Beware of these six AliExpress scams

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AliExpress has been a staple for the thrifty and specific shopper. With its large variety of online products, and unparalleled prices, AliExpress boasts a large and loyal customer base who depend on their website for their sundry shopping. Nothing this good comes without a catch though. While regular users of the website are aware of the quality of the products they can expect to receive, there are more sinister scams afoot on the website than average quality. Compiled below are the most common scams that befall the unsuspecting AliExpress user. Read through them to be aware of the scams before you fall for them, and for what to do next if you have been scammed in similar ways. In all cases of confusion or deception, contact AliExpress support as soon as you are able, so they may help resolve your issues.

Misleading ratings

Usually seller ratings provide a good measure of safety and security regarding the seller’s products. Sometimes though, sellers will fake their ratings on AliExpress to give you a false sense of security. On the website, a Gold Rated seller is a seller who has maintained quality and received positive reviews over three years. When these Gold Rated sellers retire, they may “sell their accounts” to a third party. So a different seller will use the same account to sell their own goods. The quality and shipment of these goods may not correspond to the previous seller, and you may end up losing your product and your money or receiving a poorer quality than you were expecting. Be sure to check if your orders allow refunds and returns before you checkout. The more guarantees the seller has, the better. The best thing to do if you’ve already bought from a seller like this is to immediately ask for a refund. There is unfortunately not much else to do besides hope AliExpress grants you the refund.

Fake certificates

In order to ship electronics and other items from China, sellers on AliExpress need to obtain certificates. Absence of legitimate certificates can leave you with hefty fines to pay when your product gets delivered. On the other hand, your product may be stuck at customs or returned to the seller. Either way, you will lose money if you don’t check your sellers’ credentials. Browse through recent customer reviews, being mindful of any that are fake. You may check to see if the seller is Gold Rated too, and has a good track record, especially recently. Always ask to see their certificates if they are not provided with the seller’s bio, and keep a lookout for fake photoshopped certificates. Again, it is a good sign if the seller has refund and return guarantees, and TradeAssurance applies to your order i.e. pay only on the website using PayPal. If you find yourself prey to a situation like this, try to refund your item. Request monetary recompense for yourself and report the seller to AliExpress before they can wreak more havoc.

Silence after payment

After your payment, you may suddenly find the seller has left you in the dark. The initial transaction being completed, they are unresponsive to any other questions you have about your order or when it may arrive. If the seller becomes unresponsive like this after being responsive prior to payment, they are likely waiting for the refund period to run its course so they get to keep your money without shipping your item. Become wary if the seller doesn’t respond within two working days and try to cancel your order to get your money back. In these cases, it is best you use PayPal, or TradeAssurance; so you are covered in the case of shipping or quality disputes with the seller. As before, report the seller and request your refund.

Avoiding TradeAssurance

This is a big one. Never allow a seller to go forward without providing TradeAssurance. Often sellers will try to explain how using TradeAssurance only spikes the total price. However, this is something you need in the event of missing, late, poor quality or incorrect items. If at any time a seller requests that you go forward with the purchase without TradeAssurance, you can be rest assured something shady will go down with your product shipment. Refuse these requests outright. AliExpress will not be unable to help you if you find yourself in this quandary, so avoid these sellers at all costs.

Personal agents/accounts

Larger sellers may have “sales agents” that offer discounts on the same items if you send the payment to a personal account. This is a bad idea on two counts: first you are leaving the website to make a payment directly, which means AliExpress are not responsible for covering any loss you have incurred; second, the account may be linked to other fraudulent activities and you may get into trouble with your bank for trading with these sellers. At any rate, avoid sales agents providing discounts like the plague, always interact directly with the business account for your purchases. Another way this sort of scam occurs is when the seller’s email has been hacked. If you receive an email from the seller themselves to continue the transaction on another account, be wary that their email may have been hacked. Refuse to change your payment methods and move on to a safer seller.

Non-binding agreements

Scams that are based on sellers requesting different terms, prices, etc. can range from mild to infuriating. Always be wary if a seller messages you to cancel an order before you have received it for example. The seller may make up any administrative excuse to get you to do this, but once your order is cancelled, you will not be able to request refunds or returns, nor open disputes regarding your order. Similarly, you may be asked to close a refund claim by the seller even though you have not received the refund. You may be left high and dry if you do this, and Ali Express cannot interfere once you have closed the dispute. Never trust sellers on their word and always follow the protocol laid out on the website. If you do not follow these guidelines, AliExpress will not be able to help you, which is something the scammers depend on. The most you can do is report the seller and contact AliExpress as soon as possible to recover your money or items.

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