Before we get started, what is Aliexpress?
Aliexpress is an online retailer made up of small businesses owned by The Alibaba Group. They offer a ton of products for really cheap prices to whoever wants to purchase them. There are a lot of reviews that warn others against from buying aliexpress due to various reasons, such as low quality, long delivery times and etc. I have ordered many times throughout the years from aliexpress, through a family friend, with my mother and by myself. Nothing really bad has happened so I’m going to give some tips that I believe could help you when ordering.
Everyone is free to have their own opinion about Aliexpress, I believe that it’s a good place to get what you want for cheap prices, others would disagree. When you first order, do not use a credit/debt card that you can’t directly contact to see if money has been withdrawn or refunded. When I order alone, I go out and buy a Vanilla Prepaid, which really isn’t the best due to not being able to reload it, but you can see how much is taken out and when.

I’ve only ordered twice by myself so far, however the first time I ordered I didn’t have to file a dispute for refunds or anything. Tip: always check the product discription and the reviews. Checking the discription and the product reviews/pictures is what will save you from buying a product that doesn’t look anything like the pictures or is horrible quality. Do not buy something that doesn’t have any reviews, it may show how many people have ordered and how many have it on the wish list, but overall? It’s risky. You have no idea what the previous buyers got and how it was, I’ve risked it once for a shirt which actually ran small even though it had said size runs normal. It was still small and uncomfortable.

Do screenshot the product you are interested in and use the snap it, shop it filter offered. Then use the filter to look for free shipping and 4+ stars and the refiner for most reviews. The reviews are usually translated if your looking in English and may sound weird and garbled, but it will give you a feel of what to expect.

After you order and receive the product do give a review, it helps the others who want to buy the product. You can give a less detailed review with pictures or a really detailed review with no pictures. Those with both will help the best. Do double check with the seller on sizes for clothing if you aren’t sure. Since many of the products are shipping directly from china, some of the sizing will run small and may not fit as well as other sizes. You can check the information about sizing usually in the product discription or the part between the pictures.

Tip: extend the buyer purchase protection at around 3-5 days left. The buyer protection, I believe, is monitored by the seller…..which I find weird to be honest. But they can’t refuse to extend it if you haven’t gotten your item. I don’t remember clearly, but a while back the sellers couldn’t extend the buyer protection a lot. So after 2-3 extends they wouldn’t be able to. Not sure if it’s been fixed now. The reason why you have to extend it around that time is because it takes roughly 2 days for the sellers to reply, maybe up to a week during their holidays. Do extend the protection time over 30 days. When I have to extend the buyer protection I would usually extend it by 40 days to be safe, so if you have 3-5 days left, it would be 43-45 more days of protection.

Tip: be aware of the holidays. Around Christmas to the end of February there will usually be major delays both from shipping companies and sellers. A lot of people will go on break for a week or two during Christmas and New Years, you will not get packages on Christmas Day or even New Years I believe.

Moving on, near the middle to end of February is Chinese New Year which will effect the time your packages ship if you order around then. The sellers usually don’t answer to messages or requests to extend the buyer protection. When they do they will send a typical “we’re away for the holidays” message. Around march or May is a day where families visit the grave yard to tend to their deceased family member’s grave. This is (I would guess) a big thing in most Asian cultures and is a holiday for the people to clean up the grave and etc.

Tip: order in advance. If you order from Aliexpress, I would suggest ordering at least 3 months in advance. Maybe even more than three months if you need it around March to avoid issues with the holidays so that you can get your order before everything slows or shuts down during the stretched holiday season. Not everyone will have to order in advance but to get to Canada with the usual free shipping, it does take roughly 3 months to arrive.

I don’t really know is this would count as a tip or not, but if I get sent a wrong product (for example I ordered a panda image iPhone 6s case, they sent me an iPhone 6 Plus phone case) I usually contact the seller first.

Tip: Message the seller after about a week or two to ask if the package has shipped out of the country. This is mainly to check up on if you should expect the package the following week or in two weeks. If for some reason the package was sent back to the seller, you and the seller could work out getting the refund back. This comes from experience where one of my packages was -for some reason- sent back to the seller. Nothing disappointing but at least I did get my refund back.

Tip: If a seller takes more than the standard 2 days to extend the buyer protection or to reply back to your comment to extend it, go ahead and contact customer service. This is kind of the “last chance” for the seller before you are prompted to file a dispute for a refund. This doesn’t usually happen but it’s good to know just incase.

I hope this guide will help you or others who want to shop on Aliexpress for the cheap products they offer. Have you ordered from aliexpress yet? What did you order? Let me know in the comments!


Toronto-based Beauty and Lifestyle blogger focusing on the world of Korean Skincare and Beauty, particularly product reviews and where to get them in Canada.

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