If you’re a frequent online shopper, you’ve probably heard of AliExpress. The Chinese giant online retailer Alibaba is reaching more customers with its online service, at the same time doing a great job competing with industry leaders like eBay and Amazon. Statistics on SimilarWeb show quite a nice standing for the website, with the rank of the 45th most popular website on the globe.
Yeah, just imagine the number of users browsing through items and making payments via the platform every day. So, given the huge number of shoppers, what does the website offer from the perspective of safety? Are there any security vulnerabilities AliExpress users should know about? Is AliExpress safe? And, if danger is there, what’s its nature?
Let’s look at some sources and try to figure out the answers.
AliExpress Security: Any Dangers in Stock?
Have there been any reports of technical vulnerabilities that would threaten one’s online safety while using AliExpress? There actually has been an instant. In 2014, Hacker News reported a security threat for the website which could have resulted in the leakage of a huge amount of users’ personal data.
The website was “lucky” enough to detect and remove the issue early on, without causing trouble to the service. Beyond that, no security cases have been reported, so the website is quite safe from the perspective of personal data.
User Ratings for AliExpress
Besides looking at website security, it’s very important to understand what users think of the service. We accessed data on www.mywot.com to see the safety ratings of the website, as well as get to see what the users had to say about the pitfalls of the service.
The trustworthiness of the website, along with the child safety rank are quite impressive, with 88 and 86 per cent respectively. These numbers are rather high but the service still falls short of Amazon and eBay who boast an impressive 94/94 and 94/92 rank.
Users on AliExpress Safety
We went a step further and analyzed numerous feedback from the Web of Trust (WOT) community. It seems most of the users are rather positive of the service, claiming that browsing through it doesn’t generally cause any trouble. However, there are also some reported threats, so let’s have a look at the main safety issues:
- While most users are really positive about safety on the website, one threat reported by a large number of users is that the website is used by quite a lot of fake sellers. While the item may be offered for an extremely low price, it’s not a good idea to buy it right away. Check out the seller’s ratings and trustworthiness before you make a payment. There’s lots of scam in the form of counterfeit goods and ones that won’t actually arrive at the end destination. Ever.
The good thing about the service is that if you are scammed, there is always the option of opening a dispute and requiring money back.
2. One more warning by a number of users is that if you are not cautious enough and end up having an issue with a fraudster or your account, chances are it will take you forever to actually reach the customer support. It seems that the service relies largely on robots and you definitely won’t be getting support within 48 hours, or, even, days!
3. There’s a small number of users reporting problems with payment. However, these usually date back to 2012-2013, and there are no recent cases reported. This being the case, it seems that if such an issue existed, it has been dealt with by AliExpress.
Diving in Some More
We have also looked at feedback from some other online communities. A thread on Yahoo Answers introduces mainly the same issues as described by WOT users. While the safety of the website itself is rather high, there’s a huge number of sellers that are scammers and make offers that are actually “too good to be true”.
Ensuring Payment Safety
Now we all know AliExpress doesn’t allow users to pay with PayPal. So, how do you make sure your payment is secure? Actually, AliExpress has implemented a very similar payment system known as Escrow. The service acts as an intermediary between the buyer and the seller, ensuring that the buyer can receive their money back in case of disputes. There are alternative payment methods such as Qiwi Wallet, Webmoney and bank slip. The only thing to avoid is definitely paying directly to the seller. No matter how attractive the deal is, and how many times you have ordered from this particular seller, never agree to pay outside of the service, otherwise, your chances for being scammed will be sky-high.
This opinion is stated in a number of sources. The blog about AliExpress, AlixBlog itself states:
“Our advice is that you always pay through AliExpress and not directly to the seller. This way, you’ll avoid possible problems with the seller and you’ll make sure your money is in good hands until you get your product and qualify it.”
So, is Aliexpress safe? If we speak about the website and the security, then it’s a firm yes. However, users still have to be very cautious while using services by independents sellers, because of the big number of fraudsters offering goods on the website. Make sure you follow several simple steps:
1. If the offer is too good to be true, it probably is. No man alive sells a new iPhone7 for USD 300.
2. Only pay using AliExpress Escrow payment or one of the verified methods allowing to receive money back if a dispute arises. No direct payments to the seller
3. Always check the seller’s ratings and user feedback, and make sure the seller has been selling on the platform for quite a while.
Follow these simple steps and be cautions, so you can enjoy the benefits of AliExpress without getting a bitter taste in your mouth because a fraudster caught you off guard!