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AliExpress / purposely delaying refund

1 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia

I have been ordering from Aliexpress for several years. Around 20 per cent of the goods purchased are either incorrect, faulty or don’t arrive at all. That’s a huge number and unacceptable.

However, I accepted this due to their refund policy and low value of goods ordered. Unfortunately, this refund policy does not always work to my advantage. Most recently, I bought an item where the seller guaranteed delivery within 39 days or a refund. When the item did not arrive, I asked the seller for a refund. As usual, the seller grovelled and wanted me to wait longer and eventually refused. The seller lied, saying that the item was held up at Customs when it wasn’t. Even if this were so, the 39 days had long passed and I went and purchased the item elsewhere.

Now, here’s the part where Aliexpress customer service fails miserably. After waiting 9 days for Aliexpress to refund the money, the seller made me an 'offer' to wait even longer. This ‘offer’ extended the time for a refund by another nine days. If I have already declared that I did not get the item, why then do I again have to go through this bizarre and useless 'offer and counter offer' nonsense. Aliexpress’ representatives obviously don’t understand English or the concept of a 'guarantee' and how a refund works. This so-called guarantee, that I get a refund if the item does not arrive after 39 days, is unenforceable and a scam. It’s been close to 50 days and I have no goods and no money. If the seller cannot prove that I received the item, then I should get a refund within a reasonable amount of time, let’s say 72 hours and not 9 plus 9 plus more days.

If the goods don’t arrive after 39 days, I expect an immediate refund and not delays to hang onto my money for as long as possible. This is fraud. This is a scam. Either they honour the guarantee or they don't. Obviously they don't. There have been cases where no money was refunded at all.

Also, Aliexpress have no customer service contact. They avoid all contact and abscond from their obligations. I have no way of telling them that I am unhappy with their biased approach except by posting public messages. The longer they hang onto my money, the more interest they earn.

Ordering from Aliexpress is like playing lotto. Sometimes you get the goods and sometimes you don’t. There’s no quality control and the buyer is left on his own. There is no warranty and the goods often turn out to be faulty, fake or substandard after the so-called protection period has ended. And no one gives a hoot.

Finally, more and more Aliexpress sellers are using WS-shipping. To date, I have only received one out of nine items sent by this freight forwarder. Why doesn’t Aliexpress ban such shipping companies? There’s obviously something fishy here. You need to consider whether Aliexpress's 20 per cent failure rate is acceptable. I don’t think it is and I have been using eBay more and more as they have a better and quicker dispute resolution system. Whether I will eventually get my refund for this item remains a mystery. I have in the past used Alibaba (the same company) and got my money back via a credit card dispute. Wasting my time like this is unacceptable. Aliexpress will need to be regulated now that they are listed on the stock exchange. The sooner Jack Ma realises this, the sooner he can improve his company and give 100 per cent good service and not 20 per cent of apathy. Currently, he actively supports fraud by allowing sellers to openly sell fake goods. The goods are incorrectly described and have wrong images, depicting other goods. There’s no quality control.

Jul 10, 2015

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