How to Escalate AliExpress Dispute?

AliExpress is an awesome marketplace. The prices are low, and the product abundance is mindblowing.

If you follow these safety tactics, the risks should be minimal. But what happens, when the things go South? Let's find out.

 


How to Escalate AliExpress Dispute?


 

To this day, I have 500 orders on AliExpress. Some of them have more than one product and shipment; but to avoid confusion, let's say there were 500 individual products.

Out of these 270, not a single one has been lost in the mail – all 270 have been delivered, sooner or later.

Just one order was damaged due to poor packaging (more on that later); which is surprising, because I live in Canada, so the package goes a long way; and, I assume, gets handled by a lot of different people.

However, there have been a few cases where I had to resort to starting a dispute with AliExpress, and escalating it to the dispute resolution team. So far, out of the all orders that I have, a total of 6 had some sort of issue with them.

AliExpress dispute summary
The summary of my latest dispute for this string light

 

How does AliExpress Buyer Protection work?

 

Every purchase you make on AliExpress is covered by the Buyer Protection. The Buyer Protection typically lasts for 60 days since the order was placed; and since recently, for 15 days more after you confirm the receipt of the goods (a warranty of sorts).

The Buyer Protection protects you against:

  • Damage in transit
  • Loss in transit
  • Wrong item shipped
  • Item severely not as described

If you have a problem with either of these, or maybe a few, you need to contact the Dispute Resolution team.

To do that, go to Orders, and click “View Detail”.

How to start AliExpress dispute

Then on the order detail page check the box, and click “Open Dispute”.

How to initiate AliExpress dispute

 

What to do when you receive a product that is not as described?

 

Before you start a dispute, ask yourself: “Am I being totally reasonable?” and “Is it worth it?”

There are issues directly caused by the seller's incompetence, and there are issues beyond their control.

For example, when you receive a wrong size or color, you can expect a partial refund. It never happened to me, but it appears that most people get 20-50% back, depending on the price of the product (the more expensive it is, the smaller the refund is).

If the product is completely wrong, the seller can either issue a full refund, or they could theoretically arrange a return shipment. I say theoretically, because I never heard it ever come to that.

Unless you have an A4 account (~$2,000+ in orders per year), disputes may take a couple weeks, as they usually involve a few back-and-forth's with the seller. Otherwise, your account should not be taken into the consideration too much when the Resolution team is arbitrating the case.

 

How to deal with the damaged item, or product (severely) not as described?

 

  1. Ask for a full refund. If the resolution team believes you are entitled to less, they can change the refund amount; so why play against yourself?
  2. Best to not agree to return the goods at your expense. If you receive the wrong product, you should not be have to pay any return freight. The seller is unlikely to refund it, and you also become liable for the product if you ship it (if it gets lost or damaged).
  3. Be extremely polite, concise, and provide all the evidence. Pictures and videos are helpful; but remember that YouTube is blocked in China, so you will need to upload the video file to AliExpress.

And remember to always stay civil and respectful. Mistakes happen, most of the processing is done by real humans; and you are more likely to get respect and consideration that way.

But if you want to avoid having to create disputes altogether, check out the best products that we have curated in our shop section, or take a look at our collections of the best-selling items below. If you like our stuff, make sure to subscribe so we can send you the updates.

These are the latest product from our Shop section

You can browse the rest by category by clicking the link below!

20 Comments

  1. Essie January 17, 2017 at 9:30 am

    I have made quite a lot of orders from aliexpress myself and many sellers were reliable. Out of my 50 orders around 6-7 of them did not arrive or had some type of defect (in my personal opinion too much for a large company like aliexpress). I have received a refund for all of these orders…expect one. Do you know how I can resolve this issue? The seller rejected my dispute proposal and is ignoring my questions. It’s concerning a dress from the Tangada woman Store that I purchased four months ago but never recieved. The aliexpress customers service are just robots that don’t offer me any solution. What can I do in a case like this?

    Reply
    1. Admin January 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

      Hi Essie. Once you start a dispute with AliExpress, unless you have bought more than $2,000 worth of products in the last year, chances are you have a non-prioritized account, and it can take up to 10 days for AliExpress to even look at your dispute. I created my most recent one on Jan. 10 and it said that I should not expect a reply earlier than Jan. 17. But on the 16th I received a refund from the seller, so I cancelled the dispute before AlIExpress had a chance to step in. I have checked that store’s homepage, and it seems to be a very big store with lots of customers, so this is probably why they don’t bother replying to every single request… Over the 400+ orders I’ve had over the last 3 years about 5 didn’t arrive, and I got refunds for all of them.

      If it was 4 months ago, and if the Purchase Protection was not extended, it is likely expired, and you might be out of luck 🙁 But if you have an active dispute still going, you can escalate it to AliExpress (there should be a button “Escalate” or something like that). I don’t think the app or the mobile version of the site has this option, so it is best to use the normal desktop version of AliExpress. When you are doing so, it is best to provide screenshots from the tracking websites (both local and something like 17track.net), and if you want to take an extra step you can screenshot the policy excerpts where it says that if you don’t receive it within 60 days you will get a refund. Best of luck!

      Reply
    2. Dave September 27, 2017 at 5:19 am

      I Bought a radio which was ‘Functions not as described’. I ask seller for partial refund (return shipping was more than 1/2 the value of item), seller refused. I suggest I will destroy item and post photos for partial refund. seller refused. I escalate. Aliexpress makes judgement for seller to pay return postage and give full refund. Seller refuses to do so.
      I think Aliexpress has no power over sellers. It’s woth paying extra on Ebay for the peace of mind.

      Reply
      1. Admin September 28, 2017 at 11:34 am

        I’m sorry to hear about this, Dave. But your first mistake was to ask for 50% of the item price back. It sucks but I suspect that their judgement is that if you were unhappy with the product, you would ask for all of your money back. This might be because in the past Russians, who I happen to be one of, like to bargain, and many people started using the dispute option while threatening the seller with bad feedback to receive additional discounts on their purchases.

        Often times sellers agreed, other times it was escalated to the dispute team, which on its own affected the sellers’ ratings. So to fight that and to save themselves the hassle of the mediation, which is a time and resource-consuming process, AliExpress resolution team took a different approach. Now they offer the buyer to send the product back, covering the postage, and the seller would issue a full refund (it makes sense, if you are ready to accept a partial refund, you probably would be ready to pay to send it back for a full refund).

        I think this is what has happened in your case, because not once I have seen it myself or heard it from others that AliExpress would make the seller cover the return postage and AND issue a full refund, especially when you are only asking for 1/2 refund. They either accept the proposal, if they see it as reasonable, or they suggest an alternative that is in their opinion more fair to both the seller and the buyer. I suggest you double-check the dispute. AliExpress holds the money in an ESCROW account until the purchase is complete, they have quite a bit of power over the sellers, plus the sellers have to leave a deposit of several thousand dollars before even opening the store.

        Reply
  2. Josephian April 16, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Hi, I bought my wedding dress (usd 80) on aliexpress. It arrived a week ago but it looks totally different from the product picture. I checked with my local tailor, they said will cost me usd 45 to alter the dress and another usd 20 for materials. I want to open dispute but I do not know if I can ask refund for usd 65 (to cover all my extra cost ) when the price is usd 80. It’s about 80% refund. Any advice?

    Reply
    1. Admin April 18, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Hi. Really sorry to hear about this. With the clothing there is no easy ‘blanket’ answer. First, it depends on how different the size is. Most sellers are smart, and they usually add a disclaimer saying that 1-3 cm error is allowable, which isn’t exactly the most ethical way since 1-3 cm is an entire size. Similar with the color, they usually state that due to the differences in the monitors and camera lenses, the colors may appear different in real life. However, if the product is significantly different from what you expected, like incoherent sewing, many threads that stick out, different material, or something along those lines you could be eligible for a partial or even full refund, depending on the situation. If you are ready to tailor it, I can assume that the color is acceptable, but the sizing is off. If you honestly feel that you have to get a refund, and if the seller has really cheated you, you can start a dispute – it is possible to do so up to 14 days after the order has been confirmed. From my experience, I found that it’s best to ask for a full amount, and if AliExpress staff feel that you are eligible for only a portion of it, they will adjust the amount – I think they see partial refund requests as attempts to haggle.

      Reply
  3. Aicha May 26, 2018 at 7:43 am

    Hello,
    Can you help me please.

    I opened a dispute with the seller because He ship it with Aramex I did not tell him to ship it with Aramex, I asked to ship it with UPS
    shipping cost in Aramex 15,79 USD and I was paid for UPS 33,8, So asked to remaining 18 USD.
    Aramex treatment is poor and bad in KSA and I was tired until I received the shipment from them، the shipment came damaged also,
    The selles was want to return 15 USA, and when I refused he put the proposed solution to return the shipment then he will refund only 18 USD from 57 USD that I paid.
    I do not want to return it back I only want the refund, what can I do?
    If I press the cancel return buttem will the 18USD back to me?? Or I’ll loss the dispute and the mony will reles to seller?

    Reply
    1. Admin May 27, 2018 at 10:38 am

      Hi Aicha. I feel that the seller is being unreasonable here. It depends on how bad the damage is, if the item is unusable I would file a dispute, as k for a full refund, upload pictures showing the damage and wait for AliExpress’ judgement. It happened to me a couple of times, and every time I got a full refund. How did you pay the additional $18, was it through another order?

      Reply
  4. Sean June 25, 2018 at 1:34 am

    Hi I ordered a LCD screen for my phone and when I received it 3 weeks later it seemed fine but some of the features(camera/flashlight doesnt open up like it did on my old LCD screen by drawing a pattern) didn’t work and when I pressed lightly the screen would turn white on the bottom left corner.so I messaged the seller and he said what did I want him to do after sending him a video of the problem.so I told him I just wanted to exchange the item or just refund it without paying any shipping fees.im a new user to AliExpress as I always used Amazon and didn’t find my phone lcd on Amazon.so after I opened a dispute since he stopped responding to me for 5 days and when I opened it he messaged me he will give me a full refund.The thing is I don’t wanna wait another 3 weeks for another LCD screen and have my money on the line until the defective LCD screen is back in their hands.i also don’t want to pay for shipping.i was wondering if I should close the dispute and just ask for a partial refund?or just forget about it.

    Reply
    1. Admin June 25, 2018 at 11:57 am

      Hey Sean. Typically, when the seller offers a full refund after opening a dispute this means that they will refund the product without returning it. If that is the case with you I would suggest to keep the dispute open until the refund is received. Sometimes they send money via PayPal instead of refunding it through AliExpress, which I think is done to save their seller ratings as far as the platform is concerned.

      Reply
  5. Aleksandr July 15, 2018 at 9:58 am

    Hello, I have two questions for an experienced user. I ordered a USB memory stick which stopped working 1 month after I got it, so I cannot open a dispute! This is the first time I felt truly cheated on AliExpress only allowing me to dispute 15 days after, since it’s garbage. Is there no other solution to this other than curse myself for trusting this Chinese brand and accept my money has went into the drain? It wasn’t much, so it wasn’t that bad. I guess $20. The other one is about a phone, I bought a refurbished phone well aware of the risks. When it arrived all went well and fine, but then it started to crash the same day. I updated it, factory reset it, but it still keeps on crashing all the time. It basically crashed in the middle of my conversations with people, I plugged my SIM in the old phone and asked the seller about it and he told me I could exchange it for a new phone. Because I don’t want to get screwed over by receiving another defect, I opened a dispute for full refund. My account is A4? So I get AliExpres sto step in 5-10 days after I open it, now that the time for the seller to reply is running out he told me I can send it back for full refund. What is the best option for me now? I know I have to pay a small fortune to send it back (about 50 dollars in total loss) I guess there is no reimbursement for the cost to send it back either? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    1. Admin July 16, 2018 at 2:42 pm

      Hey. Sorry to hear about your situation. Here is what I think:

      1. USB stick: that’s true, you can only open a dispute 2 weeks after confirming the receipt of the product. This isn’t ideal, but just to play devil’s advocate, the seller/AliExpress cannot know for sure what conditions the product is subject to during the use: if the buyer does not take due care of the product. Sometimes, there is warranty information in the product description, but more often than not you will need to send the product back to the seller. It’s understandably expensive, but unfortunately it is one of the risks you accept by shopping online. So researching feedback, reading online reviews on reputable sites and buying from trusted brands is a rather important step. I suggest looking at https://aliholic.com/reviews

      2. Phone that keeps on crashing. I would take a video of the phone being used to try and capture any proof that you can think of. Screenshots of the software versions in the phone “About” section can also be helpful in this case. The cost of sending it back will be the buyer’s responsibility. I’m really sorry to hear about this as I can definitely feel your frustration. It sucks to have purchased something with one expectation, and receive something completely opposite. It is very fortunate that you still have the Purchase Protection on it, and since you have an A4 account without too many disputes on it, that should play in your favour. Good luck with this case! I’d love to hear back from you once it’s resolved.

      Reply
      1. Aleksandr July 19, 2018 at 2:51 am

        First of all: thank you so much for your reply!

        1. I understand, for me I have now decided I will only buy the big brands in storage (sd, thumb drive). If you want to know what I tried it was KingDian 128GB USB stick, and it broke down by itself too quickly after 2 months. I have had lots of failing thumb drives (even SanDisk), but this is outrageously bad quality. It’s also my own fault, if there is once principle one should follow when buying from China is that if something is too good to be true it most likely is.

        As for your reviews, it is unfortunate that AliExpress sellers often change everything or go out of stock. From Unboxing Haul #8 I was interested in the USB card reader, but is no longer for sale and the vaporwave sweatshirt that looked pretty cool says this product is unavailable when I click the link. I ended up getting a sd reader one can only hope is good from AliExpress.

        2.Thank you for your tips. Made a video of the crashing and the serial number on the box matching, with the about section and all. I opened a dispute, the seller gave me the option to get a full refund if I sent the item back as registered air mail, and paid the shipping myself. This costs around 50-60 dollars and is completely unacceptable! I let the dispute escalate to AliExpress. AliExpress gave me two options: 1. I could get a partial refund that was 13 USD less than the total sum 2. Get a full refund and send the item back, for some reason they judge me to pay the return shipping in this case. Obviously I went with option 1. as 13 USD is far from the shipping cost I have to pay. However, I am satisfied with AliExpress decision as the 13 USD is not a big loss comparet to the total sum, but it doesn’t really make any sense why they didn’t cover this.

        If there is another lesson to be learned it’s that you shouldn’t buy a refurbished phone from China, when I get my money back I think I should go buy a phone locally to get the 1 year warranty and be safe with it. I

        Reply
        1. Admin July 19, 2018 at 11:41 am

          Glad everything worked out with the phone, more-less 🙂 $13 Less is definitely better than sending it back. Phones are surely a hit or miss. I bought mine locally but only because I am with the provider that uses older transmission bands, which aren’t used in the majority of the world anymore, so it’s nearly impossible to find a decent phone that will support them, so I got one off Craigslist (no warranty but the deal was too good to pass on). As for the deleted products, it’s true, I do my best to keep everything up to date and current, but it is a lot of work looking for the products when they go out of stock and trying to find the same one from a different seller. Sometimes it is available and easy to find, sometimes – not so much. I appreciate the heads up, I fixed the USB link 🙂

          Reply
  6. Missy September 30, 2018 at 6:24 am

    Hello, I am currently disputing an item that arrived damaged. Aliexpress granted me full refund but I must return it. So I accepted and they’re now waiting for a tracking number to be added, but without checking beforehand the shipping costs back to China turns out to be nearly £60! Also the seller messaged me privately saying they don’t accept returns. Hence I contacted customer support and explained the matter: they told me to cancel the return, that would take me back to the dispute options page (I had only two options though: partial refund and keep item or full refund and send item back) and then I should contact customer support again so they would communicate with the Aliexpress team to review the case and allow me to keep the broken item and have full refund. My worry is: should I trust them, can they really modify a dispute so easily? What if once I cancel return I lose the dispute? I would rather pay £60 but have about £500 refunded (the item’s value) than lose all the money and keep something broken. What would you suggest? I hope to hear from you. Best Regards

    Reply
    1. Admin September 30, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Missy! This is the first time I hear about the broken item needing to be returned, but considering the high value of it it makes sense. If the seller has agreed to issue a refund without returning the item back, they should be able to modify the dispute themselves. If what they are asking is to cancel the dispute I would be dubious. I trust AliExpress resolution team, they have never let me down. I don’t usually trust individual sellers when it comes to disputes, and if they offer PayPal refunds I don’t cancel the dispute until I get the PayPal refund. But I never bought anything that was as expensive as what you bought, so in this case I would act in the manner that is suggested by AliExpress resolution team. Sorry to hear about what happened! Would love to hear back from you about the progress.

      Reply
      1. Missy October 1, 2018 at 3:46 am

        Thank you very much for your quick reply. Unfortunately the seller has not agreed to issue a refund without returning the item back as it seems they don’t want to cooperate. In their private message they said “Hello, the product is damaged, we do not support return. We have made it very clear before shipping. I hope you understand”. Hence, my fear is that they will never agree to change the dispute to a refund & return option (unless Aliexpress has the power to do so themselves). The seller is not asking me to cancel, it was Aliexpress customer support who told me to cancel just the return, go one step back and they would fix the dispute with a refund & no return option but I’m not really sure they can do that without the seller’s agreeing to it in the first place. That’s why I’m stuck, I’m really worried to lose the whole case.

        Reply
        1. Admin October 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm

          The dispute resolution team is able to issue refunds regardless of the seller’s opinion regarding the issue, they’re there to mediate the dispute and their decision is final. The seller should be able to receive compensation from the shipping company, granted the fact that they have insured it properly before sending it out

          Reply
          1. Missy October 1, 2018 at 3:06 pm

            I’ve managed to chat again with customer support and this time another operator told me that if I press the “cancel return” button, that will end the dispute (contrary to what the previous operator said!) so I’ll just go ahead and return the item whether the seller will accept or not. I’ve decided that it’s better to pay a hefty shipping fee than to miss out on the whole refund. Many thanks again for your support. All the best.

          2. Admin October 1, 2018 at 8:49 pm

            That sounds like a good option. Might be a good idea to take a lot of pictures of the item going inside the box, and the tracking number on the box so that you have the proof of the item being sent. Hope you get your refund and everything works out!

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