Is it SAFE to BUY on ALIEXPRESS?

We’ve been shopping on AliExpress for a number of years (it’s been around since 2010) and the question we were asked the most was “Is it safe to buy on AliExpress?” So we wrote this opinion piece that said there was nothing to fear. Surprisingly, after all these years, people keep entering this post with the same doubt (“Is it reliable?“). So we decided to rewrite it to explain why AliExpress is getting safer and more secure.

Because if AliExpress was safe in 2014, just imagine how safe it is now that has brought innumerable improvements for the user.

Understand How it Works in 2023 

AliExpress is part of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese e-commerce giant. Since the main market is China, it might not sound like an El Corte Inglés, a Mercado Libre, a Falabella … But in reality, Alibaba is such a large company that it can only be compared to Amazon.

And companies do not achieve this size by cheating on their users, but by doing the opposite: by working hard so that the buyer is satisfied, becomes a regular customer and speaks well about the company to their friends. In fact, user satisfaction is especially important in AliExpress’ business model as it is not a normal business but a marketplace. A place where we can buy direct from hundreds of thousands of Chinese manufacturers and distributors.

This implies three things:

  • Many intermediaries and commission agents are eliminated, so the prices are much lower
  • AliExpress acts as your “protector” and will only release the money to the seller if you give your consent to what you have received
  • Sellers are OBSUED about providing good service in order to get good reviews, because without them no one wants to buy from them.

If you’re familiar with Amazon, the AliExpress model is very similar. The only differences are that AliExpress doesn’t have its own warehouse (Amazon does) and the prices are significantly lower.

Is it safe to Pay by Card?

Many readers tend to have concerns about entering their credit card into AliExpress, and this is for two reasons. The first is that you fear that a hacker might get hold of this data. And let me tell you it’s totally impossible because companies of this caliber are investing millions in cybersecurity protocols that completely shield this information.

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The data between the server and client are transmitted SSL-encrypted. In the case of AliExpress, it uses VeriSign SSL encryption, which currently has the highest level of commercial protection, making it completely impossible for your data to reach third parties.

And to all of that we have to add the comprehensive security layer provided by your credit card provider (VISA, Mastercard …). The second concern for shoppers is that they may receive unwanted fees after entering their card details. This can never happen: when you buy a phone case from an AliExpress seller, they never have access to your payment details. They are securely stored on the AliExpress page and are only used if you decide to make another purchase.

In more than a decade of AliExpress’ history, we haven’t found a single complaint about unwanted recharges. If you are still not calm, you can always remove the card after completing the purchase.

Buyer Protection System

As we told you at the beginning, AliExpress has an extensive buyer protection system.

This means that if your purchase is not completely satisfied, you are entitled to a full refund. These are the most common cases:

  • Your order does not arrive
  • You arrived too late
  • The product does not match the seller’s description
  • Is flawed
  • It is wrong

Here is something important to highlight: while we are protected in these circumstances, it does not mean that they are common. 99% of the time, the buyer will receive the product on time and in perfect condition, but it’s good to know that AliExpress is behind us the remaining 1% of the time.

To request a refund, the process known as a dispute is used: you open a dispute, provide evidence, and if you’re right, AliExpress will refund your money.

Therefore, the worst thing that can happen to you buying on AliExpress is that you find a rogue seller and waste your time. And that’s no small matter, because imagine you are placing an order for Christmas and it does not arrive on time: even if you get the money back, you can find yourself in a bind and without a margin looking for another gift. That is why it is so important to know how to choose a good seller and now we are going to explain how.

Choosing a Good Seller

When shopping on AliExpress, it’s important to keep two things in mind:

  1. The seller’s rating
  2. Product evaluation
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The former gives you information about the seriousness of the seller: if he has a high percentage of positive reviews and a lot of followers, you are sure that he will not send you anything late or in bad condition, and that in case of a problem he will do everything to fix it.

This is what a serious seller looks like:

As a general rule, if the ratings are more than 90% positive, there is no reason to be suspicious.
The second thing to look out for is the rating of the product itself. This is important because the seller may have a good reputation (delivery on time etc) but the product is of poor quality (a garment with poorly sewn seams , a poorly defined camera …).

In general, we do not recommend buying products with less than 4.2 stars. We also advise against buying products without reviews: someone has to be the first to buy, but it’s better to be someone else.

Here is an example of a product with thousands of sales and a high average rating:

This is the kind of product that will hardly disappoint.

Opinions about AliExpress in 2023 

If you ask us for our opinion on any particular aspect of AliExpress in the comments, we’ll address them in turn.

Broadcast

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (excellent)

Five years ago, AliExpress shipping left a lot to be desired: you bought something and it took so long to surprise you. They bought a portable fan in August and it would arrive on Christmas Day.

Fortunately, this has improved a lot over the years, largely thanks to two factors:

  • Local broadcasts
  • Fast international shipments

For a number of years there have been local AliExpress stores in EE.UU and several other countries. Thanks to them, orders no longer take 60 days, but from 3 to 7 days.

On the flip side, the Alibaba Group has been betting heavily on speeding up its international shipments, and delivering packages from China is taking less and less time. In some countries, delivery is already possible in 10 days.

But it’s also true that Alibaba is not happy with it and is working on something completely revolutionary: international deliveries in 72 hours. You don’t have to be a logistics expert to see the benefits of shipping something from China to Spain in just three days.

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Diversity

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (remarkable)

Why do we give a “notable” one to a shop with a catalog of millions of products?

Because there are still a lot of users looking for replicas. And it’s been several years since these disappeared from AliExpress. No, you will no longer find counterfeit products on AliExpress. But you have many other options that should help you forget about the replicas.

Prices

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (excellent)

There is nothing to discuss here: AliExpress prices are unbeatable.

Just go to Amazon, look for a product made in China and you will find that it is two or three times more expensive than AliExpress. This is normal because Amazon is full of companies shopping on AliExpress to resell them at higher prices.

Guarantee

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐ (approved)

We have already explained to you how strict the guarantees are that protect the buyer until the product is received.

In our opinion, however, this guarantee period ends too early. After marking a product as received, you have an additional 15 days to open a dispute, but then you are left unprotected (unless your product has free returns from AliExpress). Fortunately, many products now have the option to purchase a local warranty for repair:

Customer service

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (remarkable)

If the dispute is justified (delay, defective product, etc.), AliExpress will give you the reason and your money back. However, when you have an unusual problem it can be quite difficult to contact a human operator to explain your case.

Quality

Evaluation: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (excellent)

The subject of poor Chinese quality is a thing of the past.

The Chinese industry has been developing at a rapid pace for 40 years and its quality standards are in no way inferior to the USA, Germany or Japan.

In fact, many of the products advertised as “American” or “German” today are actually Chinese manufacturers. With the inflated price, yes. But remember, there are millions of products on AliExpress and there can always be one of poor quality. That is why it is so important to check the reviews.