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New Buying From China (incl AliExpress) guide discussion

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Shop but don't drop
95 replies 51.9K views


  • jogujogu Forumite
    50 posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I've been buying from Fasttech for a number of years. I mostly buy vaping items - but not ejuice. Postage is free. I've only ever had one problem and that was dealt with to my satisfaction.

    Just be wary that e-cigs are a problem area; you need a properly designed and high quality combination of battery, main body and charger to be relatively sure of being safe, and even then you need to be careful not to abuse the unit (bending/dropping is a no-no). The majority use Lithium-Ion batteries which are troublesome at the best of times, more so in a compact unit in close proximity to heating elements.

    You'll find many horror stories on line about e-cigs exploding. Here's some info from some plastic surgeons in the NHS:

    This is probably one of those cases where if the price sounds really good, the likelihood is you are not dealing with a genuine well designed well made product.
    If you buy from a reputable UK dealer, then if you do lose a few fingers, you'll get a nice payout from their product liability insurance. It seems highly likely that fasttech don't have such insurance.

    (That said, fasttech is still likely a better option than aliexpress or eBay - but I wouldn't buy from there.)
  • georgiacgeorgiac Forumite
    1.1K posts
    Hi, I am looking to import three large and heavy statues from China.

    I have been given a price for the shipping to Felixstowe dock.

    This is where thngs get sticky as I am not sure what happens when they arrive there.

    I will presumably have to pay import duty and arrange a courier to collect them from the docks.

    I just wondered if anyone has done this and if it is a. straightforward or b. what the pifalls are?

    Thanks in advance
  • I have bought several items from China in the last year but please be a aware what you see is NOT always what you get. My bad experiences have been with dress lily and bang good, luckily both items were under £5. My item from dress lily didn't arrive after 2 months of messaging them and getting feeble replies like "it may be delayed please wait another 4 weeks"?! The item from bang good looked nothing like the item I ordered and when I contacted them they wanted me to provide proof of postage and a picture of the goods before they would agree to a replacement after I returned the wrong item which would have cost twice as much as the item was worth. Please be wary.
  • Ive bought from china via amazon in error, I reordered an item from a uk seller on amazon and it hadnt arrived so I went to email the company and it came up with a china address!!! I contacted amazon and was told that as the item I ordered was out of stock the order went on to another stockist who had the item I wanted!!!! I was not impressed. I recently ordered from china via amazon and 2 months on the goods still havent arrived, I did get a refund from amazon. With ebay you can choose not to buy from china and uk sellers lists come up but on amazon theres no option to choose uk only, you have to keep checking where the seller is from! Its ridiculous how cheap the items are from china compared with sellers from the uk for the exact same item.
    I am from another planet :eek: but its ok they know me there
  • fennyfenny Forumite
    9 posts
    'slight damage, genuine article' =fake.
  • fennyfenny Forumite
    9 posts
    I use a site called 'deal extreme'. Have used it for years and been happy.I bought my phone from them too. It's the best phone I've ever owned. It's a Chinese brand called Doogee.Total cost was £55 inc P&P. I think that if you are hung up on brand names, or are naive, or not used to buying from China, you should stick to buying from the UK at 4 times the price.
    You won't even have the option of buying without paying import duty from Europe soon either. Once we leave the EU trade co-operative, it'll become just another place we have to pay duty from.
    Still, it's what the people voted for so I'm sure everyone will be content to pay more.
  • I buy frequently from the Banggood site (no laughing, please!) Service is excellent, goods usually arrive in 10 days to two weeks, never a problem with refunds and pay with Paypal avoiding the currency issues. We have bought across the range including a lot of "Arduino" kits and addons. (Arduino is open source, so these are genuine copies, not to be confused with fakes and are a fraction of the price, but exactly the same.) (I have also bought genuine parts in the UK, so have done my bit to support the project, before anyone complains!)
    We have had goods up to the value of £30, but never had to pay extras for importing.
    So plan ahead, choose with care, ALWAYS compare prices with Amazon, eBay, UK/EU producers etc and just accept that the Chinese business ethos can have different values to those in the west.
  • Quaint1Quaint1 Forumite
    363 posts
    PPI Party Pooper
    I've used two sites in the past - EachBuyer and, most recently Geek (it's an ios app)
    Both allow you to pay in whatever currency you want and I have only ever had one problem - a watch bought via Geek never arrived. This was quickly resolved by Geek and my payment was refunded.
    I'd say that, as long as you read the description and feedback carefully, and are happy to wait for delivery (and are mindful of the political and ethical issues) then take advantage of the deals! Many of the sellers on Geek are also sellers on the Amazon Marketplace...
  • I have brought a few things from China via Facebook and play pennies website, including a watch recently which looks great was £1.99 free delivery. But the strap was plastic, so I had to buy a new strap and now every other day the time is a few hours out!! So off to buy new watch!! Willow be more careful!!!
  • elephantrosieelephantrosie Forumite
    467 posts
    Owned by the billionaire Jack Ma, taobao is like the brother of aliexpress.

    Does anyone know how to buy directly on taobao, rather than using an agent? Agent fees costing too much!
    Another night of thankfulness.
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