What is AliExpress? AliExpress is a China-based online retail service which is owned by Alibaba, the world’s largest retailer. It was built as a marketplace for international buyers and connects them to (mostly Chinese) sellers and manufacturers. It is hugely popular in countries like Russia, Brazil, Spain and the United States. Despite their growing market share and billions of dollars in revenue, in many countries it is still not as known as eBay or Amazon, even if they are comparable in size. When people hear about AliExpress for the first time and see the unbelievably low prices, they often ask themselves if AliExpress can be trusted. We’ll try to answer the most popular questions to take away your fear and make you feel comfortable shopping on AliExpress. Is AliExpress safe to buy from? First of all, AliExpress is a marketplace (similar to eBay). It doesn’t sell any products directly to consumers but offers a platform to connect buyers and sellers. Most sellers are small businesses or manufacturers from China. Similar to eBay and Amazon, it depends on the seller if your shopping experience will be positive or not. To make sure buyers can shop riskless, AliExpress offers Buyer Protection which protects you in the following cases: • When the item you ordered did not arrive • When the item you received was not as described • When the item you received that was assured to be genuine was fake AliExpress has a comprehensive dispute process that protects you in case you are unhappy with your transaction and get your refund. From our experience we can say that Buyer Protection really works. In the rare cases that something went wrong (e.g. the delivery took too long or the product looked different to the pictures) we always got our refund. Another thing worth mentioning is that when you buy a product, the seller doesn’t get paid right away. AliExpress keeps your money until you confirm that you received your order or does it automatically after 60 days. If you don’t receive your order within 60 days, you should open a dispute to find a solution with the seller. If you can’t come to an agreement, you can escalate it to AliExpress and get a refund. Can I trust AliExpress with my credit card/payment info? Another hurdle for new buyers often is putting in their payment information when ordering a product. Especially people who don’t shop online very often may be uncomfortable giving their credit card details to a Chinese service with thousands of sellers. But fear not: the seller will never see your payment details as it is AliExpress who processes the payment. And due to their size and plans of expanding their footprint worldwide, they have a reputation to maintain. The lack of a PayPal payment option, which we are used to in the western world, may look suspicious at first sight. This is mostly due to the fact that Alibaba (who owns AliExpress) also owns Alipay, their own mobile and online payment platform which is even bigger than PayPal itself. They have recently added certain products which you are able to buy with PayPal though – and they promised that there will be more. You can find a list of all payment options here. Tips to buy safely from AliExpress In order to avoid nasty surprises while shopping on AliExpress, there are a few things you should pay attention to: Read the full product description: Do not buy a product by just checking out the photos and the title as there might be important details that the seller left in the description. (e.g. the title says “Cotton socks” but the description actually shows it’s just 30% cotton and 70% polyester). Sellers often post additional photos in the description or list features, specifications or compatibility details in the description – especially important for electronic products. So make sure to check it out! Check product feedback: There is a section on each product page where buyers can leave feedback – similar to Amazon. People will often post photos of the items received so you can see the difference between the pictures provided by the seller and how it looks “in real life”. The feedback also contains a star rating, the average of which you will see on the product page as well. Check seller rating: You can check the sellers’ reputation at the top of the product page. To see more details, hover your mouse over the store name. You’ll see their average rating for three categories: “Item as described”, “Communication” and “Shipping Speed” – it will also show if this rating is above or below average. So, is AliExpress safe? Conclusion: Based on our experience, AliExpress is safe to shop on. At least it’s as safe as shopping on Amazon, eBay or any other store or marketplace. If you stay aware and use common sense, you will have a positive shopping experience and will be able to save a lot of your hard-earned money. Take me to AliExpress!