"I got scammed on Alibaba," This is something you can hear from new importers. But how can you get scammed on Alibaba? which is one of the largest online marketplaces, and are there scammers on Alibaba?
It's essential to be aware that there are scammers on Alibaba. The good news is that frauds originating in China are rare and can almost entirely be prevented with little diligence. You can argue about why this is so. The chances of you paying a corporation in China for a bunch of things and never receiving anything are slim. Receiving defective goods, on the other hand? This happens regularly.
How To Not Get Scammed On Alibaba?
Avoid Free Account Members
This is a pretty simple rule to follow, and it does a great job of decreasing your risk of falling victim to Alibaba scams. If a merchant is serious about providing high-quality services or products, they will pay the costs for a Gold account to show their dedication. In short, because free accounts are such a low-effort strategy, using them means that the vendor is either uninterested in providing a high-quality product or is a scammer hedging their chances with free accounts.
Avoid Big Brands, Especially Electronics
Because of their great worth and popularity, scammers are attracted to electronics, and brands are more accessible to trust than any random merchant:
- Alibaba does not sell products from major brands. If that's the case, the minimum order numbers are massive.
- Everyone would be selling these branded products at a lower price if they were genuinely accessible at this pricing.
- The fact that many branded devices are manufactured in China does not imply that Chinese manufacturers are authorized to sell them.
Know What 'Alibaba Gold Member' Actually Means
As previously stated, free Alibaba accounts should be used as a rapid filter for low-quality or dubious offerings. That does not, however, imply that all paid accounts are reliable. While it's best to stick to Gold Member accounts, remember that this status is earned by paying a monthly cost and passing an onsite inspection on Alibaba.
- Paying a recurring fee, and
- Passing an onsite inspection
Look At The Age Of An Account
You can limit the chances of dealing with fraudsters by looking at accounts that are older than a particular amount of time. For example, a two-year minimum account age could weed out a lot of shady merchants from your shortlist. However, this is not
a guarantee; always be cautious.
Check Fraud And Scam Listings For An Alibaba Scams
You should perform a much more detailed investigation by checking websites with lists of known or reported scammers. Victims' sole option is to enter the company's name (from which they intend to buy) into this list, so if a scammer has used the same name or another recognizable detail before, there will be a significant chance they will land up on one of these lists. Check the lists and forums to avoid being the next victim. To get yourself started, here are a few of the forums you can check out:
- The Wholesale Forums
- Banned on Alibaba – Gold Suppliers Blacklist
Do A Thorough Google Search
This is the most crucial step in your research and is also the easiest to do. Take the name of the company you're looking into, add "scam" or "review" after it, and see what comes up. If a company has been involved in fraudulent activities, there will likely be multiple articles, blog posts, or forum threads.
5 Popular Alibaba Scams And How to Avoid Them
Now that you know how to avoid getting scammed on Alibaba let's look at some of the most popular scams so you can be extra vigilant.
1. The Copycat Scam
This is one of the most common scams and one of the easiest to avoid. The copycat scammer will create a replica of a well-known brand's website and then try to sell you counterfeit products. They may even go so far as to set up a fake Alibaba account using the same logo and branding.
To avoid this scam, always do your research and make sure you're dealing with an authorized reseller. You can usually find this information on the brand's website.
2. The Fake Product Scam
This scam is similar to the copycat scam, but the fake product scammer will try to sell you a counterfeit product that is not a replica of a well-known brand. This could be anything from a knock-off designer handbag to a fake iPhone.
To avoid this scam, always research the product and seller before making a purchase. Make sure you know what you're getting and that it's coming from a reputable source.
3. The Free Sample Scam
The free sample scam is another common Alibaba scam. In this case, the scammer will offer you a free sample of their product with the promise of more if you order in bulk. However, once they have your shipping information, they will either never send the product or send you something completely different.
To avoid this scam, only order free samples from trusted sellers. If possible, try to find a seller that offers free returns in case you're unsatisfied with the product.
Related: How to Get Free Samples on Amazon?
4. The Payment Scam
The payment scam is one of the most common scams on Alibaba, and it can be costly if you're not careful. In this case, the scammer will request that you pay for your order using Western Union or Moneygram. Scammers often utilize these payment methods because they are difficult to trace, and there is no way to get your money back if something goes wrong.
Only pay for your order using a credit card or PayPal to avoid this scam. These methods of payment offer you some protection in case something goes wrong.
5. The Shipping Scam
The shipping scam is another common Alibaba scam. In this case, the scammer will quote you a low shipping price, but then they will never ship the product or ship you something completely different.
To avoid this scam, always research the shipping company that the seller is using. Make sure it's a reputable company with a good track record. You can also ask the seller for tracking information once the product has been shipped.
Related: How to Get Cheap Shipping on Alibaba
While Alibaba can be an excellent resource for finding affordable products, it's important to remember that scammers are lurking around every corner. So before you start buying from Alibaba, take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from scams. In this blog post, I've shared tips on buying products from Alibaba without getting scammed. If you need help with fulfillment, don't hesitate to contact us. We'll be more than happy to help!