Is it safe to buy on AliExpress from Australia? Explained simply

Roberto Efflandrin

AliExpress is an online retailer based in China, which sells to international customers including those based in Australia. If you’ve ever used the site before, you’ll know that it has a jaw-dropping number and variety of products – in short, it sells pretty much everything.

But is AliExpress safe to shop at? Here, we’ll take a closer look at security at AliExpress, including safe ways to pay.

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What is AliExpress?

AliExpress is an online international commerce retail marketplace. It is the consumer version of Alibaba, which is a wholesale marketplace mainly used by businesses and their suppliers. It was launched in 2010 and is a part of the Alibaba Group.¹

While not as large as Amazon, there are similarities between AliExpress and the US online retail giant. Each online retailer sells a wide range of products in countless retail categories, from electronics and toys to fashion, furniture, beauty products and much more.

The key difference (apart from size) is that AliExpress is known for selling products at far cheaper prices than you’d find elsewhere. These super cheap prices are down to how products are sourced directly from Chinese manufacturers, where manufacturing and shipping costs are low.

But the bargain basement nature of the prices at AliExpress does inevitably create doubts for some consumers over whether it’s a legit and safe place to shop. So let’s look at that now.

Is it safe to buy on AliExpress from Australia?

Shopping on AliExpress can be considered generally safe because it’s owned by Alibaba, an established, multi-national company. This doesn’t automatically make it a 100% safe place to shop, but it is reassuring to know that there is a credible, reputable company behind it.

There are a few buyer protection policies and systems in place to keep your shopping experience safe on Aliexpress.² Let’s take a quick look at these:

Basic Guarantees

These are the basics every purchase on AliExpress comes with. You can see the full process here.

Guaranteed refunds

If you don’t receive your products, or items are significantly different to how they’re described by the seller, AliExpress will refund your payment

Guaranteed on-time delivery

Your items will be delivered by a set date which is guaranteed by AliExpress.

Advanced Guarantee

These are extra guarantees provided to certain countries (limited to most EU countries) in the form of extra warranty.

Extra Warranty

Sellers on AliExpress offer a 2-year guarantee on some products which you could manually select or get automatically added to your order. You can see the full process here.

Other safety systems put in place by AliExpress

A dispute process²

This is managed by the AliExpress customer service team.

Secure payment methods

Card payment security including 3D Secure, a protocol which acts as an extra security layer for online credit and debit card payments.

You can also take a few basic precautions to protect yourself when shopping online at sites like AliExpress. For example, check out the seller reviews before purchasing – just in case other customers have had a bad experience.

You should also watch out for fake/bootleg products (if you’re after the real thing) and always make sure you’re buying from the real AliExpress site.

AliExpress dispute process

If there is a problem with your order (i.e. it doesn’t arrive, is damaged or contains incorrect items), you can use the AliExpress dispute process to get it sorted.³

Simply follow these steps:

  1. AliExpress advises you contact the seller first to find a resolution and rectify the problem
  2. If this doesn’t produce the results you want or the seller isn’t willing to help, open a dispute with AliExpress
  3. Many claims are settled quickly, but if the seller doesn’t take action for your issue – AliExpress can escalate the dispute. If they resolve the dispute in your favour, AliExpress will return your money within 2 weeks.

Raising disputes with AliExpress can result in a little back and forth with the seller. This may take time, so you’ll need to be patient before your problem can be resolved.

When can you open a dispute on Aliexpress

There is a specific timeframe during the order and delivery process within which you can open a dispute.

  • When you order a product, the seller has 10 days to ship it out to you
  • After that comes the delivery time which is 30/60 days. During this period you can open a dispute for logistic or quality issues
  • Once that passes, you have 15 extra days within which you can still open a dispute for logistic or quality issues.

In summary, on AliExpress: you can only open a dispute from the 11th day — after the seller has sent out the goods — until the 15th day after delivery time is over or you confirm receipt of the item.³

Some options for paying on AliExpress

Payment methods are another important security detail for online shoppers to check before heading to the virtual checkout.

At AliExpress, customers in Australia can checkout paying via debit or credit card. This is the case whether using the AliExpress app, or shopping online. All major card providers are accepted though, including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro, Discover and American Express.

At the moment, only customers in certain countries (which unfortunately doesn’t include Australia) can pay via PayPal on AliExpress.

The AliExpress website is a secure place to enter your card details. All info sent to and from the site is encrypted with HTTPS – the industry-standard secure communications protocol.

AliExpress uses 3D Secure — a protocol designed to be an additional security layer for online credit and debit card transactions — for additional protection when paying by card.

The excellent news for Wise customers is that you can use your Wise debit card to shop up a storm on AliExpress, with low conversion fees and at the mid-market exchange rate.

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Wrapping up

So, is AliExpress safe to shop at? In short, yes – it’s a major online retailer with a number of Buyer Protection policies in place, plus secure ways to pay. But it never hurts to be a smart shopper. Make sure to check out seller feedback and reviews before you buy, and take basic security precautions whenever you’re shopping online.

The Wise Account and Debit card

If you are frequently buying on AliExpress and need to pay in foreign currency, the Wise Account and card allows you to shop like a local without high conversion fees and at the mid-market exchange rate.

Opening a Wise account allows you to hold 40+ currencies at once, while having your own local account details in 10 of these currencies. You can see the full coverage here.

Safety is paramount at Wise. In Australia, it is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL number 513764).

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  1. AliExpress about us

  2. AliExpress buyer protection

  3. Open a Dispute on AliExpress

Sources checked on 4 April 2023

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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