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New Alibaba SCAMs Exposed: Tips and Tricks for 2021!

August 2, 2021 by Andrew Minalto - 1521 Comments
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New Alibaba scams discussed in detail here.

“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?

Example of branded product not to purchase: PS4.

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 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.

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) 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
  • 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 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.

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.

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.

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. 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 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.

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.

Conclusion

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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  1. Hi Andrew,
    Almost reading half of the page here with your advice and tips, you have says many times that you have no problem with you dealings with those suppliers that you are dealing currently.

    [China or Hong Kong]
    You are right , if you want to buy and sell branded items don’t go to Alibaba or Aliexpress. This is not the place for us. But can you recommend us some of your no problem suppliers to us. I am sure your these suppliers , with their permission , are more happy and even give you a much better deal onwards if you recommend or word-of-mouth to buyers. I am not meant to rob your part of the profit [ which it shouldn’t be, like you say before, sometimes it good to have competition.] Anyway they are so many thousands of products in the world, we may not even closed to each other. Just for example, elecronics parts alone, it is so big.

    [Not from China or Hong Kong]
    Okay , I am more inclined to real original products if I were able to know where to get it. I prefer more on Western or Euro countries. After reading your comment above regarding ipad, phones like Samsung S5, even I found one or you give me the correct place to contact with, I don’t think I will get it because I will start with small to slightly big type of business. You know what I mean. I have try calling PMD Microderm product from US, they don’t seem to want to entertainmnet us during the conversation. I guess the only drawback is the time to reach here fast.

    I believe you are more on UK based. I am from Australia, probably it is too high after dollars conversion.

    Any highly reliable recommended link suppliers from you from China that you are using for years now doing drop shipping professionally. You know what I mean. If I can’t trust buying bulks in China [ Alibaba or Aliexpress], at least if you help me by introducing some good and honest drop shipping supplier.

    p.s. To cut short, I got cheated or daylight robbery, you might say that from China suppliers two times recently. Their tracking ID are faked and have no emails reply anymore..

    Hope to hear from you soon at my this email. Thank you for your prompt reply.

    Have a nice day.

    Yours,
    Elvin

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Elvin,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Unfortunately I can’t help you as I don’t deal with dropshippers at all – for reasons explained in this post:

      http://andrewminalto.com/dropshipping-business-model/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  2. How likely is it that Chinese suppliers will agree to Open Account terms (e.g. 60 days) if the buyer is small, but with a strong credit history that can be easily verified? Alternatively, what is the experience with Alibaba’s e-Credit Line as a means of avoiding scams (still 20% exposure?)

    We are a Canadian printing company looking to buy copy paper from manufacturer or wholesaler. We would only purchase one container load at a time.

    In response to our RFQ posted with Alibaba we have received almost two dozen quotes with wide variation in price and terms. Some are attractive but – given reports of widespread fraud – we are reluctant to commit.

    It would seem far easier for legitimate Chinese exporters to authenticate buyers in G8 countries than vice-versa. A small price premium in exchange for Open Account terms would be well worth the extra comfort.

    Good article and posts. Thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      What you could try is getting a letter of credit from your bank. Most large suppliers will take it for orders worth more than $50k or so.

      I haven’t personally used e-Credit Line so can’t comment on that.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  3. i am looking to order some towels and bedding could you put me on to a good safe supplier please.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Just go to Alibaba or Global Sources and search for these products. These are not high risk items so if you follow my tips, you shouldn’t have any problems finding many good suppliers for these goods.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. pierre richard gerard

    i from haiti and i wanna have something that provide me a little daily income,i found alibaba on google and i saw a beautiful used bus that i could purchased and have it shipped to haiti that will cost 8500 us dollars,price of the unit and shipping cost included,but i’m really scared to invest that money and lose it because that’s all i have and if i lose that money life will be extremely hard for me

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I wouldn’t do it, no.

      Way too risky, especially if you have no experience with doing such deals.

  5. sharvinzlife

    Hi Andrew,
    I read your article and it was awesome, it helps all the people around there to be in the right track to do trade on Alibaba. I’m looking for solar mobile chargers, and I found few and one that attracted me doesn’t meet up much criterias as you mentioned on your post. But still it seems legit and good, when I looked up on their store and visited their website. Could you please confirm it for me, here are the links: http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/rapid-charging-solar-charger-battery-power_1720889560.html

    http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Top-new-quality-waterproof-outer-power_1804386234.html

    And also with Escrow Payments payment mode is only through credit card?

    Thanks in advance, you’ve been great out there ! 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      That company looks ok to me at first glance.

      Get some samples ordered, pay via PayPal and see how it goes.

      Escrow – you can also fund Escrow transactions via Money Bookers (Skrill), wire transfer and Western Union.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  6. Hello Andrew,

    I want to manufacture our company fitted t-shirts and yoga pants in China but don’t know how to start. Do I send a sample and then do they send swatches of fabric that is available and how do I know if a factory sews well, do they make the patterns and send them to me to see if it is correct. Also.to begin I will only have a small lot do they have a minimum of what they will make?
    Any information will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Trisha,

      China is NOT the place to go if you only need small batches done. In China, sewers will want much higher orders.

      So your best bet is to find a local sewing company or someone in Easter Europe for example who can do small batches.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  7. […] For more information on this please check out my previous guides on importing and sourcing from Alibaba. […]

    1. Hi, my name is Shaheed. I purchase .5. Pcs of yamaha enduro #48hp the.coast $5,00.00.from alibaba
      Payed in full never received my product,it bin a month and half and they keep asking for more money.
      Alibaba is a fraud company.they set up fraud company. No one should purchase from alibaba. (Shaheed anif) right now I am trying to get back my money

      1. i really feel sorry for your experience, but you can not say alibaba is a fraud company, it just provides a trader platform like ebay, amazon, they can not check every oder, sales….

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Shaheed,

        You have been scammed and most likely will never see your money or motorcycles you ordered…

        Unfortunately you didn’t learn more about importing from China before making such obvious mistake – you CAN’T get branded goods in wholesale from Mainland China! And it applies to Yamaha too of course.

        Andrew

      3. Hi. Ive recently come across this site to learn how to list products correctly on ebay. However, I learned about Alibaba from the Startup Bros, BUT Ive come across all of these negative posts about Alibaba. I want to share my experience and a little background. I got the idea to buy from Alibaba from the Startup bros. I am VERY POOR and actually had to sell my sewing machine and serger to get started. I am telling this to stress how poor I actually am. I read the page over and again and finally took the plunge. I followed everything they said to do which is similar to what is being taught here. I started with less than $400. The first order I made was to two different companies.(samples, free but paid shipping) The furst priduct was dresses and they shippex the dresses but they were different frim pics but similar. 2nd order was perfect. Sold items and have ordered from them twice again. So far the dress problem is the ONLY problem I have ad so far. The point for my rambling is to show that Anyone can achieve some level of success from Alibaba IF they follow these simple instructions from Andrew and the Startup bros. You just have to do your homework. Its right here in front of you. USE THE TOOLS! I just want to say Thank You Andrew for your advice. Sorry any mistakes in post.

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Many Thanks for your comment & Good luck with your new venture!

      5. Thanks so much. I actually have a question also. When ur dealing with UNBRANDED products and u pay to add ur name to the product, what is the real way to legitimately turn that name uve added to the product into a brand? For example, if i purchase a generic product from them that anyone can buy and get my name added to product and packaging (which helps you have ur own detail page on Amazon), how do i make it legit/legal brand. Now, I am no where near this aspect of business, but I do have some ideas and I also think this part of it is very interesting.
        -Any advice u could provide will be very helpful.

      6. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Astin,

        Please check out this branding guide:

        http://andrewminalto.com/product-branding-guide/

        Thanks,
        Andrew

      7. Adam burton

        Hi Andrew i am about to order 6 mini petrol jeeps for the sum of $6200 from a 8 year gold seller, but he says that i cant pay through Alibaba as they don’t have the permit to export. so he wants me to pay directly into his company account???
        should i do this??? he has now said i can pay 30% up front then the remaining 70% when he sends me pictures of my order???
        Please help

        Thanks Adam….

      8. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Adam,

        I can’t tell you whatever you should do it or not, there are many things that can go wrong.

        If it’s your first order, I would insist on using Alibaba Trade Assurance or PayPal for the payment.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  8. I just bought some items on alibaba, and i bout 6 units, they provides tracking numbers too, but they told me a day later they put extra stuff in there and for me to pay it. the packages is moving but there is this question on the back of my mind, help please

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It sounds like a scam to me – if they ask for more money to get goods through customs etc. – then it’s 100% SCAM!

  9. Hello Andrew,
    I really love your article and appreciate the time and effort you put into just make sure people don’t get rip off while making deals on Alibaba. You did a great job sharing these tips that people should follow to identify scammers. However, I would like to hear your opinion about my personal case. I was searching on Alibaba for a product called Vivofit. Vivofit is a Garmin fitness band. While searching to buy it in bulk, I came across few “sellers” and none of them have a reliable Alibaba’s seller profile. I contacted one from Indonesia that says the product will be shipped from US. He is offering free shipping and agreed to sell a sample. However, the payment method he said we will use is Paypal and the payment is going to an email address. How secure it is to purchase making payment to an email address through Paypal? I spoke with the Paypal’s customer service and they said to me that if the seller agreed to make the transaction through Paypal, I shouldn’t be worry because it means that they (PayPal) has all the Bank information of the seller. ( I m wondering if Paypal will reimburse my money if I got screwed) Any advice from you or any value reader will be greatly appreciated! Also, if you know a source that I should contact to purchase in bulk this product please let me know. Also, please check the seller page that I’m talking about and please let me know your opinion based on their seller profile. Here this is their link:

    http://id101664155.fm.alibaba.com/

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Luis,

      It’s 100% SCAM, STAY AWAY!!!!

      That price is simply too low, un-real for such a popular, branded item. And the free Alibaba profile – no, no and no!

      Items like these you can only get from authorized Garmin dealers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Andrew,
        I sincerely appreciate your honest and prompt response! I’m glad I came across your website and reviews. You just saved me from losing some good amount of money. I almost became a victim of these SCAMMERS but thanks God I found your website and posted a question about the big mistake I was about to make. Please keep this type of topic alive because the same way I was about to lose my money from this scammer that presume to be a seller on Alibaba, I know probably there are people out there losing money daily simply by not knowing how to identify fake sellers that are screwing up people on Alibaba and in other Ecommerce sites. Keep up the good work. God bless you and thanks again!!!

      2. Andrew Minalto

        You’re welcome Luis!

        And good luck with the business!

        Andrew

  10. There were Nikes on for $60 and I bought them. Do you think they will be fake? Also, they didn’t come in yet and I cancelled as soon as I saw this. Will they charge my card unauthorized? She asked me to uncancel. Reply back, fast please/

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      Of course they are 100% FAKES! You can’t get genuine Nikes or ANY kind of branded products from China.

      If you cancelled the order before dispatch, you should get your money returned to your card.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. I checked all the signs and they were real. I’m not sure if they came from China but, they’re real.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        What signs you checked?

        I mean – good Chinese copies are almost identical to originals, you have to have real shoes side by side to see the difference.

      3. Andrew

        There are a lot of GM nike stuff in china nowadays. They use the same materials and practices nike uses but they are unauthorized to produce the item. As far as quality and authenticity they are the exact same shoes.

      4. Andrew Minalto

        yes, that could be the case here…

        But there are many poor quality copies in China too, way more than authentic stuff.

      5. The SKU number was the same as the box number. It came in an original Nike Box and was wrapped in a perfectly brand new sealed Nike bag. Nothing about it seemed off. It said it was made in Vietnam.

      6. What do you mean before dispatch? She said they already arrived in the U.S. and told me to uncancel. What do I do?

      7. Andrew Minalto

        open a case on Ali Express and ask for your money back:

        http://www.aliexpress.com/buyerprotection/seller_guaranteed.html

      8. I got them in the mail. They were real Nikes.

      9. Andrew Minalto

        How do you know they’re real?

        if they came from China, they’re fakes.

      10. How can I do that?

  11. We’ve had success on Alibaba and saved money on equipment for our jobs by getting it from a Chinese supplier, rather than our local supplier. But for me, personally, Aliexpress has been a nightmare. The customer service is absolutely pathetic – essentially non-existent – you have to rely on robots and pre-written articles to help you with bad vendors. Perhaps the biggest problem I see on Aliexpress is that Chinese vendors come from a culture where counterfeits seem to be held in as much regard as their legitimate, branded counterparts, and when I raise an issue of having received a counterfeit, the response usually contains the sentiments, “So what? You don’t like it? Why don’t you like it?” They don’t seem to understand that in the West, it’s not just about quality, it’s about the brand (even those vendors that advertise their counterfeits behind the reputation of a brand).

    Anyway, thanks for the great advice, will certainly add that to my filter for finding suppliers.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing your experience with us Ben.

      Absolutely, you’re right. And that’s the reason why you should STAY AWAY from any kind of branded items on Alibaba and Ali Express. They are all fakes, illegal copies and simply not worth dealing with.

      Andrew

  12. Hi Andrew,
    I am planning to purchase from this company. Can u pls look at their website and let me know what u think abt them.

    http://kephy.en.alibaba.com

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alyzeh,

      Looks like a typical trading company.

      Your biggest problem/worry will be product quality, as with any clothing products so make sure to start with a small sample order and constantly monitor product quality.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Alyzeh

        Hi Andrew,
        Thanks for the reply.
        Can I have ur email address so I can seek ur advice about 2-3 suppliers on Alibaba. I have been doing some research for sometime now.
        And for sure ill order samples first, but the weird part is that one of them said I have to order 5 different sizes per design even for samples! This particular company is 5 yr Gold supplier.
        Regards .

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Alyzeh,

        You can contact me here:

        http://help.andrewminalto.com/Tickets/Submit

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  13. Hi Andrew

    Can you please let me know the product quality (or at least a guide how to verify) of this 4th year gold supplier Shenyang Jishi Dongfang machinery – http://www.dfexporter.com, planning to order $ 10,000 to $15,000 worth of kitchen equipment for my new restaurant, I don’t want to end up with poor quality products

    I researched for their product quality, couldn’t find any reviews, other than their own trade websites, will highly appreciate your help

    Thank you for your time
    Afeef

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Afeef,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Buying such commercial kitchen equipment from China without seeing/testing machines is very risky in my opinion. I personally wouldn’t do it. I would look for local distributors in your country where you can visit a showroom, check out machines, have proper warranty in place etc. etc.

      If ordering from China, you should really go to the factory – visit them in face to check out everything. That’s the only way you’ll know for sure you get what you need.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew

        Thank you for your valuable advise, unfortunately I live and work in Papua New Guinea, where kitchen equipments are ten times the price, will try to source from Australia if I cant find the time to visit China

        Best regards
        Afeef

  14. Hi Andrew,
    I am looking for buying micro sd cards from alibaba but most of the supplier email me from personal email and write the company name as gold supplier. they use the name of gold supplier and have their own website.

    please suggest where I can get the branded micro sd cards in India
    Anil

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anil,

      Thanks for your comment.

      You CAN’T get genuine, branded Micro SD cards in wholesale from Mainland China, forget about it. If you spot such cards advertised on Alibaba, they’re copies/fakes and illegal to sell.

      For branded memory cards you’ll want to look for a USA or UK based wholesalers/distributors or even in India – look for large, local wholesalers who deal with branded computer accessories.

      Forget about China.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  15. Hi Andrew,

    I’m a very skeptical first time Alibaba buyer! I am looking at buying saddles and equestrian products from a company in Pakistan called Saddle De Riders All dealings with them have been positive so far, they have a website http://www.saddlederiders.com and immediately mentioned accepting paypal payments without me having to request it. My only hesitation now is that they only have a Gold rating for one year! All great companies have to start somewhere but I’m worried of being scammed! Their profile is http://m.pk1016710987.trustpass.alibaba.com/company_profile.html

    1. Hi Chris, I too am looking at equestrian gear. How did your business work out with pakistan?
      I’m dealing with a company now but am reluctant to accept the western union transfer.

      Thanks 🙂

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Chris,

      I usually try to stay away from 1st and 2nd year suppliers on Alibaba but that doesn’t mean that they’re scammers.

      Their website looks quite good and Alibaba profile too.

      Your best bet probably is to make a small sample order and see how it goes.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  16. Hello,

    I have been very interested in buying a couple of tablet samples for my bussiness.
    Do you think this supplier is legitimate? http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Cheap-HOT–Allwinner-A13-Android_1154681998.html

    I have also recently bought anoter tablet on aliexpress, and it says my ordr has been frozen. Should i cancel the pending payment to aliexpress on my bank account just to be safe, or will that cause further problems since their ecommerce service has my card details.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      With tablets it’s really hard to say anything as the quality of them is a huge problem… if they’re very cheap, probably they’re not good, no matter how legit supplier looks. If you just need few tablets, better buy them on Amazon or same eBay, from a reputable seller with a warranty.

      As for your other order – what you mean by frozen?

      1. Hello Andrew,

        I forgot to tell you the order that is “frozen” is on aliexpress. I got an email from aliexpress stating that my order had been frozen because the supplier had sent a fake tracking number, and that they were currently investigating. There is no longer a way to cancel the payment and avoid the annoyance of asking for a refund now though.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        then you simply have to wait for Ali Express to finish their investigation. If the seller is fraudulent, you’ll get your money back.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  17. Ok
    Maybe it’s being mentioned above already but I want to brand my own lighting which will obviously be made in china for re- sale e commerce in the U.K.
    The little communication I have done with potential suppliers , they just agree to everything I request and never saying no( weird)

    Do I have my product(s) stamped with logo and barcoded in china ? Or is it up to me to have this done when goods are received in the uk.
    I have gotten the idea from who will be my competition when I witnessed him boxing his own product soon after it arrived
    Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Steve,

      Ideally you want Chinese manufacturer to brand items for you as it will be cheaper to do in China than in UK + you’ll save yourself time & extra hassle. Just make sure you approve samples first, before mass production begins.

      Check out my branding guide for more tips & information on this process:

      http://andrewminalto.com/product-branding-guide/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  18. If a company doesn’t accept Escrow, but will accept Paypal, does that necessarily mean something is amiss? Or should all Alibaba vendors accept Escrow no matter what?

    I haven’t found out yet if this vendor accepts Escrow, but I wanted to get your take before I get a response.

    Thank you for your hard work!

    JD

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi JD,

      No, not at all.

      Escrow is usually accepted only on larger orders so the fact that company doesn’t take Escrow doesn’t mean something dodgy is going on (for this reason alone).

      PayPal is totally fine to use and usually a good sign that company is legit and won’t scam you. Always fund the PayPal transaction with your credit card so that in worst case of scenario you can do a charge-back with your credit card company.

      But all in all PayPal is my preferred payment method when doing business with suppliers in China as it’s quick & safe + money you make on eBay will already be in your PayPal account.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Man, you have rally set my mind at ease — but I promise to only hold you responsible for that, not the transaction. 😉 Thanks for the response! It really was helpful.

  19. luke hannaway

    Hi to all as I heard Alibaba.com is being floated on the US stock exchange at about$190 Billion, join myself and others to show everyone that this company is the biggest internet fraud on the planet and put it where it deserves to be.
    Check out “change.org” this will get a petition going and bring it to trade secretary Vince Cable in the UK, but other countries members can use it to there advantage and show there own congress men.
    thank you for your time reading this.
    Luke Hannaway

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks Luke for your comment.

      Have you been personally scammed by Alibaba.com?

  20. paul elson

    i have been a recent victim on alibaba I purchased some bianchi bikes from eastern Europe, turns out my money was getting cashed in Ghana and the items never existed I was stung for 1000 pounds

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Paul,

      Sorry to hear that…

      But branded goods and Alibaba? No wonder you got scammed as you basically can’t get branded goods on Alibaba and scammers work mostly with branded goods as there’s more demand for them.

      Was it a free profile as well?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  21. I’m just an ordinary end-user with undeniable success on purchases from China from eBay and Amazon. I’ve lurked around AliExpress for a long time now never feeling the urge to take a plunge until recently when I noticed their highly proclaimed “Buyer Protection”.

    Just like Paypal, these consumer services can feel more like marketing devices than actual protection. I’ve been in several disputes (with Paypal) and have always won but the time and effort to receive compensation feels utterly arduous to call a real victory.

    If this is the case for a well established US company, how much worse can it be for a company riddled with a checkered past?

    Naturally, I’ve been trying to research anyone with end-user experience with AliExpress’ Buyer Protection and have yielded zero positive experiences. This would lead anyone to believe Alibaba is protecting what’s most important – profits and subsequently, their Chinese counterparts.

    While doing this research, I landed on this blog and found useful information to prevent myself ever having to use their Buyer Protection service. I feel that Alibaba has long ways to go to ever become a safe marketplace for everyday consumers. With the recent news about Alibaba’s IPO giving a shock to eBay and Amazon’s stock, I highly doubt there will be any real trouble until they fully legitimize themselves, but I digress.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I have never relied on buyer protection on PayPal, eBay, Ali Express, charge-backs etc. etc. What I do instead is use common sense, study the platform and ONLY purchase low risk items from well established reputable sellers. And to this date I haven’t had a single problem. And I order a lot.

      Sure, things do go wrong from time to time BUT in case of Ali Express, reputable sellers almost always will try to resolve the situation, do exchange, refund or re-ship goods as they want to keep their account in good standing.

      Obviously, it would be great to have a 100% buyer protection by Ali Express but knowing how long it took PayPal to get there, not sure a Chinese company can ever achieve same level.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  22. I have made a purchase through alibaba and before I have purchased the products that I ordered I chatted with customer service for at least 45minutes getting them to tell me which company is legit or a scam after some time of researching with the recommendation of alibaba representative I made a purchase when the money was sent via western union. The company XSELL LOGISTICS Limited Wayne McCann mccannwayne33@gmail.com. told me that they have sent 100 units instead od 50 and would like me to pay or they will stop my order. So I sent more money thinking that everything would be fine because I was reliying on the alibaba representative that told me they are a legit company and they have no problems. Later I was out of State and an email came to me saying that the order is delayed due to customs in Canada. To send him 700 dollars for custom fee. I was getting suspisous so I made a few phone calls and customs didnt know were to find my product as they said to many products come from different countries so I was confused. I chatted with alibaba again they told me good company no problems. My heart was not in place but I believed alibaba. after a week XSELL LOGISTICS Limited told me that my package was in hawaii than it was in Fairbanks, Alaska. I checked the Tracking Number every day and sure enough it was in fairbanks. I called the company that he told me were my product was and they could not find anything I called all the shipping companies to see if my package was there and it wasnt found. I chatted with Wayne as he told me I need to pay another 150 dollars and my product would ship to me I refused to pay him the funds as I have paid over 150% of the product I ordered. as invoice said no custom fees no shipping fees and to this day he wants the money. The tracking number I dont even know if is it any good any more. I cant even find the company to look for my Tracking Number I have no way of finding the XSELL LOGISTICS SERVICES any more and cant even track my package. I complained to the alibaba first time they just srugged me off pushed me away closed my case in 24 hrs. I then made another claim giving them all my emails and invoices but alibaba still pushed me away saying that I dont have enough documentation. I was so frustrated with alibaba. what alibaba told me we cant help you but please dont make it not buying from us again. I got even more frustrated as they were not helping with multiple attempts I chatted with more than 5 representatives as they said they would help me but I never got help from alibaba. Everytime I email them or talk to them they push me away further into deprestion as I have lost over 10,000.00 US Dollars relying on Alibaba. The experiance was horrible and the service is aggrivating and very frustrating. The worst experiance I ever had in my 25 years that I have been doing business. I relied on ALIBABA companies advice, Lost over 10,000 US dollars, Got Pushed away from Alibaba company as they have said they cant help, And the stress they involved in me and my family is unbearable. I think I never had white hair in my 25 year business carrier until I dealt with Alibaba. So my advice Is do not deal with Alibaba until they fix there problems . the best company to buy from is Not ALIBABA. There is great greif involved dealing with ALIBABA. I still to this day cant find my packages and Wayne still emails me saying give me more money or I dont receive my product. I have asked him to refund me multiple times to no avail. just give more money thats all they say. My advice to the buyers dont buy from ALIBABA until they shape up there company and figure out there flaws there are other companies to deal with if buying from foreign countries.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Karl,

      Thanks for you sharing your story with us.

      I’m really sorry to hear you have been scammed on Alibaba but you really should have checked more info before placing an order.

      You breached two golden rules:

      * Non Gold member (who isn’t even registered on Alibaba anymore).

      * Paid via Western Union

      These two are big NO NO!!!

      I don’t know what kind of goods were involved in this transaction but even if they were un-branded, you should never pay via Western Union and deal with a free member on Alibaba.

      What you describe is a classical online wholesale scam and unfortunately you fall for it because you simply didn’t know what you’re doing.

      And I see Alibaba’s fault here too – they shouldn’t tell you that this company is safe to deal with! This is actually first time I hear they’re giving such advice…

      Andrew

  23. Hi Andrew.

    After spending almost 4 year off & on (& mostly being scared off reading about all the scams) I have finally took the plunge & made 2 purchases from aliexpress.
    I got a message (after it said payment accepted) saying that I had been refunded (on just one of the purchases but not the other?) for security reasons.
    The thing is, they are asking me to provide a copy of my driving license, a Bank statement & the front & back of the card used to make the purchase (they say I can hide some of the numbers on the front, but what about the 3 security numbers on the back?? I defo do not want to be giving that info to them)
    Does this sound right to you? I am very wary about sending all that id info to them.
    Also I have a paypal mastercard which is what I used to make the purchases & not a credit card, is this a good option do you think?
    TRegards
    Darren

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Darren,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I wouldn’t personally give 3 security numbers either… Even though without full card number they’re useless…

      Are you sure they ask for FULL scan of back of the card with all 3 numbers shown?

      This is first time I hear about this…

      If there’s no way around this, I would simply get a pre-paid credit card which you just top-up when you need to make the payment.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Darren

        Hi Andrew.

        Thankyou for taking the time to reply.
        Yeah they asked for a copy of both sides of the credit card used, & only say that if I am am worried I can hide the middle numbers on the front but must keep the last four digits on the front visible.
        They dont mention anything about being ok to hide any of the numbers on the back.
        I have been looking around on the net, & there appears to be quite a few others had the same thing happen & when asked about it on forums etc all are told Not to provide any of it & to look elsewhere to buy, but I felt that of all other places Aliexpress was probably the safest option for someone new to buying from china.
        On aliexpress mother company, Alibaba’s own forum someone asked the same question & this was the response of another buyer.
        “The only reason anyone asks for this is for identity theft. Don’t fall for it as it looks like an obvious fraud attempt. If anyone asks for a copy of your id and credit card statement as part of a transaction report them to your local police computer crime unit.
        Certainly do not send these documents and find another supplier.”
        Trouble is that as a small online seller & not one of the Big ebay type powersellers, I need to be able to make smaller purchases & feel a little safer doing it, until I’m more experienced & can trust the sellers i deal with, which is why I wanted to start with aliexpress.
        If I use a prepay credit card instead, but still need to provide all other id, in your experience & more clued up expert opinion than mine, do you think it will still be okay to provide the other ID asked for??

        Regards
        Darren

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Darren,

        If you ask me, I’d say that a prepay card will be safe, even if you need to prove your identity.

        I have personally done this many times with USA based wholesalers who also want to verify identity for card purchases before they dispatch orders.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

      3. Joe dalas

        If a company on ali express has only one feedback score received this month and is signed up for more then 3 years is that a trusted company?
        Thank You

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Joe,

        No, I wouldn’t buy from a seller on Ali Express with just one feedback.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

      5. Darren

        Okay great Andrew.

        Thanks for taking the time to reply & help myself & others with your expert advice.
        I appreciate that you must be a very busy person, so taking time out to reply so quickly is really appreciated.

        Regards
        Darren

      6. Andrew Minalto

        You’re welcome Darren!

  24. Theoseveios

    We have suspended this seller’s account because we detected unsafe trading activities. All of your pending orders with this seller have been frozen for your security.

    We have asked this supplier to provide supporting evidence, such as shipping documents and qualification certificates, within 3 working days. Normally, it takes 15 calendar days to close the case.If the supplier is unable to provide the evidence or if the evidence is insufficient, we will close the order and process the refund for you.

    We apologize for this inconvenience. At AliExpress we are committed to ensuring you enjoy a safe shopping experience. We will continue striving to improve.Your understanding and cooperation are highly appreciated.

    WHAT DO YOU THINK? WILL I TAKE THE MONEY BACK? ANYONE ELSE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM? THANK YOU…

    1. Andrew Minalto

      From the sound of it – yes, you’ll get your refund.

      They’re investigating the case so if the seller tried to scam you, you should get your money back.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  25. I’m interested in buying LG LCD panels on Alibaba, but I’m hesitant to import panels from China because of possible defects, however the price is half what I can find elsewhere.

    What do you think of this seller: http://jyhk.en.alibaba.com/product/699566380-212146889/LM270WQ2_SLA1_LCD_.html?edm_src=sys&edm_type=fdbk&edm_grp=0&edm_cta=read_msg&edm_time=realtime&edm_ver=e

    A 4 year gold supplier, but doesn’t have much other info or any complaint history/feedback that I can find.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi There,

      You probably want to do the inspection first:

      http://inspection.alibaba.com/

      Then, if all looks good you can make a small test order, check goods etc. When doing full order, again – get pre-shipment inspection done to check all products and confirm that they’re in working condition.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  26. Philip Beauford

    Hi,
    Ive bought plenty from both Alibaba and Ali-Express, with no major problems and great inventory. However my question now is how do we try to sell our stuff BACK to china and other countries. We sell used iPhones, smartphones, iPods, iPads etc.. and I have been looking for safe ways to export these devices for years now. I tried posting some iPhones on Alibaba but they took them down because they had the Apple or iPhone brand in them. But I see the iPhone brand all over the site so Im not sure if its possible to use Alibaba to SELL/EXPORT back to china.
    I know how to buy from Alibaba, but is it possible to sell our high quality, high end used phones safely on either Ali-Express or Alibaba?
    Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Philip,

      Unfortunately I have no experience doing this so can’t really help…

      Theoretically you should be able to sell on Alibaba – you just have to get in touch with them and find out about rules/proof they need so you can sell branded iPhones there. Many HK based trading companies sell branded electronics on Alibaba, so it should be possible.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  27. Hi!
    Here’s a product I just found on impossible price:
    http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Brand-New-Sealed-Razer-Blade-RZ09-0102-i7-Core-256GB-8GB-14-2-2GHz/1763988390.html

    I think that they’re scammers but I’m not sure because they accept master card and there some buyer protection stuff also. I’m not really experienced in buying stuff on aliexpress so I’d really appreciate if you can take a look at this page and share your thoughts.
    Thanks! 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Andras,

      It’s a 100% SCAM! That price is un-real + you simply CAN’T get genuine, branded products from Ali Express.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  28. Alibaba is indeed a big SCAM, just like the company ENXUN who is a more bigger scammer.
    They sell poor quality products and it will brake within few weeks.
    When you contact the company contact person SKY, or BRIAN they will give you the blaim.
    They will say that YOU broke the camera and wont give any service at all.
    YOU WILL LOOSE MONEY, SO STAY AWAY FROM ENXUN!!!!

  29. […] can start with Alibaba as it’s the most popular platform. You can also read my Alibaba Scam Guide here to learn how to verify suppliers and avoid […]

  30. Good Morning:
    I have been reading your posts, I am a single 44 yo dad that is starting up a company on e-com and also inhome parties for products. I am very new to this world! My past experiences has been in the remodeling and building industries and having a 2.2 million dollar company in the past which was lost in a divorce with my ex wife of 16 yrs due to medical issues and almost loosing our daughter due to illness and then she took it all personally and became sick herself. Which caused her anger and leaving me with our son and nothing but the clothes on our backs. We have struggled and now tring to get back on my feet I have worked very hard and learning how to make a online buisness a success. I am seeking a mentor to help me where my budget is limited still tring to provide for me and my son. I have hosted with Hostgator and have a programmer building my e-com sight I am working with distrubators here in the US and abroad. Alot of this is really hard for me due to the fact I was always a hands on person not a computer person. I am seeking a mentor to help me provide for me and my family along with building a future finacial nest for my disable daughter that some day when she becomes of legal age my ex will want nothing to do with her and walk away. This is very stressfull along and very emotional. I would like to chat with experts in this field to assure I am doing this right. Not Loosing the little I have to rebuild. I know god will help guide me on the right road.
    Thank you
    Trying Dad

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Roy,

      Thanks for sharing your story with us…

      I would recommend you checking out all of my past guides from this page:

      http://andrewminalto.com/start-ebay-business/

      Plenty of start-up material there.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  31. Hello, is a scammer able to fake the gold supplier label? I’m looking to order from 2 companies that look pretty legit according to your guidelines however one of the companies opened in 2013. I asked them to send me their business bank account info and I’m a little nervous because the beneficiary name is a persons name and not the company name. But at the bottom it says…

    “Remark:
    The Correct Beneficiary Name is LI WEI instead of Yiwu Forher Jewelry Factory”

    Im not sure if this is good or bad… I also called the company and got a Chinese recording. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad either…
    Can you give me your opinion on these 2 companies?
    http://forherjewelry.en.alibaba.com
    http://holykay.en.alibaba.com

    Your help would be greatly appreciated

    Thank you,
    Eryn

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Eryn,

      Thanks for your comment.

      NEVER send money to a bank account on person’s name!!! ONLY company bank accounts should be used and nothing else.

      Both of these companies offer PayPal on their product pages, so why not use that instead? And as they have a MOQ of just 1 for some items, why not put together a small sample order and see how it goes?

      I would personally stay away from 1st company though as they’re just 1st year Gold Supplier. The second company look much better and is more established which should minimize risks of getting scammed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Andrew,

        Thanks a million! This is my first time importing and it’s a little nerve racking! You are so nice to answer all our questions and help people avoid getting scammed. One more question for you… Do you have any recommendations on shipping companies?

        Thank you,
        Eryn

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Take a look @ this guide which covers various shipping methods for imports from China:

        http://andrewminalto.com/how-to-import-products-from-china/

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  32. Janie Saunders

    Hi Andrew

    I wanted to buy some 3M 8210 N95 face masks. AliExpress.com was selling them significantly cheaper than anywhere else. Having read your article, I thought that they would probably be fakes but as Beijing has a well-publicised problem with air pollution, I also entertained the possibility that they might be genuine. The company’s name is Shenzhen xiangxing electronic co., Ltd. Store no: 508874. I’d welcome your opinion, Thanks.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Janie,

      Thanks for your comment.

      With 99% certainty I can say that those are FAKE 3M face masks. It doesn’t matter that these masks are being made in China – 3M would NEVER allow manufacturer to sell them directly to general public.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  33. I’ve been purchasing from several companies through AliExpress for a couple years now. I only had one experience where the product was defective and the company insisted it was good and wouldn’t replace it.

    My biggest complaint is that I can’t use my Washington state address. When I try to have items shipped I get the message that their Escrow Service isn’t legal in Washington State. I’ve tried to find out why, but haven’t been able to. Would you know why? Fortunately I’m right on the WA/OR state line and I can have my purchases shipped to a Kinko’s/FedEx in Portland for pick up.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Ken,

      Hmm, can’t help with this one as it’s first time I hear of such restrictions…

      Andrew

  34. Hi Andrew

    Ok, so I have been looking for an inflatables company in china for the past week solidly now. I have stuck to your main points as I agree that if they are all followed that everything should be fine! Please see the link: http://zzwinsun.en.alibaba.com/company_profile.html#top-nav-bar

    They basically meet all the requirements, but I am so worried due to the high amount of scammers on Alibaba that I just don’t know anymore! I have read the Supplier assessment reports (which run out in a couple of days) and everything seems legit. If I pay through the Escrow Alibaba service do you think the transaction should go ok?

    Thanks in advance, and for posting a very helpful article!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Josh,

      That company looks totally legit to me so it should be all fine.

      Andrew

      1. Hi Andrew

        Ok I thought so, thank you!

      2. martin

        hi
        Dont order anything of them … very poor quality product.

    2. Sorry, I also forgot to ask another question. I was also thinking it may be good to get them manufacturer to write my name on a piece of paper and put next to one of their products in a picture and send to me, however I do recognise that potentially some legitimate manufacturers may not bother with doing this simply because they feel they should not have to prove themselves to that degree. What is your opinion please? Thanks again

  35. Hello there i need help before i buy A gtx 780ti nvidia graphic card from ali express.

    The product costs $111 usd on ali express and $460 usd on amazon

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Peter,

      Stay away, it’s a FAKE not a real nVidia card.

      You can’t get genuine, branded products in wholesale from Mainland China, it’s impossible.

      Andrew

  36. Greetings,
    On March 10, 2014 I ordered a $300 product. 10 hours later on March 11, 2014, I cancelled the order because the product description was misleading so I decided that I did not want the product. The company refused to cancel the order and shipped the order although I requested on numerous occasions via Ali Express to cancel the order. On March 11, 2014 after the company refused to cancel the order, I contacted my Bank and opened a case regarding this matter. Between the dates of March 11, 2014 and March 20, 2014, I expressed to the company on even more occasions that I wished to cancel the order. The company refused and shipped the product on March 20, 2014. The packaged arrived March 25, 2014 and I have been instructed by my bank to return the package unopened to the sender/company and to obtain a package tracking number and the bank will handle the matter once the unopened package has been shipped.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      hmmm, not sure why you could not cancel the order automatically?

      In my experience, if goods are not shipped/marked as dispatched in AE, I can cancel the order WITHOUT asking supplier anything…

      You didn’t have that option?

      thanks,
      Andrew

  37. hey all,

    thank you for your shared thoughts and stories.
    there are sellers with no rating that have GREAT prices(3d printer,and some of them has 11 orders on some of their items,
    i want only one piece and the price is below two hundred dollars which is a way below the standard price at another golden or good rated companies,
    i am going to pay Via Alipay,so am i going to be protected?

    thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I would never purchase anything on Ali Express from a seller with no feedbacks at all.

      Especially high risk items like 3D printers.

      Andrew

  38. Hi Andrew,

    Thanks for your article. It is very useful for those who are not used to deal with Chinese. I run a trade company and I post my products to Alibaba and other internet trade platform. Though I agree most of what you say in your article, I would also like to mention that many small companies and private businesses, especially start ups, with their own products are not Gold Suppliers. I do believe there are many honest small businesses, like us, on Alibaba.

    I think the most effective way to avoid scam is to look at the payment terms and don’t be greedy. If you are offered unreasonable low prices and asked cash transfer to whoknows account, then you are in good chance to be scamed.

    Thanks
    Tony

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for your comment Tony!

      I’m also sure that there are many legit companies using free accounts on Alibaba, but unfortunately it’s scammers paradise too, hence I recommend avoiding free account users.

      Andrew

  39. Do NOT DO BUSINESS WITH http://www.kwwinnerapparel.com/en/. A man named Jerry took USD $2,000 from my company for garments and did not send me any product or return my funds as promised. He claims there was a tax issue and he cannot give my company back. This has been going on for a year and now his email bounced back! Scam artist company!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alan,

      Sorry to hear that & thanks for sharing this with my blog readers.

      Andrew

  40. Hi Andrew, great post.

    I have a question.

    I have quotes from two manufacturers/resellers in the same industry, I have been sent a PI with their payment info.

    Both suppliers have the same bank account details in Hong Kong. Is this a normal thing or should this be questioned further?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jon,

      Thanks for your question.

      It could be that they’re sister companies or something but obviously, it does ring alarm bells.

      Ask them directly about this and let’s see what they say.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Just waiting to hear back, will of course let you know what they say!

        Both companies seem legit from the outset. Both 3+year gold suppliers on Alibaba, one is listed on brands website as authorised reseller and the other is present at trade shows.

        They do have different prices for the same products though.

        Anyway, lets see what they say!

      2. I purchase rhinestones from 2 different listed companies and had them all come together. I correspond with 2 different people, but was told they are “sister” companies, and the products come from the same place. It actually makes it easier when I may just buy 1 item from one store and then have a larger order with the other. They combine it all so I only pay 1 shipping charge.

  41. hi i am denny. i never buy any goods from alibaba. i found 1 supplier called SS JOINT SUPLY http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Dymatize-ISO-100-5lb_164148436.html
    can u help me to identify if this is trusted supplier?
    thank you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Denny,

      Sorry, that link doesn’t work.

      Andrew

      1. the supplier said if they are trusted company. and they also give me some tracking numbers for tracking their previous transaction to prove that they are trusted. what do u think?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        what’s their Alibaba profile link?

      3. Andrew Minalto

        none of them are Gold Members on Alibaba and sell branded products – stay away!

  42. Margaret N

    Further to my post of 21st March, no reply from you. Are you able to help me escalate this dispute, please?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry Margaret but I don’t work for Alibaba or Ali Express so can’t help you really.

      You wan to escalate dispute to Ali Express so they deal with it.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  43. Hello,
    I am a beginner in this way of buying and I want to ask something:
    Does anyone has cooperated with: Shenzhen Factop Trading Co., Ltd ?
    Does anyone can give me information on that company?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Met,

      Do the usual checks explained in this guide/post – then get in touch and arrange sample order (if all looks good).

      If you receive sample and it’s all good, then you can think about placing a bigger order.

      And of course – stay away from any branded goods!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. In my case it comes to smartphone (Origianl Lenovo S750 4.5 Inch Quad Core SmartPhone IP67 3G GPS Android4.2) and I have discussed only for one sample.
        the company is 2nd year gold supplier.
        this company i can not find on globalsources.com

        so all these indications suggest me that the probability to be scam is large??

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Even Lenovo (a Chinese brand) is being copied so if the price looks too good to be true to you, probably they sell fakes.

  44. I have read this whole blog just about, I came from ioffer to aliexpress as I think the person I just bought from on ioffer is trying to rip me off, or could just be my paranoia. So I thought hey I’ll try aliexpress. Well I feel very VERY uncomfortable using my credit card or bank to pay to some escrow I have never heard of. I usually only deal with PayPal and that’s it. Are you 100% I can trust escrow? Will I really get my money back? I really wanted to use my PayPal funds though. Please I’m a mom of 3 kids I don’t have the money to be wasting. I just wanna buy something and not get ripped off. I did use PayPal on ioffer but seller won’t give me no tracking # and ok wondering if I should file a dispute on that now so I don’t get ripped off, although its only been 2 days. I just don’t wanna waste money. But yes please lmk of this escrow stuff is for real. I don’t need to be giving my card number to some weird Chinese person to have fun with.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Vanessa,

      If you want to stay 100% safe, please do not import anything from China as it always carries some risks. Just buy from local, trusted retailers and wholesalers.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  45. Margaret N

    I ordered 30 naked 18 inch dolls after buying a sample. Only thirteen are fit for purpose – i.e. to sell with extensive clothing wardrobes for children. The seller accepts that one is faulty with missing eye, four with body seam gapingopen, but two of these plus twelve others have hard dark lumps showing through the body covering and the seller believes these are ok because they’ll have say a dress over them. Have filed a claim, but though the Aliexpress website indicates I can escalate the claim in dispute, I cannot do this because there is no such option on my order page. I feel I am running out of time and I want Alibaba or Aliexpress to arbitrate in this matter. The latest thing is that the seller says I did not specifically order pure white filling, but I think the black lumps are the armature that allows the dolls limbs to rotate. In thirteen it is buried within the body stuffing, as it should be. I feel I have been given reject product and these faulty dolls are of no use to me and I seek a refund or replacement with first quality dolls.

    1. The 2nd samples that I ordered from Shanghai so fun sports equipment co. was not delvered to me. They sent me a tracking number but it was delivered to a different place and person. It is possible that It was not my tracking number or they have failed to send the goods. What should I do?

      1. Andrew Minalto

        You should contact them and explain the situation. It could be that they sent you a wrong tracking number but without asking – you can’t know for sure.

        So just get in touch with them and find out.

        Andrew

      2. I did contact them, for several times now, they just keep on telling me that they will check my order and update me on the same day. But they never do. I have been patient but it is a little bit frustrating, so I filed a dispute with paypal. Just when I was planning to gradually increase the number of my orders from them.

      3. Andrew Minalto

        Why didn’t you open a dispute with Ali Express first?

    2. Andrew Minalto

      the company looks all good.

      Only thing – is Backfire a BRAND? If so, it’s probably not Chinese, is it?

      1. It’s their own brand, according to them. They ask me to pay via western union. But I asked them if I could pay with paypal. I opted to pay via paypal. Thanks for replying man. 🙂

        Would you recommend getting a buying agent in alibaba?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        ok, good stuff!

        Probably start with a small sample order and see how it goes!

      3. do you have any tips to avoid being scammed on ali express?

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Roden,

        Yes, here are some tips on avoiding scams on Ali Express:

        1) Stay away from any kind of branded products, especially electronics, tablets etc.

        2) Buy ONLY from sellers with good, established feedback (at least 100 feedbacks with a positive rate of 95%+)

        3) Use traceable courier for all shipments!

        If you stick with these 3 guidelines, it will be very difficult for you to gets cammed on Ali Express.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  46. hi Andrew thank u very much for your write up, its really mind- opening. please I want to go into real bizness in alibaba. I will be majoring in shirts, jean trousers, flash drives and memory cards. could u please suggest some trustworthy suppliers that deal in these? I appreciate your help in advance. thank u big time

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I’m sorry but this is something you have to do on your own – find and evaluate suppliers.

      No one will give you these on a plate.

      Andrew

  47. I received a message on my cell. I do not give out my cell number to anyone I do not know locally. The message said, Call SC – Bank. Important Notification and gave the number to call. I have never heard of the bank. The number was missing a digit , only 9 digits. I traced the number to AliExpress. It is not possible to communicate with Aliexpress without joining first. Under the circumstances I would not do that, however I did find the so called phone number as a number of an item for purchase made in China. So at this time I am assuming that this seller from China sent me a false message to get me to call in an order for the item. But how did they get my cell number?

  48. I have ordered a supercard mini sd for my GBA from aliexpress, the item came but it does not work. The seller is ignoring all my messages, I opened a dispute for a fuul refund and the seller refused that. I opened again and the seller refused again. WHAT TO DO??? Thank you so much!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi there,

      If seller does not respond, you should escalate dispute to Ali Express:

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

      Andrew

      1. giorgos

        Will my money request be fullfilled by that? I am very disappointed.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hopefully yes, without a dispute you’ll never know.

      3. giorgos

        everything went all right. after I escalated the dispute, I sent the video evidence they ask me, and I got my money back. Unfortunately I do not have a working supercard, but at least I got my refund. Thanks everyone.

      4. Andrew Minalto

        Good to hear that!

      5. giorgos

        I just escalate dispute. I have the right by my side therefore I hope to get a refund.

      6. Andrew Minalto

        Good luck & keep us updated on how it all ends!

  49. Hi Andrew,

    Thanx for the useful tips & advice. Very handy!!

    Greetz
    Alwin

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Alwin!

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