While Alibaba is primarily known as a B2B company, there is another equally popular entity by the same owners that cater to individuals and consumers called AliExpress. The B2C platform was first launched in the year 2010 and has millions of products and deals directly from Chinese manufacturers. As the products are sourced and shipped from China, you will find the costs relatively cheaper than shopping on Amazon or eBay. There are more than 100 million products from a wide range of categories, including apparel, consumer electronics, computer peripherals, home appliances, toys, cosmetics, footwear, jewelry, and fashion accessories. While on Alibaba, you need to order in bulk, on AliExpress you can even order a single item to be shipped to more than 200 countries. AliExpress is also extremely popular for its dropshipping model.
Shopping on AliExpress
Many buyers are unaware of the fact that AliExpress does not sell products directly but is a marketplace that allows businesses and factories to showcase their products and connect with buyers from around the globe. You will find products listed for as low as 20 cents. The deals are irresistible and too good to be true. But purchasing directly from manufacturers has its own advantages. Besides the large catalog to explore, on AliExpress you have flash deals on some of the most sought after items. Shopping can be conveniently done on the web or Android and iOS app. You can further shop by the new arrivals, top selling and those on clearance sale to unload the overstocked merchandise.
If you are shopping on AliExpress first time, it is important to check the product’s description and seller’s policies carefully. The product page has the highlights, color, size and specifications, along with pictures giving a closer glimpse of the item, so you can be realistic on your expectations. Visit the reviews section to read comments left by other buyers. More importantly it is important to note that merchandise bought on AliExpress are shipped from China and can take weeks or even months for delivery. As you make your payment and checkout, do read the duty or custom policies and delivery timeframe. Also provide your complete address with landmark so deliveries reach you promptly.
With the ocean of products and manufacturers, it is not always that you have a pleasant experience shopping on AliExpress. Some of the common complaints have to do with receiving poor quality items, defective goods, delivered to wrong address, slow shipping and being denied refund. If you have any of the aforementioned complaints or want to simply report a scam or fake seller, here are some of the options to consider.
1) Open a Dispute on My AliExpress
For the uninitiated, all orders placed on AliExpress come with the Buyer Protection guarantee. After you have tried reaching the seller and could not receive a resolution, you can open a dispute and request assistance. The policies state you can open a dispute if the order hasn’t been shipped, it doesn’t match the description, order did not arrive at all or the product ordered was fake. The delivery protection states if you have not received item within stated delivery time, with a maximum of 60 days, you can request a full refund. Delay due to customs clearance, weather or natural disasters, will not be suffice for a valid claim. If the seller participates in the Guaranteed Genuine program and you received a counterfeit product, you might be compensated two times of the total amount. The program mostly covers jewelry, computers, consumer electronics and digital products.
A dispute for refund must be opened within 15 days of the delivery of the package. Existing customers can login to their My AliExpress account, navigate to the Orders section and choose the order where a dispute need to be opened. You will then be asked to fill information on the product, along with pictures and messages to support claim. As for how the dispute process works, once your form has been submitted, the seller will receive a notification to respond to dispute within 15 days. If the case is still pending and an agreement could not be reached, the dispute is escalated to the AliExpress Case Management Team that reviews and acts upon it. Users can file a claim within 3 days after opening dispute.
2) Access Live Chat Option
AliExpress does not offer a telephone helpline where you can receive help. However, there is a live chat option to talk to an agent and know steps to register a complaint. You will need to login to your account to chat with an agent. Before initiating a chat, you can browse the Help section to know the frequently asked questions on payment, cancelling order, refund, dispute process, returning goods, counterfeit products or others. You can access live chat on the web or smartphone app.
3) Support on Social Media
Social media is a powerful communications medium used by most brands. AliExpress has an active presence on Facebook and Twitter. There are ample cases of a tweet and Facebook comment getting noticed by the AliExpress support. Write a short and crisp message that you can post using relevant hashtags to gain traction. Don’t rant on or use expletives to be heard. Social media undoubtedly is one of the novel ways to communicate with a brand.
4) Report to Better Business Bureau
If your grievance is not satisfactorily resolved, you can approach the Better Business Bureau, a non-profit organisation that provides consumer protection and is dedicated to building an ethical marketplace. Though AliExpress is not BBB accredited, you can still file a complaint and post a review, especially if you have been a victim of scam. Once a complaint has been filed, BBB will forward same to the business within two days. If the nature of your complaint is critical, you can expect a response from the business. You can file a BBB complaint through this link. All complaints are closed within 30 days.