A lot of people like buying things on DHgate because stuff is really cheap. If you have a small MOQ, like a few dozen products, I really recommend using it. But some people have had bad experiences with certain DHgate sellers and left negative reviews, creating a not-so-good image. On Google, you’ll see questions like ‘Is DHgate safe? Is DHgate legit?’ In today’s post, I’ll answer these high concerns about DHgate objectively. Keep reading and you’ll benefit a lot.

What is DHgate?

DHgate, established in 2014, is a B2B online trading platform. But it focuses on small wholesale orders to help eCommerce sellers, which is different from Alibaba, Made in China, Global Sources, etc. Products on DHgate are generally in stock and have clear MOQ requirements on the product listings. For some high-value products, you can just buy one.

After you place your order and pay DHgate, DHgate will keep the money for you until your seller delivers goods to you and you confirm accepting. The whole process is shown below.

How does DHgate work

Why is DHgate so cheap? Is it good quality?

As we all know, China is a “world factory”, manufacturing a wide range of stuff at cheaper prices. More than 90% of DHgate sellers are based in China. They sell products at competitive prices to people worldwide, without a first or second middleman. Take the common everyday item keychains for example. Suppliers on DHgate sell it for just $2.58/pc, while Amazon sellers wholesale from Chinese suppliers and then retail it for around $8/pc.

Click to Enlarge

However, upon seeing such low prices, some friends might wonder ‘Is the quality of items on DHgate good?’ I can tell you that the majority of products have reliable quality, especially for small and simple items which are truly good to use and affordable.

It’s important to note that for the same product, the price difference won’t be huge. If you come across a very low price but have high expectations for quality, you might be disappointed; after all, you get what you pay for. Additionally, when buying, it’s best to be discerning and choose trustable sellers, which I’ll explain in Chapter Five.

Why do some buyers think DHgate is a scam site?

After reading tens of thousands of negative reviews about DHgate, I summarize 6 aspects of why DHgate makes some buyers angry and think it is a scam. I will explain them in detail.

DHgate reviews
Click to Enlarge

1. Customers can’t receive a prompt reply or are even ignored by sellers.

Seller never reply your message

Many buyers will inquire the sellers immediately if they don’t receive the package or the actual item is not the same as the description in the product listing. But sellers answer their questions after several days or don’t give any reply. In fact, such a phenomenon indeed exists.

As many small or individual sellers set up e-commerce stores on DHgate, there may be just one person running the store and completing the whole process including arranging shipment, after-sale service, etc. Hence, they can’t respond to the buyers’ questions timely.

Besides, there is another type of supplier, whose e-commerce store is like an online grocery shop. They display many different kinds of products on their online store. Generally, for such online stores, they couldn’t provide good after-sale service.

In addition, some sellers just want to make quick money by selling hot-selling products. They will remove the products from their e-commerce store immediately when the products become unpopular. For such sellers, they won’t pay much attention to after-sale service, either.

Moreover, many Alibaba suppliers just regard DHgate or AliExpress as extra channels to clean up inventory, so they don’t care too much about the after-sale service of these two platforms.

2. Customers think the customer service can’t help tackle the dispute between the sellers and them well.

Seller never reply your message

Buyers often encounter such problems: the dispute between them and sellers cannot be tackled by themselves. Then they will request DHgate to mediate in the dispute. As DHgate is not the party involved and they judge who should be responsible for the problem just according to the evidence provided by sellers and buyers. Sometimes, both sellers and buyers are unsatisfied with the judgment result.

Therefore, as buyers, you should maintain abundant evidence to prove that sellers should be responsible for the problem, including the chatting records, videos about unpacking the box, relevant pictures of the defective item, etc.

3. It’s hard to get refunds for unsatisfactory products, damaged packages, or the delivery time beyond the promised time.

Generally, the reason for applying for a refund can be summarized into 5 types.

  • The actual item is not the same as described in the product listing.
  • Defective items
  • Packages being damaged during the transit
  • The delivery time is beyond the promised time
  • Shortage of products quantities

What will responsible suppliers do?

Generally, if you encounter the above problems, responsible sellers will refund you directly to avoid disputes or bad reviews. But if the item has a high value, you may need to return the product back to China or the seller’s warehouse in your local country. After sellers receive the item, they will arrange a refund.

For example, you buy 10 Xiaomi mobile phones from China, but sellers send you the wrong ones. Then they will arrange the refund after you return the products back at their requirement.

But if you just buy some low-value products like 20 bottles of nail polish with a $2.5 unit price, it is impossible for you to return the goods back to China because of the high shipping fee. Besides, the shipping and customs clearance will take a long time. Hence, for such products, a good seller will refund you directly or resend products to you.

What will irresponsible suppliers do?

You may encounter such a situation as the below picture shows: some sellers may require you to return the low-value products back to China and you should be responsible for the high shipping fee, which is usually higher than the product value. These sellers are irresponsible as they don’t want to tackle the problem from the bottom of their hearts.

return packages to china

return packages to china

In a word, it is inadvisable to return back low-value products to China. For such products, there are two common and reasonable solutions: the first kind, according to the actual situation, you can negotiate with sellers about the refund amount: full refund or partial refund. In the second kind, if you aren’t in need of the product urgently, you can let the seller resend a new one. Usually, a reliable seller is willing to tackle the dispute.

But there are other two situations just as the below picture shows, and it shows that the seller won’t deal with the problem well.

Partial refund on DHgate

no returns but refunds

DHgate deals with the problem according to the actual situation.

Although there are many rules for protecting buyers on DHgate, the problem also will be tackled flexibly according to the actual situation. DHgate will allow sellers and buyers to deal with the dispute by themselves at first within the agreed time.

For example, because of the COVID-19 in February 2020, if you buy products on DHgate from March to May, it may take over 3 months for you to receive the product by China Post. Even if you choose some commercial express like UPS, DHL, you still may not receive the product within 5-7 days.

So under such a special case, although the delivery time has been beyond the promised time, DHgate can’t judge that the seller should be responsible for the time problem directly.

4. Delivery time is too long.

Never received for a long time

If you choose commercial shipping methods like UPS, DHL, and FedEx, you can get a relatively exact time, usually 5-7 days. If you just buy 1-2 pieces of products with low value, the shipping method usually will be economic shipping ways like ePacket. However, for economic shipping methods, the delivery time will be long and the package may be delayed, damaged, or even lost.

There are some factors causing the package delay.

  • The delay of transfer flights
  • A long time is needed for the full aircraft logistics warehouse
  • Low efficiency of customs clearance
  • Major holidays & major shopping days & major events
  • And more…

If you don’t receive the parcel when it reaches the promised time, the seller usually will arrange the refund. (some special conditions excluded)

shipping is slow

5. Sellers charge shipping fees but the product listing shows free shipping.

The shipping fee is related to the shipping method and the weight of the goods. For the free shipping service on DHgate, it is usually shipped by economic shipping way like ePacket, China Post. Sellers usually won’t provide free shipping if you choose commercial express like DHL, UPS. Only for products of high value, may sellers provide free commercial express.

Most sellers state in the product listing that they will provide free shipping, which is just a way to attract buyers. In fact, they won’t provide free shipping for all shipping ways.


6. The unit price on the product listing is wrong, and sellers raise the price when buyers place an order.

Some small-scale and grocery sellers may have such a situation: the unit price on the product list is wrong, and they will raise the price when buyers place an order. Sometimes it is because they upload the wrong price or product specification.

For example, the product listing says that the unit price is for 1 lot, but in fact, it is for one piece. Sellers won’t find the wrong information until they confirm the order of buyers. When they explain the mistakes to buyers, buyers will usually think it is a scam.

errors on the product listing

Why do such problems occur? As many small-scale and grocery sellers will hire some staff to upload the product images and information to the online store on DHgate in batches, and they are unfamiliar with the product. Hence, they can’t identify the mistakes in product information and unit price.

But large-scale sellers or factories won’t make such mistakes, because their staff is usually familiar with the products. Besides, such companies have a specific team to check the mistakes to ensure accurate data.

7. It's hard to get DHgate Live Customer Support.

For any problem with an order, it’s natural for us to contact customer support agents to fix it in real time. However, when using Live Chat for Customer Service, you actually talk with a chatbot, not an agent. Although there will be a ‘Chat with the agent’ link provided, it’s not really available. The way you can reach manual service is to describe your problem and submit a ticket, then wait for a response. If you haven’t received a response within 24 hours, you can email again.

hard to get DHgate customer agent support.
click to enlarge

Here you might ask “What about the customer call service?”. The platform only provides this number to send a fax: +86-10-82025922 to their head offices.

Know about the buyer protection of DHgate clearly.

Some aspects of customer service on DHgate do let buyers unsatisfied, but many misunderstandings are also due to buyers’ unfamiliarity with DHgate. To get a good shopping experience and protect yourself better, you really need to know some details about the buyer protection policy before you buy from DHgate.

I will list the most common 6 problems below and teach you how to deal with them.

1. How to cancel an order that the seller has not shipped?

Select the order you want to cancel and then click the “Request Refund” button.

How to cancel an order that the seller has not shipped (4)

After submitting the request, the seller will be given 7 days to respond to the proposal. Once the seller agrees with the cancellation, the system will refund automatically.

Notes: If no response from the seller within 7 days or sellers can’t reach an agreement with you in the system over 7 days, the order will be closed automatically.

If the seller rejects your proposal, it should ship out the package before the shipping deadline. But if it doesn’t send out by the shipping deadline, you can request the refund again. Your order will be canceled right away and you will be refunded within 24 hours.

So what you need to do is just master the time schedule instead of worry, and your refund won’t be lost. The following chart is the rule about refund time for your reference.

The refund methodRefund time
Credit or Debit card3-7 business days
Local Payment1-2 business days
DHgate AccountReal-time

2. Why is the tracking information not updated after placing an order?

The tracking information will appear on the shipping carrier’s website after 5/7/10 business days, depending on the shipping carrier that was used.

If sellers on DHgate send your goods by international express and special line, you can check real-time logistics information.

But if your iterms are delivered by economic shipping way, like ePacket, sometimes the logistics information is not updated in time, or there is even no detailed logistics information. That is to say after you know that your package has been sent from China, you may not receive any tracking information until it arrives in your country.

Another possibility is that the seller gives you an invalid tracking number so you can’t track your order. In this case, please contact the seller and have him/her contact the shipping company for tracking information. If the seller has not responded to your request or provided you with the correct tracking number, you can open a dispute.

3. What if the item shipped to you is not received or not as described?

If you do not receive the goods, or the goods you receive are not as the seller’s description, it is recommended that you communicate directly with the seller first. If the communication fails, you can click “open a dispute” on your order to return the terms to the seller, get a replacement, or get a refund (full refund or partial refund).

What if the item is not received or not as described

You can do it within 5-90 days after the order is shipped, starting from the day the seller provides the order tracking number. But after 90 days, you can’t file a dispute anymore.

Buyers and sellers have 10 days to reach a settlement. If no agreement is reached within 10 days, the system will automatically report the dispute to the platform, or you can actively “request DHgate mediation” after 8 days.

If the order status is Buyer Accepted Goods/Payment Released, buyers can open an after-sale dispute within 30 days and the VIP buyer can apply within 60 days.

4. What if the seller requests postpone shipment?

You can see the “Requests for postponing shipment” and details in the “Awaiting Shipment” link in “My Orders”. If you agree, the shipping deadline will be extended to the suggested date. If you disagree, the original delivery date will not change. However, if the seller fails to ship within the original deadline, the order will be automatically canceled and you will get a full refund.

Request for postpone shipment

5. Who is going to bear the customs & import taxes?

Customs taxes are not included in the price of the item or in the delivery costs. You will probably pay the customs fees on items ordered from DHgate, and your purchases on DHgate are considered imports since the packages are shipped from overseas.

To avoid any unforeseen surprises, pay attention to the following:

Ask the seller if you need to pay any additional import duties, taxes, or other customs-related charges like inspection fees.

Sellers are not responsible for delays caused by the customs department in your country.

Some big sellers have overseas warehouses. If the seller you find has a warehouse in your country, products are shipped directly from his warehouse to your address, without any customs duties.

6. What evidence needs to be provided for different claims?

evidence provided to DHgate

The evidence needed varies from the actual package situation. But there is a common thing, no matter the evidence is a short video or photo, which should clearly show the problem. Click here to learn more about the evidence you need to provide for different claims.

How to find a reliable seller on DHgate?

From the above several scams, it is obvious that those problems usually exist in small-scale sellers and grocery stores. So it is better for you to choose large-scale and professional sellers to cooperate with. By doing so, you are more likely to get good quality products and reliable after-sales service.

There are 4 tips to identify a professional seller on DHgate.

1. Just sell one category of product

Generally, professional sellers have one thing in common: they just sell one category of product in their store. For example, when you search “LED light” in a store, you will find all of the products in the store are LED lights.

A store that just sells a category of products

When I search “ diaper bag” on DHgate and click into one of the sellers’ store, I find there are 4 different categories of products, with large quantities of products under each product category.

A store that sells a variety of products

I have mentioned that such grocery sellers have unsatisfactory after-sales and they can’t give prompt responses to the buyers. Besides, because of too many product categories, they can’t manage products well and may provide wrong product information.

2. Natural and real image with clear product information

A professional seller will provide a good product listing, including a natural and real appearance picture, clear product specifications, as well as clear after-sales policies.

In addition, a trustworthy seller won’t provide ambiguous product information or urge you to place an order with some unreal photos.

3. Check their bad reviews

You should pay attention to the bad reviews on the store rather than focus on the good reviews too much. As people may not leave good reviews if they are satisfied with the product, but if they are unsatisfied with the product, they will leave bad reviews stating the defect or their buying experience.

4. Sellers have warehouses in your country

Generally, only big-scale sellers will rent warehouses in many countries. Most of them have a plan to run a long-term business. In addition, their products may have a better potential market.

Summary: The above 4 tips are just to help you identify whether the seller is professional not to tell you that other small-scale sellers or grocery sellers are untrustable. But when compared with those small-scale sellers or grocery sellers, professional sellers are much easier for you to identify.

Supported payment methods on DHgate

DHgate supports credit/debit card payments all over the world, such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Diners, Discover, etc. You can also pay with an e-wallet such as Skrill (Moneybookers), Masterpass, etc. In addition to these general methods, there are also other special payment methods for different countries. For example, if you are an Australian buyer, you can also use Poli, Bpay, and Apple Pay to pay.

supported payment methods on DHgate

Since the credit card is the most common payment method on DHgate, you may have this question: is DHgate safe for credit cards? Generally, it is safe to pay with a credit card. Because you pay to DHgate first, and after you confirm receipt, DHgate transfers the money to the seller. So, DHgate will not issue payment until it is sure that you are satisfied with your purchase.

It is crucial not to agree if the seller advises you to pay him/her directly, instead of going through DHgate. If you do, you are out of DHgate buyer protection in case there is something wrong with your order.

Can you buy brand or luxury replica products from DHgate?

There are many luxury replica product sellers on DHgate and many overseas people ask me whether it’s safe to buy replicas. I’m not sure if they mean safety concerns about replica quality or customs inspections.

If concerned about replica quality

These so-called replica products actually offer good cost performance and aren’t entirely ‘fake’. But never expect to buy a pair of real Nike shoes for $10 or buy a real LV bag using $100. Additionally, these replicas are graded and typically have three levels:

Ordinary replicas: Resemble the original at first glance but have noticeable differences in details. They are of average quality and come at a low price.

Super A-grade replicas: Closely approximate the original product in appearance, materials, and workmanship, yet there are still some subtle differences. Their quality far exceeds that of ordinary replicas and prices are notably higher as well.

1:1 high-quality replicas: Achieving over 90% similarity to the original in materials and details. Difficult for most people to distinguish, these replicas come at the highest level in the replica market and the prices are also the highest.

As you can see, the more real the product is, the more expensive it is. And there is no standard price for such luxury replica products. As long as the price and quality match your expectations, you can buy it. For beginners, it’s advisable to buy one item first and check its quality.

Usually, clothing and shoes are easy to judge for quality, such as assessing comfort when worn. If satisfied, you can confidently make more purchases from the same seller. However, for complex products like watches, electric balance scooters, or phones with many components, it’s really hard to evaluate the quality. As you buy more, you start to get the hang of it.

For more about experiences of buying luxury replica products from DHgate, there are many videos sharing how to buy replica products from DHgate on Youtube like the following video.

If concerned about being held by customs

Whenever dealing with replica products, whether it’s a few items or a larger quantity, there’s a high risk of detection during customs scanning. Once inspected, there will be customs detention and even fines. No logistics company can guarantee a 100% problem-free process. And the risk lies on your side.

Sellers specializing in replica business often have special channels for shipping. When you express safety concerns, they may reassure you that packages are generally not locked, and most customers receive their orders. However, there’s still a potential risk of customs inspections. If you’re willing to take a chance, you could consider negotiating with the seller about a replacement in case your package is detained by customs.

The end

Hope this article will help you have a clearer and better understanding of DHgate to use it more safely. If you have any questions, please leave a quick comment below.

We are a leading sourcing company in China and have helped lots of clients source various products from China. We can follow up on the whole importing process and give you guidance step by step. Any help for sourcing from China, just feel free to CONTACT US.

5 7 votes