MASSIVE FRUSTRATIONS with AliExpress orders

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In the past 6 months or so I have initiated a few purchases through AliExpress and have had to cancel all but one of them. There seems to be a kind of "sham" business model used by AliExpress sellers:
*An item is offered for sale
*You buy it
*You shortly get a confirmation of the order
*Soon after that you get a shipping confirmation and a tracking number
All seems well! Then a few days or a week goes by. This is when I decide to check on the status of the shipment via the tracking number. This is when I have been encountering this very frustrating status message:
It's typical for tracking info to be unavailable for the first couple of days after the package is given over to the carrier. If I get this message after a week or so has passed, however, the outlook is growing dim. I typically wait until two weeks has gone by and if the situation is the same and I can't get any response from the seller I initiate a dispute and ask for my money back.

What seems to be happening (just guessing here) is that AliExpress sellers advertise items that they do not actually have in their possession (this is not so unusual) or even nearby. Instead items may take WEEKS to get to the seller before they can even be shipped to me. I find this almost deceitful, and is taking the "just in time shipping" and "middleman" concepts to a ridiculous level. As I mentioned I cancelled FOUR OUT OF FIVE of my transactions when there was no tracking info and then no communication from the seller to my messages requesting info/update (remember this is two weeks after ordering).

It's been very frustrating. Has anyone else experienced this kind of thing with AliExpress?

I have ordered plenty of items from mainland China through Ebay and things have gone much better. For instance I just ordered some amp modules from a seller in Wuhan and after the usual 3-day period they sent me a tracking number which, after another day or two, showed that the package had been given over to the shipping company. The seller has sent me two or three very nice messages about the preparation and shipping of the order. It's all good! Why is my experience so different with AliExpress?
I've had similar not great experiences with Alibaba. Tried getting some toroidal transformers...sent wire transfer for samples built to spec...everything got strange...I was able to cancel the wire transfer.

I've ordered worked fine...I've tried to order more...multiple emails go unanswered.
My experience is mixed. I have NEVER had a item not show - the only case where it didn't eventually arrive is a couple cases where aliexpress very quickly refunded me and cancelled the order due to suspicion.

Some stuff shows up quick - like in a week (rare but it has happened) some stuff takes straight up months.

Tracking number wise, I tend to use 17track which despite the horribly buggy website will deal with multiple postal services.

Lately I have been having less luck with tracking numbers (and been ordering less while I finish up some stuff) many haven't worked or had sporadic updates, many times the item arriving before the tracking updated.

My normal method for dealing with this is to first contact the seller and simply say

- "tracking number doesn't work" (they can legitimately enter it wrong by accident - if you have tons of orders every day **** happens)
- response is usually "please try in a few days"
- you try again and contact them if it doesn't work (never does)
- they either update it or say "dunno" at that point I usually just wait. While you have purchase protection you are in power.
- If the item has not arrived within the purchase protection, I will contact them (obviously before it has ended) and ask for it to be extended (I usually say "Item has not arrived yet, please extend purchase protection or I will have to open a dispute" - they always extend.)
- Depending how impatient I am I will wait again and if it hasn't arrived half way through the purchase protection I request it be resent. Sometimes the seller will offer a refund but as a rule I ask for a resend because I actually want the thing.

Almost all the sellers I have dealt with have been very helpful and attentive. They want to please you and get you your stuff.

The most extreme case I dealt with was a item that hadn't arrived for 3 months (other stuff ordered during that time had all long arrived) The seller resent and I waited longer - I had mostly given up - I forgot to renew purchase protection so there wasn't much I could do, tracking never updated... finally it arrived and I moved on with life. Another 3 months later another one showed up in my mail :)

Hopefully that helps. It's easy to forget sometimes that this stuff is coming from the other side of the world - costing next to nothing.
The latest is that the seller finally got back to me, only a couple of hours before my dispute would have been automatically awarded to me for lack of (his) response. The seller says that the items were given to a shipper but that they did not clear customs (?) and were returned to the shipper. He says he only found out about that when he asked them. He now has the items back in his possession. In the meantime he is no longer offering the item for sale in his store.

I honestly do not trust this seller. Before filing my dispute I contacted him several times through the various channels offered by AliExpress and never got a response after a week or so of waiting. Only right at the end, when he was about to lost the dispute, did he respond. Now it is just dragging on. Every time there is a response, there is another 5 day extension of the dispute, and I am afraid that he could stall for quite awhile if he wants to. I have asked for a full refund, since it's clear that the items are just right back where they started 3 weeks after I ordered them.

I previously was much more patient with these sellers. Then (in another transaction) I had the seller "sell" me an item and issue a tracking number only to stall for weeks. When I finally pressed them into giving me an update about why they had not shipped my order they admitted that the "factory" was backorderd on this item and it would be another month before they got stock. So why did they issue a tracking number??? This seems like a ruse that they all play to buy some time and make it look like they actually fulfilled the order while in reality they are scrambling to get the item so that they can ship it to you... eventually... maybe. That's when I started losing my trust in the way these sellers do business and unfortunately I have again been disappointed.
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FWIW, I've not had any issues with AliExpress orders (done maybe a dozen or so). As said, sometimes they arrive in days (not sure how), but often in weeks, once in months. My luck might be because I tend toward the vendors who show feedback from non-Chinese customers for the product, which should indicate that someone outside of the mainland has gotten the thing from them!

The "tracking", particularly with China Post, though, is often little more than something about that it got shipped out. After than, the box usually arrives before any tracking update.

Oh, and if Chinese New Year occurs anywhere between purchase and the product leaving mainland China, expect shipping to take a LONG time!
Same here but worse, I paid $78 for DHL shipping. Seller lists product as shipped because Aliexpress has rules about handling time. DHL offcourse never received anything. Seller after sometime canceled my order, now Aliexpress received my money, it doesn't go to seller direct, and Aliexpress needs to refund that amount, however they eyed the $78 DHL shipping and tried to say I cancelled so they could refund the product but not the DHL shipping LOL After very long time Aliexpress confirmed it was seller that cancelled order and then they refunded in a manner that was very funny, foreign banks calling me, later my own bank calling me, first time, there was a payment in progress and did I accept cost? I was fed up so accepted and you guessed what that meant, yes almost entire amount needed to be paid to Singapore Aliexpress bank for cost LOL after that my own bank also charged me some costs so in the end DHL did nothing, goods were never in the picture, all money gone to banks worldwide :)
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