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.
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.
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:
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.