You can’t start an online business without a product.

So it makes sense to use Alibaba, the world’s biggest supplier marketplace.

But is Alibaba safe?

The short answer is yes, Alibaba is absolutely safe.

…the longer answer is that Alibaba is completely safe when you know the signs to look for.

It’s important to choose the right supplier.

And the most dangerous obstacles to finding the perfect supplier are the scammers and middle-men.

Luckily, it’s not difficult to avoid these low lives.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step guide on how to safely buy products on Alibaba.

Step 1 – Review the Company Profile

Alibaba Manufacturer Home Page

The Company Profile has information that is both verified and unverified by Alibaba.

You can get a good idea about whether the supplier is legit or not by looking at the following sections:

What is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Alibaba Trade Assurance Explained

There seems to be a lot of confusion with Alibaba Trade Assurance…

Trade Assurance is the safest way to buy products on Alibaba.

And, according to Alibaba, Trade Assurance is a free program to use through them. This means that your orders are protected until you get your products.

So if for some reason you place an order and you never get your products then Alibaba accepts full liability. Afterward, they handle disputes with the supplier for you.

Alibaba wants to create an easy and safe buying experience for the customer. That’s why they guarantee your money back if your order didn’t meet the exact requirements you and the supplier agreed to.

And on the supplier side, Trade Assurance started using a credit-rating system. It gives the suppliers an incentive to ensure you get your products on time, in perfect condition.

If you’re interested: We wrote a huge guide on safely buying products on Aliexpress if you want to place smaller orders than Alibaba allows.

We partnered with JungleScout to put together a supplier/manufacturer database to help you find the right factory for your products. If you want to check it out, it’s right here.

find verified suppliers
Check Out The Supplier Database

How do you pay with Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Here are the steps to pay using Trade Assurance according to Alibaba:

  1. Order with a Trade Assurance suppler
  2. Pay the supplier following the steps on Alibaba
  3. Recieve the shipment
  4. Leave feedback on the order for the supplier
Supplier with trade assurance symbol

When you’re looking for a supplier look for one with a trade assurance symbol and place an order like you normally would with any other supplier.There’s nothing else you need to do on your end because Alibaba is the one securing your order. Remember: When you pay using a credit card, PayPal or Alipay your order is protected. 

Next, let’s look at the most common questions asked about Alibaba.

Alibaba Trade Assurance Frequently Asked Questions

Another way to be safe on Alibaba is to make sure the supplier accepts secure methods of payment.

Best Payment Methods to Use on Alibaba

Legit suppliers on Alibaba will accept these payment methods:

  • AliPay (Fairly Safe)
  • PayPal (Most Safe)
  • Credit Cards (Fairly Safe)

So yes, you can pay with credit cards on Alibaba. Truthfully, you’re 100% protected just by making sure the payment terms are protected until the products are in your home. If you never receive the products Alibaba will credit you back your money. Then they’ll open a dispute with the supplier on your behalf.


Supplier Status

Another way to quickly check if your Alibaba supplier is safe to work with is by seeing if they have onsite checks and are gold suppliers.

Alibaba Safe Supplier Verification

Suppliers cannot put these icons on their listings. Alibaba has to send third party inspection companies to their factories and verify everything they claim is true and there is an actual business in the registered address.

Legit suppliers make sure that their businesses are verified by multiple inspection companies so you feel completely safe and comfortable to work with them.

Alibaba Supplier Company Website

The supplier below went a step beyond Alibaba onsite checks and paid for their own verification from a company in France (Bureau Veritas) to come in and inspect their factory.

Staying Safe on Alibaba with Gold Suppliers


Company name

(Note – Applies to companies registered in Mainland China only)

  • City: Small and medium-sized companies have the city they are located in as part of their company name. For example, “Ningbo Trading Co., Limited”.
  • Province: Larger companies can be named after the province where they are located. For example “Zhejiang Trading Co., Limited”.

Business Type

  • Manufacturer: This means the supplier is only selling the products it manufactures.  A manufacturer is limited by its production line, set-up, and tooling. Because of this, manufacturers tend to be highly specialized in their field of products.
  • Trading Company: Some Trading Companies are independent while others own, or are owned by, a manufacturing company.  So while everybody wants to cut out the middleman, keep in mind that many factories in Asia don’t have the knowledge or experience for exporting what they produce. On the other hand, some Trading Companies offer no added value and will only raise your costs.
  • Manufacturer & Trading Company: Many factories have expanded their operation by not only selling and marketing products made in their own facilities, but also by trading similar products manufactured by other factories. While this Business Type indicates that the company is indeed a manufacturer, you cannot be sure whether they are manufacturing or subcontracting your products. So it’s tough to be sure if this supplier is a safe choice or not.

Management Certification

Certifications for Alibaba Suppliers Quality is a serious risk when importing from China.  In fact, quality issues are a bigger reason to lose money than getting scammed. Quality issues can never be completely eliminated, but they can be minimized if the supplier applies a Quality Management System (QMS) such as ISO9001.

  • A “good manufacturer” is continuously monitoring quality. You know it’s time to walk away from a Chinese supplier when they claim to be completely free of defective and damaged products.
  • ISO compliance is more than having a quick check up before the products are packed and shipped. The supplier must inspect incoming raw materials and components before production, set up inspection stations during productions and do final inspections after production.

Registered Address

Contact Information for Alibaba Supplier
  • City, Province: Many cities in China are highly specialized in one or more industries.  A manufacturer is dependent on the surrounding support industries such as logistics, component suppliers, raw material suppliers, and labor. For this reason, a supplier that is based in an industrial cluster is likely to be more competitive than a supplier that is not.


What are the exact things you need to do to protect yourself from middlemen, scams and low-quality products and be safe on Alibaba?

Focus on this next step.

Step 2 – Safely Communicate with Your Suppliers

First, why this is important…

It’s always the buyer’s responsibility to make sure your Alibaba supplier is legit and that the products are of high quality. Because if you’re thinking about buying a product in bulk, you might want to do deeper research and make sure.

Top 3 Tips to Stay Safe on Alibaba

  • Reach out to them and begin a relationship. Ask for photos of their business license. Contact the phone number in the company listing on Alibaba and ask them what their procedure is for sampling products.
  • Get samples. There is no way that you can confidently invest in a product without samples or “small test orders”. That’s the only way to verify the quality. Be wary of suppliers that only allow you to place large orders.
  • Think abundantly. There are plenty of suppliers out there. If one doesn’t work out then you can move on to the next one.

It Gets Better:

Communicating with the companies on Alibaba is a quick way to sift through the safe ones to work with and the fakes.

Initial Outreach

You want to keep your emails numbered, short, and minimal errors (if any). Doing so will give the representative the best chance to properly communicate with you.

Alibaba Communication Tip: Number your questions.  The representative will see and answer your questions easily.

Requesting a Quote

Here are a few important questions to consider for your email: Alibaba MOQ

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ’s) – If you notice in the picture above the minimum order is 50 pieces. You can negotiate MOQ and suppliers can send one or two items for free if you ask.

Pricing For Samples – Make sure that you ask what their price per unit is when they are sending samples.  Because sometimes it’s much higher than their production pricing.

Production Pricing – Above you see that the production price is anywhere between $3.5 to $5 dollars.  It depends on the large order that you place if you get the lower price.

Payment Terms – You want to make sure that the supplier accepts the payment terms you’re most comfortable with.  If they don’t then you should move on to another supplier.

If you want the in-depth to negotiating and communicating with Alibaba suppliers then I highly recommend the video below!

How to Negotiate with Alibaba Suppliers

Step 3 – Review Supplier’s Product Catalog

This final step is icing on the cake when looking to be safe on Alibaba.


An Alibaba suppliers product catalog can give you a lot of information.

And it’s the most important factor when selecting a supplier. Product specialization comes with a number of benefits that will have a large impact on your business.


  • Is your product mentioned in the supplier’s company name?
  • Does your product making up the majority of the supplier’s product catalog on Alibaba?
  • Is the supplier listing products that are completely different from the type you’re looking for?

Example: (E.G. Shenzhen Golden Watch Factory Co., Ltd) shows me the factory mostly makes watches.

Legit suppliers that are highly specialized in a certain product are better at managing quality. Pricing can also be cheaper since they buy large volumes of materials, components and tooling that is used only for the manufacturing of your product.

You can’t use the same workforce or tooling for the manufacturing “a little bit of this and a little bit of that”.

An “opportunistic” supplier is also more likely to discontinue products than a professional manufacturer.

How to use the Alibaba supplier search to identify specialized suppliers


Alibaba introduced the suppliers search, a useful feature for finding specialized manufacturers. In the beginning, all it did was presenting a list of suppliers with the product in the company name. Now, it also searches the suppliers product catalog and shows the number of matching products each supplier have!

  1. Go to
  2. Change the search box from “Products” to Suppliers
  3. Enter the product name and search
  4. Now you will get a long list of all suppliers selling the product you just searched for. This can save time when sourcing suppliers since you can skip the manual review of the product catalog.

Case Study

Staying Safe on Alibaba Example

Guangzhou Guanghao Watch Co., Ltd is manufacturing and exporting LED watches. That’s in fact the only thing they do since they have listed 900 different models. When you work with this company, you can be sure about the following:

  • This supplier only cares about wristwatches, and certainly LED watches. They will develop new models and your company can grow your product selection together with them.
  • 900 different models equals hundreds of thousands of different components. This supplier certainly know how these things work, and more importantly – what doesn’t work. Perhaps not today, but in the future you might want to create your own product with its own unique design and features.

Is Alibaba Safe Example This other supplier offers only 6 different LED watches.

So how can they be competitive?

Thousands of first time sellers fall for the trick of low prices and positive answers to every question.  Don’t be one of these people that think they’ve are smarter than everybody else – until they realize they just got what they paid for.

Alibaba itself is not the problem. There are people that use the platform to scam people out of their hard earned money.  If you take these tips and put them to good use then there is not reason that Alibaba can’t be a safe place to find a profitable product to sell.

Any other questions?

Feel free to comment if I’ve left anything unanswered!

We partnered with JungleScout to put together a supplier/manufacturer database to help you find the right factory for your products. If you want to check it out, it’s right here.

Check Out The Supplier Database

Additional resources that you may be interested in:

Special Offer…

For 2020 we’ve completely updated and launched a brand new Amazon business course that teaches first time entrepreneurs how to launch their very own physical product Amazon business fast. Importing taxes, negotiating with suppliers and minimizing risk are big sections in our new course. If you want to check that out and see if it’s right for you click here…

Or -> /ecommerce-workshop”>Join us live for the free presentation on launching an Amazon business in 90 Days <-


Avatar for Will Mitchell
Will Mitchell

Will Mitchell is a serial entrepreneur and Founder of StartupBros. You can learn more about him at the Startupbros about page. If you have any questions or comments for him, just send an email or leave a comment!

293 comments add your comment

  1. Be serious and tell the truth

    I followed all the steps and I got robbed by shanghai magic wheels. I bought an e-scooter. It did not work when I received it. I opened a dispute, and alibaba said it was my problem. This is why I say that ALIBABA is a fraud: they always favor these fckng Chinese thieves. I lost 600.

  2. Hello will, thanks for info regarding Alibaba. It has given me a starting point to my research on buying from Alibaba along with some of the comments made below. Reading through the comments below there was one made about paying with PayPal and Trade Assurance (below). Did you ever find the answer to the question?

    Q: Can I pay via PayPal and still get Trade Assurance protection?
    No, if you pay via PayPal or make payments to the supplier directly, your order is not covered by Trade Assurance, which offers protection for on-time shipment and product quality. Only orders placed on and paid for through our site are covered by Trade Assurance


  3. Alibaba is absolutely NOT safe and DO NOT follow through with theyre tr3sde assurance. You are advocating for a terrible company. Shame on you!

  4. Bought a large quantity of KN95 Masks. The supplier provided a certificate of Testing Conformity issued by an official European body. We did sent in the certificate and it appears to be fake. I entered a refund request. The goods are in process of being shipped from China. The seller argues that my request will be classified as “unreasonable request” and I will neither be reinbursed nor get the product (unless I present the fake certificate). Any suggestion how to handle the case ?

  5. Hey Chris, this is SUCH a great article, thanks for writing this mate, its really helping me, but I have a few questions.

    1.So just to be clear, PayPal is the best and safest form of payment? Is Venmo considered, or is Venmo just not as good as Paypal?

    2. If I am looking to buy something a little less common, such as empty makeup tubes, and the supplier I find is labeled as “Yiwu Heypack Cosmetic Packaging Co., Ltd.” that would be safe, right? This supplier is not a Gold one, but but is verified and has trade assurance, and the transaction level has 3 1/2 diamonds. They also had 84 transactions in the past 6 months, and I’m not sure how good or bad that is, but overall, but not a lot of reviews, is this a reliable source? I think that based on your article it checks out as a good supplier, this is my first time doing this so I thought that I should check first. Thanks SO much, your articles were what inspired me to start my buiness!

  6. As a small business owner, I ordered from one of their suppliers. I did get the shipment, however quality was extremely poor and it arrived in 2 separate shipments. I wrote a review that wasn’t complimentary and I used a throw away email address in case there were issues.. and sure enough they have shared or sold that address and I got dozens of emails from suppliers anywhere from plastic moulded injection machines to plain garbage. I know it was them as their website was the only one I used that email address for. I am furious so they are less then stellar in their regulations and who they have as vendors. I watched the emails come flowing in for about 6 months then deleted the address. Never ever again will I order from them.

  7. What about confidentiality agreements, so that your design doesn’t end up being copied or showcased on their page?

  8. I made a trade assurance order back in March.
    These orders are assured and protected, supposedly. In the small print however, it states that you have up to 30 days, sometimes 60 to dispute the order after delivery.

    Now, what I’ve found is that they supplier takes absolutely ages to do anything and spreads their communications real thin over time. Then they send you a sample, or prototype. This is recorded as item shipped and delivered on the Alibaba system. Tricking the system into thinking that the order has been shipped, unless you notice this happening and intervene.
    I didn’t, I assumed I was dealing with a business and we were spending a lengthy amount of time to get the product right.

    In the end, once they proved they were unable to meet quality and order requirements, I requested a refund. There was no action for this on Alibaba’s system as the allotted time after ‘delivery’ had run out. Therefore it was basically me asking my contact to cancel the order and send me a refund.

    They initially said, ok they’ll send it through. For 4 weeks I asked them for an update and where my money was. They continued to send one word answers effectively, saying be patient, the finance department is dealing with it.
    Eventually, they stopped responding completely.

    I’ve now lost that money, have a crappy ‘prototype’ I could have made easily myself at home, and absolutely no contact with Alibaba in the slightest, no phone numbers or email address at all, 0% customer service that is not a looping AI chatbot. They have a completely locked down system and your only ‘potential’ help here is to initiate the refund process within the small print time frame of 30 days from ‘delivery’. After that, Alibaba is quite happy that you’ve been screwed out of really hard earned and hard to come by startup capital for a new business, while they collect the membership fee from the scammers in Shenzhen.

  9. Good afternoon Will, my son and I are currently rebuilding a vehicle and found a set up which includes lights bumpers and various other parts we require. I am new to Alibaba and was hoping you could please help us out. Since the amount being sent is $4000.00 USD. I can sent you more info via Email, to include an Invoice they sent me “to get the order shipped out tomorrow” feel free t email me at In the mean time this is the seller, you will see on his page that he has various post for these car parts, thank you for your assistance.


    • Danny, I would not wire money to anyone on Alibaba. If they don’t accept credit card transactions then I would not work with them. Even if the deal you’re getting seems good, when you wire money there is no way to get it back. But with credit cards both Alibaba and your credit card company can dispute, cancel and refund the order if something goes wrong.

  10. Best affortdable shipping company to send my items from china to Philippines? (door to door) spoke to one supplier in alibaba she said SOFIA? is there any sofia shipping company?

    • Hey Tin, to be completely honest with you I haven’t heard of that company so I would be a bit hesitant to tell you to work with them. I like to stick with well known global companies like DHL or FedEx International.

  11. I found a product that is reasonably priced and the company verified and has trade assurance. Is it safe to order from them even though their not Good Members?

    • Hey Chris what do you mean by “good members”? Do you mean Gold? Either way if the company is verified and covered by trade assurance you are safe to order from them.

  12. I’ve seen a few times on Alibaba they’ve mentioned they could put “personal logos” on the items you ordered as well. How does that work🤔

  13. I have already made the mistake of paying a textile company by western union and now communication has really dropped off. My communication after the very first one were not through Alibaba. Looks like I have been scammed and made every mistake possible. I was looking for any company with Trade Assurance that did custom printed tea towels out of India and I didnt see a single one with this listed on their companies. Only marking any of them had were Gold Supplier. Amy I not looking somewhere I should be? China had it on most of their companies. Is this a regional thing or how do I
    know for sure what is the best safest companies to use out of India? Thanks

    • Hey Lee, I answered another one of your comments 🙂 I would love to help you out and talk more about the issues you’re having! Can you email us bros@startupbros(dot)com so we can talk about this further and figure something out for you.

  14. I want to buy an agricultural raw material by the ton. I have negotiated MOQ but the most favourable prices are from Thailand and I can’t match the companies i am interacting with to the ones on the app.
    One has refused to send samples as he believes my low order is considered a sample order.

    Our discussions have been by mail and WhatsApp and I would like to return to the app for discussion. But one of them claims the company is on several sites and he doesn’t know where my contact is from even though Alibab is the only site I use.

    • One of the things you might want to consider doing is finding that company in Thailand’s website and contacting directly on there. Do you think that’s a possibility?

  15. What’s your opinion on using sourcing companies like Noviland to handle all of the sourcing instead of using directories like Alibaba?

    • If I had to pick something I would recommend using what’s known as “contract manufacturers”. They work sort of like sourcing companies where they will go out and find the best manufacturers for the individual components of your products. I don’t have too much experience with sourcing companies so I will personally look into Noviland but I personally can recommend Morpho Manufacturing. They’re a fantastic contract manufacturer.

      • Hey Will-nice to meet you here. Great article by the way. Also listened to your video on negotiating and took some notes. Whats the fee structure on a comp like morpho manufacturing? Thank you!

        • Hey Paul, it completely depends on what you’re looking to accomplish with them and how much you’re willing to spend on products. The larger the order the more they charge. But their most popular affordable service is $997 for a new design.

  16. I’m pleased and so grateful with your teachings.
    Thank you.i

  17. What does acre mean when buying shoes on the site does it mean a pair or ??

    • Can you share the link here? We have never seen that measurement for shoes but we would love to help!

  18. Is there a way of knowing what manufacturer/supplier won’t steal your design and sell it to other buyers? Thank you for your article, it was extremely informative!

    • Hey Brit, truthfully there is no way to 100% ensure a supplier in China won’t steal your design and sell it on their own. You can have then sign NDA’s or non compete contracts to start. You can also get a US patent for parts of your design. The issue is that China doesn’t respect US Intellectual Property laws because there is no way for us to enforce our laws on them. You can also file a patent in China but that would cost more money.

      I would say that if you really are worried about them stealing your design then you should keep everything in the United States. There are companies that can design and manufacture something for you here in the US, fully protected. Then what you can do is have some parts manufactured overseas and some parts here. It’s possible and people do things like that all the time. In general, I would say that if your product is good, you should bring it to market no matter what and make sure your brand is registered with the US patent office. People knowing your brand is more important than the actual product because then people are going to be loyal to the brand.

      Thanks for checking out the article 🙂 Hope I helped and if you have any questions at all please let me know!

    • We wouldn’t recommend using an Alibaba agent. There’s no reason that I can think of to use one. Go on the website and place an order. Before that make sure you shop around for a great price.

  19. I have contacted a supplier and on a Turkish invitation letter and he sent his WATS up number,we talked on WATS up and I asked how am I secure he told me that he has no time to waste with me

  20. I want to buy babe puzzle from this company Yiwu Feisheep Import & Export Co., Ltd.,but I am not okay with there profile. The MD (Melody Zheng)gave me his WhatsApp contact, I called him on video to see his face, but he never pick. I told him to snap the products he sent he sent internet downloads.

  21. By the basis of my inquiry on the Alibaba site, on nov.2017. the first person from cpmpany Wenzhou Best Rigging Co., Ltd who contacted me is one woman – introduced as JoJo. After that, another person who contacted me introduced himself as Huang See. I agreed the business with him. That person contacted me through Whatsapp – on my mobile number. JoJo confirmed to me in writing that Huang See was their supervisor. I paid to him an agreed amount for the semple of climbing carabiners, rope and herness – by the invoices. I paid on his paypal account. After that, I never got the goods and the person Huang See stopped communicating with me through Whatsapp. After that, I again contacted JoJo through the Alibaba site and explained her this situation. First, she told me that they don’t have Huang See in their company, and after that she told me that Huang See did not tell her about me. She was confused in the reply.
    When I started an investigation about this case of scam, by Alibaba site, JoJo told them that there is no Huang See in them company and that she did not tell me that Huang See is supervisor in your company. The person JoJo is lying.
    After that I sent mail to the company several times, but they never reply me.

    But the even bigger problem is that people from Alibaba did not want to approach this case professionally.  Although I provided them with all the written evidence of this fraud ( screenshots of my communication with JoJo on Alibaba site and with Huang See by Whatsapp, invoice, proof of my payment to paypal account of Huang See ) they persistently demanded from me to provide proof that I made the payment to the company account.
    I opened the case on Alibaba website 4 times, but they asked me the same thing – proof that I paid it to the account of that company.
    So be careful! People, be sure that people from Alibaba will not help you if someone deceives you on their site – although you have very clear evidence.

    • Since u paid by paypal, lodge a fraud report and your money wont go to them, simple.

    • Super post! Thank you. About Paypal, the rules probably changed.

      Q: Can I pay via PayPal and still get Trade Assurance protection?
      No, if you pay via PayPal or make payments to the supplier directly, your order is not covered by Trade Assurance, which offers protection for on-time shipment and product quality. Only orders placed on and paid for through our site are covered by Trade Assurance.

      • Very true. Don’t ever make the mistake like myself. I order a few laptops for cheap and they wanted me to send via MoneyGram. It was cheap, so I didn’t think nothing of it. It turned into a nightmare. Please do not ever, ever, and ever pay anyone outside of Alibaba. Always use Trade Assurance. Don’t get scam like me.

  22. I have a client who is a supplier of restaurant equipment, both producing his own products as well as reselling for others. If entering alibaba as a supplier, should he include his own products or the products he resells as well?

  23. hello im buying some products from this company based in mainland china but once a get payment details, company name is different from that on alibaba, they suggested paypal but name is also different. i asked them why bank account in different name but also bank in hong kong..i’m not sure if i should trust this company/person.

  24. Please… help.
    I have a very small business, so i can’t afford to be conned. I want to buy contact lenses from Guangzhou Winis Import & Export Co., Ltd. i found them on Alibaba. Gold supplier for 6 years, trade assurance. It even says Alibaba has checked the onsite offices. Registered capital is 500,000 RBM.

    But when i send an inquiry or chat with the sales manager, and there are several, the same guy Gabriel Tegha answers. His IP appears to be in Cameroon.

    What can i do? 🙁 i really want to buy these products, they are the only ones who sell theses lenses.

    Also, their transaction history says they have made just 2 sales these last 6 months.

    I you could help me i would be grateful, what do you recommend? Oh i can pay via Paypal. But even the mail of the paypal account seem sketchy:, as far as i know smalto is an african surname, not chinese.

  25. I purchased a Virtual Reality machine from a company in China. I paid through Alibaba..the company was listed with trade assure and the whole works as good. When the machine arrived, it was cheap junk computers, breaking down every other day. They assured me when I purchased it that it was top quality, not 10 year old computers. Although they give tech support, it is very inconvenient because of the 12 hour differences. if this machine had quality components theses problems would not be happening. They also are using Open-source software which may illegal to use for commercial purposes. I want a refund and I was under the impression Alibaba would protect me when it came to quality problems. Was I miss informed or do you think Alibaba will help to refund my money?

  26. Does letter of credit guarantee the delivery of quality goods?
    How can one tract a company that gets paid through their account?
    Are Chinese shipping documents reliable or it can be faked?

    • 1. No, a letter of credit does not guarantee the delivery of quality of goods. Quality is also very arbitrary and you should do everything you can to implement a set of quality assurance measures that the factory needs to uphold and agree to in the contract.
      2. I’m not sure of your question.
      3. They’re for the most part reliable, however can easily be faked.

    • Thank you for reading! Feel free to ask any questions 🙂

      • If i take the invoice from alibaba and paid directly to seller without alibaba portal, will it be safe?

        • Well, it depends on how you pay the seller.
          With paypal, it’s fairly safe.
          T/T or Western Union are very risky.

          • Pay pal, either safe, cause when you write to pay pal you that you get products, case close automatically, and when you open dispute you stay there weeks and depend on what supplier says, if supplier offer solution you have to accept it.and if you dont like it is your problem.

  27. Is it normal to have big suppliers respond to Alibaba queries giveing their yahoo e-mail address (apparently private) and a WhatsApp account number? I’ve made a handful of price/first contact enquiries to two large, popular companies – each manufacturing completely different types of products. The answers I received all sent back non-company based Yahoo e-mails and personal sounding Whatsapp numbers asking me to call them. From my Western sensibilities this looks suspect. Is this the norm there? I’m worried I goy fake versions of the companies.

    • Your western sensibilities might be right. Most legitimate suppliers are more likely to keep all the communications on Alibaba

  28. About company check, instead of relying on second-hand information, we can choose to read the registration records from the AIC. There are startups like The China File ( which provide both source AIC materials and reports in English.

  29. I’m curious, I want to buy some stuff from doztrading, but I’m not sure about them, had anyone bought from them?

    • So glad the article can be helpful! Please don’t be shy to ever ask any questions 🙂

  30. Hi
    I want to buy some cosmetic from alibaba and then I have chated with supplier from that site. After I order something I need to sent money to them. Please kindly recommend should I trust and sent them money? I’m scare I was got cheating!

    • If you only use Paypal or alipay then you should be safe!

  31. How can I verify that the product they are selling is an original or a clone? For instance, I found Mavic pros worth $500 whereas the company itself sells for $999. So are they fake?

    • You need to differentiate between a brand and a product. If someone is trying to sell you a brand name product then it’s most likely fake. Alibaba specializes in unbranded products that you can private label yourself

  32. Anyone has any experience with after sales service? I bought 3500usd worth of cctv cameras for store stock. The company sends the camera and products well, but when some cameras has faulty, we send the faulty parts to supplier based on their instruction. After a month, they sent the serviced parts back with some parts still faulty. Since then, we cannot contact the sales person back and the company cannot be contacted as well either by phones, emails, or chats. I fear for our stock warranty, which is supposed to be 2 years and still in coverage. Has anyone had the same experience? We found the company from alibaba who has 12 years of gold supplier with alibaba

    • 3500 is a small price to pay – did you get sample before buying – does company have paypal account even with 12 years gold supplier – what happen is if a company keeps putting out fake products – they will go bankrupt and they cannot afford to cover your warranty

  33. Hi I am looking for companies that will go in to a company and check everything so one has a far chance to find a legit China manufacturer or suppler I did find them on the web but I lost it
    Thanks Ken

    • There aren’t companies that are going to go into factories and do quality assurance for you. sends people into factories to make sure that the factories are doing what they say they’re doing. Short of going over there and checking product quality yourself, companies like will perform quality assurance tests for you once you order the products and return them for you if they don’t meet minimum standards. However by making small orders you will find out quickly if the products are good or not.

  34. Please help! I bought something on alibaba and now my supplier said I need a broker to clear ISF… what does that mean?

    • Reach out to and they would love to help you out 🙂

  35. Wօw, wonderful blog layout! How lоng have you
    been blⲟgging for? you make blpоgging loߋҝ easy.

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  36. Alibaba / Aliexpress / Global source
    Investigation 6 minus 4 investigators.

    Supplier inspections.

    # 58% of quotations do not respect the price of negotiations for the same quantity
    # 71% Are companys trading
    # 23% s products do not match the products ordered.
    # 96% Born in compliance with the 1 year warranty they promise.
    # 33% in case of frauds changes company name.
    # 11% are actually verified when subscribing GOLD member
    # 82% of the disputes are not resolved, lack of seriousness of the structure Alibaba
    # 14% increase in scam over the last 6 months.
    # 61% of products are of poor quality.

    Alibaba / Aliexpress / Global source

    Privacy policy not respected
    When you make mass quotes your personal data first name / firstname address phone / email are disclosed to all members who paid a subscription on Alibaba / Aliexpress / Global source, you will notice when you request an RFQ the box to agree To share My business card is already checked in the form. While legally this box must be checked only by the buyer.

    The system RFQ request strong quotation is a deception and exposes you to products of poor quality, scam and spam on a large scale.


    Because when you do call the RFQ mass quotes. The application is sent to all suppliers, trading company, without any selection by contribution to the product request. That is to say that company who have never sold this product will also receive your request and so you access your data: company name. First name, phone, email. This increases fraud and Spam.

    TRAD INSURANCE: trad insurance does not guarantee the buyer, the quality of the product, the accuracy of the products ordered by the buyer.

    Deception in the details of Alibaba / Aliexpress / GlobalSource articles

    Finally it is important to know that these websites the B2b and B2C traent. That is, you can negotiate prices, also note that 56% of sellers do not apply the price trade range for the same quantity.

    For example, you see
    US $ 2.99-9.99 / Piece
    Minimum order 100pcs

    When you enter into communication with the seller the prices are above the maximum promised.
    This is a technique to attract you, but especially that indicates that this seller is not honest.
    if the price quotation is over the price when applying for listing for the same minimum order do not do business with that seller who is not honest.

    It is necessary to look at the descriptive of the articles sold more than
    72% of the articles use false descriptive, for example TV LED and in reality it is of the LCD type. False images that are usually taken on branded brand products like Samsung LG etc.
    Alibaba / Aliexpress / Global source accepts this deception; support indicated that it is to attract buyers.
    So it’s a total complicity with Alibaba / Aliexpress / Global source

    • Why are loose diamonds on alibaba so cheap?
      I seen a diamond on there for $250
      I called a diamond dealer in NY and they said that same diamond is worth about 2 or 3k
      Is this a scam or is this a good arbitrage opportunity?

  37. In fact, none of them matter anything can be forged. As long as the company do not accept legitimate payment methods such as paypal or credit cards you should walk right away. Even so called 5 star gold members on Alibaba turned out to be scams. After all, Alibaba is definitely not the right place to find legitimate products/sellers.

  38. Useful article but not completely practical, I have been working with china and alibaba since 2005 and I can assure you that, right middle men is like a lawyer for you and your business. It will be your safe zone and a person who you can count on. As we know Alibaba is also playing middle men role here some aspects but are they complete solution? No they are not! They are just a search engine and that is what they are good at it. We have came a cross with several bad suppliers ourself in the past. losing time, reputation and money is something you really don’t want! Now we have found solution to this matter by putting our people and our USA company branch office in china! By doing that We stoped all negativity that was sucking all our excitements, reputation and capitals. Now we can focus on growing our businesses and also help others like you if they need any support on importing. I deeply suggest you find a right company like DOZTrading or someone else, let them take your 1% and make you 99%.

    • Mehmet DOZ,
      What is your company’s email & contact person , & what particular items do you produce. I don’t want to lose money & would appreciate any advice that helps me & others who are not in China, purchase from a reliable company that has has learned through experience & by setting up an office there, which gives clients a sense of confidence that you are a reliable company which is vary valuable these days & makes one feel really confident to purchase or send clients,by your experience; knowing that our referrals would receive the “product they really ordered” if they were to purchased from you.
      An honest purchaser.

      • HI.Were u able to get honest Chinese suppliers/manufacturers since you’ve asked this question wit MehmetDOZ?

  39. I tend to agree with the others who have commented. Alibaba no longer cares about their B2B business – its gone entirely to the dogs, if you will. They are just focusing on B2C – Aliexpress and buying random companies in India to derisk their China concentration.

  40. Alibaba introduced me to a chinese company (oriemac) that dealt with waste paper recycling for my business in Sydney NSW. Once the company sent me a shoddy replica in pieces unable to work, Alibaba decided that the seller was in the right. I have lost over $19500 and cannot do a thing about it. Trade assurance means nothing. Alibaba are responsible for my loss all the way to Jack Ma.

  41. Alibaba dealt with a company that not only sent a second hand piece of equipment but it was not complete. I am now $13000 in debt without any way of getting the money back. Company name is Oriemac (Qingzhou Fuhao Engineering Machinery)

  42. Alibaba practices in major fraud. I tried to purchase a ring bearing for a crane. Alibaba introduced a company that not only sent the wrong, second hand item but sided with the seller. I am now $15000 in debt. Company name is Oriemac (Qingzhou Fuhao Engineering Machinery)

    • whaaaa? Look if you make 15k mistakes perhaps what you’re doing isn’t really your bag. I mean if you order parts for an aircraft and you are getting scammed…get out of the aircraft biz. You either don’t know what you’re doing or might put peoples lives at risk. Aliexpress is a well known scam location. It’s for knock-off chinese products.

      You get what you pay for mate!! Shop in the right place to get what you want.

      • I suspect that this is a negative press designed to destroy the company in question. I’m not sure though, but can’t help noticing the two incessant complaints, from two different monicas, with two random round figures, both mentioning the same company. A coincidence? Possible, but pretty doubtful.

        • Try that company yourself with $15k. Then you can tell whether is a scam or not.

  43. Had a run in with VENEZIA INTERNATIONAL. Scammed me and Alibaba wont do anything.
    I ordered shirts and other things, all wrong colors and sizes and printing is poor.
    VENEZIA INTERNATIONAL scammer wont refund or anytihng and Alibaba wont punish him.
    Abusive emails calling me a dog and many other things.
    Stay away from VENEZIA INTERNATIONAL scammers

  44. I was scammed by Anika Barclay. I sent money for laptops and never received them and thus person is still selling on the site stealing money.

  45. i need your advise. I am about to make an order for a certain gudget. when i checked the su[ppliers website they had a similar product with better features to the one i initially wanted and it was way cheaper than the initial one. When i then contacted the supplier informing her that i now want this better and cheaper version they informed me that the price on the website was a mistake and that it was actually more expensive. I began to doubt them. They should supply customers with accurate information. should i trust my instinct before i make a mistake dealing with them

  46. Venezia International Ltd scammers
    One i have delt with and ripped me off.
    Cant even follow orders and then sends you products that you can even use.
    Refund….nope. out of pocket $350

    • Be happy it wasnt more money, and learn from this mistake to never repeat the same mistake again.

      • Yea, You are completely right. I recommend only aliPay or PayPal

  47. let us pay alibaba in advance.
    what if the product received is not upto the mark as specified.
    shall we receive the product after exchange through alibaba.
    or we have the option to receive our amount back from alibaba.

  48. Hey guys,

    now this is something that has been worrying me and I wanted to know how to go about it.
    Two vendors with almost identical names and identical info exist of Alibaba. One is 8 years gold member
    while the other is 3 years gold member. Both deal in the same product and both have been given all the “trade assurance” “gold member” “on site checked” “inspected by Bureau Veritas”

    Is one fake? or is one a subsidiary of the mother company? or are both just coexisting in the same space with same photos 😐 (seems highly unlikely)


    • I don’t understand ,why an 8 years gold member or 3 years gold member company will be the fraud company? they paid at least 5000 dollar per year in order to do business on alibaba , not including doing SEM&SEO.Chinese are using Alibaba as a good way to do business online, if an 8 years gold member want to cheat in order to get may 3000 dollars from you ,it is not necessary for them to do it . they are doing billion yuan per year.

  49. From my understanding, if you select pay for goods button, PayPal offers buyer protection on your side. They also offer a program well you don’t pay a penny until you get the items in hand. If you’re using your bank card, that is linked to your Paypal account, you will have double the protection. 1 through Pay Pal, and 1 through your banking Institution. This is why I always start the conversation with the supplier with, my company only allows me to work through PayPal. If they deny that request and are not willing to work through Pay Pal, then I will not mess with them. That is my general rule of thumb, I’m still figuring it out myself.

    • Hi, I am new and first time buying from alibaba suppliers. As i not sure if it is a genuine supplier, i wish to pay in paypal but the supplier said they will charge me 5% extra on top the purchase price if i use paypal. Is this normal and allowable? Or is it a scam so i opt for western union ( no charges from them).

      • Hey Zee! It’s both normal and allowable. Paypal charges a transaction fee so they are trying to make up for it. But we do believe it’s normally a scam when suppliers want to only work with Western Union. There is no trace-ability with western union. I would recommend to keep looking for suppliers until you find one that is comfortable with accepting paypal. They do exist!

  50. Hi Id like to know how to hire someone local – is there a website for this sort of thing?

  51. Hi, I have a question. What should I do if i bought a product from a aliexpress vendor and they refused to give me a refund and tried to make me change my review or i wouldn’t get it?

    • You can file a dispute with Paypal or your financial institution.

  52. Is there a place online to get Alibaba vendor reviews? I would be interested in hearing what other people have to say about their experiences working with specific Alibaba vendors.

  53. Hi

    would you trust a china supplier if not alibaba but receives paypal payment?

  54. How should I take payment? Through alibaba or through their direct bank? I’d rather pay the extra 5% and be protected by doing it all through alibab

  55. I have been working in factory and selling on Alibaba for 5 years. I have to say something you mentioned are not correct.

    1/ Why you want to advoide Middle Man? If you buy small quantity from factory, do you think factory will be careful with your order? Of course not, Chinese boss seldome like small order, so there is no gurantee for small orders, if you work with middleman, they can go to the factory to check quality and ask them to send photos, as far as I can see, milldle men are more honest than Chinese factories, this is hard to explain but I can say the Chinese bosses are old stupid Chinese, they do not speak English and they have typical Chinese mindset, those sales girls are lazy and not responsible, middle man are all young guy, they are enthusiactic and have passion.
    2/ You really think Alibaba certificated manufacturers are real manufacturers? There are thousands of companies open Alibaba with manufacturer’s company lisence but they are middle men, you can’t tell it. Alibaba is not that serious with this, if you pay them money, you can have all the service on Alibaba.
    3/ Chinese always use Hongkong Bank to avoid tax, if you see their bank names are different from their company names or their company address is in Hongkong, this is normal.

    I think there is no way can 100% to tell fraud manufacturers, the best way to get good quality is to check the webiste contant, see their photos good or not, the products information detialed or not, if a company is not responsible with their website, how could they be responsible for their customers?

  56. Hello Fredrik,
    Thanks for the informative article.its really educative since i would like to start importing baby products from china. would you please recommend some manufacturers. Do you give services of an agent in China? I will highly appreciate your assistance.

  57. Hey,

    thanks for the article , how do I check the companies registered capital , I can see listed on their profile , but how can be sure that it has been verified ?

    Kind Regards


  58. Thanks for the info. I am concerned that the agents of the suppliers giving quotes want to liaise on whatsapp and Skype. Is that alright? Should I only worry when payment needs to be made? Thanks

  59. two thing that can happen 1 is Fraud you might not get want you order another is getting fake products

  60. I want purchase iPhone 6+ and leptop on
    Who is true and trast suppliers plzzzzzzzzz tell me

  61. How do you know what you buy from alibaba is authentic? I.e., my wife sales clothes online. She has found some name brand makeup for a cheap price. My thought is it sounds too good to be true. She ordered some and they look like the real thing. However, I don’t want her to sell them if they are remakes because I don’t want to be guilty of copyright infringement. How does one know if they are buying an authentic item to resale?

  62. Hi, it’s me.. Again. I have read a few of your other articles and I want to exactly what you did, start a business at 13, make money, and everything go smooth. I have spent weeks looking for products and found some I think are good but I’m not so sure. I am new to this so I ask a lot but I don’t really understand this stuff I thought it’s just pay and get your stuff but it’s so much more so if anyone could please explain in simple words step by step what I need to do. How to find good products, good suppliers (big one), how to import it, and how to sell it. Thank you all so much and a special thanks to you Will, you inspired me to try this!

    • buy his course. follow his method. Do you think he is going to find you and tell you everything? or post it in this comment section.

  63. Link exchange is nothing else except it is only placing
    the other person’s weblog link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do same for you.

  64. I’m looking for a printer in India or China to produce jigsaw puzzles of my designs. How can I find an honest and reputable jigsaw puzzle printer?

  65. Thank you for a great article. What would you say it means if the company’s profile is missing a lot of the info you mentioned? Would you assume they are not good quality?

  66. Hi,

    I’m a local Chinese and I think some of the ideas above are not really practical.

    First is about the ISO 9001 certification. I mean, literally, this certificate can be bought for just a few thousand CNY(approx. 1,000 USD) here. However, if the product you are looking for are in some special industry and some specific certifications may apply, like API-6D for pipline valves, that certificate will certainly make a factory more valuable.

    Second is about the size of the supplier. Not always the bigger the better. Some bigger company produce crappy stuff, while some house-based workshop produce with great quality. What’s important is to get a sample from the supplier, and what’s more important is to get on the ground and pay a visit, watch and feel, evaluate the supplier with your own eyes and hands. If you are not able to get to China yourself, hire someone local to do that for you.

    Hope this will help you guys, and you can contact me at hankjiang1@gmail if you want.

    Kind regards,


  67. Hi!

    Thank you for the article.

    Would just like to know if anyone has bought from four leafage fiber ?
    Did you get what you ordered and was it of high quality

  68. Hey, I am currently looking at buying electric unicycles from Alibaba, and what I wanted to know is, what if a supplier list the same product (well, or at least it looks like it), but under a different name and/or price? Should you go for the cheapest, mid-priced, or high priced?

  69. Hi, this is a pretty extensive and thorough way to investigate Alibaba merchants. I write a lot about the safety of online shopping in China and I like to use your info one day (with credits of course). It will be very helpful to my readers too.

    Today I wrote about how fake scammers use inquiries on Alibaba to send their listings. One of the companies even stole the identity of a legitimate Chinese manufactory. This blog can be found here.

    Keep up the good work!

  70. Guys,
    I have 2 queries:
    1. Is there any other place to buy wholesale item apart from china. I mean from other Asian countries at cheaper price?
    2. Is it advisable to but branded products in electronics section from china. For ex I was interested in buying San disk micro sd card.
    Please advise.

  71. What about identity theft? My company has been a subject to that- many people have been scammed on my account, I will not mention all the lawsuits going on, but now, how can I purchase anything via Alibaba and be sure the company I am willing to deal with is eligible?

  72. I freaking love your site. It is incredible information that applies directly to small-scale import entrepreneurs/wantrepreneurs. Keep it up my friend.

  73. hie

    what security do i have if the supplier fails to deliver, though i paid directly to the supplier not to alibaba

  74. Hello Frederick!
    May I say first of all, what an informative and detailed article, so thank you.

    I am looking into starting an online boutique and am investigating manufacturers of handbags, headbands, jewellery etc- possibly China is my preffered option

    Can you recommend me any suitable manufacturers which have a good reputation?
    If you do have the time, I would really appreciate it. I have provided my email as above.

    Thank you 🙂


  75. If you order from a site like this, from a foreign company, would I have to pay customs fee when it gets to the United States?

    I have to buy product for a Hawaii business and shipping from the mainland is expensive. Everything is made in China anyway. But I don’t want to end up paying more than I thought I would.

  76. My brother and I made a purchase from:

    Address:Chiweipian, Xiachen Village, Shanghua Town, Chenghai District, Shantou City
    TEL:+86 754 85607891
    FAX:+86 754 85607892

    on Alibaba and when in receipt of payment they asked for a further payment of $500 because apparently the shipping cost were wrong.
    We haven’t received our products.

  77. I every time used too study paragraph iin news papers but now as I am a user of net
    so from now I am using net for articles, thanks to web.

  78. The guy that scammed me has an e-mail address, surely there is an account sent for this address, surely they can be tracked down and punished through this connection???

  79. Awesome blog, quality questions, great responses. Will and Kyle, and now fredrik.
    I’ve been reading all you guys have out there so very informative. Thank you.

    Obviously there are lots of sellers on alibaba. Is there a list anywhere of legit sellers we can obtain. I would be willing to pay for it?

  80. Hi,
    I want to start a legitimate business of selling kids clothes online. I am importing dresses through aliexpress. However, the seller’s are not providing invoice and also all the packages are marked as ‘gift’. how are you guys managing this? As for setting up a business invoice and custom clearance are mandatory in every country…
    Thanks in advance for your help 🙂

    • Hello Garima,

      Are you based in the US? If yes, then there’s quite a few more things than customs clearance to take into consideration. Before you import anything, you need to ensure CPSIA compliance, and perhaps also CA Prop 65 compliance (substance regulation).

      • Hello Will, Kyle, Fredrick It is absolutely great stuff following you guys, I have learned soooo much through reading and listerning to many of your articles, but I still havent made any real dives yet (even though I really want to..nerves).
        I live in Dubai and we don‘t have an Ebay or Amazon just and a few others that can‘t compare. I have made a few sample orders from Alibaba and so far so good… when i make the BIG dive i‘ll fill you all in 🙂 Anyway love you guys … keep it up. Jacqueline

  81. Many legitimate companies advertise on Alibaba, problem is it takes a lot more research, and many of the “legitimate” businesses will make contact with you or get your e-mail from your alibaba queries, then they will mail you brand named products at really cheap prices, which are all fake, as they are not allowed to do that on alibaba. As a general rule, the alibaba rating is close to meaningless, but that doesn’t mean legitimate honest suppliers don’t advertise on alibaba, but scammers use their rating system. I have clear evidence of this if anyone needs.

  82. hi Sebastian
    is there a way that i can get a good reference for credible suppliers of good quality human hair extensions? I’m currently based in Nairobi Kenya your help is greatly appreciated and thanks for the informative article.

    • I wouldn’t be too pedantic about hair extensions, it’s not generally something anyone would make “fakes” of, you can use ali-express which has a 100% money back if not satisfied guaranteed, and make sure they pass all the other checks, check the same suppliers on alibaba for factory/site checks and audited companies. Only use suppliers who have a factory manufacturing exactly what you’re looking for, and test their communication skills thoroughly by negotiating an order. If all seems ok with all of the above, you’ve probably found a lefit factory or supplier, if any of the above seem out of place, strange, or too good to be true, it’s because something is not right, everything should be 100% perfect for you to place an order, no paying ever until goods have arrived and been checked, EVER! Good luck

  83. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article.

    Manyy thanks forr supplying his info.

  84. Hey Frederik, I’m looking for PS4’s on alibaba, and I can’t find which ones are legit.. can you helpme out?

  85. Can we trust Alibaba’s new “Trade Assurance” program with gold suppliers?
    They guarantee 100% of buyer money back

    • Hello Timothy,

      Yes, this may offer a refund – but only if the reasons are ‘good enough’. Telling Alibaba to issue a refund simply because the supplier did not comply with an imaginary vision of ‘good quality’ will not be sufficient. Alibaba will certainly, and for very good reasons, require extensive documentation that proves that the supplier did not comply with the buyers specifications.

    • Can you trust it? So far no, you cant. The supplier and I have agreed to cancel the order because the shipping company did not include the relevant local charges and were charging $220USD to ship from china to australia, it was going to cost me a further $550AUD to pick up the item from a freight forwarder.

      So $1700USD and almost 2 months down the track and I’m still emailing the disputes team even when the company has said to refund it. I am still in contact with the company and I have since bought other items from them but the trade assurance may refund the money.. But I wouldn’t trust it again.

  86. I’m not certain where you are getting your info, but great topic.
    I must spend a while finding out more or understanding more.

    Thank you for great info I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  87. Ali Express and Ali Baba are a real pure scam; forget any promised protection – they just rip you off your debited amount and then fend for yourself if problems arise; no real contact facility exists and the advised chatting channel is simply computer-generated robot chat delivering nonsense answers to comments/queries submitted to an extent that one could even feel insulted for being treated to be so stupid in receiving typical stupid answers!!! Beware! This is an eye-opener for anybody considering using Ali Express for transactions. Dishonest crooks – period! Never again.

    • We and our clients have a had a ton of success with both Ali Express and Alibaba. Alibaba is a public company now.

      There ARE scammers who use these services, that’s why we provided this article!

      I’m sorry that you had such a poor experience with the supplier you worked with.

  88. I love reading an article that can mke men and women think.

    Also, thanks for allowsing me to comment!

  89. Hi greatinz
    i also think about your recomendation that alibaba is a very well known website in china.also known all over the world.i also follow ali baba and here cosmatics

  90. As someone who works as a sourcing agent myself in China, I have to say, you have known Alibaba really well..Alibaba is the biggest B2B website in China, you can find as much suppliers as you want, but there’s also some good alternatives B2B websites in China if you have some issues with Alibaba, like GlobalSources、 don’t mean to be a spammer, just in case you may meed one.

    • I need a reliable supplier of walnuts and sesame seeds. raw. no shell. if anyone has contacts please reply

  91. Have you ever thought about creating an ebook or
    guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have
    you share some stories/information. I know my subscribers would
    appreciate your work. If you’re even remotely interested,
    feel free to send me an e-mail.

  92. Did I just get scammed, sent my money (yes, I’m an idiot) by W/U to a company in China for 2000 cell phone stand holders (I had planned to customize it for gifts and resale) now the guy I have been emailing said “due to schenzhen custom strictly checking for the month ect ect bottom line is he’s saying I need to work out with customs a fee of $120? My guess is I’ve been scammed?

  93. I shop on Ebay for more than 10 years and i can hardly recall any cases when i was unsatisfied.
    Quality of the sellers is high, there is a claim process in case of any problems and support team works quite fast.
    But from my point of view – the prices are higher then on aliexpress or dealextreme.
    Of course it’s not right to simply compare those marketplaces, but 50% of ebay sellers sell the same things as on aliexpress. Or they just drop ship.
    In order to pick the right product among hundreds of choices i used to read reviews on the web site
    There are sections related to ebay, aliexpress and other internet shops.

  94. The website is not a scam, but many sellers are, and the website does not care much about scams. That is my experience.

    I bought ozon cleaner for car use, opened the product and inside the nice looking exterior was 1 diod light, 1 resistor and 1 transistor. That was all. No way this product can produce ozon and clean air. I told aliexpress this, and also send them pictures I had taken of the electronics, they told me they needed more proof for my claim, so I explained again why it is not possible that the product can produce ozon. Aliexpressed closes the case telling me in one sentence that my claim was wrong. I an certain that aliexpress knows it was a lie, since very basic knowledge of electronics is needed to understand that I was right. I even chatted with a representative from aliexpress at their website that comfirmed that I was right. But the people you chat with have no authority, it is the so called “expert team” that makes the decisions. The people you chat with tells you they will contact the expert team and also the seller but I did not get any answers from the expert team or the seller. I also chat with a person telling me that all that aliexpress do is connect buyer and seller and that they take no responsibility. It is only the seller that is responsible for a fraud. I argued that the problem in my case is the factory that produce the fake item, and that this item is sold by hundreds of shops at aliexpress, but aliexpress will not act to stop the product. It is up to each seller if they want to sell a fake item or not, and obviously very many sellers want to do that …

  95. Hi

    Would you suggest using global sources to find reputable companies?

    I here that you’re less likely to end up with scammers using them. Also theres a big thing going around that being an Alibaba gold member means nothing as the membership can just be bought.

  96. Great post! i was wondering if you have to pay taxes if your buying out of state. How does that work for the states?

  97. Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I’m impressed!

    Very useful information specially the last part 🙂 I care for such information much.
    I was looking foor this certain information for a long time.

    Thank you and good luck.

  98. Great post: i want to start importing original smartphones,tablets,laptops and play station please can u recommend a reliable supplier for me,please whats the status of Phoenix trade Llc

    • Good day Japhet,

      I deal with smartphones and tablets.
      Im located in Mexico now, i have my suppliers from Thailand, Singapore and China. ( i went there myself ).
      I accept paypal, credit card, and L/C for big orders.

      You can contact me here:
      Kind regards.

    • Hi Japhet,
      I’ve also been looking at ‘Phoenix trade LLC’ and if I were you I would avoid them. If you Google the address they give for their factory, you will find it is a small house it the USA.
      I have found that scammers, will advertise the same product multiple times, using different photo’s and descriptions to make it appear as if they are selling many different items. They will even have a website where you can purchase these items that you will never receive.
      If you find a good supplier, please let me know

  99. Dear , Friends ,
    This is Arun from Singhtex Co.,Ltd.,Bangkok, Thailand ,
    Can any one suggest me how to minimize the fraud while importing goods from abroad , Besides Inspection Certificate is their any other way i can reduce my risk .
    I am quite new in this field so i need your expert advice.


    • Check out the other articles on importing here.

      We go through this more in-depth in our coaching programs but it’s tough to pack all the knowledge into a single blog post. There are just so many variables!

  100. Hey would you mind letting me know which web hoost you’re using?
    I’ve loaded youjr blog in 3 different brosers and I must say this blog loads a lott quicker
    thenn most. Can you suggest a good web hosting provider at a reasonable price?
    Thanks a lot, I appreciate it!

  101. Thanks for this excellent article.

    When screening the company list you should verify that the 600 different models are actually different. some companies uses the same model, color for several product descriptions.

  102. You can also check, this before sending any money, at to make sure the supplier is not listed in their scammer list !

  103. Don’t buy from websites without pay-pal . Any serious seller can be paid on his pay-pal account .

  104. I can only say bad things about Alibaba. Our company have only experienced losses and bad suppliers with the help of Alibaba. It is a very dangerous market place and I would recommend people traveling to China to deal with suppliers. You will save time & money! We had two incidents where two different suppliers delivered completely useless products. They trick you by sending out samples that are of high quality and then deliver a product that you can not even sell cheap. I wrote Alibaba twice and filed two complaints, I never heard from them or got an answer. And these two suppliers were 5 years gold members… Do not use Alibaba!

    • Totally agree – I will never deal with alibaba again!
      Contact someone who has a reliable ‘finder’ in China and use them (which I am doing) or go there yourself.

      • Who are you using for your finder? I need a lot of different products.
        Also what do you think of

  105. Now, if I’ve found a “gold member” with a product I want to import, the company checks out and is completely legit, how can I know someone didn’t copy the company’s information, list the exact same products, and is just impersonating the owner? For smaller distributors I don’t think it would be that hard to do, and even if I call the company everything will check out.

  106. Hi has anyone ever delt with
    El Hedaya furniture export company in Egypt also know as Maison furniture company.

  107. Never deal with or pay a PI to Hong Kong RoyalseaR International. Sometimes different names appear, all European first names (no surnames). The phone numbers are false and you will lose whatever you send over,
    Luckily I only lost $750US. Cheers … Eddy from New Zealand

  108. Hi Andrew,

    I’m sorry to bother you, and this must sound like a stupid question, but, do all the goods on come from China? Even if the supplier says they are from Korea?

    I am trying to import Korean skin care and am wondering if it is just the China products that are fakes, if branded, or all branded products on the website are fakes. As I want to deal with brands, this is of huge concern to me. I have not yet initiated any contact with the supplier yet, as I am still doing research and am ecstatic to have found your website of tips.

    If you could please advise me on this I would be extremely grateful for your time and effort.


  109. I have sent you an email seeking your help in recommending an authentic chinese company to buy Tablets PC. I would be glad for your advice.

  110. Thank you Frederick, very helpful.

    Was a company controller for 20 years with MFG/exporter co that i founded – sold it – took a break – now venturing out again and starting an import distribution biz.

    So fun, but there sure are a truck load of scammers to navigate through.

    I posted a request for quotation on one item that I’m sourcing just to get a feel for the process. Woke up this am to 78 emails, many of which end with three number eg.

    As I sift through have a few that look legit….maybe.

    Is this what I should expect or did I cast too wide of a net? Thoughts…anyone?


    Lynne A

  111. I am needing to find a manufacturer in China for Branded USB’s and find it interesting that liasing with “Sales” people in trying to find a suitable factory, I have been declined from visiting the factory to discuss a longterm relationship until we have placed an order – Is this a normal way of dealing with Chinese factories??

  112. When importing small items, like expensive gadgets, use the Alibaba escrow service. You have the option to dispute and hold transfer of payment if quality or item is far from your agreement with the supplier. If they do not accept escrow payment, walk away.

    For bigger orders, like full container loads, contact your embassy based in China. They have services that can help you weed out fake companies.

    For even bigger orders, I recommend pre-shipment inspection, or even factory inspection by reputable verification companies – SGS, TUV, Intertek. These help to make sure the contract will be complied with. Expensive, but probably cheaper and more convenient than having to fly there yourself and check the loading at the docks.

    • I like your comment. I would love it if you would kindly explain to me the intricacies of online marketing

  113. I know about the difficulties in the relationship myself with Chinese suppliers. I am British myself, married with a Chinese girl here in Ningbo China. I’m part of an international trading company which helps people interested in this article in helping them find suppliers. I have made several connections with manufacturers, especially with stationery and cleaning products etc. If you are interested in importing such products from China, don’t hesitate to contact me

    • Kevin I found your web address on a how to avoid being scammed on Alibaba. I believe you said that
      you have connections to the Chinese manufacturing factories. I’m currently investigating to have some
      parts made cheap in China. So I have been reading how not to be scammed LOL. My research tells me
      that they don’t care in China about your patents. They say they will sign a NDA but how do you enforce
      it in another country, joke and or nightmare. I have a device that I want to get the metal parts manufactured
      cheap. I want to try make good decisions on who I am trusting as I have heard about a lot of bad set ups.
      These stories make me leery of taking the next step. I don’t want all the hassles that add up to negative
      losses not worth the energy. Can you tell me how to have quality parts made at factories for the rite price
      with a happy ending? .

      Steven Bullis

  114. Hi!
    Thanks for the explanations. In fact, I am in contact with a supplier in Shanghai (China) to buy a smartphone. I asked for details about the company. They provide me with and in their invoices, there is the company name, address, phone numbers and the full detail of their representative if I opt for a bank transfer payment. is this company (FACTORY CONCEPTS GROUP LIMITED
    Room 297, 5 E 2 level area N° 2189, JiHe Road, Qingpu Shanghai jiading, China (Mainland)) trust one?I need your help.thanks

    • If you’re asking I’d guess you have a bad feeling already and all I can say is trust your gut, or you’ll be right back posting “Do not deal with X company”. This is a fantastic article, read it and incorporate it into what you are already doing, otherwise you’re only asking someone to do your job for you. Do your due diligence, don’t try to “get rich quick”, and test the crap out of your samples. You should be more nervous about how you can develop your brand than if you will be scammed. (I posted a hypothetical “perfect scam” for alibaba… absolutely everything can check out but you can never be 100% sure, welcome to the internet.)

  115. seller francesco angioli

    they will try to convence you to send the transfer first with wester union and will ask you send the scan of the paper without the mtcn and the details , and they will tell you will send the products to you and when you receive the products they will ask you the mtcn for withdraw the money , but really they dont need that mtcn code for withdraw the money , that is the way that i was scam for this company , be carefull all my friends

  116. I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I encounter a
    bpog that’s both educative and engaging, and let me tell you,
    you have hit the nail on the head. The issue is something that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about.

    I’m very happy I came across this during my hunt for something concerning this.

  117. An impressive share! I have just forwarded this onto a coworker
    who has been doing a little homework on this. And he actually ordered me
    dinner simply because I found it for him… lol.

    So allow me to reword this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx
    for spending the time to talk about this issue here on your website.

  118. Hi great article. Im setting up a beauty salon in bulgaria and i want to sell some beauty items do u know of any recommended wholesale websites that i could purchase from? this is all new to me. Any info much appreciated.

  119. please i plan to order my wedding dress from please could you help confirm if they are not scammers. does anyone know reliable manufacturers that has good quality wedding and bridesmaid dresses on aliexpress or alibaba i can order from. thanks

  120. It’s an remarkable article for all the web users; they will obtain advantage
    from it I am sure.

  121. Hello thank you for your rather informative article, which makes my entire search perspective more thorough. I have noticed that some companies do not mention their Registered Capital at all. Is it mandatory to do so?

  122. Great article and very much appreciated! Your articles are inspiring an inner importer in me I didn’t know about!

    My confusion though lies in the area of trademarks. The watch company you mentioned (guangzhou guanghao watch co ltd) has the trademark ‘Delishi’ and the same name is listed as a brand name under a product description.

    Many thanks for a clarification on this.

  123. Thank you for sharing this info. Its really good. Most of the days I am ending up paying custom tax equal to my product worth. any idea how to cut short it. I am getting products via china post. if I opt for fedex or DHL, can i avoid custom tax?

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  125. Hello!
    Thank’s for your usefull article!
    I am from Romania, I want to buy from China some beauty tools; I found the supplier on Alibaba (Guangzhou Taimei Hairdressing Beauty Equipments Factory).
    I’ve dealed with them and I want to pay using paypal, but not using Alibaba. They send me the proforma invoice.
    I have verified them and they seems to be a honest and real factory, but still I have doubt because the email they give me to paypal is containing a name of a person (, not the name of the company. What do you think?
    If I dont receive the goods, what chances I have to get my money back?

    Thank You!

  126. How good an indication is the “Verified by Alibaba and a third party” that a supplier is legitimate? I’m talking about avoiding complete scams where they may take your money and never ship the items. Also, how long do you think a supplier would stay listed on Alibaba if it was indeed a scam?

    • Hello Ben,

      No, the only thing they verify is that the company is legally registered. Well, that says nothing. Bernie Madoff also had a legally registered company and that didn’t really help anyone. Scams are more complicated that.

      The thing is that the scammers never use the company listed on Alibaba to defraud importers. Instead, they request the payment to another company account. When anyone complains, they can simply state that they didn’t receive any money and therefore have no responsibility for the fraud. Which is true, because they didn’t receive any money, another company (probably owned by an employee) did!

  127. My company paid USD $2,000 for some garments and did not receive anything. Do not do business with this company: KW Winner Apparel. A man named Jerry was my contact but seems his email is bouncing now.

    • Hello Alan,

      Did you transfer money directly to a bank account owned by KW Winner Apparel? If you did, you might be able to report this to Alibaba. However, you’re out of luck in case you transferred money to a beneficiary that is not matching the company name “KW Winner Apparel”, a private account or by Western Union.

  128. Good day all,

    Alibaba is all a Scam, as well as their sellers.

    It was several years ago that i got scammed by one of the gold suppliers from alibaba, i sent money with W/U and then never got items or my money back and they never replied my messages any more.

    So i learned my lesson about dealing with dishonest people. I was so ready to start my own business, that i landed at a vulnerable state of believing what i was being told.

    However i do see there is a great potential for a website like this.

    Back when this happen to me i was living in Montreal Canada, now a few years later due to my job. Im now located in Bangkok, Thailand.

    So i immediately thought about Alibaba, that now i can be a supplier and deal with real people wanting to start their own business, and i can be their provider.

    So i opened my account. As a seller, and users from the site believe that just because they are Gold Suppliers they are safe (which is not the case). They set their parameters so that only Gold Suppliers can contact them.

    I decided to pay and apply for my Gold status i payed $499 usd for the initial “verification” fee.

    Now after 5 months with emails back and forward, i still dont have my status as gold supplier.

    I provided more than enough information about my company which is legally registered, together with a notary letter witnessed by 2 lawyers assigned by the government, copy of my 2 official ID’s, company’s registered address and bank account.

    They said that because the electricity bill receipt i sent as prof of address is not on my name or my company’s name, so because of this the verification department is denying my Gold Status membership, and they would give $379 usd refund as the $120 usd was the fee for the verification department.

    (Now just to clear that out, how can the electricity bill be on my name if I’m renting an apartment on a condominium building, So this is when i went and looked for a notary service that can verify and state that the registered address belongs to me, and is the same as my registered address for my company which is on my name, between the official notary fee, the 2 lawyers assigned by the government as witness, the stamp and the translation services i payed $800 usd.)

    The answer i got was, “we can not accept this letter as is not on the acceptable format for us”. We are talking about an Official International document that is not valid for them.
    Now thats the first time i hear this nonsense.

    But at least im getting my refund of $379 usd, or so i thought.

    They just sent me a supposed confirmation transfer from their HSBC account, where it doesnt even have my bank account details.

    This was 5 months ago now emails have stop, and when i email them i get a “email could not meet recipients address” message. And of course i don’t have my refund nor the Gold Status.

    So, the website and its sellers its all a Scam, such a shame because, it has really a good potential if they were legit.

    I am leaving my contact information if anybody is interested in making business.

    I am looking to take advantage of my position now that im located in Thailand.

    I accept paypal or credit card payments, i also have an ebay account.

    So if you are interested please contact me.

    Its been almost a year now that I’m in Thailand, don’t expect to get from me same prices as the Alibaba “sellers” as those prices don’t exist at all in the market.

    I have accounts directly with Apple, Sony, Samsung, and other big resellers in Thailand.

    I have done my research and i know the prices I’m able to get don’t work for certain products for certain markets, but is all a matter of finding which product work for your target market.

    Whether is electronics (which brand and which model), is it cloths you are after, beauty products, etc.

    You can expect real prices, for real merchandise.

    I wish you good luck with your business.

    ” If you dont give up, you cant lose”



  129. Good day all,

    It was several years ago that i got scammed by one of the gold suppliers from alibaba, i sent money with W/U and then never got items or my money back and they never replied my messages any more.

    So i learned my lesson, about dealing with dishonest people.

    I was excited about my “new business” idea and wanted to believe in good prices. I later found out more about the electronics market, and how those prices at alibaba website dont exist.

    However i do see there is a great potential for a website like this.

    Back when this happen to me i was living in Montreal Canada, now a few years later due to my job. Im now located in Bangkok, Thailand.

    So i immediately thought about Alibaba, that now i can be a supplier and deal with real people wanting to start their own business, and i can be their provider.

    So i opened my account. As a seller, and users from the site believe that just because they are Gold Suppliers, with the verified logo on them, they are safe (which is not the case).

    So i decided to pay and apply for my Gold status i payed $399 usd for the initial fee & verification process.

    After now 3 months with emails back and forward, i still dont have my status as gold supplier, and i didnt get my refund either.

    I provided more than enough information about my company which is legally registered, together with a notary letter witnessed by a lawyer assigned by the government, copy of my 2 official IDs, the company registered address, a phone and billing statement with the same address under my company’s name and my bank account.

    They said that because the notary letter is not written on a specific format they can not validate my company.

    (So my official ID, an official stamped notary letter, witnessed by a lawyer, billing statement, legal registered company name etc. is not valid at all for them)

    They just sent me a supposed confirmation transfer from their HSBC account, where it doesnt even have my bank account details.

    So, the website and its sellers its all a Scam, such a shame because, it has really a good potential if they were legit.

    I am leaving my contact information if anybody is interested in making business.
    I am looking to take advantage of my position now that im located in Thailand, and merchandise prices are cheaper than in other markets around the world.

    I accept paypal and credit card payments, i also have an ebay account.

    So if you are interested please contact me.

    I wish you good luck with your business.



  130. Hi, i’ve been chatting with a supplier about my chosen product. I’ve checked out their factory online, looked at all the certificates etc and they are a gold supplier. They seem legit however when it came to the email address i had to give to make a paypal transaction for the freight of the sample they gave a ‘gmail’ address. I was just a bit skeptical about a company using a free email program. Am i just being prude? or should i be concerned… thanks!

    • Hey, I was wondering the same thing about the email and paypal account email. the company im dealing with has personalized emails to contact me with the company name at the end Ex: example@company but their paypal is registered with a hotmail. Did you ever figure out if they were legit?

      Best regards,

      • that is because many suppliers use their boss’s private email address to apply the paypal is common for the suppliers in china.

  131. I am looking to purchase 2 LED Message Billboards from China. 13′ Tall X 30′ wide, full color. Anyone know of a great company to deal with or of any bad ones to stay away from???

  132. We absolutely love your blog and find most of your post’s to be exactly I’m looking for.
    Do you offer guest writers to write content for you
    personally? I wouldn’t mind composing a post or elaborating on a few of the subjects you write regarding here.

    Again, awesome blog!

  133. Hi ! Good article. I can add that you go to the original web page, not the alibaba. There you might find the termination dot cn, like That indicates that the company is real Chinese. Then pick product images and google image them. You might find really nice info following the threads of images. Right, my contribution. Now, I would like to ask how can I investigate commercial information to find the supplier of a certain company. Like accounting tax declarations. I am sure my supplier does not manufacture a product, so it comes it has to be buying somewhere. I am sure that information is submitted to their Tax organism. How can I reach that? These supplier is in Taiwan.

  134. I wish I had read this, and other sites before dealining with Shenzhen Umei Electronic, which runs a site at I purchase quite a few items from China and have never had any problems. However, I was recently approached by Elva ( in regards to micro SD cards. I ended up purshasing some cards from them, which turned out to be a bad decision. The cards were supposed to be 4GB microSD, and in windows properties they should that capacity. However, when you go over 114MB of data, they fail and lose the data. They have completely ignored my emails and calls after they scammed me. I suggest you do not pruchase anything from them because once they get your money, the product is a fake, and you’ll never hear from them again and they never answer the phone, no matter what time of day you call.

    • Don’t expect to here anything from these scammers again. Among all the scam infested industries, I’d say that electronics is the worst. While China is #1 for electronics assembly, importing electronics requires a very sophisticated manufacturer. Not a low end trader buying and selling products intended for the domestic Chinese market.

      You’re lucky though. If you would have started a business importing and selling these products, which are not in compliance with US or EU product certification regulations, you would’ve been liable for any personal or property damage caused by the product. (the insurance company would sue you)

      Stay away from electronics unless you have very clear product specifications and a well defined product concept. You also need to ensure that the supplier you’re buying from has the required certification documents and implement a quality assurance process.

      • Hi
        How can i know US or EU product certification to take it as a reference for good quality product for example if i want to buy bar code reader whats the certification i must ask for?

        • CE and RoHS for the EU and probably FCC for the USA. There may be additional standards required in the US, I’ll have to make some research on this.

          There are plans in the US and EU to settle on one set of standards sometime within this decade. This will certainly help a lot.

          • Thank you.
            You know maybe there is other some for electronics and others for auto parts, etc. maybe i will try to search.

  135. Hi
    Thanks for this article. Could you explain about gold membership, assessed suppliers, escrow and other buyer protection solutions?

    • Hello!

      I don’t have time to answer all those questions (would pretty much require me to write another 1000 words), but I’ll explain Gold Suppliers.

      A Gold Supplier is a membership and where Alibaba makes most of their money. It’s for Alibaba what Adwords is for Google basically.

      Alibaba makes a basic review of the Chinese supplier that applies to become a Gold Supplier. This is the data described in this article. In return the supplier gets a Golden Badge to put on their company site. The only thing you can tell from the golden badge itself is that the supplier is a legally registered company in China. It says nothing about product certification compliance or the overall quality of their products.

  136. I do trust all the concepts you have offered to your post.
    They are really convincing and can definitely work.

    Still, the posts are too quick for novices. May just you please extend them a bit from subsequent time?
    Thank you for the post.

    • Glad you liked it Fawad – I think it would be the same on AliExpress. Most of the people on AliExpress are also selling to Alibaba, so I’d imagine the same would apply. Hope this helps!

      • Sorry it took me some time to get back to this post, it’s been a busy year to say the least!

        Aliexpress is different since it doesnt provide much information about the company you’re purchasing from. However, unlike you can get a pretty good idea about the supplier based on the feedback from other buyers.

        • Fredric man I just found u…Awsome articals.. sir I got scamed for over 2000 bucks buying 10ft long charging cords and power banks and anti dust plug phone jewelry..I am out of time now to do a bunch of investigating.. can. You PLEASE sir recomend a supplier or suppliers that can offer me 10f long phone charge cords all makes.nd power banks and phone jewelry. Thank u so email is.

  137. Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

    • Fredrik, have you ever thought of providing a vetting service? e.g, if I identify a few companies that stock the product I need, but don’t have the time / confidence to vet them myself, I’d pay you for the service. Would be great to know there was a legit agent to negotialte the minefield.

      • Hello Lucy,

        I’ve been working as a sourcing agent in China for more than 4 years. However, we are very busy at the moment. If you’d like I could still recommend a few American and European owned sourcing companies.

        • I’d be interested to know the names of European-owned sourcing co’s…I got enough to think about without the major risk of checking suppliers….most of what I see out there looks too good to be true, and you know what they say: “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!”

        • Hi Fredrik,

          Not sure if you still check this. But, can you email me some reliable textiles Chinese mfg?

          • HI Jerry,
            Did you ever find a great textile mfg? I am in desperate need of one that can make custom ttea towels. If you have a referral, I would really appreciate it.

          • Hey Lee, thanks for reaching out and I’m sorry that you’re having trouble on Alibaba. We partner with a company called “Sourcify” they are the go to people to find reputable suppliers. They will even work with you to communicate with your suppliers. I recommend them over anyone. Check them out and tell them startupbros sent you.

  138. The advice about checking their registered capital (and looking for RMB 500,000+) is solid. I almost bought from a supplier, until I saw they have less money in the bank than I do! And I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination (yet).

    • Good to hear this article could help in a real way Odai! Definitely not a good sign 🙂

      Good luck in finding a better one…

    • Be aware that the registered capital does not indicate how much total capital a company has. It’s just the amount of capital that they chose to officially register during the registration process. They may well have other capital besides that, especially if they registered some time ago.

  139. Super solid post, Fredrik! Glad the bros have a real expert to help avoid some serious importing problems!

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