AliExpress and Temu are two popular websites for sourcing cheap items. Most of the products ship from overseas, particularly China, and are thus available for low prices.
If you want to buy products for the cheapest price possible, both AliExpress and Temu can be goldmines. However, which one is safer, and which one offers better bargains?
- Both AliExpress and Temu offer cheap items.
- However, AliExpress is more trustworthy and has been around for longer.
- AliExpress offers a wide selection of products, and if you look around, you can find affordable products in any category.
- On the other hand, Temu is a newer company. While not as established as AliExpress, it is slowly gaining popularity.Temu has a great refund policy as well as good customer support.
- The platform, unlike AliExpress, is designed to be a flash bargain site, where you can find the cheapest items possible, on sale for a limited time. Thus, if snatching great bargains is your top priority, Temu is probably a better choice.
AliExpress was launched in 2010 and is owned by Alibaba Group, one of the largest corporations in the world.
Alibaba Group was founded in 1999, and, according to Statista, it took up a whopping 25% of the global ecommerce market in 2020.
So, AliExpress is trustworthy and an established company, although that doesn’t mean that scams and shady sellers don’t exist. AliExpress is merely a platform where sellers can create profiles and online stores.
Ultimately, as a buyer, it’s important to do your due diligence and only buy from trustworthy sellers. Fortunately, AliExpress has implemented various measures to help you do that, which we will talk about in this article.
AliExpress is cheap, since products are coming straight from the source. However, since the products are usually shipped from China, it can take quite a while to get to the United States or elsewhere; a few weeks is typical, although some products could take a month or two.
Temu, meanwhile, was launched in 2022, and it is owned by PDD holdings. It is a lot newer than AliExpress, but it has been engaging in aggressive marketing.
Many of you have seen Temu ads on YouTube, Instagram, or elsewhere online. The products are cheap, as Temu focuses on aggressive flash sales.
In fact, it even sells products at a loss. It’s doing this to quickly become popular in foreign countries and outdo competitors like AliExpress and Amazon in terms of popularity.
Like AliExpress, Temu allows sellers to ship directly to consumers in foreign markets like the United States. It’s cheap because you’re buying directly from the source.
Let’s focus on safety when using these two sites. We will compare the two marketplaces and explore issues such as seller reviews, buyer protection, refund policies, and customer service.
Since AliExpress allows any vendor to create a store, there must be ways to ascertain whether a seller is trustworthy or not.
Fortunately, AliExpress makes it easy to ensure a seller is legit.
First of all, each product has reviews left by previous consumers. That allows you to get an idea of prior customer satisfaction, how durable the product is, and so on.
Reviews can also give you an idea of listing accuracy (how closely the product matched expectations) and shipping speeds. Some reviewers may even upload pictures, so you can see actual pictures of the product instead of edited photos from the manufacturer.
In addition to reviews on the product page, you can also view the seller’s online profile. To do that, hover your mouse over the shop name at the top left of the page, as shown in this screenshot:
Immediately, you can see how long the store has been open for. If it’s been around for a long time, it’s less likely to be a scam, because poor customer service and scammy behavior don’t usually result in staying in business long.
However, to see more information about the store, click on Business info.
There, you can see the company’s business license registration number, legal representative, and more. That helps you verify a seller is fully registered and compliant with local regulations in their jurisdiction.
On Temu, you can also view a product’s ratings and reviews on the product page.
However, if you scroll down a bit more, you will see the shop’s information straight on the page. You will see the seller’s overall rating, how many followers they have, how many items they are selling, and how many sales they have made.
That allows you to get a quick idea of how popular and trustworthy the seller is. If they have a lot of followers and excellent reviews, you can feel safer buying from them.
Finally, if you click on the seller’s profile, you can see written reviews people have left, along with how many reviews the seller has received in total.
For example, the seller in the screenshot below has a 4.9-star rating (out of five) and over 65,000 reviews, which is more than enough to ascertain whether the rating is reliable.
In case of a problem, you can open a dispute with AliExpress. Its buyer protection policy allows you to open a dispute within 15 days if the following shipping problems occur:
- You didn’t receive the order, and it’s past the delivery time.
- The package was shipped to the wrong address or held in customs.
- There is no tracking information.
- The shipping carrier returned the product to the seller.
You can also open a dispute in the following cases even after receiving an item:
- The item is of poor quality, or you are not satisfied with it.
- The item was not as described.
- The product was damaged during shipping.
When you open a dispute, AliExpress will forward it to the seller, who must respond within five days. If the seller denies your request, AliExpress may step in and require them to refund you (although depending on the case, you may have to ship the product back first).
Learn more about AliExpress disputes here.
The window for the dispute option is 15 days from when the product was delivered (or the promised delivery date if it never came).
If the product is in perfect condition and in original packaging, its safety seals are not damaged, and it still has all the labels, you qualify for a free return. Make sure to return all items from an order in a single return to get free return shipping.
In addition, some sellers have other guarantees.
For example, any unused product that is still in perfect condition can be returned domestically if the product was sold under a Domestic Returns guarantee, no questions asked.
Since AliExpress supports payment via PayPal (not available in all regions), you could also open a dispute with PayPal. PayPal gives you 180 days to file a dispute.
Temu has a purchase protection program that you qualify for if:
- Your order is not as described (for example, it doesn’t match the photos).
- The product was damaged during or before shipping.
- The product wasn’t delivered.
- The product came late.
Temu gives you a much more generous return window than AliExpress. You have a full 90 days to initiate a refund, but this is calculated from the date of purchase, not from the delivery date.
Still, it will usually be a lot longer than AliExpress’s return window.
However, return shipping is only free for the first return of each order (you can return multiple items together). If you return additional items from an order in a separate return, you will have to pay its return shipping costs.
Temu refunds can be refunded to your original payment method or as Temu store credit.
You can also open a dispute with PayPal if you used it to check out on Temu.
AliExpress has a help center with useful articles. If you want to get support from a human, you can scroll down and select the live chat option.
You will first be paired with an AI-powered bot, which will help the system learn more about your problem. You can then be paired with a live agent if you still require help.
Live chat support is available 24/7.
Temu also provides support via live chat. You can access it by going to the Contact Us page and clicking on Contact us.
If you are not signed in, you will be asked to sign in first.
You can also contact Temu on social media, but I am not sure how quick they are to respond there, so live chat is probably a better option.
Now that we’ve covered safety and security, let’s talk about bargains! Where can you find the best bargains, how frequent are they, and what types of products can you buy?
AliExpress’s products are already cheap, and it still runs sales frequently.
In the screenshot above, you can already see several categories of deals:
- Coupon codes of $5 or $10 off eligible orders
- A limited-time winter sale with up to 60% off on selected products
- Daily “Super Deals” with 50% off or more
- Products with free shipping
The “Super Deals” are updated every day, and you can view them here. Every day, new products are sold at 50% off or more.
Another bargain category is the “First Come, First Serve” deals. These are often of limited quantity.
For example, an item might only have one or four in stock, so you have to be quick to buy it before it gets snatched. Items are frequently 50-75% off or more!
There are also random deals, like $1.79 off a single “Choice” product. These deals come in the form of pop-ups that are randomly displayed on the site.
In addition, you can browse the promotions page to find current promos or the low price page to find products that are selling at a low price.
Temu places a larger focus on flash deals, as that is what its business model is really all about: super low prices on all products. It regularly pushes its sellers to outcompete Amazon, AliExpress, and other sites with lower prices.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are several categories of bargains available as of this writing:
- A blowout sale offering 90% off
- Winter fashion items starting from $0.38 an item
- An end of season clearance sale allowing you to save up to $100
There are many items selling for less than $1, between $1 and $2, or less than $10. Many of these get sold out quickly.
Available promotions do vary, as they change frequently, but this is just an idea of the kind of bargains you can expect to get on Temu.
Verified students also get a special student discount of 15% off once a month.
Shipping on AliExpress can vary. Different sellers offer different shipping methods.
Some sellers offer free shipping, but not all of them do. In addition, since different shipping methods are available, and some can take just a week or two while others weeks or months, it can be hard to know more about shipping before you visit the product page.
Temu, on the other hand, offers free shipping on all items, with delivery times of 6–20 days. Express shipping, which is $12.90 and free for orders above $129, takes just 4–9 days.
- Wider selection of products
- More established and trustworthy
- Better quality of products (for some products)
- Longer shipping times
- Free shipping not available on all products
- Only 15 days from date of delivery for returns
- Clunkier website
- Better deals and bargains
- Ninety days from purchase for returns
- Free shipping on all items
- Faster shipping times
- Many products available, but smaller selection than AliExpress
- Hasn’t been around as long
- Not as useful for dropshippers or ecommerce sellers
|Seller Ratings and Reviews
|15 Days From Delivery
|90 Days From Purchase
Whether you should buy on Temu or AliExpress depends on your priorities.
Both Temu and AliExpress offer excellent customer protection, although Temu offers a longer return window period. On the other hand, AliExpress is a more trustworthy platform.
In terms of deals, Temu wins, but only slightly. While its business model is focused on offering dirt-cheap prices, cheaper than its competitors, you may sacrifice on quality in return for such cheap prices.
Temu offers free shipping on all products, which can help you save money. AliExpress only offers free shipping on some products, and its free shipping can take quite long at times.
Overall, both are good platforms. In terms of safety, AliExpress wins, as it has been around longer, but in terms of deals, Temu has a slight advantage.
Remember, you can always compare prices on each platform for any particular item you want to buy.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.
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