So, What is AliExpress?
The fact your here suggests you are familiar with AliExpress already but if your not let me nutshell it for you. AliExpress is a massive web retailer owned by the multi billion dollar group Alibaba. Alibaba started out selling business to business but now the buying and selling portal expanded to business to consumer and consumer to consumer services.
AliExpress is basically an online marketplace for Alibaba allowing purchases internationally which helps small Chinese businesses to sell to people from all around the planet.
To give you an idea of how big Alibaba is they generated $39 billion (USD) in revenue last year making them the fifth largest internet based company in the world.
Why is everything cheap on AliExpress?
When i first started buying from AliExpress along time ago i was surprised to find how cheap everything was, so surprised that i was hesitant to buy anything. The old saying: If it seems to good to be true……(you get the idea) is a thought that came to mind.
The fact is costs for producing items in china are much less than anywhere else in the world and when you couple that with the fact your usually buying direct from a manufacturer you can see why things are so cheap on AliExpress. Many items found on AliExpress can be found on the high street near you but at a price marked up by the ‘middle man’. Using Aliexpress means you cut that middle man out.
Of course there is another possibility as to why some items are so cheap and that is…. wait for it…….. FAKES. Yep you will undoubtedly find counterfeit products on AliExpress. China is a serious player when it comes to counterfeit items and AliExpress has become one of the main online marketplaces for sellers to sell those items.
Knowing what your buying is important and with a series of articles i will help you to make the right choices.
How long does delivery take from AliExpress?
Delivery times vary depending on your location and the sellers choice of shipping methods. On average my parcels from AliExpress have arrived between 10-14 days. On 1 occasion it took around 30 days. So its not been to bad for me personally, 2 weeks isn’t ideal but its pretty good if you have gotten a good deal on a desirable item.
Take the drone from up above for example, estimated delivery to the UK from China is 10-20 days via China Post Registered Air Mail. That seems to be the default for most items, or at least most things i have bought.
In this case the item can be shipped from 4 different countries. I chose china since its usually china your item will be coming from. If i chose USA and for it to be delivered in the USA the delivery time is estimated to be 7-10 days.
You can look at different shipping options by clicking the little downward facing arrow on the right and pay x amount to have it delivered earlier, but there is no guarantee it will be quicker and tbh its probably not worth it for some cheaper items.
Almost always you will be given a tracking number to track your item across the water. So you’ll know when to expect it.
How do AliExpress Import Taxes Work?
If you have never ordered anything to be shipped from abroad to your country before, you will probably be unaware of the import taxes that sometimes have to be paid. (Not happened to me yet).
Almost every country has an import tax. A percentage of the total cost of an item would be paid to your government. It is your responsibility to pay these taxes however i wouldn’t worry about it unless your doing some serious buying. Your likely to get away with it if you ship a single drone for example but you will be pushing your luck if you attempt you ship 30 drones without paying import tax.
In 99% of cases for me personally the seller ships the item as a gift and i have never had an issue with import tax because of that i believe.
You should note that when your not planning on paying import tax you should use free shipping methods. Express couriers have rules in place which will restrict you importing items without the correct tax being paid.
Can i get a refund from AliExpress?
More often than not the items you purchase on AliExpress will be the same as the ones you see in the shops at home. But if your not happy with the quality or your just unhappy with the product you can message the seller directly and request a refund.
Here is a refund i received back in 2016. It’s the only time i have requested a refund because of damaged received during transit. It probably wasn’t even the sellers fault but he was happy to refund me and i bought other things from him because of that.
Click image to view full size.
90% of the time a seller will just issue you a refund with no questions so they can receive good feedback from you. Very rarely will a seller risk bad feedback, especially a seller who is well established on AliExpress. If on rare occasion a seller is being awkward and not helpful at all you can call in AliExpress to handle the situation and make a fair judgement. If you have been genuine with your concerns AliExpress will almost always back you as the buyer.
Be warned though, just deciding you don’t want or like the product isn’t good reason for a refund.
So, is it Safe to Buy From AliExpress?
Absolutely it is. AliExpress is no different to the other big online marketplaces. The fact is there are scammers everywhere and every once in a while everyone will get caught out whether its on Amazon, Ebay or AliExpress. They are all as safe as you are vigilant if that makes sense. You can help yourself be more aware by following this link: Tips for buying safely from AliExpress
I shop on all 3 of those marketplaces and i have only been scammed once on any of them, and that was Ebay. That doesn’t mean the other sites are safer than Ebay it just means i wasn’t quite sharp enough to spot i was being scammed until it was too late.
Pending further additions…..