Anyone ever buy from Alibaba? Any tips to prevent getting scammed?

by 61 comments
Hey warriors ... I just stumbled upon Alibaba for the very first time and ... let's just say it really got my creative juices going.

I am interested in picking up a bulk quantity of a specific item I found on there, however I have never dealt with this site before (even though it seems to be legit) ..and I thought it would be ice to get some advice on how to avoid getting scammed.
#offline marketing #alibaba #buy #prevent #scammed #tips
  • Profile picture of the author rizy
    I have bought from Alibaba all the time. I made a living on importing last year. Some things you got to watch out for is shipping man, do not ever order fake items or look alike items, problems will happen at customs. Safest route to import is via courier shipping, a bit more expensive but works better but in this case make sure your boxes are not too big or you will be charged for taxes.

    If you are looking to import small amounts go with Aliexpress instead of Alibaba. BTW welcome to the wonderful world of Alibaba, I know exactly how it feels, its like discovering something special lol, I was lost in that site for about 2 years.

    Also make sure seller is at least 1 year old and is gold seller, never buy from a seller that doesnt have full premium membership, never give money via western union, always use escrow, so you have buyer protection
  • Profile picture of the author wongkog
    Good experience for Alibaba. Find Gold members.
    • Profile picture of the author Bear Trader
      Originally Posted by wongkog View Post

      Good experience for Alibaba. Find Gold members.

      Gold members means nothing! You can pay to be a gold member. Most of the stuff there are scams.
  • Profile picture of the author LynnM
    If you have a search here Building eCommerce Sites - Wholesale, Drop Shipping, Alibaba's mentioned in a number of threads.
  • Profile picture of the author ninjaafk
    Is paying with PayPal on Alibaba sketchy? Should I only do deals with people who are willing to accept Escrow payments?

    Would PayPal have me covered if something went wrong in the transaction?

    I have had past experiences with PayPal before and they weren't too helpful in resolving anything for me.
    • Profile picture of the author ivanela33
      Originally Posted by ninjaafk View Post

      Is paying with PayPal on Alibaba sketchy? Should I only do deals with people who are willing to accept Escrow payments?

      Would PayPal have me covered if something went wrong in the transaction?

      I have had past experiences with PayPal before and they weren't too helpful in resolving anything for me.
      You can not use paypal to make transactions on such sites anymore. This also includes dhgate and other reputable sites like these. You pay using a credit card, western union, or bank transfer. If it's a legit site, your money will not be given directly to the seller instead it will go to escrow. Once you receive your items, you will have to confirm that your items were received and only then will the monies be released to the seller. I'm currently a Platinum member at a couple of these sites and this has been my experience over the past 2 years. It's been about a year since paypal has not been an option for payment.
  • Profile picture of the author AJMontoya
    Advice : NEVER pay using Western Union. In case you run into a scammy seller, they will take your money and there's nothing you can do about it. ALWAYS pay with a credit card. Because if the seller tries to take your money, you can always file a dispute with your bank, and you'll get your money back within 30 days. Credit card companies know how many fraudulent transactions go through Alibaba and AliExpress, so they will side with the buyer in the event of a dispute.

    Another way to spot someone who is likely a scammer is to look at their list of the items they are selling. Most legitimate sellers on Alibaba are manufacturers, not resellers. Which means they will focus their store on a specific niche of items. If you see a seller offering everything under the sun (clothing, furniture, car parts, electronics, housewares, sporting equipment...) 9 times out of 10 they are not legitimate sellers. Think of it this way: a company manufacturing tablets is not going to be sewing underwear too.

    Another tip : just because a seller has a "Gold Member" star on their account, that doesn't mean they are legitimate. Sellers on Alibaba can pay to get that Gold Member status to make them look more official, when they still scam people out of money.

    If you're going to buy on AliExpress, don't buy from anyone who doesn't have positive feedback left on their product pages. If they have no feedback, that either means they are brand new sellers with no reputation, or they don't deliver products and cancel transactions before buyers can leave feedback.

    This all seems scary, but once you figure out how to spot the fake sellers from the legitimate ones, Alibaba and AliExpress are both gold mines for the import/resell business. A bulk of my ecommerce business is reselling items I import, so you can be very successful if you use these websites wisely!
  • Profile picture of the author rizy
    Only use Escrow
  • Profile picture of the author tristatemedia
    only use escrow. i found most of their stuff is knock offs. atleast the stuff i bought.
  • Profile picture of the author frostsolutions
    Also ask yourself if what they're selling makes sense. My friend attempted to buy brand new Bauer hockey sticks from Iran. You can guess what happened.
  • Profile picture of the author amcg
    Hey warriors ... I just stumbled upon Alibaba for the very first time and ... let's just say it really got my creative juices going.

    I am interested in picking up a bulk quantity of a specific item I found on there, however I have never dealt with this site before (even though it seems to be legit) ..and I thought it would be ice to get some advice on how to avoid getting scammed.
    I'd seek a supplier directly i.e phone or visit them if possible. You're better of working directly with suppliers than wholesalers through Alibaba and other third party marketplaces. And if possible, work with more than one supplier.
  • Profile picture of the author Caroline Balinska
    As people have said:
    -Never use Westin Union
    -If it sounds too good, it probably is!
    -Don't buy the cheapest item and expect quality

    I love it, I have always been happy and would recommend it to anyone.
  • Profile picture of the author jking1
    Using escrow is indeed the best way to avoid being scammed. even if the seller wants to be paid via western union, still insist escrow. If the seller wont' go for it then most probably that seller has a plan of scamming around.
  • Profile picture of the author ninjaafk
    Thank you for all of the wonderful advice everyone.

    I just did my first transaction last night and am hopeful that I will be receiving my items within 10 days as the seller said I would.

    I payed using PayPal ... the first guy I hit up didn't even send me an invoice and instead sent me some weird receipt and I had to actually tell him that the proper way is to send an invoice so PayPal knows exactly what the transaction is for... but that whole idea made me switch to a different seller who seemed a lot more legit... so this time this seller actually asked for my PayPal info + address and sent the invoice ... so I am much more hopeful with this seller than I would have been with the other guy.
    • Profile picture of the author Ray Jonnes
      Originally Posted by ninjaafk View Post

      Thank you for all of the wonderful advice everyone.

      I just did my first transaction last night and am hopeful that I will be receiving my items within 10 days as the seller said I would.

      I payed using PayPal ... the first guy I hit up didn't even send me an invoice and instead sent me some weird receipt and I had to actually tell him that the proper way is to send an invoice so PayPal knows exactly what the transaction is for... but that whole idea made me switch to a different seller who seemed a lot more legit... so this time this seller actually asked for my PayPal info + address and sent the invoice ... so I am much more hopeful with this seller than I would have been with the other guy.
      Please tell us how it is going on with you shippment? Does PP worked ?
  • Profile picture of the author Richard Tunnah
    Aliexpress part of alibaba has it's own escrow service built in. You pay the money is held in escrow until you recieve goods and confirm the transaction is good.
    • Profile picture of the author gtownfunk
      I've bought from companies on Alibaba lots of times and never had a problem. We used to have to wire money because they don't even know what credit cards are in China. Eventually, we (the consumers) convinced them to start taking Paypal and such and they have started to transition.. but this is all new to them.

      The way it seems to work in China is this. There are companies in each province that produce almost the same exact product and they all think their engineers designed it.. like they're totally oblivious to the fact that 10 other companies offer the exact same thing, in the exact same form factor. Talk to them on the TradeManager (IM) app for a little while, then get their Skype. Understand that if people get caught scamming you over there they can get executed. Stay away from Nigeria, anywhere you've received an email about a rich uncle who left you 50 million dollars..... lol

      So, I've only done business with China and South America. 90% of Alibaba is China.

      gtownfunk
  • Profile picture of the author Tristan Gemus
    Same as eBay, look at their feedback. And, look at the reviews for specific items you are looking at. People will give it a quality score and etc. I buy jerseys from there and sell them locally. Yes, I do tell people they are replicas, but I can't message it in the ad or else it will be deleted. Most people do not care if they are fake or not as long as quality is good!

    Tristan
  • Profile picture of the author fastreplies
    Escrow, PayPal never direct payment by Credit Card or Western Union



    fastreplies
    • Profile picture of the author Mariam83x
      Hi... Ca someone please help me with information about importing... the fees and tax? I would like to order some clothes, starting small... but I don't own or have a business... What info do i need to be aware of?
  • Profile picture of the author sj1234
    i'd recommend contacting the sellers via email first and see if you can build up a bit of rapport and possibly a basic relationship

    Also - if they accept paypal - then that should be a positive sign that they're not too bad - not to mention that you're protected with Paypal
  • Profile picture of the author Freebiequeen1999
    Golly....amazing you found this old thread haha

    I did see a sad but funny website where hopeful brides posted the horrible knock off insane dresses they got from China etc...

    I googled the story haha

    Angry brides share their bridal gown horror stories | Daily Mail Online
    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      This newly revived thread contains such an amazing amount of misinformation, bad advice, and obsolete information that it needs updating. I will quote some of the points that I want to comment on. Except for the OP, I won't take the space to name all the members quoted.

      The OP wrote: " ..and I thought it would be ice to get some advice on how to avoid getting scammed."
      A good first step. Scammers abound on Alibaba, as well as on most of the big B2B sites. See
      How Trustworthy is Alibaba.com?

      "If you are looking to import small amounts go with Aliexpress instead of Alibaba."
      Aliexpress is even more notorious than Alibaba as a site favored by scammers. Search for them on ripoffreport.com.
      Aliexpress is a retail site and while they will sell single items with free delivery, you will pay retail, so it is not a place for resellers to buy. Free delivery takes up to 3 weeks.

      "Good experience for Alibaba. Find Gold members"
      Gold Supplier status is bought, not earned. They are ordinary, garden variety verified members who have been willing to pay as little as $299 for a Gold Supplier badge to trick people into believing they are more reliable. (Recently the cost has risen to $699. Still cheap if you want to fool people.)

      "If you're going to buy on AliExpress, don't buy from anyone who doesn't have positive feedback left on their product pages." ...... "This risk is a function of every transaction but you can limit your risk with Alibaba by following the advice above and only dealing with legitimate sellers. Legitimate sellers are those with positive feedback."
      Feed back is not reliable. There is a thriving business in paid feedback.
      There are safe sourcing sites where what you see is what you get. Trustworthy suppliers, genuine manufacturers.

      "I strongly suggest you make your first transaction using an escrow service so that you can get to know the seller and the the items you will be purchasin." ...... "Only use Escrow"
      For legal reasons Escrow is now called Buyer Protection on Aliexpress and Secure Payment on Alibaba. NEVER use Western Union. See also the thread
      Alibaba Escrow? . These schemes are full of loopholes and the scammers make full use of those ways to avoid letting you get your money back.

      "Using escrow is indeed the best way to avoid being scammed. even if the seller wants to be paid via western union, still insist escrow"
      Escrow can't possibly be used with Western Union!!!

      "Understand that if people get caught scamming you over there they can get executed."
      In very rare case where the amounts run into millions and there is an international uproar. Most scammers are never caught. My Chinese lawyer associate practicing in Beijing can occasionally recover money but he says chances of success are very small.

      "I buy jerseys from there and sell them locally. Yes, I do tell people they are replicas, but I can't message it in the ad or else it will be deleted. Most people do not care if they are fake or not as long as quality is good!"
      If Customs catch you, maybe in a random check, the consequences can be serious including; Confiscation of the goods, prosecution leading to fines and sometimes jail, and the flagging of your name and address, so that every shipment thereafter will be delayed for careful inspection.

      "Hi... Ca someone please help me with information about importing... the fees and tax? I would like to order some clothes, starting small... but I don't own or have a business... What info do i need to be aware of?"
      @Mariam83x See my thread: Ask Me Anything About Product Sourcing And Importing For Profit. ― Veteran Importer Here. where you can ask such questions and get answers from someone who knows the real facts.

      "I made a total of 31 orders so far this year. All have been with a credit card and there has been no issues."
      That almost certainly means you are throwing lots of money away by dealing with a trader. It is rare for genuine manufacturers to accept payment via Credit Card. Buying direct from manufacturers is the key to maximizing profits.

      Also - if they accept paypal - then that should be a positive sign that they're not too bad - not to mention that you're protected with Paypal
      That is a sign that like the one above, you are probably buying from a trader. It is rare for genuine manufacturers to accept payment via PayPal. If you are interested, ask me why PayPal protection for such purchases does not always protect you. Alibaba has many thousands of traders listed who are masquerading as manufacturers.

      If anyone has questions, I will be pleased to answer. I have taught hundreds of people in 35 countries how to safely source small and large quantities direct from genuine manufacturers and import without having to learn all the rules and regulations.


  • Profile picture of the author SPO
    Using PAypal for payment i think more secure..
    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by SPO View Post

      Using PAypal for payment i think more secure..
      On JUNE 2 I posted this:
      'It is rare for genuine manufacturers to accept payment via PayPal. If you are interested, ask me why PayPal protection for such purchases does not always protect you.
      Alibaba has many thousands of traders listed who are masquerading as manufacturers."

      Well, nobody has asked but in view of the post by SPO, I think it's a good idea for me to explain.

      If a supplier accepts PayPal, it is almost certain that you are dealing with a trader. Not only do traders not give you the low prices you can get by buying direct from real manufacturers, but there is more risk involved in dealing with traders.

      Many cases have been reported of buyers receiving packages containing empty boxes, stones, sawdust, empty plastic boxes or the really clever ones send worthless plastic toys etc.

      When they contact PayPal, they tick "Goods not as described." BUT... Because the buyer has signed for the goods. PayPal won't refund. If this ever happens to you, contact PayPal support and say you want to report fraud. Not easy to prove, but it gives you some chance of getting a refund.

      Sometimes the seller will ask the buyer to return the goods in order to get a refund. At considerable cost, the buyer sends it requiring a signature, but the seller says it has never been delivered. (They refuse to accept it.) They can now tell PayPal you agreed to return the goods but failed to do so. No refund and you are now even further out of pocket.

      This scam is not limited to Alibaba. It infests most of the major B2B sites. There are safe sites but I don't publish them online because there is a lot more to safe sourcing than simply using a site where
      where you don't have to look over your shoulder all the time to make sure you are not being robbed.

      For helpful information, and more reasons why I don't make those sites public, see: If your secret B2B portals are so safe why don't you share?
  • Profile picture of the author sttbs
    I understand that there are scams going on at Alibaba but they are probably the minority. There are so many more reliable vendors at Alibaba. As mentioned by the few people at the top, Alibaba is a gold mine, if you know how to use it.
    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by sttbs View Post

      I understand that there are scams going on at Alibaba but they are probably the minority. There are so many more reliable vendors at Alibaba. As mentioned by the few people at the top, Alibaba is a gold mine, if you know how to use it.
      Of course they are a minority, but there are thousands of them. Why gamble with your money when there are safe places to source without the huge risks?

      I know that very few people understand Alibaba's verification system. They think verified means safe to deal with. They think Gold Suppliers are even safer.

      Have you looked at the Alibabscams.com site? Have you looked up Alibaba on ripoffreport.com? Have you looked at the official Alibaba community forums site?

      On that official forum they have a thread: "THREE SIMPLE SIGNS OF B2B SCAMS" in the Forum section: “SAFE TRADING BASICS” The thread begins with a much too basic introduction by admin and includes this: "Just because a company has a professional-looking website or has set up shop in an online marketplace like Alibaba.com doesn't automatically make them legitimate."

      Then a potential buyer new to Alibaba posted in reply to that point: “And Alibaba claims these suppliers have been verified. How do you reconcile this contradiction?”

      Like almost all critical comments posted on the Alibaba forums, this one went unanswered. The reason must be that it is unanswerable. The verification process is clearly intended to make buyers believe that the verified supplier is legitimate.

      I am not just knocking Alibaba. Other sites such as DHGate, Tradekey, EC21 and others are just as risky to use.

      You said "Alibaba is a gold mine, if you know how to use it", but very few people do know, and that is why I try to save them from their own ignorance. Let The Buyer Beware!
  • Profile picture of the author MarcParkinson
    If you are doing your own due diligence, then you can safely make the purchase from alibaba, I know lots of guys running their businesses just by sourcing from alibaba
    • Profile picture of the author Importexport
      Originally Posted by MarcParkinson View Post

      If you are doing your own due diligence, then you can safely make the purchase from alibaba, I know lots of guys running their businesses just by sourcing from alibaba
      I have consistently said that many people are happy buying through Alibaba.

      The point that so many are missing is that many "happy" people are buying from traders at inflated prices, thinking that they are buying from manufacturers and therefore getting the best possible prices. They might be getting good prices, but they could be getting much better prices. They are throwing money down the drain by letting the traders bank their big profits.

      I would also point out that I see numerous reports of people who think they have done their due diligence but they still get scammed.

      Why persist in using B2B sites where you have to work hard to be sure you are dealing with reliable, genuine manufacturers when you can use safe sites where you don't have to continually look over your shoulder?

      I would be very interested to know what you, or other warriors consider to be criteria for due diligence.

      It might help others to know.

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