15 Alibaba Scams: How to Avoid Alibaba Scams/Fraud?
“Is Alibaba a Scam?“ – a joint statement on the internet! Alibaba scams indeed exist, and one may be a victim in case they are ignorant. The details given in this article enables one to escape being a victim of various Alibaba scams. First: Is Alibaba a scam?
Is Alibaba a scam?
Alibaba is not a scam. Contrary to popular concern, Alibaba is completely safe to buy from. It has a range of policies and rules to ensure that all the transactions carried out on this platform are secured and there is no private information breach whatsoever. If you take some right measures, it is absolutely safe and legit to avoid Alibaba scams.
Suppose you’re still unsure about the safety and security of Alibaba. In that case, it’s recommended that you go through the testing steps of the suppliers you’re interested in acquiring products from.
Alibaba Scams vs. Bad Quality:
It should be mentioned that getting scammed on Alibaba and receiving absolutely nothing that you paid for is a completely different case from receiving all your order components but not being fully satisfied with them.
Although receiving poorer quality products definitely fall under the category of “scamming,” that is an entirely different problem that needs to be dealt with.
In most cases, these substandard products cannot pass the strict customs and end up being either discarded, destroyed, or charged an extra fine.
In such cases, it’s possible that you might not receive the products you order and may be under the impression of being “scammed.”
So, After finding an expected supplier, you also should know how to make quality control when buying from Alibaba. This is very important.
Where Can You Get Scammed on Alibaba?
Some of the information here are Alibaba scams, and some of them are potential issues you may get when you buy from Alibaba. I put all of them together so that you will know what you need to pay attention when you buy from Alibaba.
Now let’s start the main things here. I am going to talk about the Alibaba scams and issues from 4 different aspects: suppler, sample, payment, and production.
Avoid Alibaba Supplier Scams
The first aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of finding suppliers.
There 2 main types of non-reliable suppliers on Alibaba. Some suppliers will post hot selling products with very low price and MOQ to attract you to contact them. But actually they are just selling very poor quality products or fake products. After you place order with them, Some of them just have a very bad attitude and don’t want to communicate with you.
Some of them may ran into financial difficulties during the trading process and they may use your deposit money o fill their fiscal gap or to do something else instead of making your products, which may cause you troubles since they cannot guarantee you a normal production process.
So How to Avoid Those Alibaba Suppliers Scams?
- Tip 1, If possible, you can hire a 3PL to visit their factory and do a factory audit if you can.
- Tip 2, just step away from the suppliers that cannot communicate well with you since a good communication is always the most important thing in your business. Without a good communication, you can not get the product you want and it could even be a disaster in the end.
- Tip 3, an overall suggestion to avoid all these potential issue is to try to deal with larger factories. You can normally get a pretty good feel for a company’s size by browsing their Alibaba page. Good signs include like Gold Suppliers status for 5 years or plus, a large staff (specifically sales staff) number, and just an overall polished appearance.
Avoid Alibaba Samples Scams
The second aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of ordering samples.
Three typical scams you should be aware of in this case.
First, you may get a very very good sample, nearly perfect, but this may just be a little trick played by the supplier, they send you a perfect sample, however, when you place a batch order, you will notice that the quality looks totally different compared to the original sample you received. To deal with this, the best way is to order couple of samples instead of just one and see whether they have consistent quality.
Second, you may receive fake certificates to demonstrate their products comply with the regulations you are looking for. Some suppliers will just claim they have such certificates in order to attract you to purchase from them, however the certificates are created by Photoshop. Some other suppliers will promise to provide you with those certificates after placing order.
The third type of issue you may experience is ordering an infringing products from the supplier, but the supplier did not do it intentionally, since they may not even know that their products are infringing. In this case, do the product research by yourself carefully and check whether the product is infringing.
Avoid Alibaba Payment Scams
The next aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of placing the order and making payment. Again, there are three typical kinds of Alibaba scams here.
- The 1st kind of scam is not the scam by a supplier, instead by a hacker. They will use the email on behalf of the supplier and tell you the bank account has been changed and ask the client to send money to another account. What can you do in such situation? You can try to reach out to suppliers via phone call, skype, WhatsApp and double check with the supplier whether changes are real.
- The 2nd kind of scam is that seller will ask you to send money to their personal pocket by giving you special price discount and they will cut communication and disappear after receiving payment Before Production or Delivery.
- The 3rd kind of scam is that seller is trying to steal your money at the time of payment via western union or some other similar payment methods without assurance. If you do payment through these ways, although you may still have a reference number for your transfer, if anything happens, your money cannot be returned.
Overall, to avoid this kind of Alibaba scams, the best way is to pay through Alibaba trade assurance. Paying by PayPal (specifically by a credit card and not bank transfer) offers you very strong protection. If you are paying via wire transfer, make sure the payment is to a company bank account in China.
Avoid Alibaba Production Scams
The last aspect is related to Alibaba scams and issues you may experience in the process of product production process. Several different scams that may occur here.
- First, the produced product does not have a quality that can match the sample that they sent to you earlier.
- Second, the supplier may substitute the inferior material that they promised you earlier with bad or lower quality material to save cost and make extra money.
- 3rd, the supplier may miss the lead times they promised you, like it takes 120 days instead of 30 days.
- 4th, you may find the quality of the product deteriorates over time.
- 5th, you may also experience product copyright issues, the factory may give your product information to other competitors or they use your design to make their own money.
- The last Alibaba scam you may experience is that the factory will ask for higher price using different reasons and threatens you by not delivering your goods.
This is not uncommon. For example, the supplier will say the price of raw material has increased a lot and have to change the price in order for them to start the production.
Well, this might be true, but sometimes the reality may be that they can not bear the loss of the profit due to increased price of raw materials and they even want to delay the production to wait for the price of raw material to go down again. This may affect your selling plan and you may miss out the best selling seasons, especially for the seasonal products.
So overall, how to avoid these Alibaba scams that can happen during the production process.
Here are few suggestions.
Always try to sign a confidentiality contract with the factory and learn how to protect your product intellectual property rights. Confirm with the factory that the copyright of the OEM product mold belongs to you. In addition, after placing the order, do follow up and understand the progress of the production. And the last thing, do a pre-shipment inspection.
I have been scammed on Alibaba. What should I do?
Contact the supplier and ask for a refund.
Be polite and professional, and explain that you believe you have been scammed. If the supplier is willing to cooperate, they may be able to issue a refund.
File a complaint with Alibaba.
Alibaba has a dispute resolution process that can help you get your money back. You can file a complaint online or by contacting Alibaba customer service.
Contact your credit card company.
If you paid for the products with a credit card, you may be able to dispute the charge. This will allow you to get your money back, even if the supplier is not willing to cooperate.
Report the scam to the authorities.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a criminal scam, you should report it to the authorities. This could help prevent others from being scammed in the future.
Alibaba Scams Real Case:
Is there any way to file a complaint against a Chinese or Russian supplier in the U.S? I got scammed on Alibaba; I want to file a complaint against a specific person/representative of the factory who I met in the U.S. at an expo in Nevada.
It’s a long story, but we lost a lot of capital in marketing; they changed their mind over a night after a long time working together.They hold on to our inventory, didn’t ship it for a week, and then refund the money and gave our inventory to our competitor.We did all the work for US certification, and FDA cleared, etc…It’s was a long-term Collab to get the products ready to launch in the US, but they give it to someone else’s at the end.I don’t have a solid contract; it was more of verbal agreement and email threads. I’m hopeless to get my money back, but I do want to put an end to the unfair and misleading business practices they have.
How Avoid to Get Scammed on Alibaba?
How to not get scammed on Alibaba? Look out for these fifteen elements when evaluating an Alibaba scam and buy from Alibaba safely.
1.Choose Gold Suppliers
In Alibaba’s business platform, a supplier with the title gold supplier can be trusted. The title means that the supplier has a premium paid account status; hence they are genuine. Some scammers on Alibaba cannot afford these payments; therefore, you can quickly know they are not real and can’t be trusted.
2. Use Verified Suppliers
When you find a supplier with the title “Verified Supplier,” it means that the recommended bureau has conducted an inspection on the manufacturers’ firm and verified that they are genuinely carrying out the business. You can check if a supplier has been verified by checking their profile logo and analyzing why they got their verification.
3. Use Trade Assurances
You can check whether a supplier has been accepting all trade assurances before getting into business with them. The platform is used by Alibaba to place and manage orders and payments. You can use the sign to predict if a supplier is trustworthy or not.
4. Check the Suppliers’ Transaction History/Level
You can always check the supplier transaction history on Alibaba because it’s indicated by an orange diamond next to its name. It’s an easy way to see the performance or financial capacity before doing business with them. You can also use the information to find out if the supplier is genuine or not.
5. Check Out the Reviews and Ratings
It is normal to have your doubts when you are doing business with an Alibaba vendor. One of the safest ways to check if the supplier conducts quality services is through the reviews clients leave on the suppliers’ profile. Through the ratings and feedback nowadays, you can access the performance of a supplier. It’s also a great way of determining how genuine a customer is. Through other customer experiences, you can predict how satisfied you will be after getting the same supplier’s services.
6. Do Factory Inspections
One of the safest ways to conduct a perfect background check on a manufacturer is by going through their factory inspection reports. It’s among the easiest ways of telling whether the supplier is genuine or not. You can check whether the company does the services stated on their Alibaba profile and how efficient these services depend on customers’ feedback.
8. Ask for Certificates
You can always use certificates to verify a supplier; however, you need to be very careful because people can scan fake certificates nowadays. Whenever you are checking a supplier certificate, you should look for details like their ISO certification codes etc. Be sure that you are dealing with an ISO certified manufacturer before getting into business with them.
8. Check AliExpress Stores
Nowadays, you can find as many Alibaba stores as many companies are opening AliExpress stores to sell safely and pay using escrow and credit cards. Whenever you find a supplier with an AliExpress store, you need to analyze the store. The details like feedback can help you explore how genuine a supplier is in product quality delivery and dispatch.
9. Live Factory Videos of a Supplier
You can quickly know if a supplier is genuine by checking out their live videos on Alibaba profiles. Alibaba usually produces the videos, so checking the producer can tell that the supplier is real. These are some of the common signs that can tell you if a supplier is genuine or not. Do not let scammers on Alibaba to take advantage of you as a customer. Conduct these background checks before getting into business with them because it’s necessary.
Companies with a website in English and describe all the data in detail about the company can be trusted. Once you check a company’s reputation through the website, you can quickly know if you are dealing with the right or wrong supplier. Check out the domain’s registration dates to access how genuine a company is, and the older, the better.
11. Check Trade Shows Data
Among all the safe strategies of analyzing a client’s genuineness on Alibaba, it’s advisable to check their trade show information. Alibaba is an open platform, but people conducting businesses there cannot be trusted easily; hence it is your duty as a customer to do these background checks for your safety. When you check trade shows data, you can know whether the supplier is genuine because scammers didn’t attend trade shows.
12.Use Google Search Engines and Global Sources Profiles
Before getting into business with anyone on Alibaba, you need to do some background check on their company. Please conduct your research to see how proficient the company is and their level of expertise. That’s how you can tell if the company is legit, and you can click on the links on their website to analyze their previous work. Go through their portfolio keenly using the internet. Nowadays, technology has made it easier for everyone.
13. Ask for Details of the Invoice or preferred Bank
Throughout the negotiation process, you will receive several things like a pro- forma invoice. These are the basic things to look out for in Alibaba before you end up being scammed or get yourself involved with dangerous people. Whenever you notice their details and personal data vary from the profile, don’t dare transfer funds to their accounts.
14. Negotiate Payment methods
When you are shopping on this platform, you need to be cautious when transferring funds. One way to tell if a supplier is a scammer is by considering his preferred payment method. Whenever a supplier says they prefer MoneyGram or Western Union, know that you are about to get conned. Customer safety is essential, and you need to be cautious when it comes to payment methods. That’s how many vendors scam customers !!
15. Do Quality Control Service
The pre-shipment inspection mainly check for two aspects:
- 1st, check whether the product quality meet all of your requirements.
- 2nd, check whether the labeling, packaging and product information is correct.
There are two ways of doing pre-shipment inspection.
- You can hire a hire a third-party inspection agency to go the factory and do a random inspection and verify the product information. If you chose this way, you have to negotiate with the factory that the defective rate cannot be higher than what number, say 3%.
- Another way to do this is to send all your goods to a third-party, like a professional sourcing company who also do inspection service. They have their own warehouse and you can send all your products there for a one-by-one inspection.
Top 15 Common Alibaba Scammer List:
1. Counterfeit Brand Items:
- The most common Alibaba scam involves sellers sending fake items with legitimate logos. Buyers often realize they’ve been scammed after the seller’s stock is removed.
2. Intellectual Property Theft:
- Some suppliers secretly produce and sell your private products without permission, undercutting your prices. Protect your intellectual property rights with confidentiality contracts and pre-shipment inspections.
3. Unconfirmed UK and US Accounts:
- Scammers create free Alibaba accounts using legitimate info from UK, US, and EU corporations, posing as real companies to sell items. Avoid unconfirmed sellers.
4. Payment to Personal Accounts:
- Sellers claim their bank is invalid and request payment to personal accounts, often due to email hacking. Beware and ensure payments go to company accounts.
5. Customs Bond Payment Scam:
- After payment, suppliers ask for additional custom fees, threatening to withhold goods. Be cautious, as there are no custom bond fees in China.
6. Western Union or MoneyGram Transfers:
- Scammers use unfamiliar names for fund transfers through Western Union or MoneyGram. Stay cautious when a supplier suggests this method.
7. Fake Memory Products:
- Scammers target buyers with reasonable prices for storage products, offering a seemingly good deal. Be cautious of suspiciously low prices.
8. Invoicing Scam:
- Suppliers provide personal bank accounts instead of company accounts. Verify details match the profile before transacting.
9. Price Increase after Orders:
- Some sellers attract customers with low prices, then raise them after orders are placed. Proceed with caution if you notice price changes.
10. Gold Sample Deception:
- Be cautious if a sample doesn’t match the ordered product’s quality. Scammers send impressive samples but deliver subpar bulk goods.
11. Fake Certifications:
- Some suppliers provide fake certificates to evade standards regulations. Check supplier compliance certificates to avoid fraudulent deals.
12. Product Switch without Notice:
- Suppliers may change products without informing you, sending lower-quality items. Use trade assurance for protection.
13. Trade Assurance Payment Deception:
- Fake suppliers claim not to receive payments, bypassing trade assurance protection. Follow Alibaba’s rules to avoid such incidents.
14. Gold Account Scam:
- Suppliers with gold accounts may still sell fake goods. Research suppliers thoroughly and check compliance certificates.
15. Communication Cutoff After Payment:
- New suppliers sometimes disappear after payment and before delivery. Use trade assurances and verify suppliers to avoid such scams. Customer safety is crucial on online platforms, so remain vigilant and protect yourself.
Scams on Alibaba Conclusion
Multiple buyers end up getting scammed on Alibaba for low prices unintentionally. So is Alibaba a scam?
The problem is not Alibaba. Alibaba is not a scam. The individual seller who scam people and take their hard-earned money are the true culprits here.
By using the above steps, you can make sure to avoid Alibaba scammers and only purchase products from actual sellers.
Hire a China sourcing company also is a good choice to avoid Alibaba scams. Well, from the guidelines in the article, you will stay woke and evade Alibaba scams easily. The worst thing that can happen to anyone is getting scammed!
You are now in the know, and you can quickly put these tips in practice to know genuine vendors from scammers! With the guide, your chances of getting scammed on Alibaba are low. You have to be very greedy and avoid every red flag and common-sense warning to fall for those Alibaba scams.