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We have now provided you with an overview of Alibaba, including its positive and negative aspects as seen through our eyes. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s confront the elephant in the room: is it safe to buy from businesses that sell on Alibaba?
Before you do so, take some time to study our evaluations and recommendations before you place any confidence in the exaggerations and fantastic tales that you might hear about rampant scamming and counterfeiting in China, whether on the internet or anywhere else.
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Alibaba legit?
- 2 So, how safe is Alibaba?
- 3 Top 5 tips for avoiding Alibaba scams and fraud
- 3.1 1. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, especially on certain products.
- 3.2 2. Try to deal only with Verified Gold Suppliers.
- 3.3 3. If you’re unsure about a supplier, do some more research.
- 3.4 4. Always use secure payment methods.
- 3.5 5. Never deal with a supplier personally outside of Alibaba.
Is Alibaba legit?
Since Alibaba is one of the top e-commerce portals in China (and possibly the world), you can rest assured that it is a legitimate business. However, it is not the case with the vendors who sell their products through it.
Even though most of them are there with the intention of conducting honest business, there have been instances of them deceiving their clients.
So, how safe is Alibaba?
Alibaba offers a variety of trade guarantees as well as safe payment options to ensure the safety of your business dealings. You are also given the ability to file a complaint against a vendor if you have reason to believe they are engaging in fraudulent activity.
In addition, it has procedures to ensure that vendors are properly registered. Utilizing these tools will assist in keeping you secure when using Alibaba.
Having stated that, the marketplace cannot guarantee its suppliers’ ability to legally or otherwise list some legitimate branded products for sale. There have also been instances in which providers have managed to get past the verification process unscathed and defrauded buyers in various ways.
There is always an element of danger involved in trading, regardless of whether it is done online or offline. However, because you are frequently required to purchase numerous pieces of a product at once, the dangers (or at the very least the stakes) are presumed to be higher on Alibaba.
This results in more money being exchanged hands and an increase in the number of products that have a risk of being counterfeit or defective in some other way. You run less of a chance of experiencing this problem if you shop on consumer-oriented e-commerce websites like Amazon or eBay, where it is typically possible to purchase a single item at a time.
The good news is that there are techniques to mitigate the dangers associated with bulk purchasing and sift out dishonest individuals. Below, you’ll find further explanations.
Top 5 tips for avoiding Alibaba scams and fraud
1. Beware of offers that seem too good to be true, especially on certain products.
Counterfeiters and scammers love to prey on certain products in particular. In addition to DVDs, Blu-Ray discs, video games, and other digital materials, USB flash drives, external hard drives, and Western-brand products are also included (e.g., Apple, Nike, Sony, Disney, Marvel, and so on). These will most certainly not be what they appear to be. Even products purporting to be made by well-known Chinese companies may be fakes.
Find an exact or roughly similar product on another website if you have doubts about a purchase you’ve made on Alibaba. It’s a red flag if the pricing on Alibaba is 50 percent or lower than the price of the item’s genuine counterpart.
2. Try to deal only with Verified Gold Suppliers.
For your safety, only buy from sellers who have been awarded the Gold Supplier designation. In other words, they’ve already paid for a website account and verified that they’re a legitimate business, so they stand to lose more if found out.
Even though this isn’t a sure thing, look for Gold Suppliers who have been active on the platform for some time (at least three years) since they are more likely to be dependable. This information can be found in the “Supplier Details” section in the upper-right corner of a product’s details page.
3. If you’re unsure about a supplier, do some more research.
You can also contact a provider by clicking Contact Now, or Chat Now / Leave Messages under the previously stated “Supplier Details” section. You should ask as many questions as necessary to ensure that you work with a trustworthy individual.
Visit Minisite to check what the supplier has for sale, or look them up in a standard web browser to ensure they’re legitimately offering the items listed.
If your gut tells you something isn’t right, it’s probably best to explore elsewhere for what you want rather than proceed with a potentially harmful transaction.
4. Always use secure payment methods.
On Alibaba, look for the “Secure Payment” box next to an item’s ordering options. By reading this, you’ll learn that this particular vendor offers three different levels of security. To begin with, you won’t be able to release the money to the supplier until you’ve received and approved your order.
Second, if your order is late or never arrives due to the supplier’s fault, you will receive a complete refund. Third, you can keep your item and get a partial refund if you receive it and it is drastically different from the listing.
Using a credit card or PayPal account as a form of payment is also a good idea. Instead of relying on money orders or bank transfers, PayPal or your credit card issuer may be more willing to support you in the event of a problem with your payment.
5. Never deal with a supplier personally outside of Alibaba.
This is related to the previous point. Other than through the Alibaba website, some merchants may try to contact you and ask for payment. Even if they pretend to represent the seller you wish to work with, do not respond to them!
Posing as the merchant, they may attempt to steal your purchase and never send you anything in exchange. Using the methods outlined in tip #3, only deal with the official representative of the seller you are interested in purchasing from.
The vendor may also be trying to dodge selling fees or taxes by having you pay outside of the Alibaba website, even if the seller looks authentic. They could be scamming you, or at the very least, they aren’t using the website correctly. These folks should be avoided at all costs.
As far as Alibaba safety is concerned, this is the best recommendation we can provide you. In the upcoming tutorials of our Alibaba course, let’s get purchasing and selling!