AliExpress is an online store that allows Chinese merchants to sell world wide. Prices are generally lower than on Ebay.

Experiences[edit | edit source]

Insights on buying stuff[edit | edit source]

  • Don't buy from sellers with low feedback or sellers that are really new. This isn't as obvious on AliExpress as it is on Ebay. Try to avoid sellers with lower than average ratings or feedback less than 98%.
  • Check your expectations. Most items are counterfeits or of low quality. Buying batteries, flash memory, computer parts would be a bad idea. Integrated circuits (transistors, regulators, ICs) are all dodgy, but microprocessors and sensors seem to be OK.
  • Don't spend more than you're willing to lose. AliExpress favors the sellers, unlike Ebay.
  • Video record yourself opening the package with everything in sight. This is in case something in the order was left out.
  • If a seller asks for more money to ship or to cancel the order, ignore them. They will either ship the item eventually or cancel the order themselves.
  • Don't let buyer protection lapse. Contact the seller if it's about to expire. File a dispute if it does.
  • Do not ship with Cainao or Yanwen if you want the item within a month. Expect to wait 4-5 months with these cheaper untracked shipping methods
  • Always use a coupon when ordering. Coupon codes can be obtained from Coupon Pals on the AliExpress App. Play one game every 12 hours with a random coupon ranging from $0.30 - $2.00 off (ranging between 10% - 33% in value).
  • I suspect the Coupon Pals game doesn't care how many taps you actually make as the coupon value is randomized. I tap once to start the game and let the timer expire to get a usual $1 off $3 (33%) coupon.
  • The red select coupons are a waste of time. You can obtain these with coins or by ordering something during a sale, but these coupons are next to useless unless you intend to make large orders.
  • There may be a slight 2% discount when ordering from the mobile app with a few coins.
  • The $0.01 coin exchange is a scam. The selection of items are garbage and almost immediately at 1AM in the morning, the items are sold out.
  • The coin discount exchange is also a scam. The discount you get after paying a few hundred coins is the same as what you get during a regular sale. Item selections are also usually limited to the cheapest item but priced at the regular price with coins.
  • Freebies, their other mobile games, select coupons, and coins in general are a waste of time.

Shipping[edit | edit source]

Prepare to wait over a month or more for anything that you order shipped with Cainan, Yanwen, Singapore Post as these shipping methods are untracked. EMS, ePacket, and AliExpress shipping are all tracked and are usually faster. Buyer protection lasts for 60 or 90 days after the item has shipped. Orders that take longer than usual to ship requires the buyer to ask for buyer protection extension from the seller. Once the order closes, you still have 15 days to open a dispute in case the item still has not arrived.

Disputes[edit | edit source]

Despite all the horror stories that are told on the AliExpress subreddit, I've had a good experience with AliExpress's dispute system. There were 2 occasions that I used it. First when I received counterfeit chips from a seller and second when I received the completely wrong package on an order which totaled over $72USD.

The first case with the counterfeit chips went in my favor since the seller did not respond within the dispute window and it automatically refunded the transaction after about a week.

The second was shipped with AliExpress shipping and the package mix-up was AliExpress's fault according to the seller. Unfortunately the dispute system only works for individual items rather than an entire order and I had to manually create a dispute for each of the 20 items in the order. However, AliExpress's dispute system automatically noted the tracking number had an issue (where the package wasn't shipped) and automatically refunded the amount almost immediately.

When requesting for the refund, the refund amount could be slightly less than the item total if the order had any coupon discounts. Refunds still suck though because the exchange rate is never in your favor.