Saturday, October 1, 2011

Alibaba - any good deals on board?

I have been dragging my feet about writing this article about the products on offer at ALIBABA. The fact is that there are many sellers and buyers on the platform, and that we have to be fair to everyone. I have been trying to be as honest and as positive as possible but sometimes, there are many jokers and clowns on board ALIBABA. Too bad, with the upcoming IPO, I feel the buyers will be more cautious given the current economic state.


Buying mobile phones from China is a drag. They usually ship with DHL and if you think you will get it within 3 days, you are absolutely wrong. I tried with many sellers and the fact that it is almost impossible to export directly from China is a drag, so usually they give you a Land Consignment Note number where the local carrier will carry it across from Shenzhen to Hong Kong awaiting repackaging with the Battery Export License, and then another wait, while the number is changed.  In actual fact, it takes 72 hours from Shenzhen to Hong Kong and another 24-48 hours for the loading of the cargo on board the aircraft and from there, standard shipping times go about.


I had something purchased from a few sellers in China. They all claimed to be the manufacturers. And I was quite annoyed. Very annoyed that after payment, things take 12 days to arrive. Heck even an AIRMAIL parcel get to me within 3 days, and that because DHL has lousy shipping network in Malaysia, serving only Capital and Major Cities. I had to drive 75 miles to go collect it from their depot and if I did not collect, they will pass to another carrier where it will take another 3-5 days to arrive.


What UTTER RUBBISH. The declaration forms are also totally messed up. They also demand you pay using WESTERN UNION which I will not allow, since they don’t protect me at all. After insisting on PAYPAL, they ship it out late.


I honestly am quite disappointed with the quality of things. As the Chinese saying, “ YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR”. I asked for an ANDROID IP4 Look-a-like with DUAL SIM. It came with an older version , no in-built memory (4mb??!) and no memory slot, and only single SIM SLOT…and of course, the item did not pass my standards for testing. I had to counter demand the payment for the dodgy products sent, but then you have the issue of returning the item back, as China prohibits import of their products. You can return these mobiles etc without the battery, but the cost is too much. When Paypal dragged their feet on this, all you have …is to lose out.  We lost a few hundred bucks on these junk (bricks!)… and we learnt our lesson.


If you wish to deal with the Americans.. think again too..since they are also fly by night. They have many stolen goods for sale..and this is the reason I will not deal with them. For a real deal, of huge quantities, ask to meet them to check first…and then you confirm the payment by Cashiers Order or L/C.


ALIBABA-A THIEVES MARKET….. be careful with the junk sold!