Many customers placing orders on AliExpress will have such questions: Why haven’t I received my parcel after 2-month delivery? There is no updated logistics tracking information, how can I know where my package is? Why do sellers let me wait for more days after I open the dispute? Hence, many customers on AliExpress will lack a sense of security, and have a question: Is it safe and reliable to shop on Aliexpress?

Aliexpress shipping

There are problems mentioned above on AliExpress indeed currently, but many people regard them as scams, which is exaggerated.

In the post, I will objectively analyze the following most concerned 10 questions and why these problems arise. Then I will give you the most practical tips to help you avoid these problems to have a happy shopping on Aliexpress. You can click to jump to the part you are interested in.

1. Is AliExpress legit?

Yes. The popular retail website AliExpress is 100% legit without any doubt.

AliExpress is headquartered in China and legally run by Alibaba Group for buyers and sellers to trade across the border. It is like eBay, as both sell products directly to individual customers.

To ensure businesses are conducted in a legal manner, AliExpress has set a series of rules and regulations, which also require sellers to be lawfully registered.

2. Why is AliExpress so cheap?

First and foremost, the majority of sellers on AliExpress are in China. With the low-priced labor force and raw materials plus diverse industrial chains, Chinese suppliers are able to sell products at competitive prices.

Moreover, AliExpress skips the middleman to connect with consumers. So prices are much lower than middleman retailers on Amazon or eBay.

Another important reason is that sellers choose an economic shipping method. It is low-cost but the delivery time is usually long and unstable.

3. Is it safe to buy from AliExpress?

AliExpress is a reliable online marketplace with hundreds of millions of visitors, among which 150+ million are active buyers. It’s a good place to buy products made in China at a low price.

AliExpress has buyer protection to keep you safe in 3 major aspects,

  • Protect your individual privacy from being stolen, such as bank account information.
  • Offer a refund if you don’t receive the package or there’s a long delay in getting the parcel.
  • Provide a refund if the items are not as described in the product listing.

That is to say, you don’t have to worry about AliExpress’s overall environment.

4. Why do some people think Aliexpress is a scam? (4 reasons)

“Scam” is a little bit exaggerated. In particular, there are more possible problems in international trade, which is much more complex than the process of placing an order and shipping on Amazon. And when problems occur, buyers usually think it’s the responsibility of AliExpress.

I notice that 70% of AliExpress’s bad reviews on Sitejabber are caused by delivery delays, problems with the product, and the unpleasant dispute process. Oftentimes, unsatisfactory outcomes of disputes result in a bad customer service experience. Gradually, many customers think that sellers on AliExpress are not reliable and that they can not get good right protection from the platform.

AliExpress reviews

There are 4 main reasons why customers feel insecure.

  • There’s a long delay in getting the parcel.
  • The tracking info is not updated timely.
  • The item buyers receive is not what they expected.
  • Some buyers think “buyer production” doesn’t work well.

There’s a long delay in getting the parcel.

Generally speaking, it is about 30-50 days to deliver those goods with free shipping service, 20-30 days in some places. But in many countries and regions, delivery time may be more than 60 days or up to 75 days. The worst situation is that the parcel is lost in transit.

Although the price on AliExpress is low, if customers can’t receive the parcel after a long time, like 60 days or even 75 days, it can be frustrating. And most of them will ask for a refund.

free shipping time

The tracking info is not updated in time.

You may find the parcel always in the same airport of China or the destination country without any other updated shipping information 1-2 weeks after placing an order. If you don’t receive the parcel after 60 days, you can’t judge if the parcel is still on the transit or lost.

Then you will ask the seller about the parcel’s shipping situation. In fact, the seller won’t know the exact place of the parcel, either.

The item buyers receive is not what they expected.

If you receive the wrong items, inferiors or the damaged parcel, 99% of sellers are willing to resend products to you. But if you don’t want to wait for a long time, you can choose to ask for a refund. Sellers will agree to refund you.

But there is another situation: you think the item you receive is inferior or fake just as it fails to meet your high expectations.

For example, you spend $30 buying a pair of so-called latest Nike shoes with free shipping and you find it not as good as the original ones, so you claim that sellers are cheaters. Actually, as long as the quality of the pair of shoes can match the value of $30, that is OK.

Some buyers think “buyer production” doesn’t work well.

Some consumers think the buyer protection service on AliExpress does not act as a qualified mediator to protect their rights well.

For example, the buyer, as shown in the image below, received a damaged item and found it unusable. So, he opened a dispute for a full refund. The seller didn’t respond. Then, the platform stepped into the dispute and judged a 50% refund, because it wasn’t completely unusable; and if insisting on a full refund, the buyer need to return it to China at his own expense.

aliexpress review - bad protection for buyers

The platform will check the submitted evidence and make judgments by points. Generally, it is easy to prove the damage to products. As for product uselessness, your evidence should be strong and sufficient enough. If not, the platform can’t judge whether the item is completely useless. This may be the reason for the decision of a 50% refund.

In such a situation, if you still want a full refund, the only way is to return the item first. The cross-border logistics cost is certainly not low. At this point, you need to consider whether the product value is worth it. Generally, if there is something wrong with your order, which is delivered from China, the common solution is to directly refund you or resend items.

5. What are common shipping methods for AliExpress sellers?

Generally, there are 4 types of logistics on AliExpress.

Economy Shipping

  • Delivery time: 20 to 60 days.
  • Carriers: Cainiao Super Economy, China Post Ordinary Small Packet Plus, SunYou Economic Air Mail, Yanwen Economic Air Mail, Correos Economy, etc.

Saver Shipping

  • Delivery time: 30 to 50 days.
  • Carriers: AliExpress Saver Shipping, Cainiao Saver Shipping for Special Goods.

Standard Shipping

  • Delivery time: 10 to 45 days.
  • Carriers: AliExpress Standard Shipping, Cainiao Expedited Standard, China Post Registered Air Mail, ePacket, Special Line-YW, etc.

Premium Shipping

  • Delivery time: 5 to 10 days.
  • Carriers: AliExpress Premium Shipping, DHL, EMS, e-EMS, TNT, UPS, FedEx, GATI, DPEX, and so forth.

As you can see, Premium Shipping options deliver orders quickly, but the price is high. The first 3 types are economic shipping methods, but the delivery time is long.

6. Why is the delivery time of AliExpress so long?

The main reason is the choice of an economic shipping method. The most common option is China Post Air Mail. It may take over 60 days to receive parcels for those buyers in remote regions. And consumers couldn’t check the delivery information in the destination country. The worst situation is that the parcel is lost in transit.

Here you might wonder why the air mail is so slow.  There are 6 main reasons as below.

1. Some unqualified parcels.

During the China Post security check process, they usually check the entire bag of goods directly rather than unpack the bag. If there are some unqualified goods in the bag, there will be many more additional procedures, such as unpacking the bag to test and refilling the bag.

Due to the small size of the postal parcel, a whole bag contains many packages, and it is time-consuming to unpack the bag for tests and repack the bag. This is also an important factor affecting the clearance time of international logistics.

China post security check process

2. The delay of transfer flights.

Most flights need the transfer. If it needs 2-3 conversions, it will take a long time. Besides, in case of bad weather or other unexpected situations, the time of transportation will be longer.

3. A long time for the full aircraft logistics warehouse.

Because of the high air shipping cost, logistics companies won’t deliver your parcel until the aircraft logistics space is full. Hence, it may take a relatively long time to collect packages.

4. Low efficiency of customs clearance.

The postal cooperation between China Post or other logistics companies and the other countries’ postal companies is the cheapest international logistics method. 70% of the international e-commerce parcels are delivered by postal service. Additionally, customs clearance and delivery are conducted by the public officials of each country.

Because of the limited financial budget, many countries are reluctant to put in extra manpower to assist the customs clearance process. The direct influence is that there will be quite a long time for customs clearance and delivery, especially small postal packages. If you want to speed up the customs clearance process, you can pay extra money to choose special line logistics.

5. The need to change the customs checkpoint.

If a customs checkpoint suddenly declares they don’t receive a large number of international parcels, these parcels will be transshipped to another customs checkpoint. In this phase, there will be some other accompanying problems. For example, it will take a long time to rearrange flight and customs clearance.

6. Major holidays & major shopping days & major events.

During major holidays, customs staff or logistics and distribution personnel also will be on holiday. Hence, it will take more time to operate customs clearance and deliver parcels.

Generally, there will be many parcels being piled up in the airport and customs warehouse after every shopping node, and logistics will obviously slow down accordingly.

Besides, during the period of some international events, like the globally sweeping COVID-19 in 2020, most international flights were forced to be canceled and many staff just stayed at home. Therefore, if you bought products on AliExpress in February or March, it would be quite a long time for you to receive parcels.

Aliexpress shipping delay in Covid 19
COVID affect the Aliexpress

7. Why is there no tracking info or AliExpress tracking info not updated in time?

Although products on AliExpress are very cheap, the international logistics service is a headache between buyers and sellers. For some economical logistics, you can only know the parcel has been in the destination country and the expected delivery time. You can’t obtain the concrete shipping details.

Moreover, some logistics companies just tell you that your parcel has already been shipped from China without other logistics information. Hence, it is easy to lose the parcel.

no shipping info tracking

On AliExpress, 60 percent of small packets are sent via economic shipping methods. Cross-border economic logistics is essentially China’s express plus the postal system in each country. To be sure, the postal service can not keep logistics information updated as quickly as commercial express.

Given that each country has unique national conditions, their postal service levels are different, especially in delivery efficiency and logistics tracking. Generally, in developed countries like Europe or the Americas, the delivery and tracking will be more efficient. But in some remote regions, it is difficult to deliver and track the parcel on time, and it may even be lost in transit or security checks.

Although Postal Parcel service has demerits, it is still the best choice to ship low-value and light products because of the cheap price and wide service scope, which can reach most countries.

In addition, cross-border logistics involves the cooperation of delivery providers between China and other countries. It is hard to realize the seamless connection, such as the immediate sorting and end distribution once parcels arrive at the destination country. This also affects the logistics information update.

8. What should you do if you don’t want to wait so long?

As mentioned above, we can know cross-border e-commerce shipping has some pain points, including logistics information not updated in time, the long delivery time, parcels that arrive damaged or lost, etc. All sellers engaging in cross-border e-commerce wonder how to improve customer satisfaction using a cost-effective shipping method. Oftentimes, the lower logistics fees mean the delivery time would be longer or the service would not be so good.

For low-value small items (≤$5) on AliExpress, sellers often choose the Economy Shipping options. You can’t get the detailed shipping tracking information, and there will be a quite long transportation time. To avoid such problems, you can pay extra money to choose Standard Shipping options. Premium Shipping — commercial express and postal express service, is not recommended, as it is expensive and better suited to high-value items like electronic products.

As the free shipping service provided by sellers is usually the Economy Shipping way, once you choose the service, what you can do is just wait until the coming of the agreed date of delivery, usually 60 days at most. The reason is that the seller can’t check the parcel status, either, and just can tell you to wait for a few more days.

no info, no replies, tracking system

In addition, many consumers buy from AliExpress as products are very cheap, and generally they are willing to wait. However, if you don’t want to wait, you can try the following 2 ways.

1. Find a supplier who has a warehouse in your country.

Some big sellers opt for the overseas warehouse mode to tackle the pain point of long-time delivery. By doing so, big sellers can improve competitiveness and attract more consumers.

For example, if you need a swimsuit for your holiday in 1 week, it is advisable for you to check if the supplier has a warehouse in your country. This can reduce the shipping time to a large extent. As shown in the following picture, you can choose the place of dispatch.

shipping from United States

2. Find a supplier who offers Special Line delivery to your country.

China and many countries have also opened special line logistics to improve timeliness in recent years. It works by sending cargo to the destination country by air or sea, followed by distribution and delivery.

Take Special Line-YW for example. It supports special line delivery to Russia, the US, Brazil, and many other countries of Europe and the Americas, etc. In comparison to commercial express, Special Line is lower in price, due to centralized transport of large-quantity goods to a certain country or region. Concerning delivery times, Special Line is slower than commercial express but much faster than postal parcels.

It is worth noting that if AliExpress sellers ship products from their overseas warehouse or via Premium Shipping, the price is not necessarily the lowest. This is because the logistics and storage fees will definitely be covered in the product price. At this point, you can search for the same product on eBay and Amazon, and make a comparison with AliExpress. When prices are almost the same, you can just choose the faster one.

9. How to select reliable suppliers to buy?

In fact, most sellers do business honestly like you and me. But there are indeed some unethical suppliers. As with shopping on eBay, you might meet a bad seller who sells poor-quality or damaged goods. Therefore, you need to find a reliable supplier for safer shopping.

Apart from scanning product reviews and store feedback, you should pay more attention to the product detail pages. A good detail page must be the one that contains all information you want. The following 2 aspects are very important elements:

Is there a detailed product description?

The overall structure, details, and glossiness of the product will be truly shown in 6 product photos without excessive beautification. Many sellers will show how to use the product in a short video. For example, the store selling fishing lures displays how to use the fishing lure in the short video.

the good image of products

In the product listing, all parameters of the products will be stated in the section, including material, packaging, operation instruction, delivery time, after-sales service, etc. Customers can obtain enough sense of security from such a product listing.

Taking the fishing lure store as an example, as many small sellers or startups can’t provide such a detailed product listing, especially the delivery time chart below, we can conclude that it must be a powerful seller specialized in the fishing lures.

delivery time of different countries

Don’t pay sellers outside of Aliexpress.

Watch out for sellers who ask you to directly send money to their accounts outside of AliExpress. Generally, this situation is rare, but still worth your attention. By doing so, you will lose buyer protection if the seller delivers items not as described, or wrong items, or nothing.

Bear in mind that you should always pay directly on the AliExpress website. Among various international payment options, such as debit or credit card, Paypal, and Webmoney,  many buyers prefer to use Paypal and credit cards, as they can open a dispute if there is something wrong with the order and get a fund after the dispute.

10. What’s the right time to open a dispute and file a claim?

There are many complaints about the dispute from customers. For example, when customers can’t receive their parcels after waiting for a long time, they will ask the sellers about the shipping situation, but they don’t get any response from sellers.

Or sellers just tell them to wait for more time or extend delivery time directly, such as changing 60 to 90 days. Under such circumstances, customers will choose to get a refund on the AliExpress platform.

But there is a rule for you to submit refund applications on AliExpress.

Click to Enlarge

The first situation

Your order is not received within the confirmation date. Confirmation dates vary according to the sellers’ stated delivery time, usually 60 days maximum calculated from the seller confirming the order has been shipped.

Hence, although you think it is urgent, you are allowed to open the dispute after the agreed confirmation date. For example, the agreed date between you and the sellers is 75 days, and you can open the dispute after 75 days.

After submitting the Open Dispute Form, the seller has 15 days to respond and try to reach an agreement with you. If no agreement is reached within the 15-day time period, the dispute automatically becomes a claim (see file a claim). Claims are reviewed and mediated by the AliExpress Case Management Team.

If you don’t hear back from the seller or if you feel negotiations are not moving forward, you do not have to wait until the 15-day dispute period ends – you may file a claim within 3 days of opening a dispute.

Therefore, really don’t worry too much, as long as you don’t get your package, you certainly can get your full refund.

The second situation

If the goods you received are not in a satisfactory condition, open a dispute, and fill out the dispute form provided. You had better explain the issue in an explicit video or photos, then communicate with the seller about partial refunds or full refunds.

If you can’t receive any responses from the seller after15 days, then the dispute will step into the claim stage. AliExpress will involve in the dispute directly. Under such a circumstance, if sellers should be responsible for the issue, you certainly can get a full refund from Aliexpress.

Because of the uncontrollable international logistics on Aliexpress, it will provide the seller with 15 days to tackle the problems. Hence, the refund process will be relatively slow. Besides, the time to get a refund varies for different bank accounts, what you need to do is just to wait patiently and check your bank account.

Different from Aliexpress, Amazon will deal with the dispute directly, skipping the communicating stage between sellers and buyers, so you can get your refund earlier.

In short, you can protect their rights on AliExpress by going through a dispute, but you should first contact and negotiate with the seller for a solution.

There are many complaints about the dispute from customers. For example, when customers can’t receive their parcels after waiting for a long time, they will ask the sellers about the shipping situation, but they don’t get any response from sellers.

Or sellers just tell them to wait for more time or extend delivery time directly, such as changing 60 to 90 days. Under such circumstances, customers will choose to get a refund on the AliExpress platform.

But there is a rule for you to submit refund applications on AliExpress.

the Aliexpress dispute process

The first situation

Your order is not received within the confirmation date. Confirmation dates vary according to the sellers’ stated delivery time, usually 60 days maximum calculated from the seller confirming the order has been shipped.

Hence, although you think it is urgent, you are allowed to open the dispute after the agreed confirmation date. For example, the agreed date between you and the sellers is 75 days, and you can open the dispute after 75 days.

After submitting the Open Dispute Form, the seller has 15 days to respond and try to reach an agreement with you. If no agreement is reached within the 15-day time period, the dispute automatically becomes a claim (see file a claim). Claims are reviewed and mediated by the AliExpress Case Management Team.

If you don’t hear back from the seller or if you feel negotiations are not moving forward, you do not have to wait until the 15-day dispute period ends – you may file a claim within 3 days of opening a dispute.

Therefore, really don’t worry too much, as long as you don’t get your package, you certainly can get your full refund.

The second situation

If the goods you received are not in a satisfactory condition, open a dispute, and fill out the dispute form provided. You had better explain the issue in an explicit video or photos, then communicate with the seller about partial refunds or full refunds.

If you can’t receive any responses from the seller after15 days, then the dispute will step into the claim stage. AliExpress will involve in the dispute directly. Under such a circumstance, if sellers should be responsible for the issue, you certainly can get a full refund from Aliexpress.

Because of the uncontrollable international logistics on Aliexpress, it will provide the seller with 15 days to tackle the problems. Hence, the refund process will be relatively slow. Besides, the time to get a refund varies for different bank accounts, what you need to do is just to wait patiently and check your bank account.

Different from Aliexpress, Amazon will deal with the dispute directly, skipping the communicating stage between sellers and buyers, so you can get your refund earlier.

In short, you can protect their rights on AliExpress by going through a dispute, but you should first contact and negotiate with the seller for a solution.

To Wrap It Up

It is safe to shop on AliExpress as long as you do it in the right way. Now I want to turn it over to you: which point in today’s guide helped you? Or do you have any other concerns about AliExpress? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

If you think this post is helpful, you can share it with your friends. If you want to import products from China or dropship from China, feel free to contact us.

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