AliExpress is the international platform of the Chinese retailing giant Alibaba Group that has challenged other online giants like Amazon and eBay. Generally, Chinese products receive a bad rap, but it is actually very easy to buy legit and high-quality items here.
In this guide, we’ll go over the most commonly bought product categories and tell you how to spot AliExpress counterfeit goods before it’s too late.
What Are Counterfeit Goods?
Counterfeits are goods intended to trick consumers and make them think it’s branded and comes from a reliable manufacturer. While they deliberately are made to seem genuine, it’s rarely reflected in the quality. Counterfeit items are almost always of inferior quality and do not work properly.
At the most basic level, people selling counterfeit goods steal from you and the brand owner. Whether you buy them intentionally or by accident, remember that these products may be unsafe. For this reason alone, you need to know how to spot such sellers on AliExpress.
Is It Safe to Buy Goods on AliExpress?
Yes, but as long as you know how to shop there properly. Just like any other online marketplace, you can come across unscrupulous sellers, making a quick buck on AliExpress counterfeits. Unfortunately, they do a disservice to genuine businesses that offer very good deals.
We recommend taking certain precautions before you make the purchase. The general tips are to take a closer look at the seller and their reviews and read product descriptions thoroughly. But there are specifics to consider for each product category.
Is It Safe to Buy Toys on AliExpress?
Safety is of the utmost importance when it comes to products for kids. Here are the top three things you should be looking at before making a purchase:
- Safety marks. Look for various logos showing age warnings and signs of conformity to certain safety standards. If kid products on AliExpress don’t meet all the relevant consumer safety, environmental or health requirements, they’re not legit.
- Branding. Let’s say you see a toy that looks exactly the same as some familiar brands (Disney, Marvel, Lego). But the actual branding is nowhere to be found on the item or packaging. This means a sneaky seller is trying to capitalize on the brand’s recognizable features.
- Copyright. There are some resources online where you can learn more about copyright marks for specific brands. For example, for Disney toys, you should find “© Disney Enterprises. (1984 to present)”. Look for the most recent symbols and pay close attention to the font and sizing.
Is It Safe to Buy Watches and Watch Accessories on AliExpress?
On the product page and its descriptions, take a close look at:
- The weight. Real watches have more weight to them because stainless, gold and other quality metals are much heavier than the base metal used in knockoff watches.
- Quality of photographs. Photographs reveal whether there are any scratches, misspelled words, or peeling paint. If you can’t see any details, it’s a strong indicator that the watch is a fake.
- Font. Most replicas fail to get the font right. For instance, some fonts that are bolder and look slightly smudged in comparison to the genuine watches.
Is It Safe to Buy Electronic Products on AliExpress?
This is one of the trickiest categories. Keep the following info in mind:
- Features. Counterfeit phones can have differing features to genuine models, such as color availability, memory capacity, camera megapixels, screen quality, and operating system. Ensure the specs match those on the official manufacturer’s website.
- Availability. Fake electronics tend to pour on to the market when a real model is out of stock or unavailable. Be especially careful when the product is most in demand.
- Warranty. The warranty should promise replacement or repair if anything breaks. Also, make sure the warranty info matches the product you’re buying.
Is It Safe to Buy Phones on AliExpress?
Both general electronics and phones have similar rules to verify their authenticity. But there is one specific legitimacy sign for phones, which is the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. Ask the retailer for the phone’s IMEI number and use special tools to learn the country of production, manufacturer, and model type.
Is It Safe to Buy a Laptop on AliExpress?
Similarly, get familiar with the real item’s technical specifications, appearance, brand markings, and any unique details. Generally, it’s not recommended to buy tech like laptops because even if you buy legitimate products, it may not go as well with customs.
Is It Safe to Buy Clothes on AliExpress?
This is one of the safest product categories to buy on AliExpress. That said, you should still be wary of these features:
- Details. Stitching should be straight and contain a decent number of stitches per square inch, the fastenings should feel heavy, and zippers should have a matte finish.
- Logo. The logo should look perfect, with no details missing. Also, most zipper pulls, nameplates, and even inside linings will have the logo engraved, not stamped.
- Documentation. This mostly applies to designer and exclusive clothing. If there is no identification cards or documentation offered, those are most likely fake products.
Is It Safe to Buy Shoes on AliExpress?
Buying shoes online is a tough job as is, not to mention, the risk of getting scammed. Thankfully, there are obvious signs of counterfeit shoes:
- Stock shoe photos. A stock shoe photo is more aesthetically appealing, but it doesn’t tell you anything about whether the pair actually exists and its condition.
- Non-existent models. Seller can offer items that haven’t been produced by the brand. Counterfeit manufacturers make this mistake more often than you think.
- “Custom,” “variant,” or “sample”. Avoid items that have these words in the description. These terms essentially point out that the item is fake.
Is It Safe to Buy Bags on AliExpress?
Check these features to spot a fake bag:
- Serial number. Brands have different formats for their serial numbers, so make sure you do your research.
- Lining. You aren’t likely to find a good view of the inside of a fake bag. A real one should be perfect and precisely the same shade as the real thing, not a close approximation.
- The number of bags sold. Retailers that sell a ridiculously high number of models might be selling knockoffs rather than the genuine article.
Is It Safe to Buy Makeup and Cosmetics on AliExpress?
Makeup and cosmetics are products that you should be very cautious about. Since they go on your face, you need to be absolutely confident in their quality. Pay attention to:
- Barcode. Download a barcode scanner or simply type it into Google’s search bar. If it’s real, the product’s details should show up.
- Shades. Fake eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks, and powders typically have something off about their shade.
- Packaging. Small mismatches like the font, color, size, or even the finish of the packaging are signs of a counterfeit.
Best Practices for Sourcing Products from AliExpress
Now that you’ve learned the more detailed information, let’s round up this guide with essential practices that all buyers should follow.
We’re sharing these tips specifically for spotting counterfeit products on AliExpress. But there aren’t any higher risks than on other similar platforms. These rules apply whenever you’re shopping online.
This is a critical requirement to make sure you get the right products at the right price that is best-fit to your desire. You’ll get a general idea of the popularity of the product, other people’s experience with it, and perhaps real images attached. Bear in mind that just like products can be fake, you need to be able to spot fake reviews as well.
Product Star Rating
Above the product description, you will see the overall rating and the number of reviews it has. Ideally, you should aim for 4.0 stars or higher. Also, pay close attention to how many people have rated and reviewed this product and how informative they are – if it leaves much to be desired, the rating won’t help.
Seller’s Feedback Score
A continual stream of positive feedback and, subsequently, a good score are always a good sign. Check how long the seller has been on the platform and how they interact with other buyers. The feedback people leave might be reciprocated by the seller, and that should give you a clue what kind of seller you’re dealing with.
Logo and Other Trademarks
We’ve mentioned this point already for some AliExpress counterfeit products but looking at logos and trademarks is, in fact, important for all kinds of shopping. A big giveaway of fake goods is logos/trademarks being in the wrong place, size, color, font, material, etc. Even worse, they can be misspelled and look sloppy overall.
Supplier’s Other Products & Guarantees
If a seller offers an extremely wide range of products from different brands, you should be suspicious of them. Especially if all of them are very low-priced. Additionally, refer to the seller guarantees where you should find generous warranties. For example, an adequate warranty on electronics should be 1-5 years.
Use Alitools Extension for Better Exploring
Alitools is a great solution for those who want to automate and simplify the process of choosing. The tool searches for reliable sellers that meet the strictest criteria. But this is not the only benefit you’re getting – you also get access to video reviews and exclusive discounts. This does most of the legwork while you enjoy smooth shopping experience.
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