“Alibaba is a SCAM” – you’ll find this written everywhere online! The truth is, yes, it is possible that you may get scammed on Alibaba.com 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.
Is Alibaba Legit?
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. Alibaba.com 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.
That’s why I find it hard to answer when people email me asking for an Alibaba review, because that depends entirely on the seller. If you’re asking purely for my review of Alibaba as a website, then the answer is I love it! Yes, it is reliable! It’s made sourcing from China, and many other countries, incredibly easy and opened up opportunities for people who previously would never have been able to start their own private label business. So if you’re wondering if Alibaba is legit and safe to use, then my answer is a resounding yes. But of course, that is true IF you know what you’re doing.
And that’s what today’s blog post is all about. I’m going to show you how to spot scams on Alibaba and how to find trustworthy and reliable Alibaba suppliers, using the 15-step system which I’ve used to find suppliers for my own 7-figure Amazon FBA business.
The Myth of the Alibaba Scam
And for me 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 spot Alibaba fraudsters and 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 and unreliable supplier and someone who you should no longer consider trustworhty with respect to your expectations, 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:
- Under Armour
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 hot selling product such as consoles, shoes etc. and get hundreds of results full of Alibaba fraudsters. I just tried a similar search and it returned ZERO results.
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 for how to avoid getting scammed 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.
And that’s why this is my number one tip for how to not get scammed on Alibaba.
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, which will also show you exactly how to avoid scams on Alibaba.
This whole system relies on your ability to analyse a supplier’s profile on Alibaba (and outside of it) and to know if a seller on Alibaba is legit. 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 Alibaba.com:
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 is an Alibaba fraud 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.
What does verified supplier mean on Alibaba? “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
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 you can trust this Alibaba supplier and if they’re who they say 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 Alibaba seller. 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 on Alibaba 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.
Of course this is fairly self explanatory – if I see a supplier on Alibaba with hundreds of thousands in sales, then it’s very unlikely they’re a scammer as after a few people complain of a scam then you can trust Alibaba to take the seller off their site.
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. Again, bad reviews doesn’t necessarily mean they’re an Alibaba fraudster, but it does mean you should keep looking for a reliable and safe supplier!
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 themselves 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 the 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.
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.
Once again this is an expense that most scammers simply won’t bother with and an easy filter to help you avoid getting scammed on Alibaba.
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 a 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.
In terms of filtering out any scammers, think about it from their point of view – why waste time with small orders on AliExpress? If you can only scam a few people before Alibaba shut you down then of course you’ll go for as high an order value as possible. That’s why an AliExpress store is another easy sign that you’re dealing with a reliable Alibaba supplier.
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! These are all great signs that you’ve found a reliable Alibaba supplier that you can trust.
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. But mainly this is just another indicator of a genuine long running supplier.
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 Alibaba fraudsters 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 Made-in-China.com or GlobalSources.com.
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 Wise, your money is always converted at the mid-market exchange rate, making them up 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.
So as a final filter always take a look at what other products the supplier is offering on Alibaba and use that to spot any potential scams.
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? Is Alibaba safe?
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 you enjoyed my “review of Alibaba” and that 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 for how to avoid scams on Alibaba, 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, which will teach you how to spot scams on Alibaba from a mile off!
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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First time at AliExpress and directly a bad experience and the seller is proud of it and says everybody does it.i bougth 10 Power Banks oke.. Afterwards there are a lot of flaws with the accessories i forgave him and completed the order. Later on i discovered that the power banks are not 2600mah as discribed but lower than 1000 mah and he fucking admits like he is proud and told me not to contact him!!
http://www.aliexpress.com/store/330354 Milo Zhang
Nice guy at first and behaves like a victem but after you give a good feedback and complete the order a 180 degrees turnaround.
There’s a seller on Aliexpress and they go by the name store Washington, I wanna know if they’re legit because they never reply when I try to talk to them. I ordered a Redskins jersey for $26 and i chose the 5-15 day option for shipping and I ordered it on December 24, and it hasn’t got to me yet. Thank you
Thanks for your comment,
If you ordered Redskins jersey on Ali Express for $26, you can be 100% sure that it’s a FAKE! Even if the seller sends it to you, it’s a fake.
You can’t get licensed jerseys from China.
Even if it’s a FAKE…the buyer still paid the $$$ and should receive the PRODUCT! This is a scary way to shop.. doesn’t seem like honest business to me!
Scammers are obviously not honest.
That’s the whole point.
Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
This is quite typical with electronics and Chinese suppliers – they advertise on spec and send you something else.
Here’s an interesting blog post by Dan on how this happens on large scale:
If you do volume orders, quality check is a MUST! 10 of course is not large order so not much you can do apart from choosing more established sellers.
Yeah i know now that all electronics especially batterys or products with battery are bad. i will never buy such things again only simple things.. The people who scams in such way is very stupid. He can earn in short term some money, but he will never earn money from me again (long term) And all to spare around 0.50 – 1 dollar per product..
It is stupid indeed!
You can’t build a sustainable business on such one time customers…
Not much we can do about it, there will always be scammers in any business and industry.
Lesson learned I guess!
ALIBABA ITSELF IS A SCAM!!!
I paid for the Gold level and they took our money but SAY WE don’t qualify. Well, we are a Canadian Company that has been iN business 25 years!
DO NOT PAY ALIBABA TO BECOME A GOLD SUPPLIER OR YOU WILL BE SCAMMED!!!
oUR NUMBER IS 250-320-9569 IF YOU HAVE AnY QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS!!
I WILL BE PUTTING UP A WEBPAGE EXPOSING THEM ALSO!! I AM SURE I WILL GET IT TO PAGE ONE ON GOOGLE IF ITS THE LAST THING I DO!! I HATE PEOPLE STEALING OTHER PEOPLES MONEY!
Thanks Bob for sharing your experience on Alibaba with us.
That’s really weird that they take payment first and only then do verification..
Yeah, you are a shill otherwise you wouldn’t be acting so surprised at this outcome. People, DO NOT order from AliExpress or AliBaba unless you expect to be used, cheated or exploited! Do a Google search before you order from them…what I am saying will be obvious! Do yourself a favor!
Maybe you should do some research before you wade in with your accusations.
Alibaba Group’s major shareholders are SoftBank Corp of Japan and Yahoo! Inc of America. Although I am not a plaything of international corporations (although I am available!), I would imagine that if Alibaba’s operations were as corrupt and criminal as some of the claims on here then they would probably wish to consider their positions in relation to their holdings.
In any case, it would reflect well on you to refrain from making direct accusations against any individuals without even a shred of evidence.
Mr Zerebeski makes an interesting point and as an established company with a solid track record it seems strange but as we cannot see both sides of the story I could not comment on his assertion, he is clearly quite miffed though.
As for Mea, I am afraid that she seems to have an unusual understanding of what it takes to run a business involving procurement from overseas, especially risk management and business continuity.
I’m totally with you on this one Mark.
yes, I work for Alibaba and they pay me a monthly salary for this post and replies.
ARE YOU SERIOUS????????
I have no relation to Alibaba group WHATSOEVER! I have no interest in defending them. What I want to do is to show business people how to avoid scams on Alibaba and find legit suppliers. This post isn’t even about ALi Express – it is about ALIBABA.COM but you probably didn’t even read the article…
I just did business with AliExpress. The transaction was fine but my credit card info was stolen. Someone made three unauthorized charges, I was notified and the card shut off.
randyy help im from mexico and after buying on aliexpress they made 2 charges to my card that i dindnt and i cancelled , could you get your money back? What happend pleasee
I use a debit card in my business with them. I have a special account for them. Money for the business I want to conduct, otherwise the account is empty . So anyone stealing my card info is doing that for the fun of it. I suggest you do same if you can
Thanks for your comment.
Why do you think it was because
of Ali Express?
I highly doubt that Ali Express would steal your credit card data…
On Alibaba is it the case that if it does not say “No substantiated complaints in last 90 days” you can assume that there have been complaints? Or do they tell you straight that there have been complaints against the company whose information you are viewing?
Thanks for your comment & question.
This is a new indicator they’re using – to be honest, I have yet to see one that would show any number for complaints. So not sure how quick they act and change this when a report comes in.
I ordered a coat from an Ali account and it was not as it was portrayed in the picture or description. After ordering an extra large, and sent a medium, with threads hanging off of all of the seams, not to mention the coat lining sewn into the pocket seams, I was not a happy camper and had to give a review of the item! I had to fight with the supplier for over a month to get a refund, which I did get. However, after receiving the refund, I cancelled my Aliexpress account only to get emails from the supplier asking me to change the review…because they had given me the refund (oh, how big of them, after they sent me a useless item)! I let the supplier (Molly Maio) know I was unable to do so because I had cancelled my account. Then I received a not-very-nice email about not changing the review. They not only need to learn about honesty, they also need to learn about customer service!
This is not Marks & Spencer for you. If you order such items from China, you should be fully aware on what to expect, especially if you look for cheapest deals.
You’re lucky that you get your money back.
Just don’t order anything from China anymore, really – save yourself from troubles.
Great article! The only suggestion I can think of is to get an express shipping account (DHL, FedEx, UPS) so you can easily have samples sent to you.
In most cases the supplier will send you the samples for free.
I have built a successful e commerce business and leveraged Alibaba to locate most of my suppliers.
I have never had any problems and now I have invoices that are $30K ++
Yep, that’s a good idea on the courier account – just to make sure suppliers don’t over-charge you shipping for samples. In general though I have found that Chinese companies, with their courier accounts get better shipping rates than we (in UK) can get.
Just like you, I have found my best suppliers on Alibaba and I think that place is GOLD! People who look at it as a big scam, are really missing out A LOT especially when Alibaba now offers Escrow system and quality agent services.
Good Luck with your business!
[…] Online ratings and supplier reviews – Many B2B sites also offer resources and security features such as badges to indicate whether a supplier is verified or not, ratings, and reviews. Here are more tips in filtering overseas suppliers from B2B sites. […]
Aliexpress never hear the buyer, they don’t have help center but only robot! So you never get help when you have trouble with this chinese seller! Not recommeded to source Chinese supplier from Alibaba or Aliexpress.
The toughest thing is to discern.
I mainly buy from one supplier , gold status , escrow , pay pal etc.
They are great.
I found another seller that didn’t have any of the requirements I mentioned above (escrow , gold status etc)
My main supplier recommended them and they ended up being very good.
I also avoid people who only accept money gram or western union…But there is a contradiction with your rules…The guy is a 3 year gold member but only accepts moneygram or WU…I am sticking with my gut and not doing biz with him…What do you think??? He sounded African over the phone…I know this sounds bad but all of the African guys I have met on here…SCAMMERS…JUST DO NOT TRUST THEM…I know it sounds bad but from my personal experiences it holds water…
There’s no conflict with my rules as you have to stick with ALL filters when evaluating your suppliers. So if it is a 3rd year Gold supplier but only accepts WU and MG as payment options, it’s a big NO NO!
Also, you may want to check out this guide for info on most common scams on Alibaba:
Just to keep you guys updated here is a scammer was successful in cheating me –
UMINE TECHNOLOGY (HK) CO., LIMITED
Contact Person – ADA
Address: Huaqiang Road Metro Station beside ,Futian District, Shenzhen PRC
Phone: :0086-15627456393, 0086-33136393
Well they are smart enough to communicate professionally to make you believe that you finally found a reliable vendor with a lucrative price offer. But tricks are very common and I was new in the market when fall in their trap and finally received piece of plastics instead of microSD cards.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
If you are buying products from Aliexpress: Be warned, there are many cheats there!
Firstly, Aliexpress online form doesn’t work if you want to file a complaint.
After repeated attempts to seek refund from the seller & Aliexpress to refund with no luck. I have decided to warn you guys if you want to buy things from Aliexpress.
Recently, I went to make enquiry on a couple of Rolex replica watches on Aliexpress. The merchant got me away from paying them on Aliexpress and go to their direct site to make payment.
Some of their Aliexpress store links are (they have more than 10 stores):
Their direct store is
I was told to go to the watchbuy.us site for payment using my credit card.
However, the payment wasn’t successful though I tried for 4 times. I was then told to do a wire transfer directly via Western Union to the person.
The Western Union payment Detail Information is:
First name: Qihui
Last name: Wang
Shenzhen City , China
Please make sure you do not buy from this merchant as I was cheated of the 187USD wired to them.
The seller’s emails are:
I found qq account is tag to another person by the name of Micheal Wang
I’m not sure if this seller is a male or female anymore.
Upon successful fund transfer, the seller stopped responding to my emails all together. It is obvious the seller is out to cheat buyers.
It is unfortunate that I was cheated of USD187
I do not wish that the other customers also fall victim to such dishonest merchant.
Lastly, Aliexpress has a long way to go compared with eBay. The dispute resolution on eBay works. The complaints are easy to lodge. The buyer protection there works.
If you really must buy from Aliexpress, buy through their escrow. DO NOT wire money to the merchant directly.
Thanks for sharing this with us.
I have said this many, many times – DO NOT send money via Western Union, Money Gram and similar services. If you do buy on Ali Express, only pay via escrow service. Those few times that I have had any problems with my orders, they were all resolved directly on Ali express.
You don’t get any protection if you deal OUTSIDE Ali Express website.
Does it mean that Alibaba-Escrow is preferable to Paypal? Do i not get any protection if i make payment with Paypal?
They’re both pretty safe payment methods.
With PayPal it’s good that by default, 99% scammers will never offer it in first place so it works like filter in first place.
With Trade Assurance, you can use wire transfer payment and still get protection. And not only for order not arriving but for late dispatch and product quality issues.
I ordered a dress. I did not know this info that you have published. It would have saved me time and frustration. I hope I get my money back. I have cancelled the order. I ordered and paid. The payment went thru. Then I got a message on aliexpress from the seller saying they can not fill my order becuz the price was an error and they asked me for more money to fill the order. So I told them no thank you and I cancelled the order. I read your info, looked at seller and they have a free membership and no feedback. I tried to send a complaint and they can not find the seller’s store. It is there, I have correspondence from them but they just keep saying they can not find the store. I feel like all I can do is wait and see if the seller agrees to cancel and I get my money back.
After following your instructions I find that the store was not verified. That is why they can not find the seller and so I can’t file a complaint or dispute. soooo, my dear Andrew, thank you for opening my eyes and now as smart and cautious as I thought I once was, I now feel like a reformed idiot. lol. I probably went over board but I cancelled my credit card and filed a fraud case on the charge. I will take your advice if I do get the nerve to go back onto alibaba or aliexpress but not just there but anywhere else online. I will do research on the website and the seller who I plan to give my money too. BTW, the guy I talked to when I cancelled my credit card, gosh he treated me like I really was an idiot. He actually said that as an American consumer I should know better than to ever do business with an over seas website. Well…. what do you think of that?
Good to hear that you stopped ON TIME!
Next time you’ll be much smarter.
I have the same problem like the most of the people here. I have ordered something from a seller , he answered to all my emails until I payed my product via PayPal . Since then , he never answer to my emails and the product doesn’t look as been shipped on my paypal account.
The tragic part is that on the detail of the product on PyPal he didn’t put nothing only goods, so how can I request the money back based on the item description if is none .
Anyway the seller I found him on ioffer.com, as well on aliexpress
Immediately open case on Ali Express and dispute on PayPal stating that you haven’t received goods.
Andrew, you seem to try to be helpful but you aren’t. Alibaba and Aliexpress do not deliver as expected. Please stop trying to help people from ordering from these deceptive people and assist them in ordering from companies that actually deliver and try to be upfront. Seriously, you are not helping! You are only adding to the deception that ‘Ali’ continues to do…promise items that they do not intend on upholding. Simple as that! People, do not order from Ali unless you intend to be defrauded!
Hi Andrew. You will always run into people who think that to do a business all you have to do is buy and sell. Lot of those guys complaining about being scammed are the ones who don’t even understand the concept of Alibaba. Same think like if you buy a computer, get a virus and blame the manufacturer for not telling you how to protect it. Problem is that these people don’t study anything which goes beyond a simple transaction. If you don’t do your research, don’t blame others for your ignorance. I also believe that everybody got scammed at least once in their lifetime. Use it as a lesson!
It seems that it is you that does not understand, Mea. You do not order anything from Alibaba or Ali Express, they are marketplaces that facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers; Andrew’s eBay analogy is entirely apposite.
Once you have found the product you wish to purchase and have conducted your due diligence (Andrew’s steps above are excellent advice), you can then move to the next step – order a sample to check out the quality and order/delivery process before moving on to larger quantities. If you take any other course of action, you drastically increase the risk of being a victim of a scam for which it is incredibly unfair to try and lay the blame at Andrew’s door.
Why would I do that?
I personally order from Alibaba and Ali Express on a regular basis, millions of people do that.
Why I should stop doing it?
If you don’t understand risks involved when importing from China, I’m sorry but that’s your problem, not mine.
I placed a large order for handbags with Aliexpress in the beginning of February. They charged my credit card and then last week the so called “SELLERS” cancelled all my orders.
They are LIARS, CROOKS, FRAUDSTERS, STAY AWAY FROM THEM AND ALIBABA.
The cancellation of your order seems not because you did not pay or you were scammed, it is because your seller might be disabled in the site due to suspected fraudulent activity, however, you can contact the 24/7 customer service team for more information as they are more able to answer your queries about the issue.
Whilst it is sad that anyone should be scammed or conned by fraudulent operators on any online marketplace, the facts that Andrew are stating are completely correct; you have to approach all transactions with a healthy regard for the possibilities that things might go wrong and mitigate against them.
It seems that a lot of people are being seduced by offers that are clearly bogus or too good to be true and in the excitement of scooping a fantastic deal forget the basics.
You cannot get non-Chinese branded goods from Alibaba so if they are offered to you and you accept the transaction, you are engaging with criminals who will be delighted to take your money and send nothing in return. They are equally aware that there is noting you can do about it.
Equally, if you do not look for the signposts of a potentially unsafe deal, you are at risk of becoming another fraud statistic, in which case, don’t try and level the blame at Andrew who is trying to help you and let you know what to look out for.
Alibaba, in all its flavours, is an exciting place to do business and there are genuinely great offers to be had, provided you exercise caution and due diligence. Remember, you are running a business and you should approach all your business relationships as such.
Thanks for your support Mark!
Sometimes it really feels like I’m alone here, lol
First of all, I must say good job and thank you for your blogs on importing from China. I enjoy reading them and have learnt a lot from it (and still learning). Very informative article.
I am planning on starting my own business and have been looking at sourcing from suppliers from China on Alibaba. I have been dealing with this particular supplier on some 2D cartoon bags samples. I’ve checked them out on made-in-china and global source as suggested on your blog and they are listed there. They are 2nd year gold supplier but one thing keeps bugging me, is their company address. Although the address on the Proforma Invoice showing the same province but the rest of the address is complete different on all three websites. Is this something I need to concern about or am I just being paranoia?
No, it’s good that you pay attention to details.
I would simply ask the company – WHY address is different on all three websites.
If you ask me, it doesn’t sound right even if they come up with a reasonable explanation….
You did place an ordered almost 2 months ago and all this time you just waited for a dispatch?
pls thankm u very very much for this timely alert.may Jehovah God continue to bless u more and more.pls i placed an order now and im yet to confirm it because during the negotiation with the supplier he never informed me that there will be an ESCROW attached to it not until when i saw it on the confirmation page ,then my question is is ESCROW SERVICE FREE ON ALIBABA/ALIEXPRESS i got some information that it is free but my supplier charged me for escrow service pls could this be true?
Escrow is not free.
Well, for buyer it is (technically) but sellers have to pay Escrow fee, if used.
So often times they add this Escrow fee to total invoice.
Totally agree, they are big fraud, they don’t stand for buyer anyway, their escrow is a big fraud….
Hi I just want tp warning to you guys DO NOT ever have deal with http:// http://www.wholesalenice.com/ or their email is email@example.com. Their website is selling replica of famous branded and they put really low price thats why many people interested. I have done my payment like 5 days ago but they didnt ship my items yet and after I keep force them to ship my orders and all they say is Sorry we wont post your items cos it would be hard through the customs and i asked what thats means and what about the money that i have been transfer and they said dont worrie we will give you refund but then they gone.. never reply my email again. There is something that I scare about is… because they know my bank details is it possible for them to steal money from my bank account? Do I have to report my bank about this?
Thanks for your comment.
I’m sorry to hear that you have fallen for such a simple and obvious scam – they even have “knockoff designer handbags …” in their home page TITLE!!!
Stay away from any such sites, stay away from branded goods and replicas from China – they’re ALL scams or selling FAKES!
But no, they can’t do anything really with your bank account number only, if you haven’t shared any login information, passwords etc.
hey u say they are all scams if selling branded goods. I’m about to buy e cig supplies for my vapor shop and I’ve been weeding out quite a few sellers and even have escrow set up for payment with 1 seller on a big order of about 2-3k usd. they sell name brands such as kanger, innokin, vision, aspire which are all some top name brands of these products but they guarantee they are all original products and i have emails to prove it and they are using escrow. what do u think? shenzhen wellecs electronic co. ltd. gold member on alababa. also shenzhen HongTaiDaXin Science and Technology co. ltd. also gold member on alababa. any insight would be great. I know of a guy who gets all these name brands from these parts and I’m pretty sure its from a seller on alababa but of course he’s a shop owner and aint giving up his source lol.
hey check them out i think I’m gonna start with these guys even tho they aren’t the manufactures. still very good price and i don’t have to buy as many as when going str8 thru the manuf. They seem pretty solid and on the up n up. again i appreciate your help. good looking out man.
they look decent, yes!
Start with a small sample order and see how it goes.
is this the official innokin brand company? if so they only accept t/t or wu so is that ok since its the official company? or what do u suggest? I’m being careful as possible here cause I’m literally investing all i have into my vapor shop. I know it’ll work but this is def proving to be the most difficult part. your help is greatly appreciated man.
Yes, that official Innokin Alibaba profile and should be perfectly safe dealing with them.
Use wire transfer for orders.
hey so the actual names i just listed are selling directly on alibaba?? r u serious? how do i find them?
When I use term “branded product”, I’m mostly referring to Western brands – think – Sony, Apple, Gucci, Loreal and so on.
With electronic cigarettes it’s different – most famous e-cig brands come from China – Boge, Kanger, Innokin etc. These are all Chinese brands and YES – you can get these, genuine items directly from China (as they’re Chinese brands).
But be very careful as even these Chinese brands are being copied by other Chinese!!! Yes, there are plenty of fakes, copies, replicas in e cig World so I woould recommend you dealing with brands directly. You can find profiles for all these companies on Alibaba directly. If you can’t afford their MOQs, ask for re-sellers who can provide smaller MOQs.
Hope this helps Chris!
Sometimes AliExpress functions well, sometimes it seems like there is a lot of corruption in China that also may affect AliExpress. In 2013 I have actively been using AliExpress. Most of the time sellers are nice, stuff is good and priceworthy. A few times I have stumbled upon sellers that were uuwilling/unable to supply advertised and bought goods. Usually I receive money back minus a small loss in exchange rates. One or two such occurances may be negligable, but when a few ow those happen it may sum up to some considerable “pocket money”. Since I live in a fairly small country; Sweden I most of the time have to accept dealing in another currency than my own. This time however something more deceiving happened to me. And it seems AliExpress is not fully functional in their customer service “Resolution center”.
Here is what happened;
I have been scammed of SEK 434.17 (US$66.96) on Order No “60236380432642″ I placed on AliExpress Oct 2 2013. Item was shipped with China Post registered mail “RB889234315CN”. All seemed fine at first, but since mid-October no update of goods whereabouts were made on any tracking service able to track China Post shipments. Last tracking stated it was in Beijing. Now most AliExpress sellers have a policy of offering customer “full refund if goods not received within 39 days”. So did this seller (WomanWorld) too. Now when I actively tried to push seller for a check where goods were by late November suddenly the seller extended his allowed delivery allowance. Well, beginning December I messaged seller again about what happened (>60 days after order and >45 days after last tracking notice with China Post). Since seller responded with something like “already shipped, please be patient”. Upon that I pushed the issue to AliExpress Resolution Center. Apparently they are not able to do anything but sit and wait. According to international Post routines a registered shipment is not possible to declare lost until 90days after shipment. Now we are some time around that timeline AliExpress has decided to close the case and release my funds to the seller, not to me – even though they with their trustworthiness back the sellers guarantee on their pages “full refund if not received in 39 days. And since case is closed I am not able to contact AliExpress Resolution Center again as far as I know. This just does not make me ever wish to have to deal with them again.
Sorry that You should be the one I am posting such a story to, but I think such things should not be left int the shadows.
Thank You for running this site.
You were refunded, dated 2014-01-03 07:00:59, for further reference, please review every details in the help center of AliExpress.com everything you need to know about this issue is publish in help center or contact the 24/7 customer service team.
It seems to me that trying to work with Alibaba is not worth all this effort. I was scammed once for I trusted Alibaba company and thought that if any problems they would make it right since I only came into contact with these companies through them but they do not advocate on your behalf. They need to clearly state on their site in big bold letters that there are scammers and be careful and research before buying. I don’t believe they are doing enough to warn people about the potential scams that can occur. I also used aliexpress but it has never been more than 2.00 usd. I think after this I will decline from using b oth sites for its not worth the hassle. It seems Andrew is trying to hive an upside to their sites and I am sure you can probably find some real companies on Alibaba but for me its not worth it. I don’t want tob be fooled twice. I really believe all those who has been scammed through Alibaba should come together and file a suit against them until they make real changes and really only allow verified sellers on their sites. I am not sure who commission Andrew to speak on their behalf but it seems as if he is their advocate. …just saying.
Thanks for your comment.
I’m not representing Alibaba here, lol, and I do not receive any compensation for this.
I have said this many times over – people get scammed on Alibaba simply because they DON’T KNOW what they are doing!!! The un-limited opportunities internet nowadays presents doesn’t mean that importing is as easy as doing your weekly grocery shopping. You have to learn and be careful when dealing with companies thousands of miles away from you.
Online you mostly find negative reviews about Alibaba because mostly people who have bad experiences post reviews. Take a look @ PayPal on Trust Pilot’s website. By reading those reviews I can’t imagine how can anyone even use PayPal. It’s so bad….
But hundreds of millions people use PayPal every day with no problems. And same applies to Alibaba – I have been importing from dozens of companies, my clients in the 60DBP have imported from hundreds of suppliers on Alibaba. With my guidance of course but there hasn’t been a single scam case. Not a single one.
This only means that IF you really know what you’re doing, Alibaba is totally safe to use to find suppliers. If not, then please don’t do this. As simple as that.
Many Thanks for sharing this with us.
Your case again proves that when things go wrong, DON’T negotiate anything with a supplier. Just ask for a refund straight away or open a case. Don’t extend time frame, don’t accept partial refund.
China Post in general is very un-reliable and chances are that the package actually was lost in the transfer. I always try to use a courier when possible and this eliminates most of these problems.
Lastly – China Post registered packages CAN’T be tracked only beyond China’s border so it’s actually not a track-able shipping service.
ive just placed an order for mobile phone covers with a company on ALIBABA.
the company accepted escrow service and sent me a link for payment on ALIEXPRESS according to my order.They said they have specially made this link according to my quantity and price, How do i know that its not a fake link or its a scam?
And the company has agreed to dispatch the covers via DHL, so are dhl couriers trackable all along or only in china as in the case of chinamail? And what is the expected delievery time from china to india via DHL courier?
please reply as soon as possible because i have to make the payment as im on a deadline for the covers with a customer.
It sounds like you’re placing the order on Ali express and not Alibaba, which is fine. Just check their Ali Express profile and read feedback.
DHL is trackable all the way from China to your location, yes.
It should be 4-6 business days.
I always managed to solve my problems in Aliexpress. I have won many disputes.
Yes, Aliexpress is definetly a good marketplace to trade!
Sorry, I disagree. Alibaba and Aliexpress don’t even have a proper complaints redressal mechanism. I have lost money when the supplier, one Jecksion Lee, selling mobile phone covers, took payment, did not deliver, and despite my complaint, Aliexpress closed the dispute saying a refund had been made. No refund has been received even three months after the fraud.
please tell me how i can send my pay safely ?
because some one gave me a personal name to send the money, i ordered a stroller for my baby and they asked me to send via western union, ok but, it should be the name of the company like aliexpress for example, but it was a personal name so i didn’t feel comfortable
can some one tell how does the payment work.
If you’re making a purchase on Ali Express, make sure to pay ONLY via Ali Express directly – online, using your credit card.
And as a side note – if it’s a BRANDED stroller, just so you know – it’s 100% FAKE, Chinese copy and not original.
Yah it was taken out of the bank account but I guess my bank holds on to it until the seller confirms the payment, I noticed that when you pay the money is not automatically confirmed by the seller and that Aliexpress has a timeframe for the seller to confirm the payment if they do not for security reasons they close the transaction and yah you do get your money reversed by the bank after 7 to 30 days I had 4 transactions that were closed and got all money back and I think I have 2 more in process but it happens to me alot that transactions are closing but that’s due to the seller not confirming payment received to Aliexpress and I think it’s pretty cool but I think they should give the seller 1 or 2 days instead of 24 hours to confirm payment.
Yah I am happy all my past orders received so I have no complaints and because I am patient there is no need to give them a bad review just know the sellers you deal with and you’ll be fine. All those negative reviews you read are because of nervous people but they don’t confirm anything to me now because I saw it with my own eyes that there is no fear from Aliexpress it’s legit. That’s my honest review
Thanks very much Andrew.
That’s exactly how I feel about Ali Express.
They did charge the money has been taken from the bank, I checked on the bank statement however do I get my money back within those 7-30 business days? and I don’t want to put a want to claim for fear of scammers this is my second use of this website recieved my two products than this happens twice or three times
Are you sure the money was taken from your account? Or is it just a “hold/reserve”?
As often times the bank reserve the money for transaction but do not take it from the account until merchant processes the payment.
Your order has been cancelled for security reasons. The fund for this order hasn’t been deducted by AliExpress. However, some banks may hold this payment, and the bank will reverse the payment for up to 7-30 working days before releasing back to the card holder. To avoid order cancellation in the future, please submit a claim for payment verification.
ReAdd To Cart Want to Claim
Can you explain this to me? Do I get my money back?
Thanks for your comment.
Your payment was refused so they didn’t charge you anything.
You need to submit a claim for payment verification so they can verify you’re the owner of the card.
Then you can place another order and pay.
Thanks for your comment & sharing your experience.
Could you tell us a little bit more on what happened?
As I have never had any problems with AliExpress and have found my best suppliers on Alibaba.com
Would be great to hear your story.
How much did Alibaba pay you to post this, you make me laugh. I bought from 29 suppliers and all of them sold me crap and 99% of the stuff did not work. When I requested a refund they just went quite and when I contacted Alibaba they told me they can’t do anything, but the scammers are still on Slibaba. So please use your check from Alibaba wisely, you’re probably one of the scammers trying to sell your crap.
I do not know why someone would post this. This is so demotivating for us beginners. Some people rely on ebay to make a living. Stop scaring us!!
Don’t worry, it’s just a troll.
trolls are not scary! 🙂
What you mean by crap?
What did you buy?
It’s really hard to believe that you kept buying from Alibaba for 29 (!!!) times if you were scammed every single time…
How true that is and funny actually because this person did kinda stick their foot in their mouth with the 29 suppliers thing! Lol I love how people make a fool outa themselves when trying oh so hard to make a fool outa you!!! Carma is a b**** and notice how they never replied back either! Hahahaha!!!
LOL, yes – that’s the most entertaining comment on my blog so far! 🙂
Do you have any ideal about the company called Universal Drop-Shipping Limited (UDS) based in Hong Kong, would it be reliable company to deal with?
I think I have heard about them but haven’t used them personally so can’t really give any advice on them…
Try searching for user feedback on Google.
I’m exhausted from all the research I’ve done about Alibaba & Aliexpress. I still haven’t ordered but I’m in contact with at least 5 different suppliers. I have to ask you something that no one wants to talk about or mentions and when I ask they simply re-direct me to my local customs agency. When you order say custom Jewelry and they say a brand like Swarovski but they tell you is a copy and you accept and in their package it doesn’t say Swarovski but it’s a copy of the same model when it goes through customs in USA is it possible that they hold it? Do you usually just order and not worry about when the products go to customs or do they arrive with an extra charge? How does it work? Another question you say don’t buy any brands but everything I’ve searched on Aliexpress or most everything says something like Tou ring it doesn’t say imitation but it let’s you assume it’s a copy of the real thing, well what if you don’t have a problem with that and you order it? One last question if you tell them to send it through DHL or Fedex do the mail carriers become instantly in charge of clearing customs when they arrive to USA?
Thanks for all your help I have two investors and my A*** is on the line here and I’m still so skeptical about ordering like everybody else so if you have ordered before and got your products that’s great!
Thanks for your comment. I will answer your questions one by one:
1) If there are no logos of Swarovski on jewelry itself, packaging materials, then it’s totally fine to buy such items. But you must make sure (ask supplier) that there are no Swarovski logos anywhere to be found. If there won’t be any logos, your items will pass customs with no problems.
2) Again, as long as there are no logos on the product or packaging, it’s considered as un-branded item and fine to buy/sell. With exception of items that involve patents and very rarely – trade marked designs.
3) Yes, if you send goods via courier, they will get your shipment through customs and simply invoice you for any taxes you should pay.
Hope this helps Andrea!
I am looking at buying some iPhone 6 plus to resale and seller is in ohillipines, any idea if they are legit phones coming from there or could you point me in right direction to get started please. Seller only takes western union or money gram so that’s a red flag according to you I need your help. Thanks.
You can’t get iPhones 6 on Alibaba, forget about it.
There’s shortage of them even for official re-sellers, so don’t think you can get them on Alibaba, or anywhere else for that matter.
Much fraud on alibaba express.
I have beeb doing much business on ali and aliexpress.
Many good sellers.
But there are many that try to rob you also. Alibaba dont do anything about it.
I have tryed many times to report but impossible.
It seems like alibaba don’t want to hear about it.
How do they do it.
Ok I try and want to order sets of tools.
Very good bargain 45 sets for 250 dollar each. 11250 dollar .
I want to pay by alibaba express.
Company tell me . Tell me your mail add.
On mail they tell me send mony by western union.
They all insists to be payed on western union.
There are many of them and i belive it is the same people is behind all sellers.
I dont send 11250 dollar to a compant that dont have an address or a telephone.
Hope someone that read this can do anything. Casew i have tried to complain to alibaba but they do nothing.
Best regards thor arne from norway!
i bought from company, they didn’t send the phone, ask for more money… After complains, alibaba told me there is nothing they can do. Alright. But what upset me more, same trader (didn’t even bother to change mail, skype) shows again, same offer again. That means no monitoring, just put on alibaba whatever you want and steal money from people. Not good for business.
nothing to add here really, you have been scammed by not knowing simple rules of this game.
Warning,Warning.Warning, Is that enough too get the point across. A fool and his or her money, well you know the rest. I was a fool. Don’t spend your hard earned money on a site that has shady sellers, and when you try to use the help department for a dispute, LOL……… These idiots are useless. SOOOOOOOO. Did you learn anything? I sure did.! but it cost me. Don’t let it happen to you.
I completely disagree with you on this Andrew. Alibaba is a website that really needs to be cleaned up. Is it the suppliers fault? Yes, but Alibaba clearly knows all these scams play out and instead of just telling buyers and suppliers they must start using paypal, they let the freedom take reign and scare away potential customers. If I am a buyer from America what’s the incentive to use Alibaba and not just find a wholesaler online? I know that if the wholesaler screws me I can sue him, yet with Alibaba you can get burned left and right and their aren’t any consequences. Alibaba will never be a leader in global trading(like it thinks it is) until it cleans itself up. It has great potential, but as of now it’s like swimming with sharks to find a deal.
Thanks for your comment.
The PayPal thing – it has two sides… As a buyer, of course, I prefer using it and always try to look for suppliers that take PayPal. BUT you also have to look at this from supplier side – do you know how many buyers SCAM suppliers on Alibaba using PayPal (charge-back via credit card company)? A lot… so it’s not that easy…
But of course, yes, I agree that Alibaba should do more on dealing with scammers, I’m not saying they’re perfect.
I brought smell proof and resealable bags from Alibaba and they are not smell proof and after you open them once they usually rip. I just had an anniversary of 3 years on ebay and never had a complaint and now these bags on which I spent $4000.00 on, that’s all I get are complaints and people wanting their money back which I don’t blame them. I emailed the person I dealt with and I have yet to get a reply. I had to take the bags off ebay because I won’t cheat people but I’m on disability and have a very sick wife and needed to much a little extra money and now I’m screwed because I put it on a credit card and now I’m paying over 20% interest for bags I can give away. So to everyone, stay away from Alibaba because they ruined my life.
I’m very sorry to hear that Kevin, but blaming Alibaba for your mistakes isn’t right either. It’s that particular supplier who screwed you up, not Alibaba.
With products like these it’s super important to order samples first, then increase orders gradually + with bigger orders, like $4000 one, do pre-shipment inspection before paying for goods, before they’re dispatched to you.
Once again, I feel your pain and can totally understand your frustration but you really need to be more careful when importing goods from China. This is business after all and every business comes with some risks It’s your job to minimise them.
Hi Thor Arne from Norway!
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, of course there are many scammers on Alibaba – that’s why I published this post to help people filter them out.
IF a company insists on taking ONLY Western Union, it’s a clear sign that something dodgy is going on. I would only use WU to pay for small samples some times and NEVER for real orders, even if it’s just few hundred dollars.
Hi Andrew, I am wisal from Pakistan,
I am also trying for some business, but i ask for a sample first.
What do say about a company which is “4th year gold supplier”.
They ask for transfer through Western Union, Pay-Pal or T/T.
I cant decide about its authenticity.
What’s the link to the company and what products are involved?
In general, if all looks good to you, un-branded goods are involved, and PayPal is offered – just place that sample order and see how it goes.