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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Jenny
    • By MSE Jenny 8th Aug 16, 5:54 PM
    • 1,243Posts
    • 3,577Thanks
    MSE Jenny
    0 WOW
    New Buying From China (incl AliExpress) guide discussion
    • #1
    • 8th Aug 16, 5:54 PM
    0 WOW
    New Buying From China (incl AliExpress) guide discussion 8th Aug 16 at 5:54 PM


    Hi all,

    We've written a new Buying From China guide and would love your feedback.

    How did you find the info? Was it useful? Do you have any other tips you'd add?

    Thanks for your help!

    MSE Jenny
Page 1
    • argeetee
    • By argeetee 10th Aug 16, 1:14 AM
    • 26 Posts
    • 15 Thanks
    argeetee
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 16, 1:14 AM
    Some thoughts on using Aliexpress...
    • #2
    • 10th Aug 16, 1:14 AM
    The MSE guide is a good start. Below I offer my experiences of buying direct from small Chinese suppliers via Aliexpress.

    My Aliexpress (AE) profile says I’ve been a member of AliExpress since 2004 (I joined the original wholesale group/company which AE is part of). I’ve been buying more regularly (multiple items most weeks) for the last 3-4 years.

    Read all about how to be careful buying - mostly common sense and basic approaches as used on eBay & Amazon (which are now chock full of AE suppliers). Advice like beware of “drop-shippers”, they’ll be cheaper but riskier. Look at a supplier's main “storefront” to see if they really are a specialist supplier or “jack of all trades”. Check feedback on items and not just sellers.


    SEARCHING AE- is all part of the fun, Keep your search terms simple and try and work out what the locals call the thing you are after. It’s often worth doing an image search on google; type in: siteliexpress followed by the item you are after, then click-thru for results. Advantages of using this method is you can use Googles advanced search terms. Note that due to time passing since the pages were indexed, any Google results after the first page are unlikely to still be available on the AE site. AE also has a mobile app. In many respects it’s easier to use then the website. Searches seem much easier.

    Like eBay and Amazon, product pages have alternatives products listed towards the bottom. These often display the same or similar products from other suppliers. Using this method can be more fruitful in finding options and better prices/suppliers/reviews for the item you are after.

    Check ads carefully. Expect as a rule most to have fake images or photos “ripped” from other sites. Some suppliers will have original manufacturers images so keep an eye out for them. Most ads have incorrect or suspect aspects in their descriptions, so read them carefully. Sellers would rather make the sale and argue about it afterwards.

    AE has strict buyer-friendly refunds policy which you should read before buying (worth it as I’ve never returned faulty/misdescribed items unless seller agrees to pay postage in advance).

    Be careful with electrical items. - some of the build quality and functionality you’ll find will be shocking, some quite literally! Unless you know how to verify things like CE marks, you should probably assume such markings could be fake.

    Clothing - comes up very much smaller (to fit average Chinese), so expect a ladies UK 10-12 to be listed as XL! Anything marked “one size” is maximum a uk women’s 8-10. Footwear seems ok, but check your US/UK/EU size conversions. Expect discrepancies in description, as in general AE sellers are not as accurate as you might expect. Remember to check product feedback from actual buyers.

    Do your homework and as advised in the MSE guide, make small spends (IMO less than £5).

    Pay by card as PayPal is not accepted (and unlikely to be). I think Alipay (part of the group owning AE), can be used without fear, I’ve never had any problems and payments/refunds are processed promptly as in EU.

    Delivery. I consistently find that things get delivered by airmail within 2 weeks to London, sometimes much less.

    Lastly don’t automatically assume it’s cheaper on AE. In the last 12 months I’ve noticed that prices are often lower on eBay and even Amazon. This could be because of raised selller costs on AE (paying for a much expanded Alibaba Group), but equally due to the widespread infiltration of eBay and Amazon by chinese sellers and “drop shippers”. I suspect this has forced sellers on eBay and Amazon to price more keenly. It’s worth checking around as you might find that the days of super cheap deals on AE are firmly behind us…

    Hope you find this of some use. I rarely post on MSE so will probably not be able to reply to any questions. Thx.
    • Lesleyg
    • By Lesleyg 10th Aug 16, 7:53 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 3 Thanks
    Lesleyg
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 16, 7:53 AM
    Ali Express - which currency?
    • #3
    • 10th Aug 16, 7:53 AM
    When setting up an account with them, for shipping to the UK, it chooses US$ as default currency. Should I change this to pounds?
    • Rachiek414
    • By Rachiek414 10th Aug 16, 8:30 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Rachiek414
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 16, 8:30 AM
    • #4
    • 10th Aug 16, 8:30 AM
    I always buy from Aliexpress and I even get a discount if I purchase the items via their app. I once bought two NFL jerseys for husband, paid £24 for both and when they arrived they were the versions that would normally sell for £200 each. They were genuine jerseys but they were the ones that had slight imperfections so wouldn't be sold by the NFL. Looking at them you wouldn't have known they had any imperfections (stitch wasn't perfect on one letter within the name and on the number of the other shirt). My husband was happy with them. I wouldn't risk something like a wedding dress, but for everything else (and I've had phone cases, stationery, craft items etc) they are brilliant. I've also never had any issues dealing with the sellers, disputes are dealt with quickly and I would recommend them. The only downside is the wait for products which can be up to 6 weeks so if you want something specific you'll need to order it in advance. :-)

    Rachel
    Last edited by Rachiek414; 10-08-2016 at 8:31 AM. Reason: Spelling mistake
    • soldierboy001
    • By soldierboy001 10th Aug 16, 8:46 AM
    • 12 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    soldierboy001
    • #5
    • 10th Aug 16, 8:46 AM
    Chinese sites.
    • #5
    • 10th Aug 16, 8:46 AM
    I use a site called banggood.com and find this no problem, I usually buy mobile phones and watches for other people as well as myself and to date I have only had 1 problem and that was for USB cables that could be used both ways and were cheaper than standard USB cables, I chucked mine away as they needed to be forced into the item being used and I thought this might damage the items, on HUKD's that ran this item the consensus was about 50/50 as to whether this was a good item.
    All the mobile phones I have purchased for people have been 100% accepted as better than any item you can get for about the £50 mark and are usually latest Android and dual sim. As said before the only problem is the 28 days delivery, which can sometimes be 14 days or more.
    • Paulscarbs
    • By Paulscarbs 10th Aug 16, 9:22 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Paulscarbs
    • #6
    • 10th Aug 16, 9:22 AM
    • #6
    • 10th Aug 16, 9:22 AM
    I purchased a MirrorLink device for my vehicle. It didn't work and seller tried to get me to do all sorts of things with it as well as sell me another one (I know!). In the end I ended up paying double for the working one as return prices - which I had to pay - were too high.
    Does section 75 of the credit card protection apply?
    I won't be doing this again.
    • Nasqueron
    • By Nasqueron 10th Aug 16, 10:38 AM
    • 7,603 Posts
    • 4,840 Thanks
    Nasqueron
    • #7
    • 10th Aug 16, 10:38 AM
    • #7
    • 10th Aug 16, 10:38 AM
    I always buy from Aliexpress and I even get a discount if I purchase the items via their app. I once bought two NFL jerseys for husband, paid £24 for both and when they arrived they were the versions that would normally sell for £200 each. They were genuine jerseys but they were the ones that had slight imperfections so wouldn't be sold by the NFL. Looking at them you wouldn't have known they had any imperfections (stitch wasn't perfect on one letter within the name and on the number of the other shirt). My husband was happy with them. I wouldn't risk something like a wedding dress, but for everything else (and I've had phone cases, stationery, craft items etc) they are brilliant. I've also never had any issues dealing with the sellers, disputes are dealt with quickly and I would recommend them. The only downside is the wait for products which can be up to 6 weeks so if you want something specific you'll need to order it in advance. :-)

    Rachel
    Originally posted by Rachiek414
    90% certain those "genuine shirts with imperfections" are fakes - why would NFL sell cast off via a Chinese auction site? There is a huge market on Aliexpress selling fake bike gear which is often indistinguishable from the real kit but of course you are helping Chinese copyright thieves commit crime and depriving the real companies of money to help support their players/teams and develop new kit. Specialized (a US bike company) have a full time employee who just goes through the site flagging fake items to get them removed from sale which is a constant battle
    • malinky
    • By malinky 10th Aug 16, 12:51 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    malinky
    • #8
    • 10th Aug 16, 12:51 PM
    Don`t buy from China
    • #8
    • 10th Aug 16, 12:51 PM
    This is a buyers nightmare, so many fakes and counterfeits, Chinese sellers should be ashamed of their `rip-off` culture. The main problem for buyers is that the sellers can send you any old junk and they know that you will be unable to do anything about it, and `AliExpress` will actively help these con-men to sell their rubbish, they know that you will be unable to return the goods.
    • Hnoey
    • By Hnoey 10th Aug 16, 1:36 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Hnoey
    • #9
    • 10th Aug 16, 1:36 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Aug 16, 1:36 PM
    Hi I have bought a phone through Banggood and it would not initialise, so they said to send it back tracked post for a full refund. I tried taking it to the post office but they say they cannot send anything with a battery in to China?
    Last edited by Hnoey; 10-08-2016 at 1:38 PM. Reason: Predictive text cockup
    • redroo555
    • By redroo555 10th Aug 16, 2:42 PM
    • 179 Posts
    • 459 Thanks
    redroo555
    hi there, i wanted to join ali express and buy some items for a fairy garden, that are from 22p to £2 , but am confused as it does state As some or part of the Services (as defined in the Alibaba.com Terms of Use, as defined below) may be supported and provided by affiliates of Alibaba.com, Alibaba.com may delegate some of the Services to its affiliates, particularly Alibaba.com (Europe) Limited incorporated in the United Kingdom, who you agree may invoice you for their part of the Services. does this mean that say i purchased some items that came to £3 ish, i could then receive a bill from whoever else they delegate its services to ? sorry to sound thick but i don't understand this and don't want to end up with a bill for ££££,s for something that only costs pennies !! thanks in advance trese
    i keep losing weight, but it just keeps on finding me!!!!!!
    • mlfworkman
    • By mlfworkman 10th Aug 16, 4:43 PM
    • 7 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    mlfworkman
    Ethics of buying from China
    I know from a money-saving point of view buying from China can make a lot of sense.

    However, I do think that ethics should be taken into account too. China has an appalling (and worsening) record in recent times of harassment, imprisonment and even torture of human rights workers, lawyers, religious people etc. The reason the Chinese government is able to be so bold in this is because of the dependance of the West on their goods and services, and the income that flows into the country from trade etc.

    We made a decision as a family a few years ago not to buy anything from China unless we absolutely cannot avoid it. It's not all that easy, it means going without sometimes, and it may just be a drop in the bucket. But principles still matter.
    • 593jim
    • By 593jim 10th Aug 16, 7:47 PM
    • 8 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    593jim
    I have purchased a number of items from China using Gearbest and have not had any major problems. One product ended up as rubbish but was cheap so should have known better, all other products have been as described and of good quality. Do not expect the best of customer service especially when trying to track deliveries. Also purchased a mobile from Oneplus whose service has been excellent, better than Samsung.
    • Ombit
    • By Ombit 10th Aug 16, 9:02 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Ombit
    Hi I tried a cheap purchase but have just received this reply:

    We are sorry to inform you that we have to cancel your order for security reasons. To make sure your transaction is secure, please provide us with documentation by clicking My Appeal for further verification.

    When we receive your documents, we will verify them within 3 business days. If the documents are valid, you can reorder on Aliexpress.

    When I click on the appeal, it says it wants me to submit a scan of my passport or driving licence, copies of bank statements and a scan of my debit card. Obviously I am not going to do this, but I'm interested if this is a one off for that dealer. Should I try again with someone else?.
    • Paulscarbs
    • By Paulscarbs 10th Aug 16, 11:09 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    Paulscarbs
    You need to tell us how you are making a purchase, i.e. Aliexpress. I note the reorder is with Aliexpress and if this is how you made the original order then you need no other forms to complete or payments to make.
    Last edited by Paulscarbs; 10-08-2016 at 11:11 PM.
    • Fair trade
    • By Fair trade 11th Aug 16, 8:06 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Fair trade
    Think before you buy
    Items may be extremely cheap such as clothes, but just think why? Is it child labour or people working in appalling conditions? Try and buy Fairtrade as much as possible, not perfect but at least trying to create better conditions for others.
    • Fair trade
    • By Fair trade 11th Aug 16, 8:10 AM
    • 2 Posts
    • 4 Thanks
    Fair trade
    Consider the ethical implications of buying as well, such as child labour and workers conditions
    • Haveasayinallthis
    • By Haveasayinallthis 11th Aug 16, 8:26 AM
    • 20 Posts
    • 19 Thanks
    Haveasayinallthis
    Waste of time , and also the ethical side, I ordered supposedly silk ties which turned out to be polyester, fair enough, but when leaving a review the supplier tried everything to stop me leaving a bad review , then ordered a satchel type bag, which never turned up, cuff links purchased which were bad quality, definitely will give it a miss , banggood seem okay , but yeah if I can I am going down the not to buy China stuff , as way over priced in stores,such as tm Lewin suits made in China
    • properoffice
    • By properoffice 11th Aug 16, 12:03 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    properoffice
    Never again!
    Ive vowed (ok only to myself so far but confession here is good for the soul) that I will never ever buy again directly from China. Complete waste of time and money. Everything I've bought has gone straight into the bin. Last item to be delivered stank so badly that I am surprised Royal Mail delivered it! As they say - Buyer Beware.
    • Ombit
    • By Ombit 11th Aug 16, 5:06 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Ombit
    Sorry I should have said, this was through AliExpress and that message was from AliExpress Order
    • Poor Lee
    • By Poor Lee 11th Aug 16, 8:24 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Poor Lee
    Refusal to identify dangerous goods on amazon
    The caution about buying electrical goods from China is a very important one. I bought an electric light bulb holder - very cheap but it was in my view very dangerous. It left the live screw of the bulb exposed and I think could have killed. It certainly didn't meet EU standards. I attempted to post a warning on Amazon feedback but they blocked my warning. On challenging this it seems their small print prevents customer feedback identifying an item as dangerous. The item is still for sale on Amazon months later. Amazon try to deny any responsibility for items sold in their marketplace but their refusal to pass on warnings about a potentially lethal product shows that they ARE involved in the transaction. I'm only an amateur lawyer (!) but my guess is that a court might well find Amazon to be partially liable if death or injury resulted after they had refused to pass on a warning of danger.
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