Aliexpress.com is the Chinese based eBay copy-like vendor "mall" site of Jack Ma's Alibaba Group, and at one time PayPal barred the vendors on Aliexpress from using PayPal because shipping issues and other problems were so pervasive. Chinese sellers on eBay on the other hand must use PayPal and adhere to the PayPal buyer protection policies. It is like night and day.
It "looks" like a good deal of a place to shop - but be ware - it really is not.
1. Aliexpress is the SELLER - that is who will charge your credit card, and then they "escrow" the funds until you report you received it - or after a period of time has passed and you have not complained by opening a dispute.
2. The Vendors on the site - they call "sellers" almost always create a shipping label, and then the item will sit and not enter the Chinese Postal Service for up to 10 days later - that is it will be marked as "shipped" but really has not moved anywhere - and this impacts the over all delivery time. EXAMPLE: Ordered an item and it showed shipped the next day, never entered the China Post system, 20 days later the shipment was canceled, and had to ask for a refund, ordered the same item on eBay and the next day it showed shipped - AND accepted into the China Post system and tracking working.
3. If there is a problem with the item - such as not as described - if you want to send it back you will discover return shipping is a minimum of $18 for even the smallest item using the US Postal Service to China - so it will usually not be worth it to return it.
4. The feedback system is fake . . . you cannot see the true reputation or issues with a vendor - but so too is eBay's you cannot see the number of complaints or returns there but the difference is on Aliexpress the feedback itself does not show negative feedback - as Aliexpress quietly edits it out.
5. If the vendor is in a rural area or not near a major International Airport, that China Post uses to fly things out of the country your item could be several days on the ground with a third party parcel carrier for the parcel to get there to the Chinese ISC - or if they use a non-China Post initial shipper - you cannot track it at all. It may say "turned over to airline" and it may sit with them for a few more days before actually getting on a flight and then there is no tracking when it reaches the US Postal Service at all.
6. Many Vendors print labels too small to read and use package sizes too small - and that do not meet US Postal Service standards, so they may get misdirected or lost. A package for California (CA) may end up in Colorado (CO) or Connecticut (CT) because it is too hard to read quickly at a processing ISC. This has happened more than once - and will add a week usually to the delivery time.
7. The China Post workers do not know or do not care - so they just put all parcels going to the United States of America all on the next plane out - and it may be headed for New York or Chicago - while you are expecting your parcel say again - in California, and the US Postal Service has to then put it on a plane or truck going "back" in your direction. This happens often also. The Postal Service often then sends it by truck to a small city where flying out of there is cheaper because the US Postal Service airlines contracts are based on weight - a light load going out of a small airport in the end is cheaper for the US Postal Service, since after all they do not get paid for the Chinese sloppiness - instead it costs the US Postal Service more money to redirect the parcel properly.
8. China can ship to America way cheaper than Americans can ship in that direction, thanks to the "ePacket" agreement, and while it is called usually "ePacket", and it is trackable if that ePacket service is used , there is no uniform language wording for when it is "accepted" or when it actually gets on a plane coming this way to the US - it may say "ACCEPTED", Processed through" or "Origin post is preparing shipment" and so you do not know if it is sitting on the ground or has actually left China headed to the US on a plane.
9. If there is a problem with the item you will have to open a dispute to contact the "vendor" first, and you will usually get a run around and then a lot of "canned" responses often starting with "Hello friend", and then it will make no sense or address what you asked because in reality they do not read or speak English, so you will waste your time going in circles usually.
10. When Aliexpress gets involved - they may or may not follow their own "Buyer Protection" policies posted on the website which really do not meet the FTC Mail Order rule of 30 days delivery or refund.
11. If the vendor offers an "on time" guarantee in days - good luck enforcing the money back guarantee behind that.
12. Any guarantee or warranty promised on the sales page is absolutely worthless.
13. Aliexpress created a US Delaware corporation so they could open a US Bank account to allow them to take US BANKCARDS, and the last we saw, they had a California address and phone number but were not registered with the California Secretary of State as a domestic foreign corporation as the law requires.
14. It is highly unlikely you will ever be able to reach a true customer service person, and they will not honor the listing of the vendor, even though it is actually their agent - that is Aliexpress - directly who is liable.
15. Most items on Aliexpress can also be found on eBay - and often cheaper - and eBay has a two day ship policy of their sellers - which means it is actually in the hands of a shipper and trackable to the US Postal Service or any other like UPS, DHL, or FedEx - moving to you and eBay will put the "screws" to their sellers to comply with eBay policies which are loosely based on US FTC Mail order and in part California law.
16. eBay may be a competitor of ours - but seriously - if you want to buy from China - look on eBay first, and spend maybe a few bucks more for a lot less headache.