Is AliExpress Legit and Safe for Shopping?

Today, AliExpress claims to ship products to customers worldwide, but is the service legit and safe for shopping? Many products are listed, and while a $5 scam won't hurt, some list for well into the thousands.

China is known as the world's factory, but many still need to familiarize themselves with its eCommerce space. Once looking inward at the domestic market, China's eCommerce giants like AliExpress and TaoBao have gone regional or even global.

I've shopped online for years, and AliExpress is a platform I've tried before. Before you buy that next RAM module or Android phone off AliExpress, let's learn a bit more about them.

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Who, Exactly, is AliExpress?

Platform: AliExpress

Year Launched: 2010

Headquarters: Hangzhou, China

Parent Company: Alibaba Group (NYSE: BABA)

Majority Owner: Softbank Group (24%)

AliExpress is an online eCommerce retail platform based in China. It offers many products for sale and claims to ship most of them to any location worldwide. On AliExpress, you can find anything from a plain t-shirt to an outboard motor for your boat.

Alibaba Group, a Chinese multinational company specializing in tech space, owns and operates the platform. Jack Ma was the founder of Alibaba, but he retired in 2019, leaving the company mainly in the hands of investors.

The Group operates several online properties, including Taobao, Tmall, Freshippo, AliExpress, Lazada,,, Youku, DingTalk, Alimama, Alibaba Cloud, and Cai Niao.

Is AliExpress Legit and Safe for Shopping?

AliExpress is a legitimate eCommerce platform that ships worldwide.

Is AliExpressLegit: Yes, it operates as a globally recognized business entity.

Is Shopping on AliExpress Safe: Yes, but caution is advised.

Since AliExpress operates under the umbrella of the Alibaba Group, it is, indeed, a legitimate business. Alibaba itself lists on both the New York Stock Exchange and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong.

While these business matters are all aboveboard, the question of it being a safe place for shoppers needs careful consideration. This caution isn't due to problems with AliExpress, but rather the general eCommerce platform model.

Having shopped on AliExpress before, my recommendation is that you can shop on this platform, but extra caution is necessary.

How AliExpress Protects Shoppers

AliExpress Legit shops
Always note the nature of the shop you're considering buying from on AliExpress

Like many online shopping marketplaces, AliExpress has safeguards in place to protect shoppers. These range from acting as an Escrow service to providing buyer protection on the platform. Other security measures include;

Secure Payment System

AliExpress offers a secure payment system that ensures that buyers' payments are protected until they confirm the receipt of the product. This protects buyers from fraudulent sellers who may try to steal their money.

Seller Verification

AliExpress verifies the identity of its sellers and checks their credentials before allowing them to sell on the platform. This helps to ensure that only legitimate sellers with good reputations are allowed to sell on the platform.

Product Reviews

AliExpress encourages buyers to leave reviews of the products they have purchased. These reviews help other buyers make informed decisions about whether to purchase a particular product from a particular seller.

Dispute Resolution

AliExpress has a dispute resolution system that helps to resolve any conflicts that may arise between buyers and sellers. If a buyer has a problem with a product or a seller, they can open a dispute and AliExpress will help to resolve the issue.

How to Use AliExpress

AliExpress Legit shops

Using AliExpress is as simple as any other eCommerce platform like All you need is to register for an account, provide a shipping address, purchase a product, and wait for your package to arrive at your doorstep.

Here's how it works;

Step 1. Go to the AliExpress website ( and create an account.

Step 2. Once you have an account, you can start shopping. Use the search bar to find what you want, and click on them for more details. You can also browse through the different categories by selecting them on the navigation menu.

Step 3. Select the desired quantity and options when you find the item you want. For example, product listings may have several options like size or colors. When happy with the selection, click the “Add to Cart” button. You can continue shopping or head to the checkout by clicking the shopping cart icon.

Step 4. Provide AliExpress with your shipping address and choose a payment method. The platform accepts many payment methods, including credit and debit cards and some online payment services like PayPal.

Step 5. Check your order to ensure everything is correct, and click the “Place Your Order” button to complete your purchase.

Step 6. You will receive a confirmation email with the details of your purchase. You can track the progress of your order by logging in to your AliExpress account and viewing your order history.

AliExpress Scams and Cautionary Notes

Watch tech YouTuber Dawid expose an AliExpress scam

There have been some scams on AliExpress, as with any online marketplace. However, it's important to note that these scams are not unique to AliExpress and can happen anywhere, even on

Some things to note include;

Counterfeit or Fake Products

AliExpress Legit item listings
Products listed on AliExpress can sometimes be confusing due to conflicting information.

Like on any other large online marketplace, fake products exist on AliExpress. It's essential to be cautious and do your research before purchasing any online platform. Always be careful of deals that are too good to be true and typos in product or brand names.

When buying from any listing, check;

  • Product name (and match the SKU with an official website where possible)
  • Store or seller name (There are differences between “official stores” and “authorized resellers”).
  • Any special conditions provided in the product description/listing.
  • If the product is new/used/reconditioned.
  • Discrepancies in the product description.

Phishing Scams

Be wary of any emails or messages requesting personal or financial information. Remember that AliExpress (or almost any other online eCommerce platform) will never ask for your password or additional sensitive information via email or private messages.

Unauthorized Charges

Check your billing statements carefully to ensure you don't end up paying for any purchases you didn't make. AliExpress is generally good about such things, but unscrupulous merchants may create additional charges without you knowing.

Sell and Swap Scams

Some merchants may list some items but ship alternatives. Always check to see if you received the exact item in the original listing. I've gotten scammed this way, and the best way to avoid it is to take a screenshot of the product listing at the time of purchase. This screenshot can help serve as proof during dispute resolution.

Return Shipments

AliExpress offers free return shipping for some product refunds. However, be careful, as you only get one free return per order. If there are repeated mistakes, returning a product can prove to be a highly costly endeavor.

Always Have Proof

Regardless of where I purchase items, I always take a video when opening new deliveries or repackaging items for the return shipment. These videos offer solid documentary proof and help avoid sellers claiming otherwise. That's especially important if you buy big-ticket items like phones or laptops.

Shipping and Delivery Times on AliExpress

The shipping time for orders on AliExpress can vary depending on the seller and your chosen shipping method. Some sellers offer faster shipping options (with extra charges), while others may take longer to ship out products.

You can check the estimated delivery time for a particular product by going to the product page and looking at the “Shipping and Payment” section. This section will show you the available shipping methods and estimated delivery times.

The generally accepted shipment timeframe is an estimated 0-20 business days for delivery to most countries, including the US. However, it's notable that some shipments have taken as long as 60 days for delivery.

Advantages of Buying on AliExpress

Many have asked me why I purchase from AliExpress if it's risky. The fact is that any online platform comes with risks, even As long as you're cautious, you can avoid most of the potential pitfalls of online shopping, even on AliExpress.

There are many reasons why you should purchase from AliExpress. Depending on your needs, some of them might not apply to you.

Wide range of Products

AliExpress has a large selection of products, with millions of items available in categories ranging from clothing and accessories to electronics and home goods. Some of them might not be available on your area's more localized eCommerce platform.

Potentially Cheap Prices

Many of the products sold on AliExpress are manufactured domestically in China. That means the prices are likely lower than purchasing the same product from a local retailer. For example, once shipped on Amazon, the same product may cost double that of an AliExpress listing. You can save money even with shipping costs.

Data Security and Integrity

It may sound surprising, but AliExpress has never suffered a data breach. Compared to's fines for data leaks and GDPR violations, AliExpress has proven to be a secure shopping channel.

How AliExpress Compares With Competitors

AliExpress competes with other online shopping platforms by offering unique advantages, and buyers should consider their individual needs and preferences when deciding where to shop. SOme of Its most direct competitors include Amazon and eBay,

AliExpress vs

AliExpress offers lower prices compared to Amazon due to its direct relationship with manufacturers in China. However, this can sometimes lead to concerns about product quality and shipping times. In addition, AliExpress has a smaller selection of products compared to Amazon, although it still offers a wide range of goods across many categories.

Amazon, on the other hand, has a vast selection of products and offers competitive prices. Amazon also has a strong reputation for customer service and fast shipping times, including same-day and two-day shipping options.

AliExpress vs eBay

eBay is a marketplace that connects buyers and sellers, and pricing varies based on supply and demand. eBay also offers the ability to bid on products in auctions, which can lead to lower prices but can also make the purchasing process more unpredictable.

AliExpress has a smaller selection of products compared to eBay, although it still offers a wide range of goods across many categories. eBay has a larger selection of products, including unique and hard-to-find items, as well as vintage and collectible items.

Final Thoughts: Can I Safely Shop on AliExpress?

While it may sound like shopping on AliExpress is fine as long as you take some precautions, personal experience tells me differently. I've found that many sellers on AliExpress won't outright lie about their product listings. 

However, they will often obfuscate enough to be near scam-like in nature. That makes it more dangerous than on other “western” platforms like Amazon (even though these are being inundated by scam listings today).

The worst part, however, is the generally unhelpful nature of most customer service agents on Chinese eCommerce platforms. If there's a problem, you can typically be sure they'll pursue the fastest way to close the dispute – potentially even to your disadvantage.

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Timothy Shim

Tim is a former tech journalist turned web technology junkie. He spends his time exploring the best in digital privacy and security tools. Meanwhile, experiments with SEO continue to increase his blood pressure. ( Contact Tim on Linkedin )

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