My experience using AliExpress: An analysis.

I’ve known AliExpress existed, and I’ve toyed with the idea of ordering some stuff from them. I was a bit hesitant about ordering things from China, and even more apprehensive about my goods going through the South African Post Office.

In August, I had a lengthy chat with one of my colleagues about ordering goods from them, so I decided to give it a shot. I chose items which had free shipping and were small. After getting lost on the site for a few hours (it’s so massive!), I ended up ordering a pair of sports Bluetooth earphones (for the SO), a pink rhinestone phone cover (for me), a pink Vivofit band (for me), a Hello Kitty pink and black wireless mouse (for me), and some wedding shoe stickers (for us).

I figured that the items were small enough to send via normal post and that indeed was the case. I received the stickers after 6 weeks in a small envelope that I had to go pick up. I didn’t get a collection slip, but a call from the Post Office instead. Hmm.

Sadly, none of my other items arrived. The total cost was R235 + R18 for the USD conversion, so since this was an experiment I am willing to write that money off. Luckily, Ali has this awesome Buyer Protection programme. Even though my expected delivery time on all the products is 2 days away from expiring (after ETA was 15 – 60 days), I’ve selected to extend the buyer protection time by another 30 days. If my items don’t arrive within that extended time frame, the seller will ship me another item for free.

Nice. I’ve already made peace with the fact that my Hello Kitty mouse was stolen when it reached the airport here. I say this because when I contacted the seller, he sent me this:

My mouse arrived at ORT on the 6th of September. That was two weeks after I ordered it. It’s been in the country for 6 weeks. I’m pretty sure I won’t be seeing that mouse. I had a discussion the other day about stealing being the national pastime (although some say it’s hijacking, others say it’s denial).

Customers try to rip businesses such as insurance companies off (thereby increasing the rates for those of us who try to live honestly). Businesses try to rip customers off (all the monopolies we enjoy here in Mzansi) and act like they are mercifully bestowing their products and services on us (leading me to have to lose my mind in order to get merely adequate customer service). It’s all good if everyone is stealing from everyone, because then it would balance out, but not all of us are playing that game.

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