Is Alibaba Legit?-How to Buy from Alibaba 2021

Feb 28, 2021 Chapter 2. Supplier

Alibaba itself has a wide range of policies that further help buyers avoid getting scammed on their service platform.

Can you get scammed on Alibaba? Like most B2B platforms, especially e-commerce ones, it can definitely be possible to get scammed on Alibaba. Although it is very rare, and the chances are quite minimal, it is definitely a possible situation.

But there are some ways you can learn and prevent getting scammed on Alibaba. First, Let me answer a popular question about Alibaba: Is Alibaba legit?

Alibaba reviews

Alibaba Reviews: According to reviews websites, Alibaba has a consumer rating of 4.3 stars from 15,199 reviews indicating that most customers are generally satisfied with their purchases. 


Is Alibaba Legit?

Alibaba is a legit and trusted website. Contrary to popular concern, it is completely safe to buy from Alibaba. Alibaba 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. 

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.


NOTE: It should be mentioned that getting scammed on your purchases 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.


How to Buy from Alibaba without a Company

Yes, you can buy from Alibaba without a company, whether you are an individual or a company. If you want to import from China, you can purchase products directly from manufacturers on Alibaba. The website is essentially an Internet directory. Anyone can contact and buy directly from the manufacturer.
However, you may not be able to obtain samples for those suppliers with large minimum order quantities. Make sure that when you search for a product, it has a small minimum order quantity, about 10-1000 pieces. This is a good indicator. Anyone can buy from them.




Is Alibaba Legit and How to buy from Alibaba?

People are usually concerned about 3 things when they buy from Alibaba: one is money security, another one is product quality and 3rd is Alibaba legit? Here we will discuss how to find a legit and safe supplier and buy from Alibaba safely with 3 steps.

how to buy from alibaba flow chart



Before we start, please remember these 4 purchasing from Alibaba principles…

1. This is a numbers game. More quotes = more information = better decisions.

2. Don’t be afraid to walk away. As a buyer, you are in control of all the money.

3. Organize your data. Looking at vendors side by side can help you draw conclusions.

4. Alibaba is legit ≠ All suppliers are legit. What you have to do is filter 1~2 legit Alibaba suppliers.




Step 1: Do your research and thoroughly go through the profile of the Alibaba suppliers

Although this may seem like a cumbersome task, going through the profile of suppliers you’re interested in buying products from will allow you to assess whether the seller on Alibaba is legit.

On their end, Alibaba does their best to make this online shopping site more legit and safe to use, but it’s always better to take precautions and scammers’ control before the damage occurs.

How to know if a seller on Alibaba is legit? To better grasp whether the seller on Alibaba is legit, you can go through the following sections and keep these pointers in check.


Top 7 points to check if a seller on Alibaba is legit?

1. Using Alibaba Trade Assurance

Is Alibaba legit to use Trade Assurance. Yes, The safest and most secure way to purchase products from Alibaba is through Trade Assurance. If you buy products through Trade Assurance and are unable to receive your order due to whatever circumstance there is, all the costs and liabilities regarding that order will be accepted and paid by Alibaba on your behalf. Along with that, they’ll also be contacting the supplier you ordered from and dealing with them for you.

is alibaba legit

Does Alibaba protect buyers? Alibaba aims to provide a safe and low-risk shopping experience to its customers. This is one of the main reasons why Alibaba protects that customers will get their money back if they never ended up receiving their order, making Alibaba completely safe and legit. 

It’s recommended to order from suppliers who have the Trade Assurance mark associated with them. The ordering process would be exactly as if you ordered from a regular Alibaba supplier, with the extra benefits and perks of Alibaba securing off your order. How does payment work on Alibaba? Payments through Paypal and credit cards will also further protect your order from a supplier on Alibaba. 

Only suppliers that are legit and not scammers will be accepting secure modes of payment, such as:

● AliPay (Moderately Safe)

● Paypal (Mostly Safe)

● Credit Cards (Moderately Safe)

One of the extra perks of paying through credit cards is that Alibaba will return you your full amount if you, unfortunately, could not receive the products you ordered.


2. Choosing Gold Suppliers

Most users are under the wrong impression that a supplier having a Gold Star rating means that their products are of top-notch quality. The only thing that a Gold Star rating ensures is that the supplier you are dealing with is not a scammer.

is alibaba legit-gold supplierSince this is a membership that needs to be paid to acquire, most scammers will avoid investing in this. In fact, con artists will be more inclined to set up the free supplier profile on Alibaba and have a wide range of products they can “sell-off” to make as much revenue in a short amount of time as possible. 

To completely eliminate the risk of getting scammed, it is recommended to purchase products from suppliers that have been around for 3 years or more. This is mainly because supplier accounts that receive negative feedback cannot stay up for more than a year or two. 


3. Making use of Alibaba’s on-site verification process

Alibaba has made an on-site verification process available for the ease and benefit of their customers. This will allow customers to verify whether the factory that they are dealing with is real or not. Alibaba’s on-site verification-is alibaba safeAlibaba will send agents on your behalf to the designated location of the factory and confirm whether the business has a physical and legal presence or not.

Is Alibaba legit to add the On-site verification icon? Since it isn’t possible for suppliers on Alibaba to add icons onto their listings, it needs to be physically inspected and verified whether they are operating. It is indeed an actual business, and not a scam opportunity set out by someone.


4. Checking assessment of Suppliers

It is also possible to opt for a supplier assessment, which is basically when a third-party organization will go on your behalf to inspect the business’s factory. supplier assessments-is alibaba safeIs Alibaba legit to add the assessment supplier information? Yes, this will be a more unbiased and in-depth report of the company’s standards and procedures. You’ll also be given images and videos of the company’s condition, allowing you to assess for yourself whether you would like to make a purchase from this particular business or not. 

Companies that usually have their business name verified in various inspection companies, allowing customers to feel secure enough to have business dealings with them.


5. Finding Company Information

Different areas of the country specialize in different resources and industries. In China, the situation is the same, and most companies depend on other support industries. Companies located in a cluster of industries are more likely to be true suppliers, along with being competitive as well.

Otherwise, you also need to different suppliers’ type categories on Alibaba.

Manufacturer: The products being sold are original and the only ones that the manufacturer has produced. The manufacturers’ products are usually specialized and specifically targeted instead of having a wide variety of products available.

Trading Company: In general, trading companies operate independently; however, in some cases, trading companies might be in an alliance with or be owned by a manufacturing company. Usually, multiple middlemen want their cut, and trading companies are unsure how to add value to their products.

Manufacturer and Trading Company:  These are companies that sell off the products they manufactured and products produced by other companies. Usually, it’s difficult to identify whether these companies are selling their own products or selling off someone else’s, so it gets hard to determine whether this type of supplier is legit or not. 


6. Checking Certification

Goods that are being imported usually require certification to be brought into the country itself. Most countries strive for quality control, which is a serious issue and risk if thinking about importing goods from China. One of the main reasons companies end up losing money is due to poor quality products. 

A conscious manufacturer will always strive for better quality and improvements in their product. Suppliers that claim and boast about being defect-free are usually susceptible to providing lower-quality products.


7. Using live Factory Video Footage

To get an unbiased, raw, and realistic view of the company, it’s best to check in on their live factory video footage. This will allow you to glimpse the working environment and conditions without having actually visited the company. Videos coming directly through Alibaba are more trustworthy since they will verify them. 

As information spreads faster and faster, buyers have an understanding of basic scams on Alibaba.
In the following story, we recently learned that Intellectual property may be another scam2.0 you need to pay attention to. If necessary, Supplyia sourcing agent can help you sign some agreements with Chinese factories to protect your product ideas.
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 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.



Step 2: Communicate with Your Suppliers on Alibaba to Stay Safe


After finding some suppliers on Alibaba, if you’re considering purchasing products in bulk, you should carry out your research and do your homework to stay on the safe side. Now, you have to reach out to them and filter to find the right supplier.

Send messages to at least 10-15 suppliers. You have nothing to lose.


● Contact them and start up a relationship: Reach out by requesting the company for photos of their company, their policies, their procedures for online orders, and so on.

● Ask for samples: It’s possible to ask a company for “small test orders” so that you can assess the quality of the products and then later place a bulk order. Companies that might not allow you to place such orders tend to be suspicious and scammers.

● To-do list to communicate with Alibaba suppliers: There is a wide range of suppliers available on Alibaba. If this one doesn’t cut for you, you can simply move on to the other ones. 


Initial Outreach

Your emails should be concise and brief, with zero to no errors. This will give you a better impression of yourself, allowing you to communicate with the suppliers with no conversation barriers fully. Try to ask all your questions in a numbered format so that the supplier can answer all of them easily. 


Requesting a Quote

When requesting a quote, keep these following tips in mind:

Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ’s) – Make negotiations about the minimum order quantity you require and request the supplier for an extra free piece or two.

Pricing For Samples – Inquire about their price per unit when obtaining samples, as it usually tends to be much higher than production costs…

Production Pricing – The larger the order is, the lower the production pricing tends to be.

Payment Terms – If the supplier declines accepting payment through a mode you’re most comfortable and easy with, it’s best to contact and deal with another supplier.


Review Alibaba Supplier’s Product Catalog

This final procedure is the cherry on top of a cake when searching for safe suppliers on Alibaba.


Look for: Alibaba suppliers who have a product catalog full of information about the products and their business itself. This is the most crucial factor when in search of a supplier. A supplier specializing in products will generally have better quality products, which will be good for your business.


Final Checklist to buy from Alibaba when you find a supplier

● Is the product you require available under the supplier’s company name?

● Is your product a major income generator for the supplier?

● Are the products listed, unlike the ones that you’re searching for?


Legit suppliers will specialize in one type/kind of product to manage their product’s quality and price things better. In such instances, prices are usually lower too.


How to use the Alibaba supplier search to identify specialized suppliers?

The supplier’s search is a special feature introduced by Alibaba to look for manufacturers specializing in products. The steps to do this are:

how to search alibaba supplier

1. Go to the official website

2. Switch from “Products” to “Suppliers” in the search box option

3. Search up the product name that you desire/or you can add more choices you want.


After this, you will display a range of suppliers who provide the exact product you are in search of. This method is both times effective and saves you from the hassle of reviewing product catalogs as well.

Case Study

Company Co., Ltd manufactures and exports LED watches. With a range of over 900+ models, this company has the following features:

● The company focuses on producing and supplying wristwatches and LED watches. The various models allow customers to have a wide range of products to choose from.

● A wide variety of components are present in these 900+ models. The supplier will have ultimate knowledge of the components that work best and the ones that don’t.

Company B  is another competitive supplier with only 6 types of watches available.

So, What are how this supplier B could be competitive?



4 Tips for negotiating a legit win-win agreement with Alibaba suppliers:

-“Hold the box” trick. You are creating a brand and want a customized box. Some Alibaba suppliers may have a minimum order quantity of 500 products, but the minimum order quantity is 1000 customized boxes (because their packers set the minimum order quantity). 1000 boxes mean you need to produce 1000 pieces, right? No. Make 1000 boxes, let them pack 500 boxes in China. You can make 500 boxes as planned for the next order. They meet the minimum requirements for packaging, and you have ordered the right quantity.

-Sample refund. Pay the samples with PayPal and ask if you can get a refund if you end up placing a large number of orders. Confirm that they will not lose any money in the process, which will motivate the purchasing department to complete the order. You get the sample payment, and they get more business. This is totally legit for the Alibaba model.

-“Long-term” attractiveness. If you seem to be unable to agree to the price, you can consider future orders. “It looks like this order is only worth $3,000,” you said, “but we are a fast-growing company, and a successful order today may bring you easy rebates: $5,000, $10,000, $20,000. Can you? What is the best price for me?” You get a lower price, and they have won a long-term partner.

-Don’t say anything. If you remain silent for a few days, they will follow up. After a few pieces of messages, they will be more receptive to lower prices. In the end, you are the buyer, holding all the cards. The best negotiation strategy is to be willing to abandon the deal.


Alibaba is legit and safe. When your negotiation skills are legal, they will be protected by Alibaba. What you have to do is to keep the communication and chat records as much as possible. Once you have any problems in the future, you can appeal to protect your rights




Step 3: Do Production Inspection Before Shipment 

In ISO compliance, regular monitoring of the raw materials being imported needs to be done, check-ins during the production phases and after the goods have been manufactured.

product inspection in China
product inspection flow in China



Is Alibaba legit to shipping from China? Yes, Alibaba sellers can help you ship your goods out, but you have to learn how to save Alibaba shipping costs in other ways.


Alibaba Shipping Methods:

There are 3 ways Alibaba shipping method: Air express, Airfreight, and Ocean freight.

The cheapest way to ship from Alibaba is Ocean freight. If you’re not sure how to find the best way to ship from Alibaba, we can help you figure out which option is best for you! Feel free to contact us for a free quote.


When it comes to legit shipping from Alibaba, customers often ask us what international trade term options should they choose. Our typical answer is, “Most buyers choose FOB, so this may be what you want.” But this is a bit short. You should understand in more detail how to choose the legit and right Alibaba trade terms option that meets your needs.




Is Alibaba Legit Conclusion

Multiple buyers end up getting scammed on Alibaba for low prices and good responses unintentionally. So is Alibaba legit to buy? The problem is not Alibaba. Alibaba is safe to buy and is a legit website. The individuals 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.

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