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Alibaba Expose - Review of Alibaba.com

Alibaba is a popular online directory of global manufacturers and suppliers. It’s a fantastic resource for facilitating contact between buyers and sellers; but unfortunately, many buyers are under the false impression that Alibaba takes responsibility for the legitimacy of the suppliers that it lists.

The Reality of Buying From Alibaba

In fact, Alibaba is just a meeting place and no more. None of the suppliers are guaranteed safe. While you can find plenty of genuine manufacturers and suppliers there, there is nothing to stop scammers from joining up – and plenty do!

Much of the confusion lies with Gold memberships. Although Gold members are described as being ‘verified and authenticated by a reputable third-party credit reporting agency’, you don’t need to dig down very far to find that this doesn't offer any real security to buyers. Company information in the Gold profile is verified, but by a third party Chinese company. All Gold membership really tells you is that the supplier was willing to pay a bit more for a better membership package.

The Good News

Despite this, we believe Alibaba can be a great place to make direct contact with manufacturers and suppliers from all over the world – but you have to be prepared to carry out some thorough background research of your own first:

  • Visit the Alibaba forums and search for feedback about the supplier
  • Check the supplier’s contact details and give them a call
  • Spend a while asking lots of questions and chatting before placing an order
  • Ask for a sample at first, and then place only a small initial order. If they turn out to be fraudulent, you won’t have lost too much.

And the golden rule: Never spend more than you can afford to lose on an order with an untested Alibaba supplier. If you’re down to your last $200, Alibaba isn't the place for you.  Instead, start with a local, guaranteed trustworthy supplier until you reach a more stable position. 

If you want to ensure that you only ever deal with trusted suppliers, and never get scammed and lose your hard earned money, become a member of SaleHoo and get access to over 8,000 of the most trusted and reliable suppliers on the web. 

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10 Comments Add your comment
In my opinion, Alibaba is good "only" for initial contact. A long term relationship should only be obtained through personal contact,person to person, or through an experienced agent. I think Alibaba doesn't do enough to protect the buying partner. Reply
I have used Alibaba to great extent to find suppliers..It is a wondeful service... However once locating the supplier you need to do research on that supplier.If the supplier is only one year verified,use much caution. 4 or 5 years is better and a little safer..There are many Co. in China that set up a Co. just to scam the unsuspected.. Beware of any Co. in Putian City,it is a bed of crooks.. Some further advise is; Don't send money Western Union or money orders..Use LLc. or bank transfer.. There are afew Co's in China that accept PayPal ,these are usually lagitimate Co's.. One more comment; It would be nice if alibaba would set- up some kind of feed back program, Ray.. Reply
I totally agree with you alibaba esources wholesalecentral wholesalepages.co.uk dailytrader and many other portals are should be taken as a wholesale directory which they really are the main purpose of developing them is just to categorize the suppliers of different categories on one site so that customers can easily find them and on the other side it gives a chance to the supplier to promote its business so they are just providing a place where customers and suppliers can connect with each other easily people needs to understand this idea Reply
I agree more than 100% with this article and with other posts. Specially, Chinese companies use many different names to make it hard to pin down the scammers. Alibaba only provides a meeting place and it is your due diligence to figure out who's legitimate and who's not. Alibaba can't provide any penalties on the suppliers even they are gold member or whatever. Reply
I have used it several times, and,never had problem with any of them! Although I always used PayPal for payment! Shipping is quick via DHL! I would not go and buy for an heavy amount, but for small amount like 1000-2000 ,never had problems! That's my experience anyway! Reply
Hi I'm new to this site (Alibaba).. Can any of you recommend an electronic supplier that you ordered with and was successful? Thanks. :) Reply
Yes. I agree with all who said that Alibaba do not have a refund. Here are the detail with no comment. "With regard to your claim for the Order XXXXXXXXXX, please be reminded that the case has been closed with a full refund to your account. Normally, the refund will be credited into your account in 7-14 working days." The date for this message was Oct,10,2012. Till now I did not receive the refund. I have contacted them scammers several times, but got nothing but promises. Reply
I met my supplier through alibaba.com and have had no need to be worried. He has proven to be reliable and on the odd occaision there has been a problem 9postal services) he has made every effort to sort it out. There are good trustworthy suppliers out there and I am very happy to be working with one of them. Reply
If you are not sure of the Supplier, you can pay through Escrow. If you use Escrow risk is 0%. Reply
Full Member
I have ordered from alibaba several times and did not have any issues with the 3 suppliers. They were very helpful waiting for a order now. The only thing with my product I thought it would be larger but I now know to double check measurements. Reply
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