AliExpress Review

Now that we've given you a short primer on what AliExpress is, are you thinking of speeding to use it as your source for low-cost online shopping?  Not so fast… here are a few things — good and bad — that you should know about it before you use it.


  • Get stuff straight from the source for cheap — Most sellers on AliExpress are wholesale retailers, so you can get products at a bit of a discount compared to wherever else they're sold.

  • Coupon clippers rejoice! — AliExpress issues generic coupons for using the website during promotional times, as well as entering contests on their social media pages.  Individual sellers may have their own virtual coupons for their specific store, as well.  All of this adds up to more savings for you!

  • Buy with peace of mind — On AliExpress, buyers are protected by a few simple guarantees.  If your order doesn't arrive by the latest promised delivery date, you can apply for a full refund.  Also, if you receive your order and it is significantly different from what was advertised, you can exchange it, return it for a full refund, or keep it and get a partial refund.


  • Non-Chinese sellers need not apply — Unlike many of the more popular e-commerce websites, you can't become a seller on AliExpress unless you live in mainland China.  They're thinking of changing this policy, but as of the writing of this course, they haven't yet.

  • Is the price worth the wait? — Most of the products that you buy on AliExpress ship from China, so it will usually take a while for them to arrive (assuming that you live in North America or Europe).  That is, unless you want to use expedited shipping options, but these can get pricey.

The bottom line: 7/10

If you're using AliExpress, you're probably doing so for the prices.  Stuff from Chinese wholesalers is usually a bit less expensive than it is if you buy it from other places.  You can also use coupons from sellers or AliExpress itself to further reduce the cost of your orders.

However, since your stuff is coming all the way from China, you're going to have to wait a while for it to arrive.  You can use expedited shipping options, but that will usually increase the price of your order to the point where you're not actually saving money.  Plus, if you don't live in mainland China (which we assume that you don't), you can't sell your own goods on AliExpress.

Overall, AliExpress can be seen as sort of a bargain version of more popular e-commerce websites.  You just have to be vigilant about prices that are too good to be true, and patient in waiting for your orders to arrive.


Speaking of vigilance, our next tutorial will give you some safety tips for shopping on AliExpress.

Is AliExpress Safe, Reliable, and Legit?

In our previous lesson, we introduced you to how AliExpress works.  Now, you may be thinking that, with the ability to purchase wholesale goods inexpensively straight from Chinese manufacturers, there must be some sort of catch to using, right?  Well, like any business transaction — especially one carried out online — there is a chance for things to go sideways when you order from AliExpress.  Not to worry, though; this lesson will discuss the legitimacy, reliability, and safety of buying goods from AliExpress, and explain at least five precautions that you should take in order to shop safely on the website.

Is AliExpress legit?

AliExpress is run by the Alibaba Group, one of the largest retail and Internet companies in the world, so it's definitely legit.  Like for most e-commerce websites, the question of AliExpress's legitimacy revolves around whether or not its users – both buyers and sellers – conduct business in a legal manner.

Is AliExpress reliable?

The reliability of AliExpress depends somewhat on how close you are to mainland China, where most of its sellers are located.  The further away you are, the more likely that you'll run into logistics problems.  And, of course, its reliability depends on the ability of its users to conduct business legally.

How safe is AliExpress?

AliExpress is safe to buy from if you're vigilant and use common sense.  You are allowed to get refunds or exchanges if your order doesn't arrive on time, or is significantly different than advertised.  However, it is still possible to get scammed, especially with low prices on brand-name objects.

A detailed explanation of how safe AliExpress is:

AliExpress has taken several initiatives to protect you as a buyer.  Our article on the website's return policies will show you how to take advantage of the following protections:

  • If your order does not arrive within the latest estimated delivery date promised by your seller, you can request a full refund.

  • If your order arrives and one or more of your items are significantly different than they were advertised, you can either return the items for a full refund, or keep the items and request a partial refund.

  • If an item you have ordered is "Guaranteed Genuine" and it turns out to be counterfeit when you receive it, you can return it for a full refund… including the shipping costs!

Despite these protections being in place, however, there have been cases of buyers being defrauded by sellers on AliExpress.  It is, after all, like many e-commerce websites: the actual sellers are third parties, and the company is just the "middleman" that processes the deals.  Fortunately, AliExpress has also provided buyers with several tips on how to avoid getting scammed while shopping on their website, which we will now pass along to you.

Top 5 tips for buying items safely on AliExpress

1. Check an AliExpress seller's feedback scores before you buy from them.

A basic thing that you can do to avoid sketchy sellers is to see what other people have said about products that they have ordered from a seller before you buy from that seller.  On the whole, seller reviews should give you a somewhat reliable indication of whether or not you're buying from a retailer who's on the level.

2. If a price on AliExpress seems too good to be true, it probably is.

If you see an item being sold at a price that seems too low to be reasonable, shop around to see what similar products are selling for on AliExpress or another e-commerce website.  If the item's price is about 30% or more below what it's being sold for elsewhere, chances are good that either the item is counterfeit or the seller is trying to scam you.

This is especially important when you're looking to buy products from popular brand names, especially electronics manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, Canon, or Nokia.  These brands often institute international price controls, so even if their products are manufactured in China, it doesn't necessarily mean that Chinese distributors are allowed to sell their products at below-market prices.  Again, in a situation like this, chances are that you're walking right into either a scam or a counterfeit deal.

3. Never give your personal information to an AliExpress seller, or follow them to a website that asks you for it.

While it's rare, a seller may contact you directly and ask you for your personal information.  They may also take a more subtle approach and direct you to go to an external website, where you are asked to log in with your AliExpress account name and password.  They will usually claim that this is necessary in order to process your transaction in some way (e.g. complete your payment or track your order).

In either case, don't give them any of your personal or financial information.  It is almost certainly an attempt at identity theft, either by getting you to willingly give up your personal information or by stealing it via a phony website.  You may also want to report the seller to AliExpress; see our instructions for how to contact AliExpress customer service to learn how to file a complaint.

4. Never directly pay an AliExpress seller for an order or item; use AliExpress's internal payment system.

It's also a rare occurrence, but a seller may ask you to pay for an order or item directly through a money order or some other service outside of AliExpress.  You should avoid doing this, as it leaves you vulnerable to getting scammed or having your personal information stolen (as we mentioned in the previous tip).  Instead, report this kind of behaviour to customer service.

There are two additional reasons why you shouldn't pay a seller outside of AliExpress.  You are not only losing the protection and oversight of AliExpress in your transaction, but you are also likely helping the seller cheat AliExpress out of their sale commission.

5. Never confirm delivery of an item or order from AliExpress before you actually receive it.

AliExpress doesn't release your payment to the seller until you have confirmed that you have received your order or item from them.  However, in rare cases, a seller may ask you to confirm delivery of your order before you receive it (e.g. because they need the money to pay off other expenses).  This is a potential red flag that someone is attempting to scam you. 

Not only should you ignore any request to pre-emptively confirm delivery of your item or order, but you should also check your item or order carefully when you receive it (if you even receive it at all) to make sure that it is not defective or counterfeit.


For other examples and safety tips, see these articles on AliExpress about common selling scams and common payment scams.  We hope this information leads to a safe and satisfying shopping experience!  Next, we'll do an in-depth review of AliExpress and summarize some of the major reasons why you may or may not want to use it.

What AliExpress Is and How to Save Money

If you’re into wholesale goods — products straight from the manufacturer that skip the retail middleman — then is a website that you should know about.  It’s one of the largest wholesaling platforms on the Internet, with numerous manufacturers in China signed up to offer you direct-to-consumer goods at matching prices.  That could save you some serious money.

So what exactly is AliExpress?

AliExpress is an e-commerce website that allows international buyers to purchase items from wholesale retailers in mainland China and have them delivered to you through common international courier services.  It is popular in Russia, but it also ships to 200 countries and regions worldwide.

Where did AliExpress come from, and why is it so popular?

AliExpress is an offshoot of the Alibaba Group, which was founded in 1999 by Chinese businessman Jack (Yun) Ma. Ma originally created the company as an online portal for Chinese manufacturers to make business deals with overseas retailers, which is by-and-large what it still does today.  He named the company after Ali Baba, the legendary hero of Arabic folklore, citing his benevolence as a merchant and his ability to be recognized across nations and cultures through various adaptations of The 1001 Nights.

AliExpress itself was launched in 2010 as a portal for Chinese manufacturers to sell their wares directly to individual consumers, as opposed to retail companies for resale.  Its popularity stems from the fact that its users can buy products directly from the Chinese factories that make them, rather than from retail outlets that would otherwise buy and then re-sell these products at increased costs.  Therefore, people who use the platform often save quite a bit of money on their purchases.

How does AliExpress work?

If you’re going to be using AliExpress, chances are that you will be doing so as a buyer, since you have to live in Hong Kong or mainland China to use it as a seller (at least for right now).  There are all sorts of categories of merchandise that you can buy on AliExpress, direct from Chinese manufacturers and often at below-market prices.  (We’ll explain some of them in detail later.)  You can browse to your heart’s content, or search for something specific.

Browsing the AliExpress item categories

While you’ll likely already be getting low prices by buying direct from Chinese manufacturers, you can save even more money with coupons.  Some vendors will give out coupons to be used on purchases specifically from their store.  Other coupons will be given out during promotions by AliExpress itself, which you can add to your account and then use on any eligible purchase later.

Finding an AliExpress seller coupon
(Image source: AliExpress)

Once you’ve ordered something, you may be curious as to when your order will arrive.  Fortunately, AliExpress provides you with tracking information for your package from the courier that is handling it.  That way, you can know approximately how close your order is to arriving on your doorstep!

Getting tracking information for your AliExpress order
(Image source: AliExpress)

If your order doesn’t turn out right — or come at all — AliExpress has you covered.  You can open a dispute with a seller and send AliExpress evidence of your plight.  You may be entitled to at least a partial refund… or maybe even a full one!

Example of an AliExpress returns policy

Finally, if you have a question about how to use some facet of AliExpress, you can usually get a hold of a customer service representative via online chat.  You can also submit detailed complaints against sellers whom you believe break the rules of AliExpress.

How to contact AliExpress customer service

What to buy from AliExpress

AliExpress is a general online marketplace, so you can buy a number of different things there.  You can get clothes, accessories, electronics, toys, sports equipment, furniture, office supplies, and more!  Just remember that you’re shopping for low prices, so don’t expect too many recognizable brand names.

Here’s a list of the categories of items that you can buy on AliExpress:

  • Women’s Clothing & Accessories
  • Men’s Clothing & Accessories
  • Phones & Telecommunications
  • Computer & Office
  • Consumer Electronics
  • Jewelry & Accessories
  • Home & Garden
  • Luggage & Bags
  • Shoes
  • Mother & Kids
  • Sports & Entertainment
  • Health & Beauty
  • Watches
  • Toys & Hobbies
  • Weddings & Events
  • Novelty & Special Use
  • Automobiles & Motorcycles
  • Lights & Lighting
  • Furniture
  • Electronic Components & Supplies
  • Office & School Supplies
  • Home Improvement
  • Food
  • Security & Protection

Is AliExpress legal and safe?

AliExpress is run by one of the largest Internet (and retail) companies in the world, the Alibaba Group, so it’s definitely legal. It has several buyer protection policies that you can take advantage of, and it monitors its users carefully to weed out sellers (or buyers) involved in any sort of shady dealings.

Despite all this, people can be (and have been) scammed or defrauded on AliExpress, which frankly is a danger with any business deal (especially one conducted online).  This isn’t necessarily the fault of AliExpress, though; it’s just a platform for processing transactions.  The real fault lies with users who buy or sell with dishonest intentions.  Here’s some advice on how to avoid those kinds of people.

First, only buy from sellers that have relatively favourable ratings scores and product reviews.  Second, beware of buying items with “too good to be true” prices (i.e. over 30% lower than elsewhere on AliExpress or other e-commerce sites), especially if they claim to be from popular brand names.  Third, never give a seller your personal or financial information (including your account details), either through direct communication or logging into a third-party website.  Fourth, always use the secure payment system built into AliExpress to pay one of its sellers.  And finally, never confirm the delivery of an order from a seller before you actually receive and are satisfied with the item(s).

Why should (or shouldn’t) I use AliExpress?

The main reason why you’d want to shop with AliExpress is its prices.  You’re buying directly from Chinese manufacturers, so you’re saving money by skipping the markup that retail chains would apply to products.  On top of that, you can sometimes get in-store coupons for certain products from some sellers, or even site-wide coupons during promotional events.  That means that you can save even more money!

A reason why you wouldn’t want to use AliExpress is if you needed your order in a hurry.  Items sold ship directly from China, so depending on where you live in the world, it could take between a few days and a few weeks to get your order (unless you pay for expedited shipping, which kind of negates the point of shopping on AliExpress for its low prices).  You also probably won’t want to be using AliExpress as a seller, unless you live in Hong Kong or mainland China.  The platform hasn’t started accepting sellers from other regions just yet.

Who does AliExpress compete against?

There are quite a few e-commerce websites that compete against AliExpress, both inside and outside the direct-from-China market.  One of the most similar ones is, a direct-from-China online marketplace that has a branch site,, if you’re looking specifically for electronics.  Another is, which prides itself on having free shipping worldwide for many items.

For more information on these alternatives to AliExpress, read this article.

That’s a brief introduction to AliExpress and how it works!  The rest of our course will focus on how to use the website, from buying goods to tracking orders to returning items that you’re not satisfied with.  We’ll also have a tutorial on how to get rid of your AliExpress account if you no longer want it.  Check out AliExpress today and see if you can save some money by buying direct and skipping the retail middleman!