  30. Hi Andrew,

    I found a company which is selling Korg organ model PA 4X for about 600$US.

    They said they are buying in bulk so the price is lesser than the normal store.

    Are they scam?

    Thanks for advise.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, 100% SCAM!

  31. David Miller

    Hi Andrew

    I’ve noticed a few times that even by verified suppliers, when I check on the official website of the inspection company, I can’t find that supplier’s name or certificate.

    I even found suppliers where its certificate says ‘To see this certificate online, go to the website…” and that website seems to be a fake website of this inspection company!

    Take for example the website:
    Which is a verified company on alibaba.
    Verified by Bureau Veritas.

    But after a google search for the Bureau Veritas website, to check if the certificate is legitimate, I found the website
    After searching this website I simply can’t find this company!

    So I went and downloaded the certificate of this company direct from alibaba, which says on it that to verify the certification I should go to the following website:
    which (while it does indeed have the certificate on it), seems like a fake website of Bureau Veritas! The website is not even secure!

    I’ve had this same problem with other “Verified Suppliers”. So my question is: Does it make sense that these companies are faking their way into the “Verified Supplier” status? I mean, they are Gold Suppliers with Trade Assurance and everything, so what is going on?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      Thanks for sharing this with us, it does look weird, I agree….

      Not sure what is the cause there as that company does look legit to me. Have you asked them about why they don’t show up on the Bureau Veritas website?


      1. David Miller

        Thanks for your reply.

        I haven’t asked this supplier direct, but I’ve seen this happening with lots of other suppliers also! In fact so far in my experience finding suppliers this has been the norm rather than the exception!

        Is it stupidity to order (a small amount at least) from them as long as I keep to ALL the other advice found on your website and other places over the net?


        1. Andrew Minalto

          No, I don’t think it’s a stupidity. Especially when you’re dealing with such low-risk items and every other indicator looks fine.


          1. David Miller

            Thank you! Your website and personal advice are brilliant.

          2. Andrew Minalto

            You’re welcome David! 🙂

  32. Hi Andrew,

    Very informative article. I have been thinking of importing packaging products from china for a while now but I am not getting anywhere and I was wondering if you had any tips.

    Firstly the sample prices are ridiculous for an item that is worth 50p they want $30-50 shipping fee. The biggest issue I have is none of the quotes I get are wholesale prices. I am wanting to order in large quantities 2K+ per SKU so one shipment could be about 10k units of 5 different items. But the wholesale price I am often getting is worse than retail price I can purchase the same item in the UK. what is going on? Even after hard negotiation the reduction in price is just above wholesale price in UK. Then you factor in import shipping cost, customs/duty/vat and I am wondering how is anyone importing stuff from China to UK.

    Is there a secret to this whole importing business that I don’t know about? or is everyone ordering in 50k+ units? or am I not getting to the right manufacturer? I am really struggling with this.

    Please HELP!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment.

      What kind of products you’re trying to order? Is it just plain cardboard boxes? If so, you will have to import whole container loads to make it cost-effective.


      1. Wow thanks for super fast response…

        Yes they are pretty much plain white 350/400gsm boxes for baking products. When you say container load…how much we talking?

        Even when I ask them for larger quantity I get terrible pricing.

        I think I am also not finding actual manufacturers as most ones I have seen seem to be distributors but I could be wrong.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hundreds of thousands if not millions of units. In a word – it’s not worth importing such items from China.


  33. Pls i need some help abt this company i saw there advert on Alibaba for ps4 console, that says buy 5 get 3 free. and they say i can only pay through bitcone are dey scammers

    1. Andrew Minalto

      And what do you think? 🙂 Of course, they’re scammers, 100%.

  34. So, I read your information and walked away enlightened. I would like to know why they don’t accept American Express. This card has a protection clause and will go after them if anything happens. I have not been able to find a vendor who accepts that card.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      American Express card is very popular in the US, but not so much in other parts of the World. You will find that many places online do not accept AE cards. They’re simply not that popular outside the US.


  35. I should have made a research first or found you before I made a nightmare transactions with Alibaba. I ordered UV light from Luan Shihui Lighting (I think this company has a lot of traders but posting as the supplier because when I was looking at exactly the same product noticed different names and different prices)I got a lower price than the others only to find out it was misleading. I tried selling it to my friends just the next they called me that it’s not working and has this loose sounds, so I went back to the seller because I’m still within 30 days return policy and he wanted me to video the 150 pcs to prove my claim which is ridiculous I did 3 but for him, it’s not enough. I was asking for a refund, for unsatisfactory defective units which he turned down and started attacking my character that because of the price change I’m doing a malicious thing. I elevated it to Trade Assurance just the same they ordered us to do 20 random videos and only 7 worked they want us to pay $500 to have them tested by Alibaba expert, it was very clear that most are not working but the supplier has more influence his explanation is now in Chinese. So we don’t understand so we have to translate them in English. I was stressed out, time-consuming and lost money for the overcharged, I paid shipping and handling and taxes plus additional fees for paying thru credit card( which is my only hope) Trade Assurance is biased, they always say let’s see what the supplier’s response. they just closed it with 0 refund because we didn’t agree to pay $500 to test them. I am broken-hearted with these scammers or horrible suppliers. I wonder where I can still file a complaint?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rosa,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience, but you should have really read the rules/terms on how Trade Assurance works before you made any deals through it. If you knew that most of the items are defective, you should have paid for that inspection – after the inspection result, you would get a refund from Alibaba.

      Those are the basic TOS on how Trade Assurance works. This is not eBay or Amazon where you can simply ask for a refund and get it. Inspection needs to be done to verify that your claims are correct and accurate.


  36. Nathan Nelson

    Absolutely excellent!! After reading this article on your 15 step process I am now more confident that I can achieve a positive outcome and that the odds are more so in my favour. Thanks for the info!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Nathan! 🙂


  37. Hi Andrew,
    Thank you for such a great article! I negotiated a price with a seller on alibaba and reconfirmed the shipping several times saying to them it seemed really low. They assured me it was correct and so I paid with my cc through Trade Assurance, 2 hours later they emailed me and said that they made a mistake and that the shipping was 3 times as much as I was quoted and paid for. I asked to cancel the order and refund. But alibaba will not refund the transaction fees and so I am out a couple hundred dollars for a 2 hour transaction. How can I go about getting the transaction fee back? The seller should have to cover the fee since it was their error but all they say is that they apologize… Sooo bummed no product and out money for nothing…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Peri,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately, you won’t be able to get that transaction fee back, as per TA TOS, those fees are non-refundable.


  38. Hi, I am trying to purchase a supplement in bulk to sale for my business. The first vendor I used charged me $294 for the supplements for 3 cartons. I paid via cash app 🤦🏽‍♀️ I didn’t think nothing if it because I use vendors that accept that payment method, however, the day of delivery I get an email from the shipping company (different from DHL) that I was told originally and they tell me before they can deliver my charge it’s $250. I was beyond upset. I contact the vendor 469.431.1068 and they told me it was nothing I could do but pay the $250 delivery. They shipping company is bogus “Dania Direct Logistics” they have no phone number only contact information is an email, and they haven’t returned my email since the request for money, no address. Nothing. I’ve been on alibaba for hours trying to find a vendor for the supplements but only one say trusted 12 years and he just asked me to send payment via money gram, WesternUnion or bitcoin. He said they don’t accept 3rd party payments through alibaba. 🤦🏽‍♀️PLEASE HELP

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry, but you have been scammed.

      Was it branded supplements you’re after? They are all scams on Alibaba.


      1. Apetamin syrup

  39. Ayanansh Dubey

    Hi Andrew,

    Nice content,

    I have been chatting with a supplier for MSI laptop with all the latest feattures. This supplier is gold.supplier from past 5 years. He is providing some great offers such as buy 2 get one free with free shipping. The product is amazing, he sent me some photos and indeep specification of the product, he is also fast replier with great english. I like this product and thinking to buy, the supplier said they dont trade on alibaba and we been chatting in whatsapp. He told they do transactions through netbanking, cash deposit and bitcoin. He have also provided an invoice. And i have my heart set on the product at this price. Please guide what should be done ahead. Whats your thought?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Don’t do anything – it’s a SCAM! Stay away from this and any similar offers.

      You can’t buy such branded electronics on Alibaba, especially at such low prices.


      1. Ayanansh Dubey

        Thank your for the advice. You have saved me my money. Thanks for providing right info at right time.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          You’re welcome! 🙂

          1. I place a order of branding AirPods case I never received it ! The lady cola told me that it was shipped it !! 2 months passed !!! And I told her again where is my goods and she said then I was not gonna receive them no more I was so mad!! They took my money

  40. why do so many companies not have phone number but they seem to have whats app number Wei chat number ?
    are these companies legit ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ahmed,

      Because that’s China! 🙂

      You can’t judge a company just by their contact details, that’s not how it works in China or on Alibaba.


  41. Zachary Karl

    Hey i recently placed an order on Alibaba through T/T secured wire transfer, but decided to cancel my order, will i receive a refund? The order status is listed as closed the the seller hadn’t shipped anything yet.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, you should be able to get your money back, if nothing was even dispatched yet.


  42. Hey, should I buy harddrives of companies like seagate or WD on Alibaba? I am thinking of expanding my NAS setup.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, you shouldn’t. You’ll get scammed or receive fakes.

  43. Hello Andrew – I ordered two Electric Mountain Bikes for about USD6,000 via Alibaba a year ago by TT (they refused to accept PayPal or Credit Cards). Both bikes had an intermittent power issue which became increasingly worse, rendering them virtually useless. After being jerked around by the seller for six months I raised a Dispute with Alibaba which was rejected because the seller’s Two-year Warranty only specified the bike frame & motor, not the battery. Neither of the bikes has done 100 miles. Diagnostic reports (here in Australia) specify ‘cheap faulty batteries’ (USD600 each to replace.) The facts are irrefutable. How can I get a refund or, at least, the cost of new batteries? Your help will be greatly appreciated, thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks for your comment and I’m sorry to hear you lost so much money.

      Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do – you will not get a refund unless you maybe involve the police, but then again, I don’t know how long, how expensive or complex that would be. The best advice is to try to communicate with the seller and ask them to replace the batteries. If you can get that done, that would be a huge win already.

      Alibaba is really not the place to buy retail goods, especially such expensive, complex electronics items.


      1. I am trying to source suppliers for biscuits and beverages. What I have noticed is that some companies have very wack Alibaba profiles but their websites are topnotch. How safe is it to deal with companies on their websites instead of Alibaba as most of these companies I have found are in Vietnam and indonesia. Are they any companies you can pay to do checks for you outside of china ??

  44. Dear Andrew,

    A big congratulations on this article. It is clear, plain English, and every sentence was carrying furthermore knowledge. A must-read for all thinking to start-up. Once I will find some time, I will definitely look into other materials of yours. Kind regards, Zol

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Zol & Thanks for reading my blog! 🙂


  45. Devin Hornbaker

    Hi Andrew,
    I’m currently talking to a supplier about getting some Nikon cameras. From what I gathered from your article it’s not possible for them to sell Nikon. This seller is a three year good supplier, has an on-site check and has trade assurance. What raised red flags to me though is they only accept Western Union and MoneyGram. That’s when I started doing scam research. I asked this supplier how is it they can sell Nikon products on Alibaba. Their response was they paid Alibaba to sell Nikon. Is this even possible? Everything seems legit with this company as far as credentials but everything else screams scam.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Devin,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Of course, it is not possible, It’s a 100% SCAM, don’t even think about sending any money to them. They’re trying to scam you, RUN!


  46. Hi,

    This article was a great read!

    I am in the stage of ordering samples and negotiating with suppliers. After receiving my recent sample from this company, i was extremely happy with its quality and material compared to other companies. However, few days later i noticed the glue hasn’t set on a small part of the product and there was a hole in the bag. It is a silicon bag to store food and small products. Should i be worried and withdraw my relationship with this problem from the sample? This company has good ratings and we have good communication external from Alibaba.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Tom,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry, but I can’t tell you whatever that supplier is good or bad, based on that information. It’s your business and your decision.

      Personally, first thing I would do is, inform the supplier about this issue and see what they have to say about it – sending a defective
      sample is not a good sign, but maybe they can explain it somehow?

      In general though, samples should be perfect. If the supplier can’t send you a perfect sample, chances are they will pay even less attention
      to detail when your full order comes in.


  47. Hi I have a question regarding the alibaba. When I want to buy some products from lets say one particular seller. The seller list it for example, $0.50-$2.00 per piece. I then send an inquiry to ask for a few items from that price, but the seller response back stating a different price than the one on display and most often much much higher price. Is this one of the scam I should avoid or it is common to name the price differently than being listed when talk directly to the seller? Thank You

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lili,

      Thanks for your comment.

      No, it doesn’t mean it’s a scam. Sellers very often publish lower prices on the product page to get people interested in their offers. Only when you contact them you can find out the real price, which always is closely linked to the quantity you order.


  48. Great article and very logical points you’ve made – thanks!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Tom! 😉

  49. Marcelino T. De Peralta Jr.

    Hi Andrew,
    This was a really detailed blog.
    Thank you for sharing!
    I am currently building my one product brand, and I want it to be the best quality it could.
    I plan to do local shipping later on, but as of now, I have to do international shipping from China to learn my target market, which means that my supplier will also do the fulfillment.
    The product I have is a handmade product.
    How do I make sure that my supplier will be sending good quality products to my customers?, even though I ordered the first few samples.
    Because they could easily make the next orders cheap and I won’t want that.
    If I do however hire an inspector to inspect per batch, and the inspector sees that there are many pieces that doesn’t pass my standards, would it be practical to let the supplier repeat the items at their cost? I do not want to break my relationship with the supplier as it is hard to find unique products like these and hard to explain everything over again.
    How would you deal with this Sr. Andrew?
    Thank you so much in advance

    Marcelino Jr.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Marcelino,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The short answer is: you can’t. You will never know/be sure about the product quality if your supplier is sending goods directly to customers.

      I personally wouldn’t do this. I would get goods sent to me first, even if it’s a small batch, and then send them to customers as orders come in. The risks are simply too high with direct from manufacturer shipping + the delivery times will be long + customers may face to pay VAT/import duty etc.

      So if you ask me, I wouldn’t do it that way.


  50. I have fraudulent charges on my bank account from the Alibaba website and until last week when they showed up I had never heard of this site. I have been trying for hours to get to someone who can help me with this and can’t get to that person. The online help keeps telling me I need to create an account and that is the last thing I want. I need my money back as someone went on a shopping spree using my bank account information.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jill,

      You should contact your bank/credit card company immediately and inform them about this. They will investigate it for you and return your money.


    2. Hey Anrew,

      first of all thank you so much for this great article, makes the life a little it safer with great people like you.

      My Questions are:

      1. Tried to contact round about 5-10 supplier, all of them wanna talk outside alibana, not within the alibana messenger. Think all supplier wanna talk to about WhatsApp or other kind of communication plattform not under the control of alibaba are scam?

      2. Is Alibana sharing the E-Mail-Address? Why i ask, think communication about the messenger, i got a lot of spam from this kind of china people… ?

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Marc,

        Thanks for your comment.

        1) No, it doesn’t mean anything really. Many suppliers on Alibaba prefer to chat using Skype/WhatsApp and other tools. This fact alone doesn’t mean that they’re scammers.

        2) No, as far as I know, they don’t share the email address. Only thing – if you tick the box when contacting supplier, which ads your request to public buying requests, then yes – you will get tons of emails/messages from spammy suppliers.


  51. The supplier is asking for a photo of my passport for customs clearance. Is this normal?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, it’s not normal. Sounds like a scam to me.

  52. Irvin Rivera

    I ordered some socks from alibaba, and now they are seize at customs due that i dont have the license to import, also I commited the big mistake of adding IP characters to the socks, is there a way I can get my refund or that alibaba answers me? I know this has been all my fault but I feel like supplier could have told me this stuff and i did a big invest on this and now im really afraid of losing all my money and goods 🙁

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Irvin,

      No, sorry – no one will refund you anything… this was your fault, sorry.


  53. Kenechukwu Obikwelu

    Reading this late. I ve already been scammed. Was given bitcoin or western union as means to pay. I paid and they started asking for more.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry to hear that… now you will know how these scams work and hopefully in the future won’t make same mistakes.


  54. George T Kuhn

    For what it’s worth, I didn’t see this website until too late. I ordered an item (Sine Wave Inverster with UP and Charger) from a vendor, Guangzhou City PooJin Electronic Technology Co., Ltd., and they were a few days late in sending it. This vendor is an Alibaba “Trade Assurance” and “Gold Supplier.” They sent a tracking number that the shipper never showed even existed. Meantime, I am screaming via email to the vendor’s rep. He assured me it was on the way. It arrived two weeks after it was due and it was the wrong item. It was an inverster without the internal UPS and charger. I went back and forth for weeks with Alibaba submitting evidence, pcitures, etc. Once they offered a US$80 credit and keep the item. But it is not something I need. I offered further evidence, and they came back and offere $100. It’s still a rip off, so I refused the settlement. Then, a week later Alibaba said they were awaiting evidence from the vendor. Today, Alibab says the vendor presented evidence that it was not an item from them. Case closed! They provided no evidence to me of what the vendor said or showed to them.
    They just sided with their vendor. Yikes! This is how Alibaba “Trace Assurance” and “Gold Supplier” status protects you, i.e. not at all!

  55. Hi . I see tons of branded motorcycles on alibaba,like Kawasaki and Yamaha and a lot of the companies have a US address but with a Chinese company name or person. These I assume are scams or is this some other type of trade?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes Rick, they’re all 100% SCAMS!

  56. Chris Flynn

    I almost got scammed on some iPhone 11’s. I went with the logic that this is to good to be true. I noticed something that almost got me. It looks like these scammers can somehow piggy back on a legit companies name. This company I was dealing with sold car parts on Alibaba and I found them advertising iPhones. I asked them why they were selling iphones and he stated that it was a different department of the company. What i did was googled the company outside of alibaba and i could not find anything about iphones, but on Alibaba if you do a search for products the iphones would show up. They also wanted me to purchase outside of Alibaba with the whatsapp. All of this made me nervous and I did not pay. He was really pissed as they were making arrangements to pick up the money in Dominion republic and the company was in china. He told me they had branches all over the world. The moral of this story if the price is to good to be true it usually is.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      From the sound of it, it could be that a company employee uses their Alibaba profile to run a side gig OR someone has hacked their account.

      Either way, you did the right thing. Alibaba is NOT the place to source iPhones or any other branded electronics.


  57. Hi I have purchased a food trailer from China and it arrived damaged. Now the company in China is saying I need to appraise it and all this other stuff before they give me the insurance information. Just too much of problems. What do you suggest I do? I even ask for a refund and am willing to send it back. Not sure what to do

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Are they willing to give you a refund if you send it back? If so, go with that option.

      If not, you have no choice, but follow their instructions and fix the issue, get a partial refund or get the item fixed.


  58. Jackie Disley

    Hi thank you for all the information provided I am looking to buy furniture from China,after making an enquiry on Alibaba two companies asked me for my WhatsApp number to chat & send me catalogues is this normal practise?
    Kind regards
    Jackie Disley

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jackie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, that’s perfectly normal – most of them use WhatsApp or Skype for communication.


  59. Not sure if this counts as a scam but…
    I am fully aware of the risks of ordering from AliExpress, and I have been doing it for some years without any problems. I mostly order electronic parts – boards, components, that kind of thing. These are often second hand (used), but that is not an issue for me.
    However, recently, when I have ordered items I have been given a non-existent tracking number and although after lodging a dispute and waiting a few weeks the money is returned, someone gets to sit on my money (in the 100’s of USD) for a while and to earn interest with it.
    This has only started happening recently, but it is putting me off – mostly it’s the wasting of my time I object to. The sellers I deal with have 95%+ positive feedback, but are generally large volume sellers, so a lot of money is potentially being shifted around unnecessarily and earning someone, somewhere interest.
    Is this kind of “scam” (for want of a better word) becoming more common, or have I just been unlucky?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ilya,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I haven’t heard about this specific scam, no. It could be that you just got unlucky. Or not. Hard to say…


  60. Hi Andrew, I need help with pretty much everything. Any chance you could help me out from finding a reliable supplier to start selling on eBay?! Thanks, Sally

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sally,

      I don’t sell on eBay anymore. I switched to Amazon in 2017.

      If you want to learn how the importing process works for Amazon, check out my Amazon Sharks program here:


  61. Reading this wonderful piece, I am convinced I almost got scammed. I contacted a number of suppliers for quotations on refurbished laptops. Strangely, I had replies from suppliers I can’t identify on Alibaba. Please how could this be?
    Please is it possible to have suppliers outside China on Alibaba talk about branded products, especially used laptops? Interestingly most of these suppliers never disclosed on Alibaba that they supply new branded laptops but in their replies they did.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re wasting your time with this. Alibaba is NOT the place to look for branded or refurbished branded laptops.

      You will get scammed 100%!


  62. You have a wonderful, insightful article. …unfortunately I found it a bit late.

    I purchased a “Mirror Photo Booth” on Alibaba for my very small business. I was having difficulty making the credit card payment. My bank was concerned about fraud. I had the seller (China) make it into 3 invoice payments. I was able to get 2 to process (after calling my bank) but I was unable to get the 3rd payment to process and the bank stated it was not on their end. The website said failed to process, and recommended I do a bank transfer. I immediately halted what I was doing, knowing that if I did a bank transfer I would not be seeing any refund if I had any discrepancies, no recourse…

    I did go through the “Trade Assurance Link” and contacted the seller and Alibaba. Funny how they are quick to respond during the buying process and then nothing when you try to get a refund. If I am unable to make the 3rd of 3 payments they will not ship the order. I have since changed my mind and just want a refund as I no longer comfortable with this process. Should I wait for the transactions to “settle” in my account and take it up with my bank? What should I be doing?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Brandy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You simply inform the seller that you want to cancel the order and get a refund. Tell them that if they don’t refund you, you’ll do a charge-back case via your credit card company/bank. Hopefully, the seller will cancel and refund. If not, open a dispute in Trade Assurance and hopefully Alibaba will refund. If not, do a charge-back with your bank.


  63. Hi Andrew,
    Your article has been really helpful and amazing details.
    I am trying to get some products from Alibaba for me to sell in retail.

    Samples cost about 2 or 3 times the MOQ price and to be shipped to Sri Lanka using express method, they quote between 140-180 USD. I inquired from two suppliers so far.
    Do you think this shipping cost or the sample cost is reasonable? Is that how normally things going on AliBaba?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      Thanks for your comment.

      The fact that samples cost 2 or 3 times the “normal” wholesale price is normal, yes.

      As for the shipping costs – it depends on how big and heavy the item is?

      $140 to $180 sounds quite a lot, meaning the product is quite bulky?


  64. Thank you for the very informative article. In case of buying laser beauty treatment machine for personal use what would be your honest advice please?
    Many thanks in advance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Katin,

      Don’t buy it from China. So many things can go wrong, you won’t have tech support, you can get scammed etc. etc.

      For such individual purchases, best to stick with a UK seller who can provide tech support and warranty (if needed).


  65. Good morning, great article

    is still available the gold supplier filter or have they replaced it with the verified supplier filter?
    the same with Supplier Assessment, Onsite Check and Assessed Supplier filters, I can’t see any filters for them anymore?

    Please can you clear up the air about buying on alibaba 2019.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Joe,

      The Gold Supplier status still shows on the supplier page, but as so many suppliers are now Gold, they probably removed the filter from search page as it doesn’t change much in terms of what suppliers are shown (as most are Gold suppliers anyways).

      They often change these filters and right now we can select Verified Supplier, Trade Assurance and Ready to Ship filters.


  66. Alibaba Trade Assurance is a joke.
    They stand on the suppliers side, especially these Gold Suppliers who paid them “BIG MONEY”, it’s my own experience, my product is supposed to be 250 cm long but it was only 235 cm, the supplier did not even think it a problem, they told me that they “cut the raw material” 250 cm long, what a joke too, they need to fold cms on each end and sew, they cut 250 cm to make 250 cm products. When we couldn’t agree on a solution, I told them I would bring it to Alibaba, the supplier threatened me by telling me that they paid Alibaba a lot, and Alibaba would protect them.
    It’s real, even if the seller’s evidence showed that they intentionally made the product shorter, Alibaba still stood on their side. DON’T TRUST the suppliers until you have real good relationship, DO NOT TRUST Alibaba.

  67. Alibaba’s trade assurance is the biggest scam of them all! Seriously don’t waste time with them They’ll give you a round around and endless ridiculous excuses defending a lying supplier. I’ve sent all of my faulty goods to the Alibaba office in Australia

    1. I felt the same and totally agree with you, how did you deal with them?

  68. Gerald De-Wilton Holmes

    I have been looking at buying an ASIC miner, and none of the sellers offer payment
    with credit card, or bank transfer.
    Every inquiry I have sent, all want payment in crypto currency, western union Money Gram, all of which offer no protection to customer.

    They were all Rated as Gold sellers and some even show they accept payment by CC, untill you try to buy, and then it is refused.
    The Alibaba site does have Fake selling sites I have found some, operated by scammers.
    You may also notice the site also tries to load unauthorised scripts on to your device.

    If you use Alibaba, do not under any circumstances pay by crypto currency, Western Union, Money Gram, only pay with an trusted method, Pay Pal, credit card.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Alibaba is NOT the place to go if you’re looking for branded products, especially electronics.

      That’s why you only got scammers and fake product sellers asking for un-secure payment methods.


  69. Hi Andrew

    Great article, I find you a real asset to the ecommerce world

    I wonder if you can comment, I always follow the basic common sense things like gold seller, assessed, trade assurance as I don’t trust anyone on alibaba. so i always protect even my samples orders, I make sure all the sample quality is crystal clear

    But i have experience this new phenomenon


    I get a quote for samples $3 each for a gold plated bracelet, then after the sample is made and I go back for the real order say 100 piece they double the price to $6.50, but the original 100 piece quote was $3, the seller said he did not realise how expensive it was to make from the jewellery photo even though the weight size and materials he should understand. I know he is a trading company which is not the problem. So I swallowed and placed an order 100 x $6.50 price, I always said that the bracelet must be tarnish resistant 6 month minimum

    Any way 1 week after the 3 samples sold on ebay a customer send back the bracelet saying all the gold colour had rubbed off, I mean all come off, so they did not do the special plating that was the on the sample requirements, he confirmed this back is fine

    So now my $240 sample or for 5 pieces of each of 2 different products turned out to be low grade quality. Alibaba is siding with this seller, the seller has insulted me with a 30% refund, alibaba is siding with the seller

    In the end I have wasted about 30 man hours on this scammer, he is producing low grade quality and alibaba is siding with him every time. I placed the real order for 100 pieces at $6.50 but after thinking about this quality fading and scamming I decided to cancel the bigger order, and I think I will just cut my losses and run. I just dont just these guys, they are just trying to make as much profit they can from the sample orders, they are not interested in my $100,000 a year I could spend with them on my custom products,


    Please give me your advice andrew, I have followed all the common sense alibaba methods but I still got scammed with quality fade, I have so many items I want to produce but I just dont trust these guys, what am I doing wrong



    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Dan,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      What can I say – it’s just part of this business. If everything was super simple, everyone would be doing it. Bad suppliers, un-reliable suppliers – that’s what you will deal with no matter what checks you do. I personally minimise this by staying away from high-risk items, building up orders very slowly. And I’m always ready that things can and will go wrong. As I said, this is all part of the importing business.


  70. Thank you for this information! However, I’m still a little confused. I am about to place a small first order with a 2nd year Gold Supplier with Trade Assurance and Onsite Assessment. I could not find the seller’s Citibank information, so I requested it but he asked if I could pay via PayPal instead. I don’t necessarily have a problem with paying this way, but at what point do I receive an actual order on the Alibaba system? Right now it is still showing under ‘Draft Trade Assurance Order’ and all other communication has been on the messages panel. Also, I’m assuming that since PayPal is not an approved payment method for Trade Assurance, if the company pockets my money I have no recourse. Is that correct? Does PayPal offer any protection on these types of transactions?

    Also, one of the comments said that it is much cheaper to arrange the freight myself instead of accepting free shipping from the supplier. I would appreciate your thoughts on this too.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Linda,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, PayPal is NOT supported by Alibaba Trade Assurance system so that order would be totally outside Alibaba. PayPal does offer protection though, in case you don’t receive your goods.

      As for the shipping – it depends on what type of shipping you will use – sea, air or courier?

      Read more about various shipping methods from China in this post:


  71. Hi Andrew,

    Great article. But at the same time you’ve got me absolutely petrified!
    I just ordered a fair bit of product, driving range mats and netting and rubber play ground tiles. I purchased from gold suppliers via trade transfer assurance and they all have the alibaba business verification tick in the box, but all this said, reading the comments posted by other readers just sent a cold chill down my spine…
    I know you can’t give a definitive answer, but are there certain types of merchandise suppliers that are more susceptible going for a scam than others? I guess what I’m really asking, is that, is there anything to ease my mind, as I play the game of “40 day Wonder” – wondering for 40 days if the goods I ordered ever turn up…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Pauli,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yes, there are product groups that attract more scammers than others and your products listed are NOT in the high-risk category.

      As for your order – did you do any inspections on the supplier or at least finished stock?


      1. Thank you for your reply, what you say makes me feel slightly better…
        I must admit I didn’t do everything on your list, but the ones I did check, all checked out ok. I also called the number on the official website to verify the person and if I could not reach them ,I asked the person I was conversing with via Alibaba to phone me from the official company phone number. I checked them out on linkedIn and so on. As for the payment, I opted for setting it all up via trade assurance, accepting only 40% upfront and 60% of completion of production. I’m still nervous as hell. What’s this you mention about inspections? How do I set something like that up? The products are not ready yet, so I still may be able to arrange something like this .

        1. Andrew Minalto

          See this post about inspections:


        2. Pauli, did your range mats and netting come through as expected? If yes, would you mind sharing the name of the vendor/factory?
          I hope it all worked out for you.

  72. Hello!
    When I am buying from an Alibaba seller a product with DDP shipping ( the seller really wants me to take the DDP without somehow not rising the original product price much and adding to me that DDP is somehow profitable for the freight company?) how can I be sure that the duties and VAT will be paid before the shipping and that there will not be any surprise when the package arrives that it is still me who needs to pay the taxes. Because as I read on Alibabab site the trade assurance does not apply for custom problems.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      In 90% + cases they won’t pay full taxes on DDP orders.

      They will under-value it and smuggle goods into the EU without paying full tax value.

      This is the reason why I never use DDP with Chinese suppliers.


  73. How do you contact Alibaba? We just place a claim on trade assurance case our total order value was over $70,000. The shipment was late and the product quality and packing were terrible. We provided a ton of evidence to Alibaba and all Alibaba sends us is emails saying to “please work it out with your supplier”. The supplier is totally uncooperative and we want Alibaba to step in. After over 3 months now Alibaba has not stepped in and now they just closed the case out of the blue with no reason and no reimbursement. Does anyone know a competent person who we can talk to at Alibaba?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Adam,

      Wow, $70,000!!!

      Did you do a pre-shipment inspection as per the Trade Assurance contract?


  74. David Jackson

    Good insight Thankyou.
    I note some companies dont have the gold supplier but do have the others – verified / trade assurance… is to be taken that they have established themselves and are saving a few thousand? Secondly, what do you make when the prices details etc… dont match up – such as voltages {says 600v on main display but then says 42v on description} – typo – or organ donor program candidate.
    David Jackson.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      I only recommend dealing with Gold suppliers on Alibaba but I’m not saying all other suppliers are scammers. You have to look at each supplier/situation individually.

      As for product descriptions, prices etc. – they are often inaccurate on Alibaba pages so you always want to get in touch with the supplier and double confirm everything.


  75. Hi Andrew, What kind of purchase contract do you need to use in trade assurance, do you have any templates?


  76. Greetings Andrew! I’d like to ask who processes the shipping and processing through customs dept upon importation of the products? Would it be the buyer or the supplier?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It’s the buyer, in most cases but it depends on what shipping method is used?

      As there are DDP (Delivered Duty Paid) terms for example where Customs procedure, taxes are all included in the price you pay and with these terms, the supplier will clear goods for you.

      But usually, the buyer deals with this.


  77. Hello there. I wanted to buy a portable piano from alibaba. But reading all these i am a bit scared. I live in greece. Could you please advice me on that. I’ve found two on very good price but I don’t know if I can trust them. They have photos of their factories. And certifications.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alex,

      Do you want to buy for your own, personal use – just one unit?

      Don’t bother. Risks are too high and shipping costs will outweigh any potential savings.

      Just find the item from local/EU retailer.


  78. Hello,
    I met this supplier from the USA via Alibaba and I intend to buy ps4 units from him at the cost of $150 each. He is insisting payment should be completed through Western Union to his Florida address. I’d really like to hear your view on that.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Albert,

      And what do you think? 🙂

      It’s 100% SCAM!!! Don’t even think of sending him any money.

      And please stop wasting your time looking for PS4 suppliers at such ridiculously low prices – there’s NO such a thing! They are all scams.


      1. Rendell Anonomous

        Agree, i was contacted by who claimed they could wholesale ps4 pro for $165. I sen the money for a test order of $235. It was delayed because he sent it via EMS which is crazy slow, so in an effort to speed things up i placed an order of 5 an dinstructed him to send through DHL. He sent something but it wasnt PS4a, and that order also went to a worng address. STAY AWAY FROM CMTECH2014, Sam or Xi Feng, or whatever their real names are! I learned my lesson.

  79. Donna Fountain

    So Alibaba reassurance is no reassurance. I placed a claim on an order I have not received. Through the investigation agreed with me and when they went to give me my refund they are stating that the supplier does not have funds in their account. So now for me to get my refund they want the following. After you ready how many of you would supply that information

    “We have communicated with the relevant team. Your refund has not been executed because there is not enough money in the seller’s account. Considering your experience, must give you a refund directly, Aaccording to bank regulatory requirements,please kindly offer us the document as below,You can also reply directly to
    For registered companies:
    1) A color copy of your Certificate of Incorporation, Articles of Incorporation or Business License
    2) Take a picture when you stay in your company with the company’s business license/tax certificate held in hand.
    *3) The frontal photo of the debit card(or credit card) or transaction payment proof which you made the payment for this order.
    For individuals or sole traders:
    1) A color photo of at least one of the following documents: Passport, National Identity Card, driver’s license.( chooses one of the three)
    2) Take a photo when you hold the documents in hand.Must show the full front view of the head, with the face in the middle of the photo.
    *3) The frontal photo of the debit card(or credit card) or transaction payment proof which you made the payment for this order.

    All information will be subject to the Privacy Policy.

    Alibaba International Customer Service Team“

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I would do it to get my money back 🙂

      Just hide half pf credit card numbers.

      I think they have these requirements so that people are not abusing the system – e.g. someone could work with suppliers directly to scam Alibaba like this.


  80. Wow, very in-depth article. Thanks Andrew!

    I was wondering if you’ve had any transactions with Indian or Pakistani suppliers on Alibaba. I am getting a much better quote from them compared to the Chinese ones on Alibaba.

    But most of them are only 2 year gold suppliers with no trade assurance coverage. I checked out their company profile, they seem to be manufacturers but with small space and typically 1 supply chain. They are authenticated and verified by Alibaba and a third-party company though.

    It seems they don’t have reviews as they are just starting on Alibaba.

    One main point though, I found one of their products on amazon selling through another fba seller, I’m deciding to buy it and do a random quality check.

    What do you think, any insights?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Vince,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, often, for specific goods, India or Pakistan based suppliers offer a better deal or product altogether (Pakistan for example is well known for leather products).

      But as Trade Assurance is not offered, you have to be very careful. I recommend that you do an independent verification on the supplier you plan dealing with – right before you have negotiated everything, received samples etc. and are ready to order. And of course, try asking for PayPal as a payment method as that will give you extra protection and peace of mind.


  81. I’m a 24 year old university student and im about to place my 1st order and im a little nervous because whilst i have received samples and everything looks great the company’s profile seems a little bit dodgy to me. Can anyone take a look at this and tell me what they think?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      No one can tell you whatever the company is 100% legit and whatever your order will go through as planned. There are always risks associated with the importing business over distance and if you want to be in this business, you simply need to accept those risks.

      Obviously, I assume that you have already done the verification part on your own, got samples etc. If you need some further re-assurance, maybe you should do an inspection on them:


  82. I’d be grateful for any advice.
    I am a 16 year old boy and I am very new to buying from Alibaba (Aliexpress specifically). I recently purchased three lots of resin flatback pieces with characters on them that clearly resemble Disney characters, and a lot of resin flatback pieces with the Molang bunny on them from a seller who did not state the characters’ names or company names in their title or description, and have few orders or feedback on what I purchased; I also didn’t ask for proof of a lisence agreement before the purchase. I am very suspicious as I didn’t know about this whole thing before I purchased and now I’m worried I could get into trouble for ordering these items.
    It was a mistake on my part for not researching into ordering from Alibaba or into the shop more, and I still don’t know if it’s okay for me to have ordered these products.
    I may be overreacting (I have autism, etc. and it’s very hard for me to understand the severity of situations) but I just want to be safe.

    I’d be incredibly grateful for any advice on this!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sketch,

      NO, in general it is not ok to buy such items from Ali Express (Alibaba, China in general) with Disney characters on them.

      I’m almost certain that they’re not officially licensed so you’re essentially buying fakes/copies.


      1. Thank you for replying,

        Could I get into trouble for ordering these? I’m really worried about it.
        And do you have any advice on what to do about it, then?

        Again, thank you, I’ll make sure to be way more careful now I’ve read about all of this.

        1. hello Sketch,

          No need to worry. You only bought a few things and you are not going to resell them for profit, you are under 18 and you could probably plead ignorance if you got pulled up over it by someone. However, now you know, so be very careful in future 🙂

  83. Its actually not funny at all. This is my story on alibaba on the 7th of july 2018. I wanted to buy play station 4 ,i contacted the supplier which we agreed, he later aaked me to pay trough western union which i did to my surprise they didnt receive the money i was asked to go back and remove the question and answer claming that WU didnt pay them for one week ,i wrote a modification Letter to WU to Release the money . He later told me to cancel it and do Bitcoin which i did. After the received the money they told me that shipping fee has increased that i hav to add to my order to justify the shipping fees which i did. They later sent me a track number which i rested my mind after 3 days he called me and asked me to pay custom fees or else they will clear my goods. I requested for My county account details which they refused to give me,i requested for the ship company contact they refused ,i rejected that . they later told mebif i am ready i should get intouch. I clicked in my track number all my details came up on the shipping compay. I have bn buyiny on alibaba paying on alibaba link n i am getting my goods. Pls something much be done .i am sad because i am a pregnant woman.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Tosin,

      I’m sorry to hear you have been scammed. Buying a Play Station on Alibaba was a very, very bad idea…

      You can’t get such branded electronics on Alibaba – they are all scams.

      You will never see your money again, nor that Play Station.


  84. Hi!amazing article!unfortunately i was first time dealing on alibaba and first time scam.just send the money in ,,boss account”.its any chance to recover my money?any ideea?
    thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, sorry Eduard – that money is gone for good if they scammed you.

      There’s no way to reverse such a bank transfer.


  85. Hi there and thanks for you blog here. It really helped me a lot. I found a company on alibaba that is 1st year gold since a couple of months and I was not sure if I should trust them. Also they had no reviews whatsoever and they said it is because you only see reviews when you sell in china. The company is actually somewhere in the EU but as they cant provide ANY other security for me I wont buy from them. I mean in the chat with the company owner he even told me I should then go an buy from china-sellers a copy if I need a trustworthy money-transaction. Rude imho! What you guys say to this? Is 1st year gold seller enough or what else can I take a look? I didnt find a homepage from them either.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      What is the product you’re after? Is it anything branded?

  86. I’m dealing with a clothing supplier that has 1yr golden supplier onsite check and advised me to use Trade Assurance. So I did I am very new to this. Should be worried I’m being scammed??

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, you should always be “worried” when dealing with suppliers on Alibaba.

  87. Apurva Rajguru

    Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for this great post. I am in process of vetting suppliers for my upcoming online store. I have used all the filters you mentioned. I also came across the “Business Performance” section in Company Profile. I see that for suppliers with good track record of Gold Supplier, Supplier assessment, Onsite check and even a factory video there is no information or very little information about their transactions or reviews. Is it normal on Alibaba for suppliers to not have this information posted. I got jittery about one supplier who was 11 year Gold and was very responsive but had zero reviews or transaction history posted. Just wanted to know if this is a norm?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, that is quite common as not all suppliers will offer/place orders via Alibaba so they may not have any transactions or reviews.

      This fact alone at least would not raise any red flags to me.


  88. I buy a large amount of goods on Alibaba for import in to Canada. Here are the three most important tips:
    1) ALWAYS use trade assurance orders and pay through the Alibaba site. Yes there are some small fee’s for this, but a little money now could save you a lot later.
    2) MAKE SURE the exact product descriptions and full quality requirements are clearly stated on the trade assurance order – not just on the invoice or in an email.
    3) ALWAYS pay for a sample and get it in your hands first before buying in bulk. Most companies will give you a free sample, you just pay the freight. It costs a little but you need to know exactly what you are getting.

    1. Sorry I forgot 1 more – there four really important things!

      For bulk orders use a freight forwarding company with an office in (or close) to your city, that speaks your language, that also has an office at the port the goods will be shipped from. DO NOT use shipping from the Alibaba MFG. It is much cheaper to do it yourself, and they will understand how to clear customs in both China and your home country. Also, if issues arise it is easier to communicate with a local company. K&N is always a good choice.

  89. Thank you that information is very helpful!!! I wish I would’ve came across this a month ago. I made a huge mistake that cost me $1,600 dealing with someone from Pakistan. No Trade Assurance, no on site check and etc.. The samples that this guy sent me were terrible! Nothing what I asked for, not the color, not the size, nothing… anyway the payment that I made was through western union, which I now know was a big mistake. He’s giving me all type of excuses why he can’t send me my money back.. The company name is I.M International, and he goes by the name Usman Ali. That company cannot produce anything on their website it’s all false! So plz people, be careful.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Mike and next time be more careful.


  90. Thank you for sharing this really valuable advise Andrew, I wish I had seen this earlier! I have now been trading on Alibaba for a while and wanted to share a problem I encountered. I received several samples one week, however one of the suppliers failed to place a dot in the right place on the invoice. My $10.00 sample suddenly became a $1000 product liable for import duties! My top tip would be to always check the delivery paperwork and invoice prior to signing for anything overseas!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us Trevor!

      You have been extremely un-lucky with this as I have never heard of this specific situation/problem.


  91. Thanks for info
    I ordered 8 graphics cards and paid by cryptocurrency and if it were a scam it’s no big deal. But they wrote to me that mistakenly sent 200 cards instead but I can have them for free.
    I have from the beginning realized it’s a scam but when they suddenly wanted more money for taxes and customs.. within EU, right 😀 I told them to take it all back because I will not sign anything if something really shows up, which I doubt. Have you heard anything like this before?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Lol, sorry – that’s a very creative SCAM indeed! 🙂

      You will never see your money back, not talking about any cards.

      Alibaba is NOT the place to look for such graphics cards – you will either get scammed or receive fakes.


  92. Hey Andrew,
    I’m about to buy 5 containers of solar panels. You think it’s common to require balance paid in full prior to shipment. Should I be afraid it they won’t accept a Letter of Credit for at least part of the payment?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Chris,

      Of course – if it’s your first order with a supplier, everyone will ask for full balance paid prior shipping.

      L/C can be used, yes, if the supplier accepts it but not everyone will.

      So make sure you have done full factory inspection, verified supplier + pre-shipmen inspection on your order to see that everything is legit.


  93. Shimon mamruko

    Hi andrew,
    Unfortunately I didn’t read this article -and I was scammed by 3,300$.
    Is there anything I can do?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Not much you can do, no.

      If you paid via TT, WU or MG – that money is gone for good.

  94. Christine Ryan

    THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH FOR THIS!! I was about to make my first purchase. I inquired on Alibaba and was rerouted to a company in the US.
    The area code was.from Illinois, but it was clearly a satellite call, with a delay. The person on the line had an African accent, and would not take PayPal. Area code from Illinois, African accent, telling me he’s from Spain, and payment address in Kentucky. Then he.began to pressure me, and said Money gram was required to “speed up the order.” He almost had a temper tantrum . I was JUST about to pay when I thought of checking about scamming online. And so I asked him to all me and I’m so glad I did.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Christine,

      I’m very pleased to hear that! 🙂

      It was a 100% scam and good for you that you did not send any money yet!


  95. Luka Peljhan

    Dear Andrew,

    I wish I would of read your words before my first deal here. I was actually so “stupid” that I trusted the seller who had cheap merchendise, that I payed him in advance in crypto currency and ofcourse instead of getting the items now I am getting various excuses why the goods did not arrive yet and that they sent too many of the items and i need to pay more before the transport goes on (like it is on hold until I pay more…).

    How does Alibaba deal with those scammers, do their profiles get deleted? I have sent a report but did not get a reply yet in 24h.

    Thanks for the article again, lesson learned.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Lesson learned indeed….

      Was it a FREE Alibaba profile or Gold Supplier?

  96. Jack Sinclair

    Hi Andrew,
    For my small clothing business I am looking to buy 50 shirts from a manufacturer and they seem to checkout when it comes to being “legit”, but something is throwing me off. They are asking me to pay for the 50 shirts before a sample is even produced and when I asked if I could only pay for the sample, they dodged it and told me basically I had to pay for the 50 first. What do you suggest I do?
    Thanks so much,
    Radical Roost

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jack,

      That does sound fishy indeed…

      Sample is sample – it should be just one unit.

      I would recommend you look for a different supplier.


  97. Marlon Alvarez

    Hi Andrew,

    I have some doubts, i’m trying to purchase an electronic food truck from china to import here to the US. I was told by the customs broker that i need to make sure the food truck meets US Vehicle Standards but neither does he or me know what that means. Do you know? I also google it but i couldn’t understand it. Also i ask the supplier if they ever exported to the US that electric food truck and they said no. So i’m guessing it might not meet US Vehicle Standards. If you can help please. Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Marlon,

      Just don’t do it, seriously.

      You will get in so much trouble, costs, and plus there’s a chance of you getting scammed.

      Alibaba is not the place for you to buy a food truck.


  98. NewbieRiskTaker

    Andrew, have found your site most helpful. About ready to make a very sizable purchase of almost $30k and my first purchase on Alibaba. Everything about the supplier seems legit and to follow your “rules”… is through Trade Assurance, I ordered product inspection, they have had an Onsite Check, etc, etc.. and we are paying nearly $700 extra just for an extra layer of protection by paying thru Visa. The one thing giving me pause before sending the funds is simply that:

    -Trade Assurance order details show companies proper company name and address etc.
    -Trade Assurance Purchase Contract at TOP of contract shows everything matching exactly what is on their Alibaba store in terms of address, and what is anything Alibaba-wise.
    -However, where I am having pause is that in section 4.8 of the same contract, it is the “Beneficiary” info for payment. It has the proper company name. It is a Citibank account. BUT, that listed beneficiary address (not to be confused with beneficiary *bank* address) states a Singapore address. It is an address of a major financial center that is 21 stories tall and legit financial center… but is this reason for red flags?

    I had intended to send payment today, but will probably wait to see how they reply since I have inquired with supplier and awaiting their reply.

    Certainly appreciate your opinion at your earliest convenience in the meantime, thanks!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Very hard to say or give advice in such situations as I don’t know all the details and I can’t take the risk telling you YES or NO! There are no guarantees…

      I would wait for what supplier has to say about this and then just use common sense.

      But I see that you have made some good checks, including inspection etc. and if the product is not high risk product, it should be all good.


  99. Lacy sooner

    So I placed my second order with a seller. We’ve been working out details for a month. She didn’t ask me for money until last week. She sent an invoice to my email and when i opened the email, PayPal came up and said sign in. I sent her a message and told her to have her accounting dept to send to my paypal with my email. She did, but i just noticed the payment is to her. I have an invoice from the company, but the actual payee was in Chinese and I couldn’t read it. I went back and copied and pasted to google translate and it was her name. It’s only been two days, what is your suggestion?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lacy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s very hard to give any definite advice here as situations can be different and at the end of the day it all comes down to supplier – how genuine and legit it is.
      describe it.
      Usually I say NEVER send money to personal accounts in China, only ones in company’s name. But this advice is more applicable to normal bank transfers. With PayPal it is slightly different and sometimes suppliers will have PayPal accounts under personal names.

      Now, this does NOT mean that they’re 100% legit. I’m just saying that this fact alone wouldn’t prove it.

      As always, I recommend you do a pre-shipment inspection on the goods so you know at least they’re for real:

      And do throughout supplier verification of course, even before you do inspection.


  100. Gary Davids

    HI Andrew
    Thank you so much for providing this kind of information .
    If i order some basic product such as kitchen cleaning pad , and ask them to pack as my brand name . do i get any trouble to selling on amazon ? since the patten is not mine and there are tons of same product listed .
    also, the supplier page indicated the Shanghai port , does it mean i need to taking care after to ship from shanghai port to Los Angeles ?

    Thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Gary,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You can do that yes, it’s called Private Labelling. As long as the product is not patented you can simply put your brand name/logo on the product and/or packaging and sell it on Amazon.

      As for shipping – yes, usually you want to use a freight forwarder to handle shipping from the port in China to your address. Supplier can also arrange shipping for you but I recommend you use freight forwarder to avoid any hidden fees.


  101. Do you need a registered company to buy on alibabi? Or can you make personal purcheses?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      No, you don’t need a registered company to buy on Alibaba – individuals can do business there too.


  102. Hi!
    Thank you for article, it’s very helpful!
    I want to make my first order on Alibaba.
    Find assessed supplier and he sent me proforma invoice in Excel file in email and invoice to Paypal.
    In Invoice in Paypal I see only total. All the other information in Excel file in email.
    I think this supplier is trusted but want to ask you is it normal way that all information not in Paypal invoice but in Excel file? Can I use this Excel file in dispute if something going wrong?
    Thank you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Artem,

      No, you won’t be able to use that Excel file in any disputes.

      But yes, it is normal to have a detailed invoice sent separately (usually as a PDF document) and then simply have PayPal request for the total amount.


  103. Hi Andrew,

    New to this all! Just wondering whether you can buy wholesale from aliexpress, without alibaba involved. I have been told that only consumers are able to purchase from aliexpress while alibaba is for retailers?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Louise,

      Anyone can buy from AliExpress and you can buy in wholesale quantities there too.

      Nothing stops you from buying 10, 50 or 100 items from Ali Express.

      It usually has discounts on higher quantities too.


  104. Hi Andrew

    I run a party supplies business and occasionally purchase via Alibaba.

    I’m currently talking to a business that supplies confetti but am dubious about placing an order.

    I requested payment via PayPal & they’ve said they don’t have it set up and would prefer Visa or MasterCard. I usually prefer to only pay via Paypal!

    They’re a 1 year gold supplier. I usually try to deal with only 2+ years.

    They’ve had an onsite check & supplier assessment completed.

    I’ve tried to do some due diligence. I cant find a website with the same domain ending as their email address. Their telephone area code is correct for their advertised location. There’s one photo of a trade show at which they’re advertising as having exhibited at.

    I’ve looked at some of their certification. The company name on their certificates is similar but not identical to theirs, with the same General Manager name.

    Should I run a mile?!

    Many thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Its very hard to say/give any advice based on this information, sorry…

      My first reaction is – the product is really no that unique or difficult to source – so why not just look for more established supplier?

      But if you want to work with this supplier, I would do a factory inspection on them first:


      1. Hi Andrew

        Many thanks for your speedy response!

        It’s a very specific shape of confetti that I’m looking for for one of my clients. It’s not run of the mill so I’m trying to find a supplier that can create custom designs & these guys are saying they can do a custom mould.

        I’ve asked them if they are happy to accept payment via Trade Assurance and what they can offer sample wise so will see what they come back with.

        I will either get a factory inspection arranged or look elsewhere I think…

        Many thanks

  105. Hi Andy

    Quick question I have been told that bank puts a charges on the top of the goods price for the payment made. can you clarify pls.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mik,

      Yes, of course – there’s a fee involved in making international bank transfers.

      It is usually a fixed fee, not % and you know exactly what the fee will be before making the payment.


  106. Hi Andrew,
    Excellent article!
    I just heard about kitset houses for sale on Alibaba. I’d like to ask if you know of any site that has reviewed these houses or sellers? Google hasn’t turned anything up for me.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry, can’t help you with that one.

  107. Rachel Pitman

    Hi Andrew, I hope you can shed some light on my problem. I’m having problems paying for an order on alibaba. I paid my supplier for the samples through card and they came through fine no problems. However, I’ve put in a bigger order and now it’s declining the payments, I rang my bank and they said it’s not being declined on their end and I tried several different cards— still no luck. My supplier agreed to accept payment via PayPal. However, when I asked her to put all information in the invoice (items, how many of each, company address etc) because the one she originally sent was very vague, she said that it didn’t allow that much information in the invoice. I made the invoice myself on PayPal and sent it to my personal account and it was fine and working with all the added information of the stock (colours/numbers etc). Do you think that the she is trying to scam me? I don’t understand why she won’t add all the relevant information that I’ve askef and is saying that it’s not possible when I’ve tried it for myself and it worked. If this information is not on the PayPal invoice will it affect anything if the products don’t show and I need to make a claim?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It does sound a bit dodgy to me… But maybe they just don’t have those tools available in PayPal?

      In general, scammers don’t accept PayPal as they can’t scam you with PayPal payments – you can get your money back if things go wrong.

      So I would ask supplier to simply send you commercial invoice separately – as a PDF file with all the details you need. And then you can simply make payment via PayPal.


  108. is it possible for a company to be a 8th year gold member, but doesn’t offer trade assurance

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, it is possible.

  109. Hi ! I just pass my firt order ( small one to starts 10 pcs) ~ 240$ with a reliable supplier, 5 years gold, accept paypal, trade assurance .. we talk on alibaba messenger to start, and continue on whatapps and confirm the order on whatapps, so I pay by paypal..? Is it ok to do it this Way?
    And should I have to pay some other fee like custom ? ( im from canada)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Bryan,

      Yes, for such super small order it is ok to pay directly via PayPal.

      And yes, you’ll most likely pay taxes when goods arrive in the Canada. Shipping company will then inform you about this.


  110. Hello,

    I am new to and I was planning to buy something that would cost me $15,000. I had to put a 30% down payment and the seller only offers the Pre-Shipment Trade Assurance. After making the deposit payment I would like to cancel the order because I am not sure that I can trust this seller, I am afraid that I can loose the remaining balance because only the deposit would be covered. I’ve requested a refund that was declined by the seller and the What can I do next, how can I get my deposit back. My order will only ship after the full payment is made.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alina,

      What payment method did you use?

      But in general – deposits you can’t get back! That’s why they’re called deposits – you pay this money so manufacturer can buy raw materials etc. and do the production. If you ask for your deposit back now, manufacturer is out of pocket for your order as probably already started the manufacturing process.


      1. Hello Andrew,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to me!

        I did pay the down payment with my debit card.

        Thank you,


        1. Andrew Minalto

          If it was a debit card (and not credit card), the payment can’t be reversed anymore.

  111. Hi Andrew,
    Nice article, it’s really informative.
    I found some very cheap brand names on AliBaba and they say it’s original. Should I believe it? An original ps4 for 150 dollars? Or should I get a sample and check it? Is there really authentic brands on AliBaba? I have a feeling it’s a scam, especially because the payment method is western union and money gram.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      And what do you think? 🙂

      Of course it is a 100% SCAM!!! You can’t get PS4 consoles for $150 on Alibaba and no where else for that matter.

      Alibaba is NOT the place you look for such branded goods.


  112. Hi Andrew,
    I have a potential supplier that is a 9 years Gold supplier.
    Their premises has been checked and they’ve been verified by a 3rd party
    They have trade assurance (though they don’t want to use it. They say the order is too small)
    They’ve done a reasonable amount of business (transaction history)
    Their website is a godaddy site registered in 2008 (how old they say they are)

    BUT… they refuse to do the transaction through Alibaba (they say Alibaba doesn’t like to deal with things less than a $1000) and that paypal hasn’t been used for chemicals since 2006 – both of these statements were redflags for me. I offered to pay the extra fees for paypal even. Then she flat out told me her company doesn’t use paypal.

    Is it common for a well established company to occasionally jerk around `small fish`? She seemed reasonably willing to accommodate before the payment part. Could it be that its just too little to consider trade assurance?? Its $230 – the company is Health Sources Nutrition Co., Ltd. (anhui)

    Thanks in advance Andrew!

    1. So… they have the seal for a 9 year gold member… but in the company profile Alibaba verifies that the company was established in 2010? Also their website dates to 2008. Are these date discrepancies a red flag?

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Not really, no, at least for me that wouldn’t be the biggest issue.

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mark,

      I quickly checked that company and at first glance they look all good to me (that is not a guarantee).

      But obviously $230 is a VERY small order for a company like this, very small. They’re spending more time with you that they can get in return from your order. As it is such a small order, I would personally just take the risk and use bank transfer for it. You won’t go bankrupt if it all fails, right?


  113. HI Andrew, Great Information in your article! I am new to the import scene and am looking to make a deal with a 5 year gold company on alibaba who is verified. Everything seems legit, I checked the company website start date as you recommended and it lines up with their 5 year gold status. What scares me is they want me to send the deposit directly to their bank ($1050.00), which does match with who they are, and bypass alibaba. They say it’s to save them on “tax” which really might just mean “fees” because my order would be less then the normal MOQ.
    Does this All sound kind of normal to you?
    Thanks, Mike

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      It is a common practice but of course it is risky for you.

      If you’re not willing to take the risk, maybe agree on paying the Alibaba fee, at least for your first order, so it goes through Trade Assurance?


      1. Well, Thank You for the helpful tips on your site Andrew! I have made a few transactions on Alibaba since my original post here and have not had any issues. Thanks Again!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Good stuff Mike! 🙂

  114. So is it normal to go through paypal? I see under the transaction level bit you say that most payments are done outside the Trade Assurance. I was ordering a sample product and was brought to email to do discuss things. Through there they asked if I wanted to do paypal. I wanted to keep it through the website for safety, but it wouldn’t accept my credit card. I feel like I will get my sample, but I’m worried if we do this for the bulk product I won’t have the same kind of protection as the trade assurance policy. And maybe this is a way of them scamming people. Gaining their trust with the sample.

    The company is a 3 on transactions and they are a 5 year Gold Supplier but I don’t see anything about supplier assesments.

    I just want to be a little more prepared for when the real money comes out. Would love some thoughts. Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sal,

      Yes, it’s perfectly normal to use PayPal when dealing with Alibaba suppliers, ESPECIALLY for samples.

      In fact, PayPal is my PREFERRED payment method as it does give you protection by default plus very rarely suppliers who take PayPal play tricks/scam you (as with PayPal it’s very hard to do – PayPal will side with the buyer in case of something goes wrong).

      And for samples PayPal is actually the most commonly used payment method.


  115. Good Afternoon Andrew,
    I found your website to be very informative. I personally have been dealing with Chinese manufacturers for some years now. Started before Alibaba came into existence and still dabble here and there when ever I get one of my “great” ideas. I have read through the comments here and it appears a lot of people don’t understand what they are dealing with….manufacturers and wholesalers….it’s a whole different world from buying retail. They old saying “to good to be true” has always applied. You want a laptop? Go to a store….same with a bike or a phone….there is NO FREE RIDE folks. I was raised in retail and more than anything else a relationship needs to be established with the company you are dealing with…they don’t want your onetime order…..they want a relationship and a steady flow of business from them to you. This is a business that deals in bulk and resellers do a whole lot of research and are very diligent if they want to be successful. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone….I could go on all long about this. Good day to you Andrew, Suzanne

    1. One more thing for people importing bulk merchandise from foreign countries……..there are Customs agents that get a reasonable fee to take care of the red tape and the complications of Customs…..Use them!

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for your comment Suzanne, you’re absolutely right! 🙂


  116. Hi Andrew, I read your article. I was wondering if can help me with it, please: I have recently purchased one trial order for 200 pcs with Trade Assurance, and today the supplier sent me this email: The product yesterday already shipping to Amazon. But we are make a order in alibaba have a problem. Need you help us to confirm it.
    We go for this shipment need to separate customs declaration, but we said before is not separate customs declaration.So now I need to modify the delivery time, and then trouble you received an email later to help us make “confirmation but don’t remit” . is ok ?
    Or alibaba refund to you, you again payment to our TT, ok?
    Which way do you want to make it?

    So, what do you think about it? what must to be my next step?
    Thank you!!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t even understand what they say in the message so can’t really help with any advice…

      1. Me neither. Now she changed the delivery time and she asked me: “could you make Cancel the order, but not a refund? Because the products already sent to Amazon.”

        She says: They shipped the products in a single customs declaration, but alibaba now require separate customs declaration, but the goods is sent, can’t separate customs declaration, for the sake of your account credit and my account on alibaba.We need your help to confirm. ”

        I have checked the tracking number in UPS and says: The package is awaiting clearing agency review. / The package is at the clearing agency awaiting final release. Alternate Tracking Number 1ZE7295X0476549953.

        She tries to confuse me to cancel the order and keep the money, or at least get us trade assurance, rigth?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          This sounds like a scam attempt to me, with a fake tracking number or something.

          DO NOT cancel your TA order!!!


  117. It is possible to be scammed by a gold supplier? (2 years)
    So i just made the first Payment to move on with the order, i tried to make all the research around the company and everithing seemed ok so i moved on with the payment with paypal (registered with the company email)
    but after i did it, i googled the phonenumber of the seller (marketing dpt) i found the same contact phonenumber /whatsapp/skype on a different alibaba product (wich is kinda related but a total different company) but with an email address of a page no longer exists (…
    i dont know what to think please help

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Conan,

      It’s impossible for me to tell what’s going on there….

      Could be group of companies? Or say an employer who worked recently in that other company…

      You should ask the supplier and see what their explanation is.


  118. Andrew,

    I’m dealing with a Trading Company that suppots Trade Assurance, but messaged me that they don’t accept paments through Alibaba, only Paypal, credit card, Western Union, TT. They have a Gold Key Supplier rating on PayPal.

    They also said that I can send the payment as “friend or family” by PayPal to avoid the 4.4% fee. They seem legite in my due dilgence, but the Trade Assutance issue and offering to send a “friend or family” is worrying me. They also don’t have a lot of sales listed on Alibaba and my understanding is the listed sales were made through Trade Assurance.

    They are verified also on Alibaba.

    What do you think?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Steven,

      I don’t know whatever they’re legit or not BUT NEVER send money as gift via PayPal!!! (to avoid fee).

      As these payments don’t come with protection by PayPal.

      So this does sound dodgy to me…


  119. Andrew,

    Thank you so much for the incredibly informative article.

    I followed the above advice as I was sourcing some heat-shrinking tubing, and I have been going back and forth with “Guanghai Electronic Insulation Materials Co., Ltd.”. Their Alibaba profile and website seem legitimate, and the contact there was very helpful. We ordered some samples and received them, and they meet our expectations.

    However, today I wanted to dive deeper into the company, and while I was doing so I found a page on their Alibaba site that displayed the contact info of the person I had been talking to, except his email address was different. This different email address ended in “”. I was curious so I Googled it, and found out it’s a company that makes selfie sticks and other electronic stuff. However, it appears that their website is no longer functioning, as all links lead to the Guanghai Alibaba site for electronic insulation.

    This made me even more suspicious, so I used to search the domain of both Guanghai Electronic Insulation and Eeletech. The Guanghai site was registered as recently as November 2016, which concerns me by itself because their Alibaba profile claims they have been a manufacturer for 7 years. When I searched the Eeletech domain I found it was registered to HICHINA ZHICHENG TECHNOLOGY LTD. A quick google search of this company brought up a bunch of results regarding scams. Apparently HICHINA has over 300 domains that all seem legitimate but are actually scams. Even though the Guanghai domain is not registered to HICHINA, the connection between the two has me concerned. Am I way overthinking this, or is this a company I shouldn’t do business with?

    Thank you again for all of the helpful information,


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jared,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I can’t really give you a definite answer without doing a full investigation on my own BUT in general – IF things look suspicious, look for alternative suppliers!

      Heat-shrinking tubing is not a unique or hard to find product – there are hundreds of suppliers that offer these products on Alibaba, so just contact other suppliers, get samples etc. and go with a company that are “clean”.


  120. Hi Andrew

    Thanks for this article and post.
    I have done most of what you stated, ordered from a 6 year Gold Supplier and paid by PayPal. Filed a report with PayPal, got nowhere.

    The company is, Guangzhou Houde Lighting Appliance Co., Ltd.
    I would like to share my story with your readers;

    I have not filed a report with Alibaba yet, because I paid with PayPal. do you know how I should file with Alibaba since it was an offsite burchace?

    If anyone is thinking of doing business with, Guangzhou Houde Lighting Appliance Co., Ltd. Think again!

    More than likely you are doing your due diligence trying to determine if Houde Lighting Appliance Co is a good company to do business with, or if you will have problems with them, the products that they say they manufacture, or the Houde family staff. Well you came to the right place here’s why:

    First I get a price for the products we decide to order, and then they used the old bait and switch the product and charge us more money for the same product.

    Then after we paid in advance we had to wait months for your order. They claimed it was a mistake in manufacturing paperwork. Then once we received their product it was fond to be defective, so if you order from them you may end up suffering the following dilemma many others have.

    After you receive the order and find out that the products were defective, they will try to extort more money from you for the replacement of the defective products. Then they will say that they made new products for you, and hold it for ransom, until you send them more money. After accepting there ransom demands, they will stop responding to your emails, and you will not receive the new products.

    Bottom line this company conducts themselves in a bad business like fashion and practices false and deceptive business practices, they keep thinking of new ways to scam you out of more money.

    This is a true story of the dilemma we has had with them. We received defective products, and were never refunded, and never received a good replacement of the defective products, the company made lots of guarantees, bait and switched the original order with cheep substitutes, then tried to extort more money, and even held the replacement good with a ransom demand for more money.

    If you are thinking of doing business with, Guangzhou Houde Lighting Appliance Co., Ltd. Think again!

    Dealing with China Companies is a crap shoot. We relied on the emailed communication between us and the company to be reliable, everything was shipped insured, so we knew we would receive the products, which we did, but all there emailed communications turned out to all be false. They gave us there assurance and guarantee, (which even covered “what if we received defective lights, and they said it would all be replaced at no costs to us”) which all turned out to be 100% false.

    All we can do now is hope that our experience in dealing with, Guangzhou Houde Lighting Appliance Co., Ltd. and post on sites like this and in order to Help someone else from getting ripped off and do business with another LED light manufacture and hope that there products are made better and will arrive with no defects.

  121. Dear Andrew

    I have been facing this strange problem while trying to place orders on alibaba, using trade assurance. My suppliers draft the order and everything is perfect but when I click on send initial payment I see an error stating “credit card payment not supported for this order”. Now I am unable to place any orders as the payment isnt being processed. i used my credit card just fine day before yesterday to make a payment for $900. Alibaba support is not at all helpful, they say the payment has been blocked for security reason to protect your payment., kinldy use a different card. But I am unable to do anything on the payments page as the add card option is greyed out. I have tried creating a new account but still the same issue. Any advice on what the problem might be?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      I’m sorry but I have never experienced this and obviously can’t provide any support on Alibaba’s behalf.

      You’ll have to sort this out with Alibaba directly.


    2. eddy van bavel

      I tried using my mastercard while shopping in alibaba, the symbol for mastercard was advertised, I had the same email, saying for security reasons it could not process, the reason was the seller only used a Citibank account to do business, he email me with a paypal account to buy his goods. so far nothing to worry about,

  122. Alibaba Trade Assurance seems to be a real SCAM. It works so: You see advertisements everywhere “Let Us Protect Your Orders from Payment to Delivery” , but it is not working, you will not get any refund. There are number of reason for that. Alibaba dispute team defends only Chinese sellers, but not buyers. It looks they have reasons to do that, that is big business. We can publish detailed information of our case when we applied to refund because the seller did not fulfill his obligations. In our case seller has Gold status and good rating, but anyway did not fulfill the contract.

  123. Hey man. I’ve been trying to find a graphics card supplier and I’ve stumbled upon a 7 years gold supplier who had an onsite check and claims to support Trade Assurance. He however refuses to use Trade Assurance when asked. Instead they insist that they only payment options available are Western Union and money gram . They say the are located in United Arab Emirates and that my order will be at my doorstep 3 days after payment confirmation(I live in central Europe). He also claims to have graphics cards for sale even though their company produces optical lenses according to their alibaba profile. They also include ridiculous discounts for said graphics cards “buy 10 get 8 free” kind of deal. It’s 100% a very successful scam right? I’m saying successful because they can afford to pay for the gold status for 7 years. I reported them to alibaba.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jan,

      Of course it’s a scam, 10%, stay away!!!

      And stop wasting your time looking for such products on Alibaba – they will ALL be scams.


    2. Jan,
      What the scammers do is hack the profile of 7-year gold supplier and put the graphics cards on the front page. Look closer, and you will see that the products offered by the genuine owner of the profile are not graphics cards.

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Yep, exactly!

        That’s a very classic scheme.

  124. Thanks for this insight. Very helpful article. I have been in conversations with Suppliers through Alibaba and they always reply back to my gmail. Outside of the messaging system within. Is that normal?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anna,

      Yes, that is normal and common practice.

      It doesn’t really make any difference.


  125. Lisa Nixon

    I want to buy baby milk from them but they want ,western union payment. My friend bought from them and had to go to New Jersey to pick up her items,when they said they would deliver to your door. but-she still owes them money. Which company is best Alibaba or express? i want o but A2 plantunm milk very popular .

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You want to buy baby milk, from China?


      1. Mike Rovison

        I am seriously laughing out loud!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          ha-ha! 🙂

  126. Hey Andrew, I have a supplier that will sell 5 yeti branded coolers for half the price that we can get them here in the states. Too good to be true?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      yes, exactly – too good to be true.

      1. Andrew, my heart is broken. i own/run a no kill sanctuary, and noticed that many people were selling very low cost animal products on ebay. well, going down the lone farther i learned they were buying from china. well, i did some research and communicated with a seller from china who assured me that all the products his company sold were fully tested, and i would get a COA (certificate of analysis with each order). so i ordered an item. FAKE, it killed 10 dogs in 30 minutes. they were dying so fast i was literally running back and forth trying to dose activated charcoal into them, and or peroxide to make them puke. no way to stop this. the item i bought is supposed to be very safe on dogs as it only affects animals with shells like fleas. well, whatever poison they sold me, it wasnt what i ordered. i kow i was an idiot for ordering from overseas. i live with this everyday. i break down and just sob every day. the guilt is killing me. what i saw that day is engraved in my mind and heart. PLEASE do not buy any chemicals from anywhere overseas if you plan on using it for anything that lives! or they may not live anymore!

  127. Thanks for this Andrew!
    I did a google search and found your write up.. but I’m still unsure if the seller is legitimate.
    He has a lot of things going for him..
    Trade Assurance, 1yr Gold status, accepts PayPal..
    but he also sells branded products at hugely discounted rates, apparently with all the original documentation, warranties, etc.. and minimum order of 1 piece too!
    The only negative thing (if any) is that he takes more than 72 hours to respond to queries (based on the response percentage)
    …so given that, and your write-up, I’m still uncertain if it’s safe to trade with him (via PayPal)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mishu,

      What kind of branded products? What brands?

      But 99% that it is a scam.


      1. it’s an msi brand laptop. what you’re saying is that even though the supplier accepts PayPal and alibaba Trade Assurance and is Gold Supplier and on site checked..
        it’s still 99% chance the laptop is fake?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          I say that it’s a 100% SCAM!!!!

          You can’t buy branded goods on Alibaba, especially branded electronics like MSI laptops.

  128. Jennifer Wohl

    Hi I read your article. I am only wanting to order one thing a bicycle. Was concerned that the bike would weigh more than what was stated and which seller assured me was correct. And would like to know I could get a full refund without me having to pay the shipping as I can imagine shipping would be high. So it actually says aliexpress. Anything you can tell me to help me out! I could send name of vendor! Sorry never ordered from them before. Use to Ebay, Amazon, and other companies in the Us.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jennifer,

      DON’T DO THIS!!!

      Shipping, import duty/VAT/customs fees – you’ll pay so much extra that it’s simply not worth doing it.

      With bulky items, China is the place to go ONLY if you order in BULK, not single items.


  129. Thank you! Well presented, objective, relevant and very insightful.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Jessica! 🙂

  130. Hello Andrew awesome info thanks,
    negotiated a deal with a 2nd year gold supplier with a limited transaction history, has aliexprexx store with only 9 transactions only positive, when i said lets do the transaction through trade assurance she responded. “Mel, with this 500pcs, we would like to go with PayPal as the qty is too small.” (only a $700 order)
    Does that seem legitimate or sketchy?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mel,

      Well, it is quite common for suppliers to refuse Trade Assurance for small orders (like yours).

      So it’s nothing unusual, no.


  131. Catherine Hoang

    Hey Andrew,

    I did make an order of shoes from one supplier located in Sichuan. The supplier i bought is sticked with 3rd year-Gold supplier and Trade Assurance. I also did check alot of their feedback before making transaction. I made deposit 50 percent of contract fee (7.000 usd) to their bank account.
    In our invoice, they’d committed to send their good after 25 working days since my deposit at May 10th 2017. However, about 1 month gone late, they not yet send to me. They’ve changed alot of staff working with us and they also can’t make sure the quality of goods like the sample sent to us before. I made cancellation to this order and required them to give me money back. They said NO. I feel i am cheated with this order and they don’t care their reputation on ablibaba when i said to them i will claim this case to alibaba support for offfline Trade team. I wonder whether or not alibaba can help me to do this case out.

    Thanks for your answer !

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Catherine,

      If you made the transaction via Trade Assurance and it clearly stated dispatch time, then you need to open a case with Trade Assurance and take it from there. You should be protected by Alibaba if they can’t deliver on time.


      1. Catherine Hoang

        Hi Andrew, thank alot for your reply

        Unfortunately, i didn’t make transaction via Trade Assurance. The supplier is labeled with 3YR GOLD Supplier and Trade Assurance, and i thought that is enough reputation. I paid them via their bank account. I still keep their invoice in which there is dispatch time, and it is so lag behind.

        Alibaba Offline Trade Team did receive our dispute for this case. They said to me not worry about that they will process it. But I still worry about my money, it is big amount. Do you think Ablibaba can help me out.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          I don’t think they will help you, no, sorry.

          You can only get protection if you place your order via Trade Assurance.


  132. Brian Evans

    Hi Andrew
    Great information in this article. I did pretty much all you said on here, bought from a gold supplier (albeit 1 year) used Trade Assurance and paid through Alibaba. Unfortunately though the electric wheelchair I bought does not work and I have pursued through Alibaba’s dispute process and find them very thorough. They actually agree with me that I have a valid case and have threatened to remove the supplier from their site. The Company however are still refusing to honor their warranty and Alibaba have just gone quiet, be interesting to see if they follow through.

  133. Thank you for the information.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  134. Hey Andrew,

    Thanks for taking the time to right this article. I had just a quick question; I’ve been in contact with a supplier, I had screened a product, negotiated a fair price but when it came down to payment I had suggested to the seller that I wished to use a credit card or even e-checking so I would be covere under Trade Assurrance but she insisted on Paypal. I ended up not wanting to go that route as I had read that Paypal transactions done through alibaba don’t qualify for buyer protection the same way ebay and other sites might. Basically if I recieve a package within 45 days and open it, I can’t file a “not as described claim”. Does that sound right to you? Or have things changed in that regard? I’d appreciate your thoughts..


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Justice,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Hmm, first time I hear about such rules… In general PayPal is very good method to use as I have seen PayPal reversing large transactions in favour of the buyer for goods not as described, without even asking to send them back to supplier.

      And suppliers know this and very rarely you’ll have problems with suppliers who take PayPal.

      You can read more about how PayPal protects your purchases here:


  135. Hello, Andrew. Thanks for this informative article!!

    This is my second time using an Alibaba supplier and my first time using Trade Assurance for the transaction. We’ve been negotiating this deal for a couple of months and I’m ready to buy. He sends over the invoice and I see a $75 “insurance” fee. When asked what it is, he says that fee is for Alibaba customs clearance and that if I pay directly to his bank account then I won’t have to pay that fee just a $28 bank charge.

    I’ve searched and searched and see nothing about a customs clearance fee from Alibaba. In fact, Trade Assurance is supposed to be free for both buyer and seller. I’m thinking this is some type of bank fee associated with him using Alibaba.

    The guy has a good reputation on Alibaba and he seemed like a stand-up guy but this tiny bump in the road is making me skeptical now. I’m already spending over $3000 for the product and shipping PLUS the credit card processing fee on my end to pay him. I’ve already told him I disagree with the extra fees and we’ve gone back and forth a bit but I need to settle this.

    My questions are: Have you ever heard of or paid this insurance fee? Is this legit? Also, should I be paying his bank charges? Is this common practice?

    Your input and guidance would be greatly appreciated.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Will,

      Thanks for your comment.

      In theory yes – Trade Assurance is FREE but in realty many suppliers do add extra fees when TA is involved. You can only communicate with supplier and resolve it best way you can as no one else can really help you with these situations. If the supplier is really good, I guess $70 on a $3000 won’t make such a big difference for you anyways. But if it’s a deal breaker, and supplier doesn’t change his mind, then you will simply have to look for a new supplier.


  136. Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for sharing this information to the world, I really appreciated it. Would you help me, I received my product (clothing) which mafe me unhappy, some stuff broken and so bad quality. they have trade assurance, gold supplier, and I paid thru MasterCard. what am I supposed to do now?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Astari,

      First of all you need to contact supplier and tell them that you’re not happy with the quality of items you have received and ask them to resolve this situation. If they’re not willing to do anything about it, open a case within Trade Assurance portal and take it from there.

      If everything else fails, do a charge back case with your credit card company to get your money back.


  137. Friend Oftruth

    hello again, Andrew

    Just had to write a quick note, after tucking my donkey tail back into my shorts and hiding my donkey ears under my hat. I feel like an…er, a donkey! Here I was thinking, “Oh, I must encourage this person for their thoughtfulness toward others and the great amount of time they have taken to answer the countless questions – a tedious task… and he’s not complaining. Wonderful…I will encourage him and applaud his efforts. Oh man…

    So why do I feel like the donkey? Well, AFTER I wrote my comment to you, I was checking out some of the links you posted in certain replies back to others. Stumbling upon one site, I see: About Me/Andrew Minalto.

    Imagine my surprise lol…good grief, you didn’t need my encouragement at all haha, you’re doing just fine. And you have a beautiful wife and daughter by the by! (I pray God puts a hedge of protection around your marriage, your family and all that concerns you all).

    Anyway, I merely had to awkwardly apologize for thinking you were some kind of newbie that had knowledge and wisdom about Aliexpress (Alibaba) and with a good heart set out to help and inform others, which I felt was generous and thoughtful and let’s encourage this person!

    lol bless ya Andrew and your family. Forgive my ignorance; I truly did not know who you are or any of your history; i just saw a good heart and wanted to show gratitude, appreciation and to encourage. I didn’t send this for publishing Andrew, but more to privately let you know that I truly did not know…anything about you…lol (i know u know what i mean)

    Be safe (you and yours) and thanks again, Andrew for all your hard work.

    Bonita P

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks a lot, really – you made my day! 🙂


  138. Friend Oftruth

    dear Andrew,
    I would like to take a moment to thank you for such a level-headed, in-depth review of Aliexpress aka Alibaba. You confirmed many of my thoughts such as taking time to check out the reputation of sellers; the feedback from legit customers on product quality, delivery time and basic professional (or non) interactions (if any has taken place).

    There are times that I will think of a couple of questions to ask a seller, such as sizing (clothing) and ask them to convert it to my country’s sizes, or is the product sized small or large…well, you get what I mean. I ask logical questions to see: (1) how quickly they respond (2) how accurate or how detailed the response (3) professionalism, and if they seem to value your business. It is just to get an idea of the sellers attitude, care for their reputation, concern for customer satisfaction, etc.

    Your review is written “straight from the hip” (lol – for lack of better expression at moment), informative and balanced (meaning it does not seem biased in any way, but (as stated) straight up).

    Andrew, you are spot on when you say that Alibaba (Aliexpress) is as Ebay or Amazon or such type of platforms. Again, it comes down to a little detective work (pass me the magnifying glass, Sherlocke) to keenly check the reviews, whether most are positive or negative, how long the company (seller) has been with Alibaba (or Ebay etc).

    Well, I seem to be repeating much of what you said but reworded (lol – not intentional) but you confirmed exactly what I had thought myself. Thank you Andrew for taking the time to share your knowledge and wisdom with others to aid in decision-making.

    It is true that so many just put “[company name] legit or scam (fraud) into Google search bar and viola, they see the words “scam, scam, scam and slam the door on a website without really grabbing that magnifying glass and putting their nose to ground (or laptop or smartphone lol small joke…very small joke).

    I found that Aliexpress (Alibaba) has some wonderful sellers, very professional, offering good quality products at amazing prices. I’m very new with them, but if readers will take heed to your heads up about it all, guaranteed there will be some happy buyers.

    Well, thanks for letting me ramble, Andrew. Keep up the good work! Kudos

    Bonita P

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks very much for your detailed comment & feedback!

      I really appreciate your kind words 🙂


  139. Hi Andrew,

    I ordered over $6000 worth of tableware sets from a manufacture on Alibaba. Before I made the order, I requested samples and they look good. I have been in touch with them for almost half a year by now and here comes the issue:

    The seller and I originally discussed about shipping out the goods on March 23rd. We are using a freight forward of their choice. However, we later decided to ship it on April 6th instead. The seller told me that they made an operational mistake and linked the order with the shipping date March 23rd when we first discussed. Now that date has passed and they later tried to correct it to April 6th on Alibaba. The system wouldn’t let them do it because it has passed the due date(March 23rd). They told me that they have been in touch with their Alibaba manager to fix this. However, they were told that there is no way to update the status now since they have violated the shipping terms. The shipment is already on its way and is scheduled to arrive here in 3 days. They said that the Alibaba manager told them that the only way for them to still get paid from Alibaba’s account is if I cancel the order and ask for zero refund. There is no way for they to update the current order’s status to shipped now because of that mistake.

    I don’t know what to do now as it worries me to cancel the trade assurance order! What would be your suggestions? Any help is much appreciated!!

    1. By the way, I tried contacting Alibaba’s client service. She told me that she doesn’t think the seller would be unable to update the status (which makes me even more worried) but is not sure. She asked me to file a dispute so the right team would be able to look into this. I filed it 2 days ago but it takes 3 days before the Alibaba team would even start getting involved.

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Cathy,

      Do not cancel the trade assurance order, if goods have been already shipped.

      If they arrive in 3 days, just wait for them to arrive. You haven’t done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about here.

      But don’t cancel order as it “could” be a well played trick to get them out of TA agreement.


      1. Thank you so much for your advise Andrew!

        The supplier has only sent me the bill of lading and is holding on to the commercial invoice until I’d cancel the order. Without it I can’t clear custom. They are saying that if I go clear custom and pick up the goods, I can cancel the order and ask for the full refund. Since the current order status can’t be updated to shipping on their side now(due to the above operation violation), Alibaba would refund me in full and they can potentially suffer great loss.

        My gut tells me not to cancel the order too so I guess waiting to hear back from Alibaba would be my best alternative?


  140. Roger Llewellyn

    HI thanks for all this great information.
    What about shipment consolidation in China. I want to buy from several suppliers and have them ship in one box.

    I have one supplier who says yes they can do that but it all sounds s bit dodgy that they will take other companies product and considate for me? I have purchased from them and they do seem to be quite a large company.
    Could this just be the member of staff I speak with being helpful .. OR ??

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Roger,

      No, some companies are happy to consolidate such shipments for a small fee or even no cost at all.

      Obviously this concept comes with additional risks of goods getting lost, stolen, you getting scammed etc. so I would only do this with established, trustworthy suppliers I have been in business together for some time now (at least 3-4 orders).

      There are also mail forwarding companies in China that can do this for you, check out this guide for more info:



  141. Seller offers moneygram, WU, and bank transfer as forms of payment. How am I safe using a bank transfer?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Shawn,

      There’s no protection when you send money to supplier via bank transfer.

      Once the money is gone, it’s gone.


  142. Ron Schaefer

    Great info thanks so much. My supplier is 3 year gold supplier They have agreed to take a credit card for payment but Alibaba is blocking it for fraud even though the $9000 laser is well below my credit limit. I am reluctant to use their TT or echeck options as I liked the idea of having the extra protection of my credit card company in case there was a problem with such a large purchase. If I use their TT or echeck and the Assurance plan do you think that is good enough given that Sunwin is an established company?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ron,

      Take a look at this post describing Trade Assurance process in more detail:


  143. hi. i am goin to order some electronics from alibaba its a deal buy 2 get one free. There are their name and skype ID to contact them. now i am dealing with them on skype. i have made my order and they are asking for western union to make the payment before delivery. WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST? should i take that risk?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      And what do you think Cooper?

      RUN as fast as you can!!!

      It’s a 100% SCAM, don’t even think about sending them money.


  144. I recently placed my first order through Alibaba . I ordered a custom hair piece to match some hair that I purchased off Aliexpress. I selected a product from their list and and gave them the custom specifications that I wanted to be made. They requested I send a picture of the hair I had, that I wanted matched . I ended up sending two different pictures because they said the first one was not clear enough. They informed me that it would take 20 to 25 days to complete and they would let me know when it was ready. I had no problem with this. So they asked me to pay through western union but I wanted to pay by credit card through Alibaba and that’s what I ended up doing. The hair piece was completed in time and they contacted me to let me know . They instructed me to close the order because something about the taxes would be too high and they would send my hair piece directly through DHL. At that point I asked to see a picture of the complete product . When I received the picture I noticed it didn’t look exactly as I had hoped but I figured that maybe the picture is just not doing it justice. She had already sent the package by the time she sent the picture. When i received the package almost the next day my fears were realized. It was awful. The hair was the wrong texture . It was very coarse and almost seemed like animal hair. (ie horse yak or camel hair) they had mixed lengths of hair throughout the hair piece when i requested 30 inch hair and it did not have a silk top as in the product description. I took pictures of the hair they sent me and my hair side by side and also made a list of all the things wrong with the hair piece. I waited and no response . When they finally responded , they said it was some sort of Chinese holiday. The response was basically them defending the reason I had just paid for a hair piece I can not use at all and am very displeased with . They said I didn’t specify I wanted a silk top but it’s listed on the product description I selected . They said the different lengths in the hair are as in hair would normally be , keep in mind I ordered 30 inch hair but it looks as if the took about 25% of 30 inch hair and mixed it with 25% of 5 inch hair, 25% of 10 inch hair, and 25% 20 inch hair . Also they said in my specifications I wanted “Brazilian curly” and that’s why the hair was so tightly coiled. I went back and collected pictures of all the ” Brazilian curly” hair from their product list and none look like what I got . What I got looks like their “kinky” texture. I feel like what was the reason they would make me send pictures of my hair and the texture if they were just going to give me the wrong texture anyway based on a term ” Brazilian Curly” and my hair still doesnt look like their ” Brazilian curly” hair either. They didn’t at all try to give any resolution to the problem. I have emailed them back a few times since then and still no response. So I decided that i better try to open a dispute though trade assurance but guess what? Since she convinced me to close the order , there’s no way to open a dispute . I feel like they took advantage of me being a naive new customer by doing this. Now I’m trying to find out how I can reach trade assurance because I cant find any contact info for them. I’m also afraid that since I was told to close the order there may be nothing they can do at this point. HELP!

    This is a message they sent me about the order closing:

    “hello Anre!
    how are you?
    hope all is well wiht you.

    the frontal is already finished and ready to ship. However, we noticed that using the declaration export of alibaba “yidatong”, you will need to pay a lot of fee, i mean tax for the customs.

    So we would like to send you the frontal via DHL directly without using the declaration export of alibaba “yidatong”, then you can avoid to pay the high tax.

    we just sent a cancel order request to you on alibaba, please check and confirm it. We can give you the tracking number of DHL right away.

    Thank you very much!”

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anre,

      Thanks for sharing your story with us.

      Unfortunately as you already closed the order on Trade Assurance, no one will help you with this order. When you close Trade Assurance agreement, you basically say that you have received the order and you’re happy with it.

      Lesson learned!


      1. I was afraid of that . They asked me to close it before I even received it . They knew what they were doing in a sneaky way. so does that not help me in any way?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          No, sorry.

          Only way you can resolve the issue is by communicating with supplier and trying to come up with some kind of agreement with them.

          1. Thanks I will be filing a complaint with Alibaba and the FTC if they don’t make this right.

          2. Andrew Minalto

            You can of course do that, but chances of it making any difference are very, very slim. I’d say less than 1% slim.

  145. Hi Andrew, I really appreciate your post it is very helpful for me , I was very hesitated to deal through Alibaba ,
    I have one question , I`m planning to import Korean beauty products (skin care , make up) and I found some Korean companies that dealing through alibaba , is it possible ?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Hamsa,

      Yes, that is possible.

      Just make sure they’re the manufacturer or authorised distributor to avoid fake products.


  146. Hi Andrew

    I am a starter from amazon FBA, I would to know some information about bring your goods to the US but I currently located in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Ok now I am in contact with a supplier from china on but I want to know when you make an invoice on Amazon for shipping your product directly to Amazon, to you have to ask the suppliers to pay FOB, EXW and CIF price or just sent the invoice to the suppliers and the give the goods to a carrier such as UPS / DHL/FEDEX which my invoices are coming from. Just give an idea how to get my goods from the Suppliers to Amazon FBA warehouse

    Jeff Fleury

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jeff,

      Please check out this article for more information:


  147. Mike DeHart

    Hello Andrew. You have a great site here. The information is very good.

    I have a specific situation: I ordered two pumps from Modo Pump Co., Ltd. I have been working with them for over two months. The pumps have very precise specifications. They have a 2 year star (the company is only two years old), on site verification, use Alibaba Trade Assurance, are listed with Made in China, but not Global Sources. Their prices are in line with other companies but they will supply everything I want. They want 50% payment now (total order is $7,000) and the remainder upon shipment. I am pretty sure they are a trading company. I will pay 50% upon shipment but I want to pay the remaining 50% after I have inspected the goods at the logistics company in Houston, Tx. I asked them to do this-they said no – is my request unreasonable? Thanks for your help.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      No supplier will send/dispatch goods to you without receiving final payment.

      So you have to organise inspection in China – at supplier’s location, before you pay second half.


  148. Hi Andrew,

    I want to share with you a weird experience with Alibaba. I tried to buy some bracelets from a company name Yiwu Melone Jewelry Co, Ltd. But when I got ready to pay, they told me that they only receive payments through Paypal, Western Union or T/T. So they ask me to pay thought Alibaba in order to use my credit card. Once I realized the process of payment I got a message the they need some more information about my card. So I was send to an other page of Alibaba where a woman wrote to me saying that I need to send the following documents to confirm my order:
    A copy of my personal ID
    A copy of both sides of my credit card
    A copy of my bank statements
    All this to be send to

    I didn’t send any of those documents, because that is all my personal information to send over internet.

    I really need the items I was going to buy, but this seems crazy to me.

    What should I do?

    Thank you.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Dany,

      Yes, AliExpress is often asking new customers to verify themselves due to large number of charge back cases people do.

      Just blank out all the important information on documents, card numbers, IDs etc. – just leave your name and address shown. This way, even if someone stoles this data, it will be useless.


  149. Thanks for this great tutorial. Wanted to buy on Alibaba but with the USA trade association going apes about fakes and counterfeits, I wanted a little reassurance. I’ve always thought, “Caveat emptor” when looking for bargains.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Susan! 🙂

  150. Láfontaine

    Hi Andrew,

    I have a major problem with the customer service at Alibaba and AliExpress.
    Have you any idea what I can do to get in touch with them as I have tried everything and I mean everything.

    My problem is this:
    I am not able to log in to my account all of a sudden. I keep getting this message: refresh or feedback???
    I can then retrieve a new password using my email address however I get the exact same message; refresh or feedback.
    I have chatted with customer service as I was going crazy.

    I have had the same password since day one but now I can not log in and it keeps saying refresh or feedback.

    I have done everything in my power to get help but no one can help me.

    Have you an advise how to get help from either Alibaba or AliExpress as it seems to be impossible to get in touch with either. I asked the service team on chat but they said that there was no possibility of calling a number or writing to an email address which I find very unprofessional.

    I look forward to your answer.

    Best regards,


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ann,

      Have you tried using a different browser or computer to login into your account?

      As sometimes these problems are browser related.


  151. Hi Andrew,

    I am placing my very first order on Alibaba. I went through your check list and everything seemed ok until I realized the most recent email that I received from the person had a different company name at the bottom and the pay pal email he gave me to deposit money does not have the company name in it and is different than the email that he was messaging with. Is this normal? what should I do?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Martha,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I wouldn’t worry about the PayPal email address being different – most suppliers will use free/generic email accounts for PayPal, so that’s not a red flag really.

      As for different company name – simply ask them why there are two companies and see what they say?

      Sometimes there’s one company – manufacturer and other company – trading company that deals with all export orders. So again, it could be all legit but you need to find out what they say about this.


  152. Hi there Andrew,

    I just wanted to know how to make a secure payment on Alibaba from the UK if you don’t have a credit card if paypal isn’t available?As we pay in GBP and not USD, how is this converted on Alibaba? Are there any bank charges when making payments online on Alibaba?

    And finally, who calculates the import duty/vat and how is it paid?
    Many thanks if you can guide me through this!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Eamon,

      You can get protection IF you make payment via Trade Assurance. There you can select TT method which basically means sending an international wire transfer (bank transfer).

      You’ll send it in USD so the money will be converted at your bank, from £ to $. Yes, there will be a charge/fee of course for sending such international payment.

      As for VAT/import duty – once goods arrive in the UK – your shipping company (in case you use a courier like DHL, TNT, UPS etc.) will calculate taxes you need to pay and send you invoice for these taxes.


  153. Hello Andrew,

    Awesome service you provide here. Just to share a bit with some of the newer buyers here. I have successfully ordered several shipments from Alibaba and the only negative experiences I’ve had are once the quality was very poor so too cheap does not necessarily mean a bargain, if anything request samples. I bought some jewelry and handbags once and they became damaged within the week of arrival and they credited me on my next purchase but seemed reluctant to credit me without a purchase, even though I submitted the photos they requested. And typically if your orders are too small I would say you are treated less friendly. So I have had some success with Alibaba and profited but be specific about what you want down to the details e.g. percentage of cotton vs. polyester in your fabric etc. However my question to you Andrew is, does a reviews section exits on Alibaba? If so where as I can’t seem to find it.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ricky,

      Thanks for your comment.

      No, unfortunately there are no Reviews as such for suppliers on Alibaba main site.


  154. Andrew hi am new on and need your assistance anyway I really want to order but when I ask for the shipping price for most goods is really high some times higher than the prices of the total product am in Africa how do I get cheaper shipping price

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Janet,

      Alibaba is not a retail site where you buy one product.

      You need to buy in real wholesale/bulk quantities and use correct shipping service – in most cases SEA freight to get decent shipping cost per item.


  155. Thanks anyways, your posts are good.

  156. Hi Andrew.
    I have located my Chinese supplier but I am having difficulty locating a gateway merchant who will agree drop ship orders of human hair from China.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lisa,

      No, sorry – I have no recommendations for that.


  157. Hi. And thanks for this article. Good to know.
    I have a question if you don’t mind. I have been looking for a product which I bought for my daughter through Groupon. It was “reduced” from about 70€ to about 40€. (I think – I can’t really remember). Her cousin liked it so I thought I would try and find a seller in China for her and also to sell it on eBay as my daughter loves it. I see sellers selling it on Alibaba really cheaply – about $3.50 which is great. But when I look on eBay for comparable prices the sellers from China are selling it at wholesale not retail price. So how can I make a profit like this? I was thinking of reselling at about 15€. It seems impossible to compete so do you have any recommendations?
    I now realise that I was ripped off so to speak! I imagine the seller on Groupon, by putting that the Recommended Retail Price was so high and they were selling it for so low it seemed such a bargain ! Next time I will do my homework!.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ann,

      You already answered your question – that price on Groupon was not real, it was inflated.

      But you also want to keep in mind that the product quality can be different too as I highly doubt that a 40 EUR Groupon item would sell on eBay for just $3.5

      The difference here is too big.


      1. Hi and thanks for your reply.
        I would like to know though how someone can buy a product on Alibaba at a certain price to try and resell on eBay if the sellers from China are selling it at the same price.
        I thought that the idea was to find something “cheap” in China and then resell for a profit but if they are selling directly, I can’t see how I could make a profit.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hi Ann,

          It’s a very complex question I can’t answer in a short blog comment.

          But there are many things you can do, some of which I have covered in this post:

          Also, the shipping factor is a HUGE minus for Chinese sellers, many people simply don’t want to buy from a Chinese seller due to slow shipping.

          Plus the quality issues, returns issues etc.


  158. Thank you so much for taking the time out to provude suvh helpful information. I almost got “western unioned” today before reading your article but something in my spirit told me to run and thankfull another supplier got in touch and offered payment through paypal.
    I now await the delivery of my goods.

    Have a great day


    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  159. John Conner

    Hi Andrew

    Thanks for the reply

    Does Alibaba give the seller the winning side if they consider it a small mistake, even though I clearly write that condition in the Trade assurance terms?

    Can I write every small thing in the trade assurance terms?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      It’s very hard to tell as each and every case is different.

      I personally haven’t dealt with a situation of dispute yet, nor have my clients so I don’t really know how they play it out.


  160. John Conner

    Hi Andrew

    I contacted a factory on alibaba with 13 years of gold supplier, and for 5 months I was working out all the parts of the product so that it should be 100% good, (its a complicated product)., when it came to finalizing the deal, he tells me that it is not that factory that sells this item it is a different factory and he showed ma a link, it was a 12 year gold supplier factory, he told me he works for both of these factories part time on 1.5% commission,

    When it came to payments he said that he wants me to pay T/T, so i told him we had made up in the beginning that the payment will be paypal, so he said he meant only for the sample payment, but not for the big order, anyway we agreed on alibaba trade assurance, when i asked him if he knows the name of the person that comes up when you go to that factory on alibaba he said that he doesn’t.

    What mainly puzzles me and make things suspicious is the fact that for 5 months he didn’t tell me that it was a different factory, is this a crazy assumption?

    The question is: is this person some sort of scammer? Is trade assurance liable if there will be any problems?If it is liable does the china side usually win or the US side, for example if I claim that the goods weren’t exactly as the samples, or the packaging wasn’t exactly as we made up, or does it have to be a drastic mistake to win?can i pay with chase credit card for trade assurance? Will I have a hard time disputing the credit card payment if he doesn’t come through 100%? does it compare anything to Amex disputing policy?


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s impossible to give you any definite answers as the situation is very specific. It could be some kind of scam or it could be all legit, hard to say. The fact that they worked with you for 5 months though tells to me that he’s legit, as scammers usually don’t have patience for doing this. And if it’s not a high risk product, nothing branded etc., it could go all well.

      Definitely use Trade Assurance and fund transaction with a credit card. If everything else fails, you can always do a charge back case with your card company and get money back that way.

      Be very specific in Trade Assurance terms – make sure you describe precisely product, quality/features/packaging etc., as much detail as possible. And ideally do a pre-shippment inspection before you pay 2nd half of the money.


  161. Hi Andrew I want to buy sharp black portable ac portable black silver from Alibaba com how do I know if they are legit or a scam I was ripped off for over three hundred dollars last year the company says that they are based in China how can you help me.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi George,

      Sorry – what exactly you want to buy? What product?


  162. Hi, do you have any experience with BAILLORD GADGETS LTD? 3yrs gold member, but accept only Western union for units or TT for bulk orders explaining they were ripped off after some fake payments from buyer via paypal. They provided also business licence and seller permit, not sure if this is scam.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, sorry – have never heard of them.

  163. Hi, Andrew! Thanks for this article. I’m preparing to launch an online business and have a design for a product. I have been communicating with manufacturers in China and narrowing in on a particular company. They are a gold supplier in their 5th year. They have trade assurance, supplier assessment, transaction level history of 2 1/2 diamonds, SGS, ILAC, and Intertek certifications, and a website in English. However, I can find no trade show info, no AliExpress website, no video (though plenty of pictures), and I can not find them on MadeInChina or Global Source. Payment methods listed are TT, credit card, and e-checking. I find only two reviews on their site which are both good and when I search the company name + scam, I find nothing. Do they seem legit?

    1. I should also mention that they have worked hard for my business without being overbearing, have been the most forthcoming with details, answered all of my questions, and have been the most willing to work with me on MOQ (allowing me to purchase 100 pcs. of each item rather than 300 provided my total order is above 300 pcs.). I have not shared my design yet, though.

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Heather,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You won’t always find ALL filters for all suppliers. That company looks ok to me!

      Just get some samples first and then if quality is all good, plan your real order.


  164. Angu Ransom

    Alibaba users should equally watch out for messages that request them to click on a link from their email box. The landing page is usually a scam page . Some people fall into scams because of greed. For example a Samsung Galaxy S4 at 5$ brand new. Is this possible?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Of course it’s not possible! 🙂

      Email/link scams are very popular – reason why you should never click on a link in an email that comes from PayPal/eBay/Amazon/Alibaba etc. Just go to the website, login and then see if there’s a message for you.


  165. Tom Winkle

    Hi, thank you for making all my worries go away. A wonderful article. I was so confused. I will print this out and share with my friends.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 😉

  166. Hi Andrew

    The options for me paying are TT and visa, I do not have a credit card but I have a visa debit card. Will this be OK and covered by Trade Assurance? I am going through the correct channels as the supplier has sent confirmation that it is covered because the payment request was sent by Alibaba themselves and it clearly stated this.

    Also the method of paying TT is confusing as when I click the TT tab it gives me the Citi bank details of the supplier. I have no idea where or how I make a TT payment if I wish to do so. There is no clear pointer, or am I being stupid and a VISA payment is a TT payment?

    Kind Regards


    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, VISA debit card won’t work. You need to use a VISA credit card there.

      Or alternatively use the TT (bank transfer option). IN this case you need to transfer money to that supplier’s Citi bank account – by going to your bank or by doing it via online banking.


  167. Thanks that’s great, I have just been informed I cannot use e-checking as this was just for US buyers.

    Can I ask if I pay via the Visa payment option which would be direct from my account, is that what would be called the TT method? and does that cover me with Trade Assurance?

    Big thanks again for your efforts.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      TT is bank transfer.

      VISA is when you pay using your credit card.

      Both options can be used with Trade Assurance program (plus e-checking for US only right now).


  168. Hi Andrew

    I am in the process of paying via Alibaba Trade Assurance, there are 3 parts on the ‘Add Bank Information Section’.

    They are asking for Bank Routing number (9 digits), Checking Account number, up to (17 digits) and a Federal ID Tax.

    1) I have no idea what any of these are?

    2) Also, shall I pay via TT or by e-Checking?

    3) do I use Individual account or Business account? I do not have a business account as yet.

    Thanks again for your efforts


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Those are simply bank details – account number and bank routing number.

      You can use personal bank account, that’s fine.


      1. A supplier is asking for my bank information on alibaba to give me my “money back”. So far they have been a pain in the butt, I sent them money for a product, they said that I needed to cancel it in order to send it DHL express, so I cancelled. Then they drafted up a new order, and it asked me to pay another $120 bucks, I told them I had already paid previously and I questioned why it was asking me again. They seemed confused and then said that my money will be refunded to me instead, but I had never requested a refund, just cancelled as they told me to do so. I asked for my money back and told them to refund me my money through paypal email, instead they’re asking for my bank info to deposit. This is absolutely fraud correct? Alibaba doesn’t seem to care about my fraud ticket I created too…I must be out my money 🙁

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hi John,

          It does sound very scammy to me indeed!

          Just open a case with PayPal and get your money back that way.


  169. Hi Andrew

    I will be paying a 30% deposit to a company very soon, as apparently the prices in the new year will increase. I have heard this type of increase in China is common for new year price changes.

    I just wondered if you are familiar with this?

    Another question I have is; the company are happy to accept payment via Alibaba Trade Assurance which pleases me, Can I ask if this method of payment is a painless, straight forward and easy method to complete transactions?

    I just wanted your view before going ahead.

    Thanks again for all your efforts..


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      Well price increases as such are every common, yes, so it’s nothing unusual. Of course many times suppliers use this as scare tactic to get an order from you but that’s life. You never know really for sure when it’s a genuine price increase or a marketing plot.

      Trade Assurance – I recommend you read the TA page on Alibaba to fully understand how it works etc.:

      But yes, it is the preferred payment method.


  170. Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Arthur!

  171. Hi Andrew

    I have done what I think is due diligence on a company, They attend Trade Shows, LinkedIn account, Facebook account, Alibaba Gold supplier, 8 years in business, Trade Assurance, Assessment by Alibaba employees and so on.

    Your never to sure when doing this so I wanted to give you 3 links to see what your thoughts were.

    Can you take 2 minutes to look at these and share your thoughts please?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      That company looks 100% genuine to me.


  172. Thank You very much, Andrew! All the best to You!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 😉

  173. Hi! I had a supplier send me only a portion of my order. They didn’t send the refund before the buyer protection ended, so I filed a dispute hours before it ended. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, so I actually ended up requesting the full amount (which is not correct). They came back with a proposal for the correct amount. Now they want me to accept the proposal. Will accepting it close the dispute? Shouldn’t I see a payment come through? I’m worried I’ll accept the proposal and not see my money come back in. Am I being too worried about this? Thanks! This is what his response was:

    for some design which are out of stock , we have told you and would like to refund you the amount $479.31 . but you open dispute for the order and ask full refund . pls check the order status and accept the new correct refund amount we revised . after you agree, alibaba will refund you money according to our agreement immediately . pls do and cooperate . thank you ! now the order is waiting you to process . thanks !

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sharon,

      No, you should be fine by doing this.

      As they can’t offer you full refund, they adjusted amount accordingly.

      You need to accept that refund.


  174. Hi Andrew

    Thanks for the advice, First of all I sent an email to the Freight company you have recommended in your comments and they have not called me at all so you may want to give them a nudge..

    You mentioned getting a pre inspection of goods before sending the second payment. Can I ask who does this, the freight forwarder or and independent inspector? I may purchase CIF so not sure who would carry that out.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      December is a very busy month, you may want to give them a call to speed up your quote.

      Read more about pre-shipment inspection here:


  175. AliExpress is a total scam for German buyers… I buy online a lot. After seeing that AliExpress promoted international shipping – I ordered about 30 items (from different sellers) in August 2016 to be delivered to me in Berlin, Germany. Only 3 items arrived! I was told to wait long after delivery times posted came / went – which I agreed to do extending the deadline dates or “warranty” – giving the missing items until December to show up. In December, I complained and started asking for refunds – with proof in the tracking showing the items never were even allowed in Germany and were returned to the sellers. So does AliExpress return the money for the all items I never received? No. Instead, they terminated my account so that I could no longer even be able to make a claim for refunds. They sited a policy that said nothing specifically other than accounts can be terminated on their whim / will – and I did nothing but ask for refunds for items never received – which was backed up by the tracking info on the site itself. AliExpress may not have customs issues elsewhere – but it certainly should never falsely claim they can ship to (thus sell to) German buyers. I have never experienced such a scam website before.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      I have ordered tons of items from Ali Express and never had any problems…

      Maybe you order something that can’t be legally sent to Germany?

      Don’t know really but sounds very weird to me that out of 30 orders you only received 3…


    2. Hello, I have ordered over 300 different items from Aliexpress this year to Austria. So far, several items have not been delivered (lost on the way) and I got immediate refund. In one case, it has turned out that the supplier has not sent the goods although has posted tracking number and changed the status to “in transit”. They have send the refund immediately before I even complained to Aliexpress. However, with purchase protection you are quite covered – the only thing needed is to maintain overview of the orders and react in time.
      @ Andrew – thanks for the great info!

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Exactly my experience/thoughts! 🙂

  176. Hi, you wrote: “Scammers DO NOT attend trade shows”

    Sorry, that is not true. They can go for the photo opportunity, without even having a stall. Maybe even actually having a stall.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rave,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yes, technically you’re right – they could do it and some probably do. But it’s a very small percentage.

      But in general scammers don’t do this.


  177. Sharon Bowen

    Hi Andrew, just wanted to echo that your blog is really really useful!

    I am attempting my first Alibaba deal, for customised printing items. I have tried to follow everything you have advised. I selected a Trade Assurance Gold Supplier of 3yrs. I selected Alibaba logistics to deliver, even though their estimate cost was DOUBLED, apparently I got my volume figures wrong! But now I am feeling very apprehensive.

    My supplier, who seems to work a 20 hour day, considering the responses that I receive from her, tells me that in order for them to ship my order on time, I have to cancel my trade assurance order and set the refund to 0, as there are some delays using the Alibaba logistics service, lots of paperwork, Government rules etc. I am obviously loathed to do this as I have paid in full for the order and shipping service and feel if I cancel the trade assurance order, I am left with all the risk.

    Time is running out to get this delivery in time and I don’t know what to do.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sharon.

      Thanks for your comment.

      I personally haven’t used Alibaba logistics service so can’t really comment on how it works…

      I always use a freight forwarder for shipping, customs clearance procedure.

      But the fact that they ask to cancel trade assurance contract sounds alarming to me… Without trade assurance you have no protection, if you pay with bank transfer. If they take PayPal, it’s safer but still – it does sound dodgy to me. And it’s still unclear how the shipping process will be organised….


      1. Hi Andrew & Sharon,
        I am currently dealing with a dress factory that has asked me to refund my trade assurance payment in lieu of accepting a secure payment invoice from them:

        “Because we can’t do custom declare directly, so we can’t receive the payment .
        Could you please cancel the trade assurance order, and we do it by secure payment ?”

        I have ordered with dress factories in Asia for the past 4 years and was under the impression that the carrier like DHL, would handle issues like customs declarations.
        All this began after I received a paid in full confirmation email from trade assurance five days ago saying they have received my final payment. I received my photo inspection of the garment and all that is left is for the factory to ship the dress out to me.
        They kept insisting that I either cancel the trade assurance or file a dispute and wait 7-12 days for a refund and then pay then via their Alibaba secure payment.

        Keep in mind I had just talked to them about shipping the dress on time because my client was flying in for a fitting and that was why I paid them early to avoid any mishaps.

        This factory is a gold 8 year seller that meets almost all your criteria for a legit company. I am currently waiting for them to tell me if they will be able to ship the dress today or refuse to ship until I pay their way. Did I mention this is my client’s BRIDAL GOWN which was due to arrive on Friday, client flies in on Monday!

        Any comments? This sound familiar?

        1. Andrew Minalto

          Hi Erica,

          Thanks for your comment.

          To me it sounds dodgy… why did they accept Trade Assurance order in first place?

          Not sure what’s going on there and what you can do apart from communicating with them and insisting that you need item dispatched ASAP and can’t wait for any other procedures.


          1. Thanks Andrew!
            Great site:)

          2. Andrew Minalto

            You’re welcome Erica! 😉

        2. Hi Erica,

          What did you end up doing? I’m in a similar situation and my supplier is asking me to cancel my order and set the refund to 0 too.

          Just wondering if you did receive a dress in good quality at the end?

          Many Thanks!

    2. Hi Sharon,

      What did you end up doing? I’m in a similar situation and my supplier is asking to cancel my order and set the refund to 0 too.

      Time is running out for me so any info from you is much appreciated!!


  178. Adam Otten

    I was curious to know, if they ARE branded products, but are being shipped from other then China Mainland like for example United Kingdom. Would that be legit, or do they still need to be Unbranded? I am asking about Video Game Consoles i.e. Sony Playstation and Xbox. They just seem to good to be true with the pricing

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Adam,

      Those are usually scams of one kind or another.

      No reputable UK/USA game console distributor will have an Alibaba profile.

      Please DO NOT look for PS4 consoles on Alibaba, it won’t end well!


  179. Hi Andrew,

    I really love this post, it’s basically my bible for all things Alibaba and i’m currently taking my time finding a sportswear supplier (to be customised with our own branding) in Pakistan. It’s getting to the point where i’m probably too careful and in total it’s been a solid 2 months of looking and messaging companies but to no avail. We even had one close call where we had to pay a small fee to get our bank to return the funds after we sent payment and found negative feedback on that seller). So after finding potential scammers asking for money to be paid via Western Union/Money Gram we found a company that accepts paypal and they’re a 4 year Gold supplier. As they’re from Pakistan they’re not able to have the onsite Alibaba check. They also have a UK contact which helps put my mind at ease a bit more even if this is just a family relative of the owner. They’re also the least pushy i’ve come across, askig me to take my time to think things over. They’ve agreed to do a small sample order of items so I can get a feel for their quality but I’m still nervous (I know i’m tight)! I’d love your opionion on how they look on the face of it? They are:

    PS – Can’t beleive how dedicated you are to replying to all these questions. I’d give you a medal if I can source one on Alibaba!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ben,

      Thanks for your comment & kind words.

      That supplier looks all good to me! Just get that sample order in to see quality of their products.


  180. Hi Andrew

    Thanks for the advice, just a few more points I wanted to make. You mentioned PayPal in your reply to me, re: I should use a supplier with PayPal or Trade Assurance, is PayPal a safe way to pay suppliers such a amount? I am talking £14,000? 1 2ft container.

    Also if they the supplier is genuinely doing Trade Assurance, has 7 year history, a website in English and attend trade shows in Europe. Would you say it was OK pay via there Trade Assurance? I have done a lot of research on the company and they seem very well established. They have Trade Assurance, Assessment certificate and are Gold suppliers.

    So my questions are:

    Do I use Trade Assurance to pay?
    Or PayPal?

    If so do I transfer the whole amount? – really not used to the idea of making such a big payment.

    I am sure if I get the goods and all goes well I will be looking back thinking what was the fuss about, but this is my first time and cannot make an error with such a large amount.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      It’s very un-likely that supplier will accept PayPal for a £14k transaction, VERY un-likely.

      You should use Trade Assurance for such large orders.

      Payment structure depends on your agreement with the supplier but usually it’s 30/70 or 50/50. First payment you make when you place the order and 2nd payment – when goods are ready for dispatch. Before sending that 2nd payment, make sure to order pre-shipment inspection so that inspector can check quality of goods.


  181. Really helpful and concise information. Much appreciated.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Salena! 🙂

  182. Gary McKinnon

    Excellent article, i’m just starting out on Amazon FBA so this was very helpful, thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Gary! 🙂

  183. Hi Andrew

    Why are there so many sellers on alibaba that have the trade Assurance symbol and Status but when you contact them they tell you they are not Trade Assurance. They tell me the Trade Assurance fee they pay alibaba is too high and they also don’t get reimbursements from some kind of tax or Customs law in China. Are they doing this as a scam? Secondly when I ask them about payment methods they mention 30% TT transfer, what is the sensible and safe way that guarantees my money will be repaid if they are scammers or do not deliver what they state in the contract. TT 33% is still a risk I’m taking with 30% of my funds your help would be much appreciated.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      Thanks for your email.

      Yes, this is quite common. Many suppliers advertise that they accept Trade Assurance (to boost credibility) when in real life they don’t. They have to pay a fee when using Trade Assurance plus of course they’re liable in case something goes wrong with the order.

      If it’s your first importing deal, I would strongly recommend you find a supplier who takes PayPal or Trade Assurance.

      With TT payments there are no guarantees whatsoever, no protection so you only should use with suppliers you really trust, have a solid proof they’re genuine and trustworthy.


  184. Mike Rosedale

    Great article Andrew. We have been buying from China for years but still run into BAD supplier problem. Most recently, we bought high strength poly ropes from Jiuli Rope Co. Ltd.. We’ve done our due diligence by inspecting the factory and tested out a small sample batch. However, by the time we sent them a real order, they shipped us defective products that are more than 30% inferior in quality. When we try to claim a refund, they started playing bush-beating games, not returning e-mails, or answering phone calls. When we ask to speak to management, no one has the guts to even tell their names. Factories like Jiuli Rope have no conscience but believe they can always get away with innocent buyers’ money without any consequence . That’s how “made in China” gets tarnished easily. What would you recommend that we do to possibly get our compensation and make the factory take their responsibility ? Any help is greatly appreciated.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Not much I can suggest apart from trying to communicate with them this problem and trying to come up with some kind of agreement (partial refund or at least credit for next order).

      To avoid situations like these, in future, make sure you do pre-shipment inspection BEFORE you release second payment. This really is the only way to be safe you get quality products you ordered.


  185. Great article. Can you go a bit further in detail about the actual purchasing portion. I’m looking for a cheaper source of carbide end mill cutters and Alibaba has a few manufactures that “qualify” per your filters, but I’m getting lost in the inquiry/start order portion. The price per unit + MOQ on the purchase portion starts to get confusing when it lets you change prices and such. Are these negotiable? Whats a good rule of thumb when it comes to negotiating? Etc. Now, I’m not looking to buy wholesale to then turn around a resell, I’m just looking for cheaper sources for consumables.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Almost always you can negotiate price and the MOQ.

      Please check these articles for more info:


  186. brett stimpson

    Andrew, great article and thank you for your insight. We are dealing with this company
    We received samples which came out good however 6 of 10 broke due to very poor packaging.
    After assurance the packaging was changed we placed a larger order. Im curious your thought on this. They issued us a ups tracking number on Nov5th. I called UPS for an update today
    NOV 16th and they say they generated the paperwork but UPS has not received any packages yet. Our contact had told us it shipped weeks ago. is this run around common? I also find it strange they said the paperwork had it shipping from Korea? they are in China.
    thanks for any insight you have.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Brett,

      That sounds very strange to me…

      There are usually few days for tracking info to update but 11 days seems way too long, for a courier shipment.

      Maybe they gave you wrong tracking number?

      Hard to know what’s going on there really…


  187. Daniel Wang

    Hello, Andrew.

    I was wondering what items are good for buying for resale? I recently quit my job to become a retailer, but I don’t know much. I recently bought some counterfeit Pokemon Games, key organizers, and water beads. Are those good items to resell?

    Do you have any tips for me and my small business for now?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Daniel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Selling counterfeit/fake items obviously is not a good idea!

      Check out this post dedicated to market research and finding products to sell:


  188. Hi Andrew while I agree with what you are saying you can still get scammed on Alibaba even after all of the due diligence.

    We purchased bags from Jinhua Bestcreate Art & Craft Co., Ltd

    They shipped poorly made bags which fell apart there was no option for a refund but when we asked for the opportunity to post feedback Alibaba decided to censor it. Apparently they will only post positive feedback.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, the quality of goods from China can sometimes be very low, especially if you go with the cheapest quote.

      Did you get samples first? And did you made payment via Trade Assurance?


  189. Hi Andrew,

    I highly appreciate your dedication in this post. I have read so many bad things about Alibaba that I was about to head south….

    But there is hope with your post, so thank you!

    Could you back me up though? What do you think of this seller.

    The sales manager contacted me and told me his colleague would help me out. This girl was really helpful, she even sent me a sample picture of the case with a blank page next to it and my name written with today’s date..

    I can’t seem to copy her profile URL… Maybe it’s because I am from the app.

    Well, what do you think of this company? Should I proceed?

    Thanks in advance,

    You don’t know how happy I am after finally reading a positive feedback about Alibaba hehe

    Ps: English is not my main language, so I am sorry if there are typos.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sandra,

      They look all good to me!

      They tick every box and these are not really high risk items so you should be fine.

      Start with a sample anyway of course.


  190. Thank you, you always give the most useful and helpful advise, please don’t ever stop. Thank you so much I am very appreciative over here. It can be quite scary to venture out into the world of importing and then re-selling under my own brand but you make it way less scary but still give truthful facts and advise. Keep up the great work and once again, THANK YOU!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Lou and you’re very welcome! 🙂

  191. Hi Andrew,

    Thank for your excellent blog, I read an article of yours, you said there is no customs clearance fee for exporting from china, what do you mean about this ? because one of the forwarder gave me a quotation with additional fees include customs clearance fee, this is the fees :
    the customs clearance fee usd50/bill, documents fee: usd50/bill, usdCFS: 10/CBM, handling fee: usd35/bill, pick up fee: usd35/bill.

    Are the fees above normal ?

    Thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi David,

      No, I said that in contest that Chinese scammers often ask you to pay dodgy Customs bills while in reality they have nothing to do with Customs procedure @ your country.

      You do have to pay Customs Clearance fee to freight forwarder/courier when goods arrive to your country.


      1. Hi Andrew,

        Thanks for your quick reply, the fees above are in china not in my country, it means that the fees they gave me above are normal, right ?

        Best Regards

        1. Andrew Minalto

          I can’t comment on specific fees really as they will vary greatly depending on freight forwarder, goods volume, location etc. etc.

  192. Hi Andrew,

    Thank you so much for your informative guides. I am a newbie to e-commerce business. Have read a lot of articles about importing from China which are fairly good. But reading your articles, I learnt lots of valuable things here. However, would like to ask the following info:

    1. Is it compulsory to register company before starting to import or order products from China?
    2. Personal or business account, which best suited to open paypal account for payment in China as I wish to build real importing business?
    3. Would you suggest us to use personal or business e-mail to open Alibaba’s account or should use different e-mail address?
    4. As I’m afraid of the scammers, can I use my real data to sign up Alibaba’s account?
    5. Do I have to pay sales tax …for instance person living in UK?

    Thank you for your help!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Matthew,

      Thanks for your comment & questions.

      1. No, not at all. Any individual can import from China, you don’t need a company to do this.
      2. It doesn’t matter really – with both you can send money to China.
      3. It doesn’t matter. But yes, it’s a good idea to simply open separate email for Alibaba as some suppliers can be very persistent and send you messages every day. So it’s nice to keep these separate.
      4. You have to provide your real data if you want to use Trade Assurance.
      5. You have to pay VAT and import duty on products you import from China into the UK.