Is AliExpress Safe? What Makes AliExpress Safe
AliExpress is commonly referred to as the Amazon of China. Similar to Amazon, it appears to offer nearly everything imaginable, including earrings designed to resemble toilet paper. Unlike Amazon, however, AliExpress listings are extremely inexpensive.
Before embarking on an online shopping spree, it is essential to determine whether or not AliExpress is a secure platform. And if it is relatively risk-free, are there any additional dangers to consider? If so, what are these risks and how can they be avoided? In this guide to AliExpress safety and security, we will cover these topics and more.
Is AliExpress Safe?
We know you're eager to see what AliExpress has to offer, so we'll provide the answer immediately: AliExpress is a safe place to purchase, but there are some risks involved. There are risks associated with shopping on the platform, including counterfeit products and undelivered packages.
Before we address the risks, allow me to briefly describe what the company does. AliExpress is an online marketplace where third-party vendors can feature products for sale to consumers. It manages shipping arrangements, typically through Cainiao, a shipping service owned by Alibaba. There are also premium shipping options available via FedEx, UPS, and DHL, but they are more expensive.
In addition to providing shipping services, AliExpress facilitates payments. When you make a purchase through the platform, the payment is held in escrow until the order has been fulfilled. This escrow payment system makes buyer protection on AliExpress conceivable. More information is provided below.
What Makes AliExpress Safe?
Now that we understand what AliExpress does, let's examine its security features.
- Buyer Protection for undelivered items
- Easy Return and Money Back Guarantee
Buyer Protection for Undelivered Items:
Every qualified listing carries a badge indicating buyer protection. This badge indicates that your order should arrive at your doorstep within the specified time frame, such as 75 days. You can file a claim if the item does not arrive on time, and AliExpress will issue a refund within 15 business days of the claim being processed.
Easy Return and Money Back Guarantee:
You are also entitled to a solution if the item you received is defective, subpar, or counterfeit. However, the claim process for such items is lengthy and frequently drawn out. You must first file a dispute, which will be sent directly to the seller. You and the vendor will attempt to negotiate a mutually agreeable resolution, which may include a full or partial refund, item replacement, or a voucher. If no resolution is reached within 15 days, AliExpress will determine the appropriate course of action.
Payment Information Security System
Due to the fact that AliExpress also processes payments, the safety and security of your payment data is an additional imperative concern.
You can use credit or debit cards to pay for your orders either directly to AliExpress or through AliPay. In either case, you will be transacting with a company owned by Alibaba, as both services are owned by Alibaba.
- Debit/Credit Transactions
- Paying through AliPay
Debit/Credit Transactions: If you choose to pay directly with a credit or debit card, AliExpress will need to know your payment information. The good news is that only AliExpress will be able to view them, so third-party sellers will not be able to steal your card information. In addition, you have the option to not store your payment information. You will be required to submit your card information each time you check out, but if you wish to conceal your payment information, this is a minor inconvenience.
Paying through AliPay: AliPay is a payment service comparable to PayPal, Cash App, and Venmo. You can add funds to your AliPay account using a credit or debit card, then use the balance to make purchases. If you use AliPay, neither AliExpress nor the merchant can see your credit card information, so it is safer than dealing with AliExpress directly.
AliExpress Red Flags
While AliExpress is generally a secure platform, it is not flawless. Here, we will discuss the issues you may encounter while using AliExpress, how to identify them, and how to remain safe.
AliExpress is currently listed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative as one of the leading global sources of counterfeit products3, so if you shop on AliExpress, you always run the risk of obtaining counterfeit goods from unscrupulous sellers. AliExpress' efforts to counteract counterfeiting are commendable. Holders of intellectual property rights can now report listings that violate their rights, and AliExpress appears to be taking action.4
As consumers, we must avoid purchasing counterfeit products, not only because they are illegal and harmful to the economy, but also because doing so could land us in legal trouble.5 However, it can be difficult to identify counterfeit items when the only reference is an image, so here are a few tips:
- If a price appears to be too excellent to be true, it probably is. Even though AliExpress is known for its unbeatable prices, you won't find the newest iPhone for $10.
- Avoid branded products. Counterfeiters often target trending brands. If you intend to purchase branded products regardless, it is safer to do so from the manufacturer or an authorized reseller.
- Examine the product reviews. This is crucial. Examining what previous purchasers have said about a listing is the most effective method for identifying fakes. As a general rule, you should avoid products with one or two stars. Additionally, even if the ratings are positive, you should read the reviews with fewer stars, as some sellers inflate their products' ratings by publishing fake positive reviews.
- Look for the insignia for Buyer Protection and money-back guarantee. If the item turns out to be counterfeit, you will have recourse to these guarantees.
MSRP Listing Trick
AliExpress is a competitive marketplace, and some vendors are willing to use deceptive listing practices to gain a competitive edge.
A common practice is to market prices significantly below MSRP. AliExpress permits vendors to include variations in their product listings, such as T-shirt sizes. Nonetheless, some utilize this feature. They create product listings that describe a genuine item, but advertise the price of an accessory. The listings appear to be excellent deals for buyers. When you click on them, however, you will discover that the prices listed are for less expensive accessories, and the genuine products cost more.
Here's an illustration: We discovered a pair of eyeglasses for $0.50. When we clicked the link, however, we discovered that only the case was worth that amount. The pair of eyeglasses depicted in the image cost $5. You may wind up purchasing just the case instead of the sunglasses if you're not careful. Since the listing is not technically inaccurate, only deceptive, you are not eligible for a refund. Therefore, you must pay close attention to the details. Verify your order before making payment, and do not rely solely on photos. You should read the description carefully, and if there are inconsistencies, you should seek elsewhere.
Is Your Privacy Safe on AliExpress?
AliExpress is generally a secure platform, but it does collect personal information. Is your data protected?
- Name, email address, and physical address are examples of contact information.
- Payment and invoicing details, including your payment method, billing, and shipping address.
- Purchase details, including products and quantities
- Provided support information when requesting customer service
These types of data collection are standard for online marketplaces; so far, so fine. We also examined the company's policy regarding the disclosure of personal data. We discovered that it shares data with, among others, merchants, business partners, other Alibaba Group companies, logistics partners, third-party service providers, and credit risk assessment providers. Again, this is a common practice among e-commerce platforms and poses little risk to you.
AliExpress's data sharing with third-party advertisers and marketing partners is the only potential cause for concern. This means they can target you with advertisements and marketing campaigns using your personal information. The bad news is that every other e-commerce platform, including Amazon6, shares data with third-party advertisers. If you do not want advertisers to have access to your personal information, your only option is to avoid online marketplaces.
Recap: Is It Safe to Use AliExpress?
Based on our analysis, AliExpress is safer than the majority of people believe. AliExpress has strong buyer protections, information security, and payment systems, despite the company and the majority of its third-party vendors being located in China.
In order to get your money's worth and avoid being duped, however, you must be careful when selecting items to purchase from the platform. Although there are some fantastic deals on AliExpress, you may also encounter counterfeit or inferior goods.