Alibaba reviews – Is Alibaba safe for the traders?

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A lot of importers, after finding the potential contractor thanks to the Alibaba platform, are certainly looking for some additional Alibaba reviews about the website in order to find the answer to the question ‘Is Alibaba safe?’. The entrepreneurs usually visit different forums about importing goods to check what experience with this portal other traders have. In the following article, we will check some reviews about this portal that may be found on the Internet. We will also try to find the reason of negative opinions and give some tips how to avoid frauds.

What are the Alibaba reviews?

We decided to present some reviews of Alibaba.com from websites that include opinions about different portals. They are as follows:

On the Sitejabber, we have found 469 opinions in total. Based on those reviews, Alibaba.com has received an average score of 2,2 out of 5 stars. Medium notes (2, 3 or 4 stars) were given by only few users (58 out of 469 opinions, about 12%). The most common were the lowest or the highest notes. The highest note (5 stars) was given by 113 users (about 24% of all notes), and the lowest one (1 star) was given by 298 users (about 64% of all notes). It is a poor result.

On the Trustpilot, there are 405 Alibaba reviews in total. The portal has received a score of 4 out of 5 stars. This result is based on 399 opinions. It is a good score.

On the Resellerratings, the Alibaba.com platform received an average score of 1,41/10, based on 21 opinions.

On the Mouthshut portal, the Alibaba.com website received an average score of 1,65 out of 5 stars based on 94 Alibaba reviews and only 15% of users recommend using this website..

* The above data was last updated on November 1, 2017.

Considering the scores received by the Alibaba.com portal on Sitejabber, Resellerratings and Mouthshut, it is easy to notice they are very similar. Users usually give it the lowest note. Only the score from Trustpilot is good.

After analysing the scores, we read the comments posted by its users in order to find the reasons of negative opinions about Alibaba.

What are the main reasons of negative Alibaba reviews?

After reading the negative opinions posted on above websites, we drew the conclusion that there are 2 main reasons behind such opinions:

  1. Consumers were cheated, i.e. they had paid for the goods, but they didn’t receive them. The cases are usually very similar. Users found the product, wrote a message to the supplier, exchanged a couple of mails, transferred money to the supplier’s bank account, the contact was lost, and the fraud disappeared in a virtual world.
  2. Consumers were dissatisfied with the quality of ordered goods, being reassured by the supplier that they are characterized by high quality. The goods they received were not within established quality standards. A lot of consumers wrote they had received low-quality dross instead of ordered goods.

Is Alibaba safe if Alibaba reviews are poor?

There is no clear answer to the question ‘Is Alibaba safe?’. Alibaba.com concerns a great group of suppliers, and not every of them is reliable. Making general statements that there are only frauds on this website is wrong. The platform tries to block frauds’ accounts. However, they sign up again and continue on cheating consumers. It often happens that frauds pose as a well-known supplier or purchase the Gold Supplier from other users, because the money they spent for that are recouped after one unfair transaction. All in all, it is possible to find some reliable suppliers on Alibaba.com if one knows what things they should check in order to avoid frauds.

How to avoid frauds described in Alibaba reviews?

We are going to briefly explain what issues should be checked when we find a potential supplier. It allows us to minimalize the risk of fraud. In order to do that, we should:

  1. Precisely check the company profile of Alibaba.com:
  • Check if it is fully completed. The companies that want to fraud consumers often do not complete their profiles. They usually provide the company name and the primary contact only.
  • Check the date of signing up. If the account was created a few days ago and the company offers products in much lower price than other sellers, we should realize there is something wrong with that.
  • Check the company website. The companies often provide the address of their website on their profiles. It is worth to visit such a website and check if it was created in a decent way. The website is a flagship of a good company. If it is not decent, we may suspect that something is wrong.
  • Check if the supplier provided the phone number. Frauds often avoid talking by phone with their clients and do not provide the phone number at all. They usually provide only an e-mail address.
  1. Search for the information by search engine. Besides the information found on the Alibaba’s site, it is worth to check some Alibaba reviews on the Internet. It is also worth to visit some websites such as Alibabascam.com, Alibabafraud.com etc. Such websites were created in order to warn other traders against frauds on Alibaba.com. It is possible to find a lot of reviews about suppliers on them.
  2. Check the opinions about your potential contractor on the Alibaba’s forum. Alibaba.com includes also its own forum. Due to the popularity of this website, the number of posts is huge. A registered user can set a new topic where other users express their opinions about the particular issue by publishing their posts. It is worth to search for some information about the supplier on this forum. If it is a legally registered company, which is supposed to have quite big financial turnover, there should be some mention about it on the forum. However, when the company is supposed to be a fraud, and the account was created recently, such an opinion probably will not exist. The frauds often create new accounts after cheating their clients.
  3. Contact the supplier and ask if it is possible to visit the workshop before placing an order, even when you are not going to China soon. It is about checking the supplier’s reaction. If the potential contractor responds that there is no such a possibility, it may mean that such a company has something to hide. Every supplier wants to capture new clients, so if it is a reliable one, it should allow us to visit the workshop.
  4. Check the payment methods the company offers. People write bad Alibaba reviews because they were cheated. If you select a safe payment method it is possible that your money will be safe. Frauds prefer to choose anonymous payment methods, especially by Money Gram or Western Union. In such a situation, they often hire some accidental person to collect money from the agency. After that, payments are completely anonymous. Getting their money back by consumers is impossible. When the order is not very big, we recommend to pay for the goods by PayPal. Thanks to this option, we are able to withdraw the money if the supplier turns out to be a fraud. Paypal usually takes the client’s side if there is a dispute between a buying and a selling party. When the order is big, due to the high commission that has to be paid to PayPal, it is recommended to transfer money into supplier’s bank account. It has to be remembered that it has to be a company account – the one specified in the Permit for Opening Bank Account.
  5. Check if the product price does not diverge from the other similar offers. It is worth to send an e-mail with the request for quotation. If prices offered by other suppliers are much higher, it is worth to check the offer in a more detailed way. Many Alibaba reviews are bad because people trust that they can buy products very cheap.
  6. Ask the supplier about the possibility of sending some samples. After receiving such an inquiry, frauds often respond that there is no such a possibility or they offer very high prices for such samples.
  7. Not look for the products of some well-known brands (e.g. Adidas, Nike) that are sold by Chinese companies on Alibaba.com. Such products can’t be imported. The customs agency confiscates such goods when it realizes they are fakes. There is no possibility to approve such products for marketing.
  8. Ask the Chinese supplier to produce the Business license in order to verify it. Every company which is legally registered in China must have such a document. Some suppliers do not want to produce it. In such a situation, we may suspect that the company has bad intentions.
  9. Order the verification of the supplier to another company that deals with such matters daily, e.g. to our team. It is worth to know that documents produced by Chinese suppliers are often falsified, so even if we get such documents and translate them from Chinese, it may turn out they are worthless. We have appropriate experience that makes us being able to notice some inaccuracies. We find reliable suppliers for our clients every day, as well as we verify the suppliers found by our clients, providing the comprehensive reports about them.
  10. Order the quality control service. More than 50% of bad Alibaba reviews refer to the quality of products. When the order is quite big, it is worth to order the quality control service. The third party which is engaged in checking the quality of products can be sent to the workshop of the supplier. After such a visit, we will find out about the conditions in which the product we want to order is produced. Such a service may be ordered any time, before or after the production starts, after it finishes, or when the products are loaded in a port.

After completing above steps, the risk of being cheated significantly decreases, however there is never 100% guarantee that everything comes up to our expectations.

Summary

Alibaba.com is a really good website to search for the goods due to the big number of suppliers and offered goods, however one has to be careful while making transactions and should not trust anyone completely. It is needed to check the supplier in several ways before making a payment.

We encourage people who have already had some experience with Alibaba.com, i.e. those who have found some suppliers thanks to this website, to leave a comment under the article about Alibaba reviews.

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Our blog contains articles about trade with China. Publications available on this blog allow you to find very important information and practical tips about import from China. We add new articles every Wednesday.


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