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Owned by the Chinese group Alibaba, Aliexpress has become an essential Market-Place for importing products from China. However, is Aliexpress a reliable place to buy online? Here is the information you need to know before you start bargain hunting.
The quality of products available on Aliexpress: a scam?
By being the leader of Chinese import platforms, Aliexpress attracts a large number of sellers with inevitably very disparate products in terms of their quality.
If one can find very good quality “made in China” products, it is not impossible to experience a low-end product, or even a mediocre counterfeit. In addition, when we talk about a Chinese product, the standards, quality criteria and sizes are not exactly the same as in our regions.
To avoid disappointments, it is therefore strongly recommended to analyze the evaluations and feedback left by other users, whether on the product page or on the seller before making a purchase.
Shipping costs and time on Aliexpress
The vast majority of deliveries on Aliexpress are free. This is explained by the fact that delivery costs are already applied in the base price of the product, even if they are very inexpensive.
However, there may be shipping costs for more specific products than usual. These fees may vary depending on the size of the product, the volume ordered, the country of delivery or the delivery time.
For Chinese import products, the delivery time may be very random. Generally, it takes 3 weeks on average to see the color. After this period, it is strongly recommended to contact the seller to locate the package.
Finally, it is possible for some products to request a shipment from France, Italy, see Spain. In this case, the costs and delivery times may vary greatly from the information previously communicated.
Aliexpress and customs fees
Customs charges in force in France are linked to VAT and represent 20% of the purchase price of a product. But rest assured, apart from an excess of zeal by customs officials, you do not risk much to order sporadically on Aliexpress.
For orders below 150 € you do not risk customs fees. Beyond 150 € or in the case of an order with a large volume, you are more likely to be controlled.
Customs officers primarily seek large volumes of counterfeit products intended for resale in our territory. We therefore advise you to divide a large order into several small orders to avoid problems.
If this happens to you anyway, you must pay the additional 20% VAT. For an order of 200 euros for example, you will have to pay an additional 40 euros in a post office to be able to collect your package.
Finally, it’s good to know that your chances of getting pinned by customs increase if you buy electronics or big brands.
How to pay for purchases on Aliexpress?
Aliexpress offers many payment methods to pay for your purchases: credit card (Visa, Mastercard…), Paypal, electronic wallet, bank transfer, bank check… and even Western Union.
Among these different payment methods, Paypal remains the most secure for paying for your online purchases. However, the service takes a commission of around 3% on the purchase price. You will therefore pay more for your products with Paypal than with any other means of payment.
You don’t risk paying by credit card either. You only need to make sure that your internet browser is on an encrypted page with the extension “https: //”. This extension ensures the good security of your banking data during the transaction.
Regarding how it works, Aliexpress keep your money warm until you confirm receipt of your product to them, then the seller will be paid. So make sure you always pay for your purchases through Aliexpress and never do it directly with the seller.
Returns and Refunds on Aliexpress, good after-sales service?
For its after-sales service, Aliexpress guarantees the total refund of your purchases in the event of non-receipt of your order, and the total or partial refund if your products do not comply with the seller’s announcement.
However, there may be additional guarantees offered directly by some sellers, such as having to return the product in its original packaging before you can request a refund.
If the product turns out to be a counterfeit, you will be fully refunded (purchase price and any shipping costs) by Aliexpress.
The first step for a return or a refund is, first of all, to contact the seller to find a solution. If a dispute arises, you can file a claim with Aliexpress which will be the sole judge to decide in this matter.
However, you must be careful to be able to open a complaint because there is a date to be respected which varies depending on the item and the seller. This date is set from the date of your order.
Aliexpress, Joom, Wish… Is there a better one?
Among the best known, Aliexpress and Wish are generalist sites. So you can find a lot of products of all kinds and at very competitive prices.
By being more selective about the products offered, other platforms like Joom, Romwe or Shein offer products that are supposed to be of better quality, but necessarily with a more expensive average basket.
So it’s hard to say if one Chinese product e-commerce site is better than another. In any case, it is best to compare the prices and opinions of the products offered before making your choice.