I love shopping on Aliexpress. I think I buy something from there at least twice a month. It's cheap and it's easy, and they have so many items that you can't get here. I like having stuff that not many people have. I don't know why, but I do. And it's very tempting to buy things if they are very cheap.
But now that I've been using Aliexpress for over a year I've learned some things about it that I want to share with you, so you won't make the mistakes I made.
First of all, if you're going to buy clothes please check the sizes first. Most clothing is made in Asian sizes, which are generally smaller than western sizes. Normally I'm size M/L, but I've bought clothes on Aliexpress that were size XXXL in Asian size. For this reason a lot of sellers put the measurements in the description of the item. So please measure yourself and compare that. But keep in mind that often the clothes are measured by hand and in most cases they'll be smaller than the seller tells you they are. Going for a piece of clothing with bigger measurements is a good thing to do. I've had tons of clothing items that turned out to be a little too small or short for me, and it's just a waste of money. Especially sleeves are a often shorter than the description tells you.
For example, today I received a flannel I ordered. According to the measurements it should've been a bit oversized for me, but it turned out to fit perfectly. Though I'm glad that it fits, I was hoping it would've been a bit oversized.
Also, don't fall for the "one size fits all" thing, unless you're below 5'6. There is no such thing as one size fits all. If it says it's one size, check if there are measurements in the description. If those aren't there, I don't think you should risk buying it.
If you have big feet like I do, shopping for shoes is very risky. The sizes they list are often wrong. This is mostly because they go for US size, and they forget to tell if it's US man or women size. They often put measurements in the description, but if you go and check a site that lists feet measurements and shoe sizes, you'll see that those two are different.
Okay so what many people forget when they are buying from sites like Aliexpress and Ebay is that most products have to come from China. Now, if you live in Europe like I do, or in the US for example, it can take quite some time for those items to arrive. I think the fastest that I've ever had was a week, but that's pretty rare. I'd say the average for me is between the 2 and 3 weeks after I've ordered it. You should realise that if you're going to buy something here you'll have to be patient. But I noticed that the more I ordered the more I got used to the long shipping time.
A lot of items have tracking numbers, but half of the time those don't work. That doesn't mean it was all a scam, but it just means that your post office can't track it (yet). Often this is because the code only works as long as the package is in the country of origin. You could try and track it on sites like 17track.net, though often the results are in Chinese. And even 17track can't always track it.
Before you go and order, you should check something very important: the processing and shipping time, Some sellers take a lot of time to process and ship your item, and that just sucks. One time I ordered something that had a processing time of 30 days and a shipping time of 30 - 60 days. Of course I could've cancelled the order before it got shipped and buy from another seller, but I was an Aliexpress rookie and didn't know that was possible. I always try to find items that have a processing time between 1 and 10 days (15 if I really want it) and a shipping time between 15-39 days. Though it isn't guaranteed that it'll be delivered within that time, it often is the truth. Also, if you've ordered something and the seller doesn't ship it within the stated processing time, the order will get cancelled automatically and you'll get your money back.
Aliexpress is like Ebay: a place for people to sell items. Aliexpress itself doesn't sell anything. This means that there are ten thousands of sellers on Aliexpress, and they're all different. (Also keep in mind that if you order multiple items, they're often from different sellers and thus will arrive separately). But how do you know if someone is trustworthy or not? Well, you don't. But the feedback that the seller has received will help a lot.
Basically it's like Ebay; it shows you how much positive feedback a seller has received. The higher the percentage, the more trustworthy a seller is, or so it seems. However, not everything is the way it seems. It works like this: when you have received an item you can give feedback. You can give 1 to 5 stars for shipping, communication, the item, and overall experience. You can also leave a comment. If everyone was to give someone 5 stars, that would mean the seller would have 100% positive feedback, however, not everyone is as positive in the comments as their stars show. I've seen people give someone 4 stars, even though they didn't receive their package, simply because the seller gave them a refund. Imagine if you buy a product that has four stars, but no one ever received their package. Then those 4 stars don't say anything.
On the contrary, I've seen sellers who haven't made enough sales yet to get an overall feedback score. Not many people buy from them, but I have. Sometimes they're even better than the big guys. I'm not saying that goes for everyone, but having no feedback score doesn't mean you're not trustworthy.
The product itself also has a feedback score. And just like the seller's score, it isn't always what it seems to be. Sometimes it'll say "0% of the people enjoyed this product", but that's simply because no one has given feedback yet. So my advice is to read a product's feedback and see what others say about it. And if you're in doubt you should check the seller's feedback and read that.
RETURNS AND REFUNDS
Not many sellers accept a return, simply because they have too many costumers to deal with that. (Plus, shipping costs would be a little high for you). But it's something you'll have to ask the seller. Most sellers don't speak English that well, so take your time to make sure you understand each other. If you haven't received your order, or you have received it but you aren't satisfied with it you can open a dispute. However, this can only be done as long as the purchase protection is still running, so always make sure you keep it running (you can open a dispute to extent the purchase protection if you haven't received your item yet).
If you open a dispute the seller will try to give you a solution. Many people don't know that they can get a refund, no matter what the seller says. If you haven't received your item and the seller says you should wait longer, here's what you have to do: nothing.
Aliexpress has this system where a dispute has to be solved within a certain time period. If there isn't a solution by then, they will step in to solve it. So if you don't agree with the solution all you ahve to do is wait until the time limit passes, and Aliexpress will step in. This usually takes a few days, but in most cases you can get a refund. I'm not promising that, but in my case I got a refund 90% of the time.
Aliexpress is great for shopping, because it has many items and often for a low price. But you do need to know how things work around there, and make sure you don't get disappointed when you receive your package. I hope that informed some of you, as I know there are many people out there who don't trust sites like this. Maybe you'll now feel a little bit safer.