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Top 10 Scams on Alibaba.com!

January 14, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 374 Comments
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top-10-alibaba-scamsEvery second email I receive from my blog readers is about Alibaba scams! It is that serious, yes. I already debunked the myth that Alibaba itself is a scam in my Alibaba Scams EXPOSED article BUT today I want to talk specifically about the most common scammer tricks and schemes you can run into when searching for a supplier on Alibaba.com.

Remember, these don’t apply solely to Alibaba but to all popular B2B platforms that involve a large number of wholesale suppliers from China. But as Alibaba is the most popular platform, I will use examples from there.

So let’s get started!

alibaba-scam-1
Alibaba SCAM Nr.1 – Sending FAKE branded goods!

This is without a doubt the most popular scam taking place on Alibaba! The saddest thing is that most people who get fake goods from a Chinese supplier don’t even realise it until eBay takes down their listing a while later.

How does this scam work?

Basically the supplier will sell you branded goods which are just copies of real products. This usually involves products like:

  • Clothing (designer clothing)
  • Footwear (especially Nike products, Timberland)
  • Electronics (mobile phone replicas, specialised electronics like Shure microphones)
  • Disney character items (bedding sets, mugs, kid’s clothing, toys)
  • Mobile phone cases with Apple, Samsung logos
  • Sports jerseys with team logos (Manchester United, Arsenal, NBA/NHL teams etc.)
  • DVDs, Software, Blu-rays, Fitness training programs (P90X etc.)
  • Cosmetics, fragrances (Max factor, MAC, Dior etc.)
  • And many others!

This can basically be ANY product with a well known Western brand name/logo/registered trademark on it.

How to avoid this scam?

SIMPLE – DO NOT BUY ANY BRANDED GOODS from Alibaba suppliers! ANY Chinese supplier for that matter!

What is a branded product? It’s a product with a well known name on it, like:

  • Apple
  • Nike
  • Sony
  • Pioneer
  • Gucci
  • Etc.

This also includes ANY kind of band, movie character or kids’ character like:

  • Batman
  • Spiderman
  • Frozen
  • Hulk
  • One Direction
  • U2
  • Etc.

All these are also classed as branded goods as to manufacture such goods, you have to buy a LICENCE from the Intellectual Property (IP) holder and pay royalty fees. Chinese manufacturers selling such products on Alibaba HAVEN’T paid licensing fees and simply use any popular images they can find and put them on these products. These are not genuine, licensed items and you can get into serious trouble selling them online.

While it’s true that most products these days are manufactured in China, it DOESN’T mean that Chinese factories sell them directly to everyone via Alibaba and similar platforms. Far from it! Brand owners monitor the entire manufacturing process very strictly and they do not allow any of their products to be sold outside their own distribution channels.

Genuine branded goods in China are actually more expensive than they are here in the Western world due to the high taxes the Chinese government has put in place (to support local business). So contrary to popular believe, an iPhone actually costs a lot more in China than in the UK or US.

Just to clarify, by China I mean Mainland China and I am not referring to Hong Kong based suppliers here. Yes, in HK you can get genuine branded goods BUT you still have to be extremely careful as there are also many types of scams associated with HK based suppliers, which we’ll cover later on in this post.

So if you’re looking for ANY KIND of branded goods, Alibaba is NOT the place to go! You want to look for US, UK or EU based official distributors/wholesalers for such goods, NOT China.

The only exception to this rule is IF the brand itself is a Chinese brand. There are some groups of products where Chinese brands actually lead the market, for example electronic cigarettes. In niches like these, yes, you can get genuine CHINESE BRAND products from Alibaba.

But even then be very careful as guess what? YES! Chinese scammers do also copy even the Chinese brands!! So you always want to get in touch with the brand owner first and ask whether the company you’re dealing with is an authorised re-seller of their goods.

alibaba-scam-2

Alibaba SCAM Nr.2 – Selling BRANDED goods but delivering nothing!

How does this scam work?

This is a very similar scam operation to the first one we covered but with one major difference; in this case once you send your money to the supplier and you never hear from them again. Yep, that’s right – you receive NOTHING in return for your money.

How to avoid this scam?

By following the same, simple rule – DO NOT buy branded goods from suppliers listed on Alibaba.com or from any supplier based in Mainland China!

Scammers are very smart and are always on the lookout for the newest hot product coming out, so they can build an entire website ‘selling’ that product. Even when the iPhone 6 was not yet released, there were already dozens of Chinese wholesale iPhone 6 websites up and running selling it for $300-$400. Or even better – buy 5 and get one free, plus free shipping! What an amazing deal to miss out on!

On Alibaba itself it is very easy – just stick with the rule of NOT buying branded goods and you have protected yourself from these 2 most common scams. But what if you have found a website selling branded stock? Here are few simple rules to follow:

1. If it looks too good to be true, it is. iPhones for $300, MacBooks for $600 – these are typical scammer prices. They’re UNREAL! They want people to believe that they have found a superb deal while in reality it’s a very cheap scam.

2. Check the domain name in the WHO IS database. If registration shows China, you know for sure it’s a scammer’s operation.

3. Check payment methods – if credit card or PayPal is not an option AND only Western Union or Money Gram is accepted, it’s a scam.

4. Check shipping methods – if they say shipping is via EMS, it’s a scam! (As EMS is a Chinese courier company).

5. Product variety – very often scammers sell a huge number of unrelated items, all on one website. With experience you can easily spot such scammers by taking a quick look at the product categories offered. If you see products like these selling on one website with too good to be true prices, it’s a 100% definite SCAM:

  • iPhones
  • Pioneer DJ Decks
  • Designer Handbags
  • Nike Air shoes
  • MacBooks

Usually genuine wholesalers selling designer handbags won’t also deal with iPhones, so this is a clear sign that you have found a scam.

To sum it up – branded goods and China just don’t go together. Just stay away from Alibaba and Chinese suppliers altogether if you’re looking for branded goods as you have an extremely high chance of getting scammed and receiving fake goods (or none at all).

alibaba-scam-3

Alibaba SCAM Nr.3 – Unverified Alibaba profile for a UK or US company!

How does this scam work?

Chinese scammers open a FREE Alibaba profile using the details of a legitimate UK/US/EU based company. They pretend to be that legit company to sell branded goods (any goods for that matter, even unbranded) and basically just take your money and never send you anything. These free accounts are NOT verified so there’s no guarantee that you’re dealing with the company whose name is on that particular profile.

How to avoid this scam?

NEVER deal with FREE/unverified suppliers on Alibaba! Simple!

I have said this many times before, you only want to deal with Gold Suppliers on Alibaba and the more established they are, the better. I personally try to stick with 3rd year + Gold suppliers and if you manage to find a 7th or 8th year supplier then the chances of you being scammed are incredibly small, provided you follow the other rules of course.

This isn’t as common but another trick scammers try is to clone the website of a genuine company, but change the contact details and try to scam people this way. The easiest way to spot these scammers is by doing a Google search for that company’s name as usually the genuine website will show up first.

Secondly, they will usually use Gmail or another free email service. Thirdly, when it comes to paying for goods, they will only accept payment via bank transfer to some weird bank account or the same old Western Union or Money Gram only.

alibaba-scam-4

Alibaba SCAM Nr.4 – Sending money to the boss’ bank account

How does this scam work?

When it’s time to make payment for your order, your supplier informs you that there’s a problem with their bank account and asks you to send money to the boss’ account, which is of course a personal account. You may get lucky and receive your order but in most cases they will simply scam you and send nothing.

How to avoid this scam?

This scam can happen even with legit suppliers sometimes when they try to avoid taxes by funnelling money to personal bank accounts. Either way, you DON’T WANT TO DO THIS so simply never send money to a personal account!

And even if there was a slight chance they are still legitimate, if any supplier offered this to me I would instantly stop communicating with them as the likelihood of getting scammed is just too high.

alibaba-scam-5

Alibaba SCAM Nr.5 – Asking for additional payment for customs clearance

How does this scam work?

A few days after you have paid for your order, your supplier will contact you and ask for additional payment to cover customs fees. If you don’t agree to pay, they say that they can’t get the goods out of China. Quite often they may also provide you with fake courier tracking numbers that have fake information about your goods being held in customs.

How to avoid this scam?

There are no such customs fees to pay when exporting goods from China so if you receive an email like this from your supplier, you have already been scammed and can say goodbye to the money you have already paid. Just accept the loss and move on. DO NOT pay anything extra as it won’t make any difference.

Very often these scammers go even further – once you pay that first additional payment, a few days later they will come up with another excuse that requires yet more money from you. They know that you’ve been played twice by them and they’ll try to milk you for everything they can!

As I said, as sad as it is, if you get emails like these, you have already been scammed and there’s nothing you can do about it apart from accept the loss and move on, and just try to learn from what happened.

alibaba-scam-6

Alibaba SCAM Nr.6 – Selling fake DVDs, software, video games, Blu-rays

How does this scam work?

Suppliers list DVDs, software, video games and similar media products. When you receive them, you find out that they’re cheap, pirated bootleg copies, which are illegal to re-sell.

How to avoid this scam?

DO NOT buy such items from Alibaba suppliers or any Chinese supplier for that matter. You can’t get genuine DVDs, software, video games or Blu-rays from China – they will all be pirated copies, nothing else.

This also includes specialised DVDs like Baby Einstein sets, P90X training programs and similar.

Alibaba has done a good job on filtering out such items over the last few years but chances are you can still find some listed there.

And the same rule applies to any China-based websites, of which there are tons online! Just use your common sense and do the same checks we covered in Alibaba scam 2.

alibaba-scam-7

Alibaba SCAM Nr.7 – Refusing to send samples.

How does this scam work?

When you contact a supplier to ask for sample availability and they say that they don’t do samples and only deal with bulk orders.

How to avoid this scam?

While this may not be a 100% sure sign it’s a scam, I would personally stay away from any such company that doesn’t offer samples.

Getting a sample is the first thing you want to do when you have found a new supplier – just to test the quality of the product and in general verify that this supplier is the real deal and can provide you with products you’re interested in. If they don’t provide samples, something dodgy is going on and it’s really not worth taking any extra risk in situations like these!

With most legit suppliers, they will happily send you a sample of their product if you cover the shipping fee. If the product is very cheap, they often won’t even charge for the product. If the product is more expensive, they may charge a premium price on the sample + shipping, which is understandable as they don’t want retail customers to simply purchase ONE item from them at the wholesale price.

Either way, a genuine supplier will have no problem sending samples over to you and if they don’t want to, for whatever reason, look for another supplier!

alibaba-scam-8

Alibaba SCAM Nr.8 – Only accepting payment via Western Union!

How does this scam work?

When you receive the Proforma Invoice, it says Western Union under payment terms, with information on who to send money to. This is a CLEAR sign that something dodgy is going on!

How to avoid this scam?

Do not send money via Western Union to a Chinese supplier!!! Period.

When you send money via Western Union, you send money to an individual, NOT a company, so you don’t really know where your money is going to end up. It could even be that a sales person working in a legit company is trying to scam you or simply that the supplier is a scam altogether.

Either way, the only payment methods you should be using when dealing with Alibaba suppliers are:

  • PayPal (ideal)
  • Alibaba Escrow
  • Bank transfer (wire transfer) to a company bank account (not a personal one).

The only exception to this rule is when you pay for samples. For samples, if the company looks totally legit to you and you’re not dealing with high risk items, you can use WU, yes, as it’s cheaper and quicker than bank transfer.

alibaba-scam-9

Alibaba SCAM Nr.9 – Selling FAKE memory products!

How does this scam work?

A supplier sells storage products (memory cards, USB sticks and similar) for great prices but when you receive them, you find the capacity is actually much smaller than advertised. For example, you buy 64GB USB drives and receive 8GB ones instead.

How to avoid this scam?

You have to be extremely careful when buying memory products from China as this scam is very, very popular. Everyone knows that the more GBs you get in the product, the higher the price is. But not everyone checks the REAL size of these products! Often, with this scam, the first people realise what has happened is when they get negative feedback from their customers on eBay!

To minimise the risk of getting scammed in this way, here are a few rules to follow:

1) Deal only with established, 5 year + Gold Suppliers.
2) Order samples and check the memory size for each product.
3) Make your first order as small as possible, check the size for all products and only if everything is fine, increase your orders gradually.

As for testing the actual capacity/memory size – it’s not enough that you put the card/USB in your computer and see that it shows 64GB. Scammers are smarter than that – they modify the electronic chips within the product so that it shows the inflated/fake memory size when it’s plugged into your computer!

What you need to do is use specialised software to check the actual memory size OR simply attempt to transfer the maximum capacity to see if it fits or not. So for example if you have 64GB USB sticks, transfer a 63GB file to it – and yes, this would take a LOT of time so if you’re serious about buying and reselling such products, I strongly suggest you invest in some decent diagnostics software.

Lastly – the same NO BRANDED GOODS rule still applies here! Don’t buy SanDisk, Sony and similar branded memory products from China, they will all be fakes! You can only buy unbranded memory products or your own brand memory products from China.

alibaba-scam-10

Alibaba SCAM Nr.10 – Invoice made to a personal bank account.

How does this scam work?

Very similar to the boss’ bank account scam – on the proforma invoice you’ll find that the bank account you need to send money to is a personal one and not the company’s account.

How to avoid this scam?

NEVER send money to a personal bank account!

If wire transfer is the only payment method available, make sure that it’s the company’s bank account ONLY and ensure that the company’s details matches what you see on their Alibaba profile.

Sometimes it can be different though – when a manufacturer uses a sister company, registered as a Trading Company, to deal with all export orders. In such cases, you should still be able to verify this information on their Alibaba profile or company website.

Conclusions

Well there you go – The 10 Most Popular Alibaba Scams! There are of course many more, smaller scams going on, but if you learn these 10 and stick with the rules published in this guide, you’ll reduce your chances of getting scammed to an absolute minimum.

Here are some final, general guidelines to follow when dealing with suppliers on Alibaba:

1) Do your homework. Follow my Alibaba SCAMS Exposed guide to filter out only the BEST suppliers. Cross check your supplier with all 10 scams listed in this post. Communicate with them, ask as many questions as you need to, order samples first and only when you’re 100% sure that this is the real deal and a genuine company; place your first real order.

2) If it looks too good to be true, it IS! I wish more people would follow this simple rule. Too often people get distracted by these impossibly low prices and the thought of the amazing profit they’ll make clouds their judgement… and the result is they’re easy pickings for the scammers out there.

As a general rule of thumb – you WON’T see miracle low prices on Alibaba unless you’re working with massive buying power (like ordering 10,000 units of the same product). In most cases you’re looking at an ROI of 20%-50% when re-selling these imported items. Sure, there are always exceptions but IF the price offered to you is ten times lower than what that item is selling for on eBay, then that’s a clear sign that something dodgy is going on.

3) If you don’t know what you’re doing, just don’t do it, seriously. I know that we all want to be successful and we all want to make good profits BUT some people forget that it takes some time and education to make the right decisions in business. If you’re totally new to this, don’t rush things by placing orders in your first few days. Take your time and gain some experience, even if it’s just via communication with your suppliers.

4) Any business comes with some sort of risk and importing is not an exception. You can follow all the guides in the world and still get scammed. That’s the sad reality and it’s something you have to accept when doing business of any kind. So please don’t use money that you can’t afford to lose (I’m talking about loans, credit cards etc. here).

5) Make informed decisions. Do not let your emotions rule any decision! I know how tempting it may be sometimes to just go ahead with the order, even if some things don’t quite add up. Don’t do it! Stick with my guides and do not make exceptions on your own! It’s better to let a potentially good deal go, than to be sorry later on when you get scammed.

Alright, that’s it for today! I really hope this post will be valuable for many people starting an importing business. If you have any questions or want to share your personal experience when dealing with Alibaba suppliers, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below this post.

Good luck with your importing deals!

Stay alert.

Best Regards,
Andrew


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374 Comments
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  1. Jason M Rodgers

    Currently dealing with two Chinese exporters for bottles, one is VERY pushy without giving any clear quotation, the other I’m sceptical now simply because they are Chinese. Are there any other export companies people can suggest?

  2. Anders Ragnarsson

    Hello, I was reading about scams and came to this post. Thank you for a nice post about this important matter.

    So, I have ordered to my company LED lights from a big company in Alibaba, the products came and the quality was ok. One issue was that UPS had broken a few lights and I reported this to the salesman from the company and said that we are in urgent need for the remaining products. So meanwhile the UPS is checking what they are going to pay or not, we need to made another order. The salesman told me that they dont have the products in stock but if we need the items he can personally send items with better quality and will also put a few other extra items in the same shipment for our testing. Told me to contact him on his personal e-mail if I am interested of the products. Like I said, we have a urgent demand of the products so I contacted him on his personal e-mail.

    The price he offered is slightly cheaper than from the company, but he also informed that the quality will be much better.

    He wanted me to pay with Western Union but I asked if I could pay by PayPal, he opened a PayPal account but informed me that he cant receive any payment in 21 days because its a new account and came up with an idea of suggesting that I would send Wire Transfer to his uncles company bank account instead. We are talking about approx. 2000 USD payment.

    This really doesn’t seem totally legit but because the last order went nice (from the company side, not UPS) I really don’t know if this is a scam or if I can trust this salesman. Do you have any suggestion? Thank you in advance =)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anders,

      It sounds totally dodgy to me. I personally wouldn’t do it, no.

      Only deal through the company directly and don’t pay any money to such personal accounts or even worse – Western Union, Money Gram or Bitcoin.

      Andrew

  3. Kirk Hlewka

    Hi Andrew,
    Thanks for the post. I am new to the wholesale purchasing game and was about to make purchases through Alibaba for the new playstation 5. The deals I was finding didn’t feel right so I did some digging. Found this blog. Awesome!!! This saved me; I was getting scammed for sure.. From reading through some of the comments, I am starting to conclude that Alibaba should only by used with factories and not trading companies. Would this be a correct statement? Also, the request for going through whats app to communicate, is that a for sure scam? Thanks again pal.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Kirk,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      One thing is for sure – Alibaba should NOT be used to buy PS5 consoles or ANY branded electronics for that matter. 99% of all the listings in this category are scams.

      And it doesn’t matter whatever the company is a manufacturer or a trading company – Alibaba is only good for buying un-branded/your own brand goods.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  4. Great article. Thank you very much.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome Paula!

  5. Khudayshukur

    I am from Uzbekistan. I was deceived by an African Benin scammer. Now, after reading the comments, I realized that I was the one who suffered the least. And I understood a lot, thank you very much.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  6. ibrahim ortiz

    Hello andrew, thanls for this post it make me even more clear that something was fishy, and i almost sent money to a scammer. So i was looking for 2 iphone 11 and this post in alibaba for 600 both and they even give me 1 free so total of 3. As I’m doing process of payment only option for them was moneygram or westren, so when im about to send money the westernunion gives you a warning like to only send people you know and not people you have not met so that brought something to my mind and i started noticing and i check again in alibaba for the iphone post and it was gone like scammer deleted it because he was about to get his money and i said nope something wrong here, now i check online if alibaba was posible for scammers and you appear. Thanks for this really helped.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! It was a scam, glad you didn’t pay them anything.

      Andrew

  7. I have recently bought iphone 11 pro and have submitted a complaint as paid for product but no goods received on alibaba.com.
    The status reads wait alibaba processing this status is stuck on this for over a week now and there is no direct email for them to find out what this means or what processing means. I have also informed fraud dept.
    What can i do ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Thomas,

      Did you pay with a credit card? If so, file a charge-back claim with your bank, as it is a scam – you can’t buy genuine iPhones on Alibaba!

      Andrew

  8. so i’m thinking of buying some graphic cards / RAM ..etc
    i mean could it be a scam ?/ even if it’s verified seller ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, buying such branded PC accessories/parts is VERY risky on Alibaba. 99% of them are scams.

      1. Have you ever proven your “accusations”
        because I have never seen any branded products on alibaba.
        I buy from “warehouses” from alibaba and none were branded at all.
        I did not see hardly any branded stuff on there.
        Maybe they changed stuff in the past 5 years

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi There,

        There are still branded products to be found on Alibaba by scammers. Not as often as 5 years ago as Alibaba is filtering these listings out very aggressively, but still – you can find them.

        Andrew

  9. Hi i payed cash through moneygram at post office for a motorcyclce the seller received the cash now sent me details of shipping delived to my door another £400 can i get a refund? Thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Terry,

      I’m sorry, but you have been scammed.

      You won’t get your money back.

      Andrew

  10. is it possible to refund the money or its not i paid via bitcoin and want to know if the money is coming back or it will not ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, you can’t get your money back if you paid via bitcoin.

  11. George Boateng

    Hi Andrew,
    I found this company on Alibaba platform, Guangdong Dujunmei Mobile Interconnection Technology Co.Ltd to buy smart television, they have sent me the pi, indicating that I have to pay US$ 180 for Alibaba commission additional to the total cost of goods. When you buy from Alibaba, do you pay commission?

    Sincerely,
    George .

  12. Hello, i hope you can help me with this.

    i found a supplier for face masks in china. 1 year old factory gold member. after a week of chatting and filling up the excel with products, she tells me she just found out alibaba has banned sales of face masks on the site and in order to pay using trade assurance we need to change the items on the excel and make it looks as if we are not dealing with face masks. i said ok. she then asked me to do it myself. which i said no and asked here to do it which she agreed immediately. She has always being extremely helpful and have good prices compared to other suppliers. Also, since shippings masks is very expensive nowadays from china, she offered to ship by sea since it will be a big purchase 10k approximately.
    So my doubt is if this is a scam? the only flag is that she told me we need to change the excell list for trade assurance.

    my guts tell me she is legit. but… i am scared in the change in the excel order list. can she send me garbage instead of face masks and count it as delivered? will trade assurance cover me?

    also she said that that shipping method y sea is door to door with insurance and no tax needed to pay. ????

    please help.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Lorenzo,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I would personally never agree on that – it sounds fishy to me…

      And can you ask them – where does it say that Alibaba has banned sales of face masks? I haven’t heard of such a thing… so it could well be a scam!

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. https://www.reddit.com/r/Aliexpress/comments/g52s98/masks_cant_be_shipped_to_us/

        Hello, i found a similar topic. and also read tons of articles that say on april 1st china made it harder to export PPE so the supplier was right. also there was a little miscommunication or misunderstanding. she said the excel with real images will remain in place and attached to the contract in trade assureance order. the only image that will change was the payment link image. so when they see it and see is not mask then they will release the money to her faster. thats what she told me.
        so i kinda of believe here. she got some good feedbck and transactions. but only 1 year.
        so we continued working on our order with her. but we are shipping by sea now and she has a shipping agent. so Do you know how trade assurance works in this case to guarantee the buyer gets what was paid for?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Ok, thanks for that additional information. As for the Trade Assurance, I don’t think your contract will stand a chance, in case there’s a problem, as it will have details about totally different products.

  13. Wish I saw this sooner. I sent $300 for a fitness Rower machine through Zelle to a private email. Then they “accidentally” sent me 15 extra rowers and said I could buy them and sell them – I said sure, but I will wait for delivery. Then I needed to send $800 to clear customs, then $670 for a Delivery Man Fee. All through Zelle with Wells Fargo. Each time to a different private email address (not a company). They gave me fake tracking information on globallinedelservices .com which looked very real (why I sent the money despite being very sketchy). Wells Fargo today have said I may be able to get credited back for this money so fingers crossed on that. I had $170 left to pay for the delivery man which I have not sent yet, I asked for PayPal or Bank account number and they have not responded, along with reading others being tricked to thinking they are receiving “extra quantity” of product, is why I’m quite sure it was a scam. If so, they got me good.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Seb,

      Yeah, this is a classic scam scheme… I wonder how many people EVERY DAY get scammed like this as only a small percentage read my blog…

      I really hope you get your money back!

      Andrew

  14. Mike Marion

    I have more simple advice – Just don’t buy anything through Alibaba.
    There are way too many alternatives. I learned my lesson when I purchased 2 wifi cameras. My search of their site showed a camera with exact look and description but no maker name in the description. I searched for “brand X” camera and the appearance and description was spot on but didn’t specifically say “brand X” it didn’t say anything. So far just a little misleading – I contacted customer service which eventually sent a return RMA and really complicated instructions to return the items to an address in the U.S. I followed the instructions and never heard from Alibaba again despite emails and phone messages. Just avoid the headaches and shop elsewhere.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment.

      My advice is – do not buy personal goods, retail goods from Alibaba. It’s not what that site is about. It’s for B2B transactions where you buy in hundreds and thousands of units at a time, directly from factories. If you need just one or two items, local eBay listings will almost always be cheaper and you will get proper purchase protection.

      If you do want to buy one item directly from China, then at least use Aliexpress, which is a retail site of Alibaba group.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  15. Hello Andrew,

    I try to buy an branded drone from alibaba. I contact with 8 supplier and the 7 of them was trying to scam me. This website are full of scammers. All the 7 suppliers try to message me out from alibaba, on whatsapp. When I try to message them on alibaba, they keep ask me to contact them on whatsapp. I contact them on whatsapp and they ask me to pay with moneygram and westernunion.

    They give low prices and offers like buy 2 get 1 free, but 5 get 4 free. When I tell to pay them with paypal or alibaba checkout all of them they deny with stupid excuses. Many of them was old or gold members. If a supplier are old or gold its nothing to do about trusty. If they have the opportunity to scam you, they will but out from website on whatsapp.

    It’s disappointing that the 80% of the suppliers that I contacted on alibaba, try to scam me. They message me on whatsapp and first ask me to pay them with westernunion and moneygram.When you deny the westerunion as payment solution all messages stop. The majority of the supplier there they don’t care to sell goods, just to scam people.

    Best regards.

    1. @Jim, you just related exactly what I have been going through for over a week now, so called suppliers who redirected me from the official alibaba platform to a whatsapp number, then went on to ask for payment via Western Union and Moneygra, while offering the buy 2 get 1 free rhetoric. Thanks I came across this article today and shared screenshots of some points via whatsapp. The dude blocked me and disappeared. Yoooh, there are real crazy people out there.

    2. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jim,

      Well, you didn’t bring any fresh news to be honest… Alibaba is NOT the place to buy branded goods, period! I have talked about this over and over again in my blog posts and still – every week I get messages from people who have tried doing it and were scammed. If it’s a Chinese brand you’re after, you could still find legit suppliers on Alibaba, but make sure to check out this post first:

      https://andrewminalto.com/chinese-brands-alibaba/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  16. Hey Andrew!

    I am planning to 5 Nintendo Switches at $100 USD each from Infinity Pro. They are gold verified supplier but only became gold in 2020. They require 5 units minimum and asked for “friends and family” option on PayPal.

    I know to not use the “friends and family” option in anything but am a bit caught off guard by the gold supplier symbol.

    Any way to tell if this company is legit?

    Thanks!!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Henry,

      It’s a 100% SCAM, stay away! You can’t buy such branded electronics from Alibaba, especially NOT at those prices.

      You’re welcome! 🙂

      Andrew

  17. Is it true that I’ve won iPhone X if I place an order from Alibaba and I’ll receive the product and that iPhone X ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, it’s not true. It’s a scam.

  18. Should I worry about having used my credit card to purchase from Alibaba? The charge us on my credit card statement but I don’t even have an order confirmation and there are no real people to talk to at their customer service.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Jennifer,

      Did you place your order via Trade Assurance? Then you should be able to see the order information, status and other information when you login into your account.

      Andrew

  19. good thing i found this articles and your comments. I was also wondering why some of the branded products here are so cheap and so good to be true . I was about to purchase a branded product when i saw this article ,,i thank God for your article man.. hope many will learn through this saving article..

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 🙂

  20. Hello. Are the MSI laptops sold in alibaba.com legit? especially from this supplier Shenzhen Baisili electronics

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Most likely no, they’re not legit.

      Andrew

  21. thank for your post. I am wendy in hong kong. I searched to order forehead thermometer in thailand .I requested to visit the factory to see the real product and the product line. and they say I have to pay $1880 for visit fee per person .
    here is the reply:
    *Because of the Virus already in Thailand we must follow up to pick up the buyer from the airport
    * The Buyer must send his or her passport copy in order for our firm to issue Official invitation letter and without this invitation letter, you can not visit our company and the letter must be stamped and approved by Thai Immigration Department
    * The Buyer must pay a visiting fee of $1,880 per person prior to his or her visit. this fee must be paid upfront in order to obtain invitation letter from our company”

    I wonder it is a scam or not. surely I won’t pay so much to visit a factory haha.thank you andrew.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Wendy,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It sounds like a TOTAL scam! Why would they need to charge a potential customer $1,880 to issue such a document? (even if it is required).

      That’s total nonsense. They’re trying to scam you for sure.

      Andrew

  22. Walter Hudy

    So I am just a click away from putting $2742.50 on my PayPal account. The guy I am dealing with (Roman Anderson D) of Magazine Pro LLC (company name) is offering a $30,000 CanAm side-by-side for $1500.00 USD saying that it is a promotional deal.
    Everything that I know is telling me that it is a total scam..
    Have you ever heard of such a thing or should I save my money and stay away

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Walter, it is 100% scam, don’t do it.

      You’re welcome.

      Andrew

  23. I just need to know if it is normal for the seller to ask for social security number, passport number and pic of ID when it comes time to shipping? I’ve ordered a headstone for my son so I’ve seen the finished pictures but this has me feeling weird

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Katherine,

      No, it does not sound normal at all… why would they need your social security and passport number?

      Sounds like a scam to me.

      Andrew

  24. I appreciate this post. I made an order on allibaba. The company sold Makita tool sets. I ordered 6 and they said they accidentally sent 15. Three of those 15 would be free, but I would have to pay for the remaining 6. I noticed the first initial red flag. But with my curiosity I paid. They said it would be 2 day shipping. Gave me a tracking number and a website to track my order. Next day I get a message that my package is on hold for $1500 insurance fee. I noticed the 2nd and final red flag. I took this as a loss and continued my way. I read this post and in my dismay I read the the fake tracking number. So thank you for giving me clarity that I made the right choice.

    P.S I was able to get back the money I sent them.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alfonso,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Yeah, it was a 100% scam, no doubt about it. Good stuff that you didn’t pay any more money and now you know that you can’t source such branded goods from Alibaba and won’t fall for such scams anymore.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  25. I ordered 2iphones for which 1 oneplus 7t pro mclaren edition is free from c & a electronics aka cathy ann floral creation . He told that Bulk order u can order on alibaba but two pieces we send seperately from our side ,thats what he told . So for further communication he used whatsapp and negotiated a deal for 800 dollars for 2 iphone xs ….for which one plus 7t pro mclaren edition is free … He sent via stallion movers logistics … and told there was an error from them and the shippment contains 12 iphones and 10 one plus 7t pro ….. he told that after shipment we can sell that and give their share back or one of his company assset will assist you or he will take the remaining … and he gave a tracking id of shipment ,,…. and shipment is to india and state is telangana …. first it went to london city int airport later turkey int airport and stopped by customs by pakistan thats what the tracking id showed and there is money details for customs of pakistan comprising of 1lakh rupees for which he told he had paid 65000 rupees from company side and asked us for35000 rupees for customs at pakistan…but the shipment address is secunderabad , telangana , india …. we asked him how it would happen when shipment address is to india ,how could the pakistan customs stopped it … he told it comes to seaport mumbai from pakistan … some how we sent him money later now he asked for port clearence ..if its done it will be delivered to u with in 12hrs by dhl services…. we almost paid him around150000 rupees …. we asked him so many questions but he told us he is not fraud ..they had so many customers to deal thats why we are unable to communicate properly

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Bharadwaj,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’m sorry to bring you the sad news, but you have been totally scammed. You will never see those phones or get your money back.

      This is a classical scam where they promise you branded goods for super low price, even give some additional free items and continue requesting money for all kinds of made up fees, custom charges etc. That tracking information and website is fake, sorry, you have been scammed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  26. I got scammed on Alibaba by this company: Shenzhen QS Electronic Communication Co, LTD. or they are listed as Shenzhen City Flag Sheng Electronics. I was able to do 2 good transactions using the Alibaba Trade Assurance and this Supplier offered me a low price and free shipping if we deal outside Alibaba. I trusted this guy ‘ Lin Zhihong’ aka ‘Mark Choi’ since we already have a couple of transactions. After I wire transferred the money. This guy made a lot of excuses for the delay in shipment. He did ship the product but they are of the lowest quality and not what I ordered. Again, made excuses and promised to ship my original order and he just wouldn’t answer and disappered.

    Reported this to Alibaba but they can’t really help with transactions outside alibaba. Lesson is, never do transaction outside of Alibaba even if you have previous good transactions already. This company is a total scammer.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry to hear that Jay & Thanks for sharing this with us.

      Andrew

  27. Sienna sockett

    Hey I was looking through abibaba And i found a PS4 pro which in the shop it is usually $300 and the seller is doing 15 games and be head set for $100 and if you buy five units you get three for free and I want to know if it’s a scam.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      What do you think? 🙂

      Of course, it’s a scam!

      Andrew

  28. Xuan Tien Pham

    Thanks for the information! I want to ask a question: I’m looking for a gaming laptop under $1000AUD and I tried looking for them on Alibaba. So the price was astonishingly cheap for many branded ones (MSI, ASUS, …), around $800AUD for one that is supposed to be $2000AUD if I buy in Australia stores. Are those actually legit and should I buy them?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      No, they’re not legit. They’re SCAMS!

      You won’t receive those items and never see your money again.

      Alibaba is NOT the place to buy such branded laptops.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  29. Monty Mosobea

    Hello Andrew

    Thank you so much for this insightful information.Unfortunately I am a victim,recently i came across a company called Genuine Gadgets Limited on Alibaba with a gold status and a verified a&v check.They had advertised ps4 consoles with a promo of the buy 2 and get 1 unit for free.Obviously the prices were quite low and naturally one would have thought it would turn out to be a good deal.We resumed our communication on the Alibaba chat box and she invited me to talk to them on whatsapp and requested me to place an order and pay using money-gram since there was that option on the offline.They had pointed out that they would be shipping the products to my door step using DHL and after confirming the payment she then said DHL was quite expensive and would now be using a shipping company using Trace-world logistics and gave us a fake reference number which seemed genuine until after a day when she contacted me to say that the goods were held by the Zambian customs authorities who were demanding an amount of $1000 for the goods to be released.After telling her that we did not have such amounts of money she persisted saying that we could share the custom liability since they did not anticipate it,we refused to pay and never heard from this scammer again.Kindly take me through a step by step tutorial on how to order in the right way.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Monty,

      Sorry to hear that you got scammed that way…

      You can’t order PS4 consoles from Alibaba, forget about it! They are all scams. There’s no profit margin on consoles and you won’t EVERY find any such buy 2 and get 1 free deals.

      They are all scams and you need to stay away from branded electronics altogether.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  30. Matthew Dee

    I want to buy a ATV from Zhejiang Feishen Vehicle Co., Ltd. This guy Eric says that his company is verified with Alibaba since 2000. Hes going to give me his bank account info tomorrow. 4×4 side by side ATV for $2000 includes shipping. Said I can pay $1500 now and $500 when I get the ATV. Just pisses me off that people can screw others. The thing that gets me is that this company appears to be legit.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sounds like a total scam to me Matthew.

      No legit supplier will allow you to pay remaining balance upon receiving the goods.

      Andrew

  31. Hey Andrew how are you doing?? Loved your post, by the i’m from India.
    Actually i’m going to buy a gaming laptop and was too fed up of the local prices of rhe laptop then i came across some chineese seller and totally avoided them. But now i got this new dealer basically from US and he chated with me using whatsapp and his deal was preety solid………
    But actually this is my first time buying a laptop and i wanted to buy 7 or more laptops together and when i asked him about the scams going on alibaba……
    He called me and our call lasted for 4_5 minutes and he told that there is no proof to declare him scam free so he asked me to place only 1 order to check the product then the rest after verifying the same.
    He uses DHL courier service and accepts payment through bank transfer and has told me to give 30% advance…..
    Please help
    Do reply soon

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It’s a 100% SCAM!!!

      Stay away.

      Andrew

  32. Thank you for the post!

    I was wondering why sometimes some of the deals are too good to be true and then I found this article.
    Really give me a helpful guide for browsing in ALIBABA.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You’re welcome! 😉

  33. Hello thank you for this informative article.
    I am negotiating with a supplier for a sample order.It is a gold supplier and they advised me to proceed with Trade Assurance Order.They arranged the Trade Assurance Order for me,they have sent me a PI and they said they use Fedex for sample orders.
    When i go to my Order Details->Trade Assurance Order->Shipping Terms it says:
    Shipping Method: Express
    Trade Terms: EXW
    Export Method: Do not use OneTouch
    Shipment Date: Ship 15 say(s) after the initial payment is received
    Shipping Fee: US$69

    I am wondering why it says EXW
    Should i proceed with the payment ?Do you spot somethign wrong?

    Best Regards,

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Marios,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      That looks all good. EXW terms are indeed used when courier shipping is used because courier picks up the goods from the factory (hence the EXW price).

      This price won’t include any import taxes/duty at your end though.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  34. Very good article here Andrew I really appreciated reading it and all the comments/replies.

    I was just hours away from falling into a scam with a FMCG confectionery company last year. The invoice/catalogue etc looked good the business was genuinely a registered Limited company in the UK with a genuine physical address and a UK based business bank account. I thankfully never sent them the requested invoiced fee via bank transfer.

    Did some forensic analysis on the company in question and it turned out to be one big advance fee fraud. – Conmen in Cameroon steal the identities of deceased people from the Baltic states (Lithuania and Finland) and then proceed to use those genuine identities to open genuine UK bank accounts and rent genuine UK PO boxes and genuine UK office spaces. I know for a fact others have fallen for this scam and submitted payments to them.

    What advice do you offer to avoid being scammed even when the company has a seemingly legitimate presence (address, registered business, real bank account etc)

    thanks

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Max,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing this with us.

      With local companies, in the UK or Europe, I recommend simply visiting them in person! It won’t cost you that much, even if you have to travel and most likely IF it is a scam, they won’t even agree to meet with you. Also, as with any new supplier, you want to start with samples, then place a small test/trial order to minimise chances of getting scammed.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  35. Thank You for scam informaton very usefull
    i have done some business with Alibaba and not having the problem but latest buy was iphone 7 refurbished they only accepted western union so i declined said they dont have scam protection.- im sorry but can’t do business that way hope you understand.

    i have some questions
    1. if I pay with PayPal and in PayPal choose for purchase is it 100% sure that paypal will refund me if scammed at least thats what i heard

    2. You say not to buy branded goods like nike shoes why not? i googled and Nike have a factory in China not only that but a very popular EU site called Zalando.com are selling nike shoes cheaper than in stores and as i said when you check tab inside the shoe it says MADE IN CHINA. usually its made in Malaysia when i buy Nike Shoes in store but Nike Air MAX for 60$ that cost 210$ in store is a bargain and Zalando is selling the made in China shoes probably why they can have such good prices. So how do you explain that is there something wrong buying Nike shoes in China?

    3. How many % is normal to bargain when you do business e.g tv-box for 40$ or electric scooter for 500$ whats normal bargain % on 10pcs 50pcs 100pcs aprox

    4. I agree totally that a sample should be given and I just bought a scooter and paid high price since like you said they wanna avoid selling retail and should because otherwise, the whole thing would collapse if they sold to every single person 1pcs then nobody would buy mine products with added profit.
    but for tv-boxes and e-cigarettes i should ask for samples 100% free if i pay the shipping is that right?

    5. what about branded perfume is it legit and had really good offers any tip there and Gillette fusion razors

    THANK YOU SO MUCH IF YOU WOULD ANSWER MY QUESTIONS

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alex,

      Thanks for stopping by. I will try to answer your questions:

      1) Yes, PayPal will protect that purchase. Scammers will NEVER offer PayPal payments though, so…

      2) Because they’re all FAKES/COPIES, that’s why! Just because other people sell fakes online doesn’t mean it’s legal. You can get into serious trouble (jail time, massive fines etc.) if you import and re-sell such fake items in bulk. Please don’t do it.

      3) Depends on the item. An electric scooter could wholesale for $600 with an RRP of just $699 while you can buy say cheap iPhone cases for $0.5 and re-sell them for $10. It all depends on the product. In general, electronics will have much smaller margins compared to non-electrical items.

      4) Totally depends on the supplier, you can ask whatever you want, BUT it all comes down to the supplier.

      5) All fakes! Branded perfume, Gillette razors (very popular) and other similar branded products – ALL ARE 100% FAKES ON ALIBABA!

      Hope this helps Alex and I really hope you won’t get involved into importing fakes goods.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Andrew Thanks a lot for all the answers
        1. But are you sure Nike shoes are fake. I mean they have a factory in China so if I buy from that factory reseller how can the shoes then be fake? Maybe you did not know Nike had a factory in China nowadays or explain how its a fake when Nike makes them the same as they make them in Malaysia right? And that online store selling made in China Nike Timberlands adidas etc are really big http://www.zalando.com they have like ads on national tv all the time selling in the whole EU and have tv ads in other EU countrys so you are telling me they are doing something illegal because their Nike shoes are made in a Real Nike factory in China. Can you please explain how thats illegal and why Nike from Malaysia are legal? its hard to believe that Zalando working for several years making millions of dollars are doing something illigal for selling shoes made by Nike in China.

        2. Do you know if alibaba.com is the best wholesale site or is there better wholesale sites i heard about 1688 checked it out and actually some stuff where cheaper but found it harder to navigate and was like mixed chinese english but do you know if its legit and if you know of other sites like Alibaba and if so which do you recomened ?

        ps: I stumbled upon your site and its great. I did not expect to get an answer over night,really amazing job you are doing Alibaba can be sneaky so good that people like you Andrew exist so less people get scammed keep up the good work 10/10

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Alex,

        1) Nike shoes on Alibaba are fake, 100%. The fact that Nike actually manufactures shoes in China doesn’t mean that someone can simply sell their stock out of their warehouse, just like that. iPhones are also made in China, BUT you can’t source them cheaply from China (in fact, they could be even more expensive there).

        Zalando does not sell fakes, their prices do not look low at all. Sites selling fake Nike and other products will have them for VERY low prices.

        Just forget about sourcing such branded products from China, there’s no such a thing. Read through all those hundreds and thousands of comments on my blog to see how many people fall for these scams every day.

        2. Alibaba.com is great site for sourcing un-branded goods from China. But NOT the goods you’re after.

        Hope this helps & I wish you stop wasting your time on those scams! 😉

        Andrew

  36. Carlo Bolgi

    thank you so much for this post! I was about o buy some oculus from a company called Direct Sales Limited and their MOQ was 8 for 40$ each. They do not accepted payments via PayPal or Alibaba… Probably a scam… Thanks for the info and for 300$ not wasted 😀

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Of course, it was a scam Carlos, 100%!!!

  37. Excellent advice. I wish I’d seen it before I was scammed out of $4125 last week by an Indonesian “supplier”. I was promised a name brand American medical laser. 50% downpayment required to ship to USA. Then came the customs Spiel you describe so accurately. I didn’t pay that request but have not heard from him since doing the bank transfer. Grrr….
    He used all the right lines about the laser specs, hand pieces, warranties.
    What a hard lesson….

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Sorry to hear about that Diane… lesson learned indeed!

      Andrew

  38. I read somewhere in this thread about Alibaba accounts being hijacked. I am a victim of such a hijacking … multiple transactions totaling $1700 USD in one day. I have reported the fraud, but unfortunately the funds being held while the sales are pending will not available in my account for four days. I learned two things – use a credit card and not a card tied to my personal bank account; and I wouldn’t do business with Alibaba because their ecommerce site is anything but secure!

    Thank you for your diligent efforts to help the public at large. Bless you!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks for sharing this with us.

      You should always use a credit card for ANY online transactions, that’s for sure.

  39. Cheryl de Beer

    I wish I had just done some research before placing my order! I have been scammed in pretty much most of your points listed. The company was US based and the tracking showed the package was coming from the UK. The company is ATV Direct Limited and the contact Fred Andrew. Please put them on whatever list you have out there to warn folk.
    They made contact via Alibaba which I am assuming is the free listing you refer to. Surely Alibaba should be verifying information reflecting on their site?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      I don’t keep any lists for scammers – it would be a never-ending story – they just change company names and do it all over again.

      Just be more careful with who you deal with, educate yourself, do inspections and avoid high-risk items altogether.

      Andrew

  40. John Durchak

    I think its important to not that not all Alibaba Sellers are China Based.

    I have been researching a seller that I dont believe is legit before I came across your Blog and they are in the US, UK, and Latvia. Interesting to note that I got suspicious when the seller showed only Money Gram, Western Union, and Bitcoin.

    From owning an online business myself, I learned the ins and outs of online scams so that I could educate my customers should they ever have a question.

    When I asked the seller if I would be able to pay via the Alibaba App, he immediately said that his Alibaba Payment Platforms we unavailable at the moment. He also preferred to discuss everything via Email and not through Alibabas Chat Platform. I’m dont recall if you mentioned this but this is a clue as well. Granted legitimate businessperson Alibaba may want to email you a product list or spec sheet, but will usually prefer to speak with you right within the handy little chat feature in the app.

    I did a full on CSI Investigation into this “Self Stated Legit” company. He sent me his URL to his Corporate Office, which was troubling for me.

    1. Not a valid registered domain name.
    2. His site is hosted on a Free Web Hosting Platform (which in and of itself is not a huge flag, many new and small businesses will utilize such services, but already having suspicionthis was a flag for me.
    3. Not one items listed on his website matched anything he was offering on Alibaba.

    I also did a Google Search of the Company Name and found it I testing that he is using the same name as a very large NASDAQ Listed Tech Company (excellent way to fool people into making them believe he is a real company).

    I also did a Business Registration Search in the state he claims to have the Corporation Office, interestingly, he did have a business registration from 2001, however, getting a business registration is not necessarily proof he is legit as many state have a very informamal Business Name Recognition System which is what is usually provided for checking if a Business name is available or already used. Unfortunately, some people have been using this as a way to verify a businesses legitimacy. I dont urge anyone to do this. Use it as another clue but dont make any judgments based on this. In many states a person with the state fee can register a business name with out having any proof of legal ownership. You can almost consider the the states Domain Name Registry, and acts the same, just because someone purchases a Domain Name does not mean they own a web page. But I digress, if you want to get any actual legal records to verify that the business is anything more than a name in a registry database, you usually have to contact the State Clerks Office and pay a small fee and wait for them to mail it to you.

    Lastly he did 2 things that I dont think any legitimate Business would ever do, when I told him that the price he quoted me was too high, and fold him whar I was expecting the price to be, he replied back after a short time and said, “We have agreed to accept your offer (for the lesser amount)”, you might think ok, perhaps they have wiggle room, most dont, but let’s say he did…It’s what he did next that kind of put it all into perspective. When I wasn’t offering to pay right away he started trying to convince me that he was legitimate, that everything would be exactly as he promised, I was warrantied and guaranteed. So I told him that I would be much more comfortable if I were able to pay him with a platform where I had buyer protection, if not through Alibaba then at the very least PayPal. That is when he sprung his hail Mary pass to try to lock me in, he said, “To make you feel more comfortable, you can just pay $200 today, we will ship it out to you, when you get it, you can pay the balance.” Not that I needed any more convincing at this point that this seller is shady, but that was like the bow that wrapped the entire present up. There is no legitimate business on any platform that would agree to such terms with out a signed payment agreement.

    So, why did I spent all this time with someone I was skeptical of the minute I saw he was not fully vetted by Alibaba and only accepted Money Gram, Western Union , and Bitcoin? Because as I stated in the beginning, I am also a Business Owner and I also Admin my own as well as another large Buy & Sell Group on Facebook. Its important for me to keep my Customers and the members of my Groups on how to be your own best advocate as a buyer, what to watch out for, the latest scams, how to know when something just not right and what they can do to protect themselves. I wanted to see just how far this guy would take it, and he went all the way.

    Well, Andrew I enjoyed reading your blog and I did pick up a few things to look out for on Alibaba that I did not know such as the No Branding except for China Based companies and even that could be an issue. Did not know this. Hopefully my encounter today will give you a couple new tools in your how to detect a scanner toolbox and hopefully, and if I have done anything, I’ve given a slightly different perspective on what to look for and how to do a little extra CSI.

    Cheers

    John

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment and insights into your research tactics! 🙂

      Can I ask you – what was the product in question? Was it some sort of branded electronics?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      P.S. That pay small % now and everything else after goods are delivered – a TRUE CLASSIC! 🙂 If you would proceed, they would provide you with fake tracking numbers (that will actually work) and then request more money for goods to be released through Customs, then again for some formalities for Customs etc. as long as you would keep paying, they would come up with reasons why more money is needed.

      1. Rachel

        Omg, I’m not going to get into my story but that’s exactly what happened to me, with the % now and pay the rest when you get it, money for customs to go out of the country then the tracking numbers, then more customs, I saw all the red flags but I had already spent money and didn’t want it to be wasted, (it was also a totally different personal situation) but I obviously should have listened to my bf when I was telling him all this and just cut my losses and stopped sending money. Mind you I did get ‘product’, and thought it was working, I have no idea what it was.

      2. Andrew Minalto

        Hi Rachael,

        Sorry to hear you had to go through all of that…. but I’m sure it was a good lesson for you and you will never ever repeat same mistakes again.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

  41. Arthur Cole

    Hi Andrew

    I spoke with you about 2 years ago for some basic advise, thankfully it was worth its wait in gold.
    I have a quick question for you on a company I am thinking of working with. They are a trading company with Trade Assurance, Gold supplier and I think they have Verified status. They have not got a transaction figure on the Alibaba site but I know that is not always published.

    They have been around since 2016, however they were another company for 10 years before being bought out. I have done all the checks and looked at video’s, pictures and all staff seem consistent with my communications etc. I cannot really see anything that stands out which is causing concern. I guess the reassuring thing is they have TA.

    I was slightly concerned when their prices were cheaper than manufacturers, I felt this was a little odd as producers are normally cheaper given hey are the source of the product. However they do sell lots of other goods which may allow them to sell others at a lesser cost.

    Can you take a minute to see if there is any stand out signs of a scammer I should worry about? I would be very grateful for your input. See website and Alibaba site below:

    https://shandongysc.en.alibaba.com/
    http://www.shandongysc.com

    By the way I will be exporting Potatoes from the UK, can you or anyone give me a reputable shipping company?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Arthur,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      I can’t give you a YES or NO answer (for obvious reasons), but from what I see – they look all good! They don’t sell a high-risk item (from scamming perspective), BUT you will have to make sure the quality is up to standard, they have all the certificates etc. I don’t have experience with importing food items from China so you will have to research the legal aspect of doing it.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  42. Yehuda cooper

    Hi Andrew. I love your articles but what would you say if a seller has a gold supplier, on-site check, 2-3 years paid supplier would you sat still not to buy brand products. Is there any way you would say that a brand product is probably not a scam

    1. Andrew Minalto

      It depends on the product but in 99% cases, it will be a scam, yes.

      That is – if it’s a WESTERN brand and not local, Chinese brand.

      Andrew

  43. Great article – thanks

    I have a question about dodgy suppliers.

    In the niche I am in, I frequently see suppliers with images of a mixture of things:

    1.Branded products with matching brand names in title
    2.Branded products without branded names in title

    Which seems scammy enough but what confuses me are the images of popular Branded products which have the logo photo-shopped off.

    It’s dodgy, sure. I just don’t… get it

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Yeah, it’s quote common – those are called COPIES! IN most cases they’re still illegal to buy/sell as they usually breach design/utility patents of the Brand that created the product in first place.

      Andrew

  44. Annamatilda

    First of all amazing guide, thank you! I’m starting a start-up producing craft liquor and I’m in need of some glass bottles hence I looked at Alibaba. My question is: are there anyway to know whether or not they production was done under some sort of ethical standart in terms of working conditions? As it would go against the identity of my branded if I used suppliers that where using e.g. child-labour or with extremely poor safety conditions.

    Kind Regards,
    Annamatilda

    1. Andrew Minalto

      For glass bottles in large quantities, I would strongly recommend you look for a manufacturer in Europe (if that’s where you’re located).

      There’s no need/point to ship glass bottles from China when they can be manufactured for same price much closer to you.

      Andrew

  45. Hi Andrew, sorry but I don’t get why we should avoid suppliers from Mainland China? I found a gold supplier, verified, 3+ years but from Mainland China? Thank you in advance.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Tia,

      Thanks for your comment.

      It’s for BRANDED goods you avoid suppliers from China. You will get scammed or receive fakes.

      For unbranded/white label products China is THE place to go.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  46. Anthony Kinlan

    Hi Andrew, being try to source a product on Alibaba.com but after a few days a girl called Ivy huang contacted me say she was from a company called Confun international logistics company and she could help with my shipping end of things after a brief conversation she ask what was it I was looking to purchase after telling her she said that she new a few suppliers that done this sort of thing and that she could help so I sent a sample to her at the a address at 2205, Foreign Trade group building Zhongxing road, Luohu District, Shenzhen. After a few days she contacted me trough WhatsApp and said she had found a good supplier and the price was reasonable but if I needed sample it would cost $84 after 3 days of her still waiting on sample I ask her does supplier accept PayPal which she replied no but I want I could use her personal one. That set bells ringing straight away so I sad I would pay for sample to he PayPal as she said she had already paid for it so i did. So she said that if I was happy with sample I should pay the $3500 deposit 30% so I said ok so give me the supplier details as she said it’s was to be paid by T/T Transfer but she said how dare you pay them as I did know them and they could steal from me that I should pay to her company that she was me agent who who look after everything on this end. So I thought to myself does she really think I’m that stupid so I said to myself I’ll go along to she which company. So she has sent me the bank details of a company called Shenzhen nansing science and technology co, Ltd. Room 2101, Block C, South Building, Luofang Road, Luohu District, Shenzhen City, China. So I said to myself it’s time to confront here with what I thought about everything being shady to put it lightly and she 100% denied it I said I googled the company Confun logistics and I couldn’t find it the phone number on it didn’t exist or I just couldn’t get through here from Ireland. that she did ask for the 4.5% extra if I had used PayPal and now you want me to pay into a different company’s account. Which she replied yes that is my company and she was adamant that she is 100%. Genuine so to be totally honest my whole body is screaming it’s a scam 99.9% but I’m one of those people who like to wants to know is really telling the truth. So if you can help in anyway please let me know or if you have heard this type or hear of this company before?? Look forward to hearing from you

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I would stay away from this. The way she contacted/found you make the whole thing even shadier.

      It’s just not worth the risk, don’t do it!

      Look for manufacturers on Alibaba and communicate and deal with them directly.

      Andrew

  47. Please…. I want to ask… If I have to make down payment of 30% before receiving samples in my country or are the samples been snap and sent in Alibaba messaging box while chatting with the supplier… Even if am ordering as small has 10pieces only

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Joseph,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Sorry, not following you there – can you please clarify your question?

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  48. Hello Andrew, I tried buying a playstation4 on Alibaba. And there was the supplier’s phone number so I contacted them on WhatsApp and he called me and said they only received payment through bitcoin and moneygram transfer. And I insisted I wanted to pay via PayPal but he said they received payments via PayPal when buying from 50 units so I told them I will no longer proceed with the order since the price was too good to be true and there was no guarantee I’d receive the item. Guess what he told me “Alibaba is for men not boys”😁. Did I ask if it was a scam? Hell yeah.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      ha-ha, yeah! It is indeed for MEN and not BOYS! 🙂

  49. Hello, first I want to thank you about your precious informations about scammers on alibaba.

    I want to buy an iPhone X that costs 650$ from a supplier who has one 1 year and a gold supplier on Alibaba.com that is based on Malaysia , payments methods with wu, moneygram, bitcoin.

    What do u adivice me? Is it a scam ?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      and what do you think? 🙂

      Of course it is a SCAM!!!!

      Here’s my advice – save yourself from trouble and STOP looking for iPhones and similar products on Alibaba.com

      Andrew

  50. An 8 yr old verified supplier asked me to use T/T to pay for my order. She drafted a quick invoice with a company name different from the one on Alibaba. Payment via was to be made into this company account. When I asked the reason she said that they had opened this account in Hong Kong to avoid exorbitant taxes. Am I running into a scam?

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Sam,

      Sounds like that, yes.

      I wouldn’t go for it.

      Andrew

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