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AliExpress Delivery Guarantee Is A Lie 2016-10-30

AliExpress is a Chinese web site which is owned by AliBaba, an online retail company with numerous web sites that helped it to pull in about 15 billion bucks so far this year. It is kind of like eBay except all the items are fixed price listings instead of having some auction-based. I have bought a few things from AliExpress, mostly circuit boards for broken televisions. This post is meant to provide a detailed account of my most recent experience with them, and to explain why their "Delivery Guarantee" is simply bullshit.

the-lie Click for full sized image.

This is a screenshot of the item description for the board I purchased from the seller "JJ L" on AliExpress back on September 16th. As you can see, it tells me that the seller guarantees I'll have my product in 23 days or I get a full refund. In fact, lots of AliExpress item descriptions have a "Delivery Guarantee"... like this personal massager or this fake dog turd. The "On Time Delivery Guarantee" is obviously part of the AliExpress web interface that allows sellers to indicate how long it will take for an item to arrive. Pretty clear eh? Well... no.

The same day that I bought the board, I received a message from the seller saying:

Hello! Does your TV is a few inches.

This confused me, so I replied with:

I don't know what you mean by "Does your TV is a few inches".

The seller's reply was:

No, your goods have been sent to you.

Okay, I just assumed that the seller's first language was not English and this was just a simple language barrier. No big deal right? I figured it doesn't matter what language the seller speaks, as long as the board works I'll be happy. Then on October 13th (4 days after the 23 day delivery guarantee) I got three messages from the seller saying:

The goods are still in transit. Please wait. I also delayed you 10 days of receipt.

Well now wait a minute... you can't just extend your delivery guarantee by ten days because my item hasn't arrived! That is kind of the opposite of a delivery guarantee! Then, the next day I received another message from the seller saying:

Hello! We have given you a 10-day delay. Would you please cancel the sale after the first please? Thank you!

What does that mean? Why would I cancel the sale? I WANT the board... I PAID FOR the board... what is all this crap? Again I assumed that this was just some simple misunderstanding because the seller only knows limited English. On the other hand, the seller kept on making offers (inside the AliExpress dispute process) of "no refund". I replied with:

Making an offer of "No return & No refund" is a pretty mean thing to do. If I click accept, and the package never arrives, then I have lost my money.

And the seller's reply was:

very sorry. Delay your valuable time. Please forgive me.
I am not familiar with the operation. Please Haihan. For this you absolutely unpleasant deal. I sincerely apologize to you.

But I didn't want an apology, I wanted a circuit board, or I wanted my money back so I could purchase a real circuit board. I contacted AliExpress customer support via their online chat facility which unfortunately does not provide logs. In short, I essentially told them that I had opened a dispute and was looking for a refund because the delivery guarantee was simply not met. The customer support staff were clearly not trained at all and had no idea what I was talking about. They passed me around like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert, and put me on hold (yes, online chat hold) more times than a hernia specialist. In the end, AliExpress denied that they have anything to do with the delivery guarantee, or that they have any control over it (even though it is clearly an option the sellers get when filling out item descriptions). Their final decision was that I was entitled to no refund even though the item did not arrive inside the guaranteed 23 days.

All I can suggest to anyone considering an AliExpress purchase is: Don't.

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