Is AliExpress Legit and Safe to Use for Online Shopping? Complete Guide

AliExpress is a popular Chinese e-commerce platform that connects buyers to sellers and manufacturers directly. With extremely low prices and free shipping on many items, AliExpress seems too good to be true. So is it legit and safe to use?

As an AliExpress shopper for over 5 years and having placed hundreds of orders, I can confidently say AliExpress is 100% legitimate. However, you do need to be cautious of potential risks. In this complete guide, I will cover everything you need to know about safely shopping on AliExpress.

What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is owned by the Alibaba Group, one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world. It operates as a marketplace connecting small businesses and factories in China to global consumers.

Think of it like Amazon or eBay, but with mostly wholesalers and manufacturers instead of resellers. It allows you to buy directly from the source.

Is AliExpress Legitimate?

Yes, AliExpress is completely legitimate. Here’s why:

  • Publicly traded company: Alibaba Group, AliExpress’s parent company, is publicly traded on the NYSE.
  • Years in business: Launched in 2010, AliExpress has been successfully operating for over a decade.
  • Millions of buyers: AliExpress serves over 150 million buyers from over 200 countries and regions.

As one of the largest global marketplaces, AliExpress is a legitimate and established e-commerce platform.

Is AliExpress Safe to Use?

While risks exist when shopping on any online marketplace, AliExpress is generally safe thanks to its buyer protection program.

As long as you follow basic precautions like checking seller ratings and not paying outside of AliExpress, you likely won’t have issues. Even if an item doesn’t arrive or is not as described, you can dispute to get a full refund.

Here are some key elements that make AliExpress safe:

Secure Payments

AliExpress offers secure payment methods like credit cards and PayPal. Never pay or communicate outside of AliExpress for added protection.

Buyer Protection

File a dispute within specific time frames to get a full refund if items are defective, damaged, undelivered, or not as described.

Seller Metrics

Check detailed seller ratings, response rates, review scores, and location before placing an order. Avoid new sellers with low scores.

Product Reviews

Read buyer reviews and look at product photos carefully to set realistic quality expectations. Don’t rely solely on the product description.

By following basic precautions, you can shop safely. I have rarely encountered issues that couldn’t be resolved through the buyer protection program.

5 Tips for Safe Shopping on AliExpress

While AliExpress is legitimate and relatively safe to use, exercise some caution when shopping to avoid getting scammed:

1. Check Seller Metrics

Avoid stores with less than 97% positive ratings, less than six months of history, or low review scores. Sort by “Orders” to buy from popular sellers.

2. Read Product Reviews

Reviews with photos are best. Balance ratings with written reviews to determine authentic product quality.

3. Pay Through AliExpress

Never communicate or pay outside of AliExpress. Use your credit card or PayPal when checking out.

4. Inspect Packaging

Record unboxing videos in case items arrive damaged or incorrect. Save all packaging to dispute.

5. Learn Dispute Rules

Understand dispute reasons, time frames, and processes in case issues arise. Most disputes will rule in the buyer’s favor.

As long as you shop wisely, buying on AliExpress is a smooth and safe process. You have the ability to get a refund by disputing so there is little risk.

What Does AliExpress Sell?

AliExpress sells almost any consumer product imaginable. Some categories include:

  • Electronics
  • Cell phones
  • Clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Home goods
  • Beauty products
  • Toys
  • Automotive parts

Within these broad categories you’ll find both branded and unbranded goods. Branded items are typically gray market products while unbranded goods come direct from factories.

You can find almost anything for sale, but quality levels can vary greatly. Avoid expecting Amazon-quality branded goods. Manage your expectations, read reviews, shop selectively, and you can get great deals.

Should I Buy Branded Items on AliExpress?

I don’t recommend buying branded items on AliExpress expecting perfect quality. Branded goods are usually gray market items that may have minor defects or differences from the original.

Instead, search for unbranded items that match your needs and read reviews carefully. Sort by orders to buy best-selling goods that should meet reasonable quality levels.

Focus less on getting branded items and more on the product specs and reviews. This mindset will lead to better shopping experiences on AliExpress.

How Long Does AliExpress Shipping Take?

Shipping times from AliExpress to United States and Europe are typically:

  • ePacket: 10-20 days
  • Standard Shipping: 15-45 days
  • Expedited Shipping: 7-15 days

ePacket is the best balance of speed and cost. I probably average 15 days for ePacket delivery to the United States.

Shipping can take over two months for some sellers and products, so pay attention to processing and transit times before ordering.

Be patient, and your products will eventually arrive! I’ve had good luck contacting sellers on AliExpress if orders run late.

Is AliExpress Expensive?

One of the biggest benefits of AliExpress is the extremely affordable pricing. Most products are much cheaper than US online and retail stores.

You can regularly find popular electronics, clothing, jewelry, and other products for up to 80% cheaper than Amazon or big box retailers. Just check back often as daily deals and coupons make items even more budget-friendly.

Between the low prices and free shipping, AliExpress is very inexpensive for the quality you get. Just don’t expect perfect branded goods for 90% off retail prices.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this guide gave you a complete overview of shopping safely and effectively on AliExpress. In summary:

  • AliExpress is 100% legitimate
  • Exercise basic precautions for safe buying
  • Manage expectations properly on product quality
  • Use seller metrics and reviews to make informed purchases
  • Be patient with ePacket shipping times

Happy cost-effective shopping! Let me know if you have any other questions.