Is Alibaba A Scam? WFHW Team Investigates

Have you heard of the alibaba scam?

I’m not talking about the guy who used to roll with 40 thieves, I’m talking about the going’s on over at the alibaba.com website. That said, “Alibaba” does create an image of treasure, most likely acquired at the expense of someone else!

alibaba-website

OK how about this one: Have you ever heard the word “denunciation”?

I’d certainly never come across the word denunciation (and I love it) until I started a little digging into the experiences of the “not too happy” alibaba site members.

They’ve been reporting that they had been caught up in what seemed to be an ongoing alibaba scam.

What’s encouraged these alibaba.com scam claims?

Alibaba.com has marketed itself as one of the world’s largest online B2B (business to business) marketplace with access to manufacturers, suppliers, and exporters/importers from all over the globe.

That gives it a VERY wide draw to folks looking to trade internationally. People like:

• A supplier in China who wants to export to USA or UK.
• A UK buyer needs a new supplier for his Ebay business.
• Average Joe looking to make a few hundred quick $$.
• Bricks and mortar businesses attempting to stock supply.

As a user of the website you’re able to find quality wholesale products or trade leads from the alibaba.com “International Trade Site”.

However, the verification process “apparently” leaves a lot to be desired! So I decided to check it out for WFHW readers myself…

I was able to register as a bogus supplier and list my products and prices without much more than verifying my email address.

Therein lies the big issue…the door that alibaba and Yahoo (Yahoo own a big chunk of alibaba.com) have left wide open to abuse that has fueled the alibaba scam reputation.

How do alibaba scams work?

All scams will be different but usually the ones that get reported are following the same pattern – money sent and goods not received.

All contact with the seller is futile. And there seems to be no action being taken by alibaba.com to deal with all the alibaba scam comments being woven into their webpages.

The following are ‘Paraphrased for space’ denunciations that hail from users of alibaba.com:

This is my experience with Samtech llc and Horizone (HongKong) Co.,Ltd

I contact with the sales manager of Samtech, called Sunny Wong or Terry Wong or Jason Wong, all 3 are the same person, and asked him to do a sample order to test some of his products, concretely an iPad and a smartphone.

I wanted to pay by PayPal and he told me he only accepts PayPal for the sample order, then I have to pay by Western Union or Bank Transfer. I received the iPad and the smartphone paid by PayPal and the quality was ok, so I did a big order from 1000 USD and paid by bank transfer.

Upon this point, he has not answered any other mail, has deleted me in msn So, be careful with Sunny, Terry or Jason Wong from SAMTECH LLC or HORIZONE(HongKong)Co.,Ltd. He is a CHEATER a SWINDLER a SCAM and a FRAUD!!!

alibaba-business

Do not do business with First Allied Cooperation Co. Ltd

After a long chat with them to guaranteed us that they would send us 50 Quality 8GB flash drives without defect. We completed the purchase through PayPal and received our items 7-10 days later. After running H2TestW tests on the drives we found that they were all with defect.

We reported this to the seller and they offered to refund us $100. We paid almost $500 for the drives. We opened a PayPal claim and are still working to resolve the issue. The flash drives were sent back via FedEx per PayPal\’s request and the seller has refused the package.

We are still waiting for the claim to be resolved but in the end the moral of the story is DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH FIRST ALLIED COOPERATION! They will take your money given the chance!

Fuel to the fire is the fact that suppliers can have/purchase a gold status which allows them the following;

• Unlimited product display with first-level Priority Listing
• Exclusive Access to buyers before free members
• Real-time statistical reports to understand your online performance
• Product Showcase makes a powerful, visual impact
• Premium Company Website attracts serious buyers
• Verified company status to increase buyer confidence
• Targeted exposure to tradeshow buyers worldwide
• Promotional opportunities with global big buyers

That kind of makes it a lot harder to distinguish a legit company from a bogus one –  don’t you think?

So then… After 30mins of digging for what is being touted as the alibaba scam…I have enough information to make up my own mind.

My Alibaba scam summary

The site alibaba.com is certainly NOT a scam site. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t get scammed by entering into a deal with a vendor there.

There are people looking to take advantage of you everywhere you turn online, it’s an honest truth of the matter.

The unfortunate thing is that the lack of security and verification of suppliers leaves alibaba.com a very unsecured infrastructure. This is hardly what you would expect from an international marketplace.

Firstly the payment methods are the first thing that gets my spider senses going… any online B2B marketplace cannot be taken seriously if they have Western Union as a payment option. There is just NO WAY to track where your money goes!

Alibaba surely has some reputable companies on there, BUT, with it not being able to verify who you are buying from, coupled with far too many horror stories about being ripped off at alibaba, I would say there are far better and safer ways to make money working from home these days.

So to answer the question: Is alibaba a scam, NO alibaba is not a scam site… BUT there are people on there who WILL try to scam you, so you should definitely be aware. I’d say be VERY careful if I were you.

Tony – WFHW

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kalsey - November 1, 2013 Reply

Are you pretty safe going with alibaba if you pay with paypal for everything?

    Terri - November 3, 2013 Reply

    Kalsey Paypal is a fairly safe payment option because of their dispute process. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, there is always some risk. You may want to start with a small purchase and see if the seller is able to deliver.

    All the best,

    Terri
    WFHW Team

Kristina - January 11, 2013 Reply

Hi,

I was in touch with Alibaba to make charms for my business. I understand there are many suppliers on the site and Alibaba doesn’t have complete control over the millions of suppliers on their site, but is Alibaba as a company ITSELF trustworthy? If i placed an order directly with Alibaba for manufacturer my charms would i expect them to rip me off?

Thank You,
Kristina

    Tony - January 14, 2013 Reply

    I think that the answer about the integrity of Alibaba itself isn’t the issue – like you say trying to manage all those suppliers must be a real headache.

    The question you ask ” If i placed an order directly with Alibaba for manufacturer my charms would i expect them to rip me off?” – I can’t answer that but would say that you must research before you commit and be 100% sure.

peter omelazu - August 14, 2012 Reply

many thanks for the enlightenment.The question i have is can you recommend us credible suppliers to do business with online without burning my fingers.

    Terri - August 15, 2012 Reply

    Peter unfortunately we do not have a list of credible suppliers with Alibaba. Before you consider making a purchase with any supplier you should check out their reviews to get an idea of their credibility.

    All the best,
    Terri
    WFHW

Georgeta Filimon - August 3, 2012 Reply

I purchased an android phone from alibaba, which turned into aliexpress with no notice. The phone was faulty, could not be charged – with all changes of charger or battery. I returned to the address adviced by the person in charge, after one month he admited the arrival of the phone, but I still haven’t got my refund. Any ideea where should I complain?
And the phone is sort of a cloning of the Samsung smart phones but a very unreliable one. The battery had a bit of power for 1-2 hours than died and no replacement have been found!Any advise how can I get my refund?

d a davies - June 2, 2012 Reply

hi
i have used aliexpress & alibaba for about 12 months, i have never really had any problems with them.
I find Aliexpress is much simpler to use than the other. You like a product, click on “BUY NOW” pay online with your credit card, than wait for the goods to arrive. Alibaba is a bit more long winded. you end up sending several emails back and for just to get a price and shipping, then generally. you have to pay through western union which is a little bit of messing about. but eventually i do get my goods.
the only small gripe i do have, if you already paid then find out they are out of stock, if it’s just one product you have bought then it’s obvious where the refund has come from. But if you have several refunds they don’t seem to give you a reference that corresponds to the purchase.

i also find the people i have dealt with are very friendly and helpful.

so far i haven’t been ripped off, this is why i only trade with these two companies

    Marcus - June 4, 2012 Reply

    Hi David,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    It’s only natural for there to be minor niggles with systems like these, but your detailed comparison really helps to fully understand the important differences between the two.

    We wish you well with your future ventures, and thanks again for taking the time :)

    Marcus
    WFHW

gagik - April 28, 2012 Reply

I am in alike situation My order was 1006787077 a motherboard for notebook. The matter is that I have placed an order 1006787077 of 76 USD for motherboard through aliexpress. The seller possibly didn’t mean to send it at all possibly because they sent it 8 days after the order (possibly because i told them that I mean to buy some laptop screens from them or they expected that at the time I receive it the guaranty period will expire). At last I have received the motherboard which was not working (they sent me a non working motherboard). I told them and found out that the 35 days (untill arrival) have already passed from the guarantee period but luckily the guarantee period was for 45 days and I still had some days left. They hardly accepted to take it back for repair. I spent another 15USD to send it back. According to the tracking number the item reached Shenzhen airport on 06 april and they supposed to get it next day but after everyday asking at last on 13 april they confirmed the acceptance of item and Sarah XIAO (the operator) promised to arrange things within 10 days and send me the motherboard back but since 27 of April she was promising to sent it next day and last two days she isn’t promising anything at all. Sarah is still not answering or giving no proper response. I wrote to Aliexpress customer service they proposed me to talk and arrange it with the seller. I wrote to some Sally Yang presented to be the manager on their site and I got no response at all. I left a negative feedback for the seller, but it doesn’t show up in their feedback list. So I also think that aliexpress keeps fooling people with his sellers. This was the only way to tell the truth and keep people off getting into trubles.

    Terri - May 1, 2012 Reply

    Gagik thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Although your purchase with AliExpress has not worked out favorably for you by sharing your situation you will help others to avoid making purchase from such unethical sellers.

    Terri
    WFHW Team

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