Most of us have heard about AliBaba, an multi-billion dollar worth Chinese e-commerce platform founded by Jack Ma. The company started out as a business to business service and soon started providing business to consumer services as well. AliBaba has spread its wings and has gone international with AliExpress, aimed at the international markets.
AliExpress reviews has been able to attract customers from all over the world, primarily for offering items cheaper than the market price. In fact, you can save significant amount of money buying certain products from this platform. But, there have also been innumerable reports of buyers getting defrauded or shipped counterfeit items. That has got us asking – Is AliExpress Safe? This is what we discuss in this article. Keep reading!
- Why is AliExpress so Cheap?
Why is AliExpress so Cheap?
AliExpress manages to sell many products at substantially lower prices as compared to other e-commerce websites. This has been the biggest draw of this online seller. I have a couple of theories how AliExpress is able to sell certain items for so cheap.
Cost of labor, and hence cost of production, is significantly lower in China. This is why the Chinese manufacturers are able to sell their products at a smaller price point. But, what greatly contributes to the low price is the fact that you get to buy directly from the producers/manufacturers on AliExpress eliminating the middlemen from the equation. It’s the dealers, retailers and other middlemen who add their profits to the final price and you end up paying more.
But, it’s the other possibility that deters us from buying from AliExpress. It is a known fact that Chinese are the masters of copying and counterfeiting. And, it won’t be a surprise if the bogus products make it to this platform. Whether it is electronic items, apparels or accessories, there is a chance you may end up buying a fake product. It’s got to be cheap if it is counterfeit. Stories have been also told of the buyers being duped by the sellers who just take the money and never ship the products.
If you can tell genuine buyer from fake and good product from bad, that is why AliExpress is so cheap and not a bad place to shop.
How About Website and Server Security Issues
Ever since the launch of AliExpress, only one major vulnerability in site security has been exposed by the experts. But, it’s the same vulnerability that plagues the e-commerce giant eBay as well – cross-site scripting or XSS. This vulnerability could have spelled doom on the credibility of AliExpress if it hadn’t been timely discovered and taken care of. XSS security glitch lets the hackers the personal information of the users who use specific browsers. The company would have lost a huge number of its customers if the vulnerability had not been spotted and plugged.
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Some minor, nearly insignificant, vulnerabilities have also been revealed but they would not have (or did not) impact the website’s users as well as the company. Besides XSS no other major vulnerability has been exposed. What’s good to know is that the moment the company was apprised of the XSS issue, they quickly took the steps to take care of it without any delays. That goes on to tell that AliExpress owners are here for serious business and are not just playing around.
Beyond that, I haven’t been able to find reports of any vulnerabilities in AliExpress’s systems. Of course, not every vulnerability would be publicized, but this most recent XSS problem is by far the most glaring error on the record. And, according to the researchers who discovered the vulnerability, once AliExpress was made aware of it, they took it seriously and fixed it quickly.
AliExpress uses Alipay, the international payment system for Alibaba. This payment system has proven to be effective and highly secure. While transacting on this website, you will need not worry about things going wrong.
So, we can safely concluded that as far as the platform security is concerned, both AliExpress and AliBaba are as secure as they come even after considering WSS issue. After all, the global ecommerce leader eBay could not avoid it even.
AliExpress reviews has a good track record inasmuch as site and payment security. I am not saying that it is invincible, but the even platforms like eBay and Amazon are also not.
So, Where Is the Problem?
Website is safe, payment system is trustworthy; so where exactly does the problem lie? The problem is with the merchants and of course the approval process that allows the merchants on the platform.
One thing that quickly draws our attention is that AliExpress only lets sellers from China to sell on the website. Hundreds of cases of consumers being duped or scammed have been reported over the years, to the extent that the company itself had to set up an internal fraud investigation and analysis division. They also have a separate webpage offering tips to the buyers to avoid frauds while buying from their website. Now who does that? But, at least we know that these issues are on the company’s radar and hopefully, in the coming time we would be able to buy from the platform more safely without having to worry about being scammed.
Can I still buy from AliExpress and not get scammed?
Well, I think you can (at least for the most part). There are only a handful of fraudsters and scammers on this platform that are tainting its image. If you are careful, you will be able to tell good from bad. Here are some of my recommendations on safe buying.
If the price is too low, it is likely a scam
Low pricing is the biggest draw of the website. This is why hundreds of thousands of potential buyers flock to AliExpress everyday. Merchants offering 20-30% discount is not unusual. You will often find such offers on Amazon and other global ecommerce platforms as well. But, you know you are likely to be duped of your money when a seller is offering a discount of let’s say 90%. For instance, if there is a TV set priced at $1,000 in the market and the AliExpress merchant is offering it to you for $100, you know you have to steer clear of it. If that’s the kind of deal you are being presented with, you are either buying a counterfeit product or the seller wouldn’t probably ship the item to you.
Use the Escrow Service of AliPay
It is best to use the escrow service of the payment system if you wish to avoid being scammed. It can protect you in more than one way. Escrow makes sure that the purchase amount you have paid is not released to the merchant until it has been confirmed by you that the product has been received. If you happen to receive a counterfeit product or it isn’t shipped to you, you can always contact AliExpress and have the payment withheld and later refunded to you. Using the Escrow service also means that your payment details (credit/debit card info) are not sent to the seller.
It is important to check the product carefully upon delivery. Take it out of the box and examine it thoroughly. Make sure that it is genuine and not counterfeit.
Check the merchant’s rating before buying
The buyers who have been duped by a seller will almost always go back to the site and leave a negative feedback and low rating to the seller. The rating and feedback are a solid indicator of the seller’s credibility. For instance, a seller with an average rating of 4.5 has a really high chance of being authentic as compared to the one with a rating of, say 2 or 3. Always avoid the sellers who have low average rating.
Wrapping up: By and large AliExpress is safe
AliExpress is probably as good as it gets all things considered. If you are careful enough, you will be able to keep yourself from the fraud’s way. As I have already said, always check the rating of the seller and never go for deals that sound too good to be true. Reasonable discounts are understandable but no one can sell an item at just a small portion of the actual price and still survive.
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