The common scams on Alibaba AliExpress and Taobao include premium quality samples, poor quality order, fake product compliance certificates, Selling brand-name products at a very low price, A Gold Supplier selling poor quality products, and many more.
There are many well-established and trustworthy online e-commerce retailers worldwide, and AliExpress is one of them. When purchasing a product it’s important to do your due diligence so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not the product is for you. Not all reputable sites are scams, but sometimes when one does go through a process that involves making a purchase, they end up regretting their choice because there was something that seemed too good to be true, or in some cases, there was a lack of communication with suppliers leading to difficulties with getting refunds or contacting sellers in general.
As with anything else on the internet, people have had bad experiences so if you’re considering shopping on AliExpress, its important that you do your homework before making a purchase. Scammers have infested the marketplace and they pose as legitimate peddlers. Customers are buying products from all around the world but it’s important to note that not every business on the site is equally trustworthy. There are unscrupulous entrepreneurs who will try to take advantage of your need for all sorts of products by posing as product retailers who simply don’t exist.
This guide will serve as a primer for recognizing these disguises, so that you always know whether the two-way interactions with merchants on AliExpress is considered genuine or fraudulent masked by cloak albeit appearing legitimate.
7 Common Types Of Scams On AliExpress & Taobao
We’ve prepared a list of 7 common types of scams on AliExpress and Taobao. Check them out!
1. Premium quality sample, poor quality order
There are many different tactics a supplier can use to get your attention if their product is not the best quality. The most common tactic is when they quote a low price without any intention of delivering on that promise and use this as bait to hook potential buyers in who are not willing to negotiate with them because they believe they won’t get much more than what they’d have had to pay in the first place.
We recommend using Trade Assurance on Alibaba’s site and putting all of the specifics – color, materials, dimensions – into the contract so you can ensure the quality of your bulk order. If you don’t put specific details into the agreement, you cannot file a claim and can only be refunded by Alibaba if it’s found that you are in fact justified in your reasoning for claiming that there was a mistake made with regards to your order, but typically manufactures will try to find every reason possible to keep from issuing refunds.
2. Fake product compliance certificates
To avoid scams or deals that are dubious and dangerous, be sure to check with the supplier beforehand if they have a certificate of compliance. The most common types of scam are where sellers claim they do but in actuality, those so-called certificates haven’t been obtained through legal means and may sometimes be fakes created with Photoshop by changing the text on their documents to alter the company name.
The other type of scam occurs when sellers promise you that they will send you such certifications in your order confirmation, but then continuously never send them or delay sending them so that you’re forced to pay hefty fines at customs instead if you don’t go ahead with your order as agreed.
3. Selling brand name products at a very low price
Buyers now know that counterfeit electronic products are cheaper than authentic branded ones. Unfortunately, no major brand authorized dealers are actually selling their products via Alibaba. All major brands use only official sales channels to sell their whole inventory of genuine branded goods to wholesalers who then resell the same working items loaded with more features than ever before at multiple tiers of prices designed to attract as many people as possible at each tier.
4. Supplier increases the quote after you place an order
Different types of products are sold on Alibaba. For example, some sellers will sell items at deep discounts or even below cost to attract customers, while others will set higher prices and let their quality speak for itself. Unfortunately as Alibaba is a wholesale sourcing platform, this often leads to confusion where you end up agreeing with a supplier on a price only find out later that it’s not exactly accurate or was based on flawed information. All in all, it’s rare to find sellers who won’t give you an altered quote somewhere along the way – so keep an eye out for this! If you are going to go ahead with the order, it’s best to check several suppliers in case something like this happens.
5. Changing products without notice at the time of dispatch
Sad to say, this is known to happen in the industry. A customer may order from a supplier and receive similar but not exact products. This can be due to suppliers sending products that are similar but not defective (for example substituting one fabric for another) or products that look alike when an error was made (for example mistakes in labeling). If a customer received less product than originally ordered, they will usually want a refund unless the product is only available in increments and was labeled correctly. In this scenario the customer would accept the difference and request to be sent remaining quantity later on after their order is complete.
If they were sent more product than they need customers will most likely request a refund so it should be noted that damaged/defective products must be checked and compared with previous orders when such scenarios arise! Before you ship anything out to your awaiting customers, make sure you perform a “pre-shipment inspection” as part of your final evaluation before making things official. This way, you can confirm whether the product(s) meet your standards and will not put off paying your vendors.
6. A Gold Supplier selling poor quality products
Any supplier can become an Alibaba Gold Supplier, but you should be cautious when going about finding one. You wouldn’t want to let someone else choose your supplier for you. The best way to go about this is to hire a third party that specializes in supplier selection and conducts a factory audit, taking the recommendation of the third party instead of choosing a random broker.
7. New suppliers taking your money and running
Suppliers who have been doing business for less than a year are likely to be scams. These suppliers simply run off with money, leaving the client to worry about their end product. Make sure you complete payments with Alibaba Trade Assurance and choose a well known supplier with a good reputation by verifying them through their supplier quality evaluations.
How To Buy From AliExpress & Taobao Safely
Look out for these fifteen elements when evaluating an Alibaba scam and buy from Alibaba safely.
1. Gold Suppliers
In AliExpress’s business platform, there are members with a gold supplier title, who are considered to be the very best in their field and can be trusted. The title means that these suppliers have premium paid account statuses of AliExpress, so they can be genuinely trusted for their services. In other words, scammers cannot afford these payments and therefore you can quickly know if something is not on the level.
2. Verified Suppliers
When you find a verified supplier, it means that the recommended agency has done some checking on the companies and their businesses to see that they are genuine manufacturers. Having been verified by an agency like this can make things so much easier in terms of trusting a firm’s authenticity and product quality. You can check if a seller is verified by looking at its profile logo and asking yourself why it does have verification from these agencies.
3. Trade Assurances
Before getting into business with a supplier on this platform, you can use Alibaba Trade Assurance to check if the supplier is trustworthy. AliExpress uses Alibaba Trade Assurance to manage orders and payments. They also use it to place orders in an effort to observe suppliers’ trading behaviors. This is how they decide whether or not they should continue their business relationship with one another.
4. Check the suppliers’ transaction History/Level
You can always track a supplier’s transaction record by looking out for an orange diamond tagged against the supplier’s name. This is a good way to know whether they are trustworthy or not so that you avoid unnecessary dealings with dishonest suppliers. You can also find out more about the transaction history by using other functions such as ‘Products Purchased’ or ‘Information on Member Companies’!
5. Check out the reviews and Ratings
It’s sometimes natural to be skeptical when you’re doing business with an AliExpress vendor, but you can also find out a lot about that potential supplier by taking a quick glance at their customer reviews. You’ll be able to see what that supplier is like in terms of performance – and it’s even possible to determine how genuine a client is based on their comments. If you see great ratings, you’ll probably be satisfied when working with the same customer if you decide to hire them for your own business.
When you make an AliExpress purchase, it’s important to do your homework first by reading the most recent reviews of other customers. Like any other retail site, it’s important to make sure you can trust the seller before making a purchase. It is possible that some companies have made old or expired products seem as if they are really good deals, but just remember these things can be revealed easily by merely doing some research on the subject matter.
Last Updated on August 6, 2022 by Ana S. Sutterfield
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.