What is AliExpress?
AliExpress, a key component of the Alibaba Group, is a prominent ecommerce platform in China and across the world. Just like its competitors, AliExpress allows third-party businesses, often Chinese manufacturers, to sell their products, instead of dealing in product sales directly. It has grown tremendously, especially in Russia, Latin America, and Europe, and now is the largest retailers in the world behind Amazon.
At first, Alibaba Group’s own online store was built to sell items in bulk, a service that was quickly utilized by dropshipping business entrepreneurs around the world. But the platform’s affordable pricing has attracted a wave of shoppers, adding another dimension to the company’s customer base. However, its growth and current influence over the global ecommerce landscape has also raised concerns about AliExpress’ privacy policies and trustworthiness.
Is AliExpress safe?
The AliExpress marketplace is mostly a safe place to shop online, but like any other time you shop online, you need to be careful. Remember, AliExpress cannot ensure product quality or delivery because you’re buying from a third-party seller. Also, shipping often includes costs for China’s postal service or more popular and expensive shipping companies such as DHL.
In other words, AliExpress is safe to shop at if you do your homework first, such as checking the seller’s reviews and reading the listing carefully. But if safety is your number one priority, you can usually find the same items on Amazon and eBay, where you’ll likely get more guarantees as a customer.
What safety measures does AliExpress use?
While you’re always dealing with AliExpress sellers, the platform has developed some ways you and the seller can resolve issues if they arise.
AliExpress offers buyer protection as a money-back guarantee. It can help if your parcel hasn’t been delivered or you didn’t receive what you expected to. For example, the AliExpress buyer protection period is 75 days. If you didn’t receive your item in this amount of time, you can ask for your money back.
Sometimes, what you end up getting might be broken, not good enough, or even fake. In these cases, you can raise a dispute with the seller to find a solution, like getting a full or partial refund, a replacement, or a voucher. If you and the seller can’t agree on a solution within 15 days, AliExpress will step in to decide what to do.
The seller doesn’t get your money when you make the purchase. Instead, AliExpress handles all your payment information, so at least you don’t have to worry about third-party sellers getting access to your credit and debit cards.
As long as we’re on the subject, you can pay for items with your credit card or through AliPay, a service similar to PayPal and Venmo. If you pay directly, only AliExpress will know your card details, while you can also choose not to save your card details on the site. If you use AliPay, simply load money into your AliPay account with your card and use that money to pay for your purchases. AliPay is considered to be at least as safe as PayPal, if not one of the safest ways to pay online.
How to safely shop on AliExpress
Shopping on AliExpress can be a great way to find deals, but you should watch out for some red flags. The platform has issues with fake products, misleading listings, and scams. Here’s how you can spot them and stay safe.
- Avoid popular brand deals. Fake items can be a problem on AliExpress. If you see brand new Apple AirPods for a couple of bucks, you should know that the deal is too good to be true. Fake products often copy popular brands, so if you’re looking for well-known brand items, you should probably buy from the brand instead because whatever you get on AliExpress is not going to be from that brand.
- Check user reviews. Like most platforms, AliExpress allows users to leave comments for sellers. User ratings can be irreplaceable in finding great items. Often, they include pictures of the package, how long shipping took, and other important details that may help the buyer decide about their purchase.
- Read the listing carefully. Misleading listings are a big issue on the platform. For example, a flashlight might be listed for $0.50, but you’ll find inside that listing that prices go up because the lower price is just for a part of them such as replacement batteries. Also, remember that even if you buy several items at once, the final price will probably include shipping for each item.
- The brushing scam . Some sellers use a scam called “brushing” to make their products look better. In this scam, the seller uses fake accounts to buy their own products and leave positive reviews.
- Protect your AliExpress account. Proper cyber hygiene is just as important on AliExpress as it is on other platforms. For example, a strong and unique password can help protect your account and credit card data from hacker attacks and identity theft.
- Try to understand how scams work. While you can take specific actions to protect yourself from a potential AliExpress data breach, you can also read up on research about how stolen credit cards are used and find the best preventive measures you can take.
Is your privacy safe with AliExpress?
Online shopping involves sharing important personal information such as your name, address, phone number, and payment details. AliExpress, like other marketplaces, does gather data from its users. The question is, what does it do with it?
Unfortunately, sharing user data is standard practice for online shops. AliExpress also shares your data with various parties like sellers, logistics partners, other companies in the Alibaba Group, and even companies that assess credit risk. And just like its competitors from the West, AiExpress shares your data with third-party advertisers and marketing partners. So you’re likely to be targeted with ads and promotions across the web.