Shopping at AliExpress for Chokers and Shipping to the Philippines

I've always wanted my own choker for a long time. It was a thing during the '90s (watch the film, Leon the Professional) and it's currently doing a revival. Not that I only jump at the bandwagon for whatever is currently hot but seeing that shops are stocking lots of chokers, I thought it's high time for me to buy lots. Chokers are pretty expensive locally (Forever 21, Claire's) so I resorted to buying from online shops. My first online shop for chokers was terrible (I'll talk about it in a different post) that feeling so bad about it made me "gamble" at losing another set of money at a different online shopping site.

And that's how I came to AliExpress.com. I've always seen AliExpress as that annoying popup window which usually pops up when you're downloading something from the web. AliExpress just basically popped up on my screen a week after my disappointing shopping on another site. Hence, I just thought, "Why not?"

After reading articles that AliExpress is the retail extension of Alibaba which is owned by a Chinese billionaire, Jack Ma, who showed up at APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) 2015 to have this talk with the USA President and a fellow Filipino citizen about the latter's developed technology, I cast my doubts aside and plunged right into shopping at AliExpress.com. If the US president trusts doing business with the guy, why not trust buying things from his business?

Two packets that arrived 28 days later:
AliExpress Shopping and Shipping to the Philippines
So I bought 7 items (not chokers entirely) from 4 different merchants in 1 order. If you pay all items at once, it's considered as belonging to one order. After payment, there's a 24-hour window for the payment to be verified before your order is processed. AliExpress offers Buyer Protection for up 60 days with 10 days as Processing time limit for the merchant.

How does this Buyer Protection work?

When you purchase something from any of the Ali shops (AliExpress, Alibaba), the money is kept at the AliPay payment system. The merchants will only receive money for their products after the customer received the items or goods. That's why it's imperative that as a customer, you must provide feedback upon receiving your items. In the duration of the Customer Protection window, you can ask for refund and open dispute when things turn for the worse. Usually this happens when 1) the item didn't show up for some odd reasons or 2) the item is not what you expected.

As you can see, I bought a Deathly Hallows choker for only $1.99! Below that, you can see an image of a cross pendant with fake red stone. There's actually 4 items there at the summation of only $3.45! If you can keep buying things this cheap, who won't get addicted to shopping at AliExpress? Furthermore, I know that the items I bought are really cheap but I had this bout of anxiety over what could happen to my items when they reach Customs, so I left a note to each seller, "Please declare this item as a gift." Well, it couldn't hurt to write that. Anyhow, nobody did it.

After one week of my first purchase, I finally decided to buy a buckled leather choker which was on sale at $8 (it's back to $15 as of this writing). It was my most expensive AliExpress purchase so far. The first time I tried to pay for this particular item, my payment transaction failed. Checking my bank statement online, it's confirmed that the failed transaction was charged. Of course, I was attacked with panic.

I then went to intl.alipay.com to register my payment account. You see, after your first payment, you are given the option to enroll your monetary card at AliPay so you won't have the hassle of registering your card details every time you make a purchase. I did tick that option before but I didn't fully enroll yet. I used my VISA savings account for that. So then I finished my registration at AliPay and after clicking the payment button again, this time my payment went through. This was within 5 minutes of my first failed transaction. I know, I live a dangerous life.

I was able to reach AliExpress' customer support via AliPay. AliExpress' customer support is a chat support which is fine by me since I don't like vocal interaction. Still, chat support is hard to come by if there are lots of customers on queue. Luckily for me, I got in.

This is what you'd see when you finally get in touch with chat support:
After giving chat support my name, this is the following conversation:
So you see, the chat support is awesome!

With that, I contacted my bank's customer support through email (remember that I don't like vocal interaction) and after 2 days, I was refunded. By the way, you have to wait for up to 48 hours until someone from email support replies. This is why I totally approve of AliPay's real-time chat support. It's way faster than email support.

In total, I'm awaiting 5 packages from AliExpress which are trackable on its website. Basically, there are 2 ways of tracking: 1) tracking via merchant's country post, and after arriving on the country of destination, 2) tracking via destination country post. For really cheap postage from abroad, the country of destination won't provide tracking. In short, only my last purchase appears on the Philippine Post (Phil Post) tracking website and the rest will be a hit-or-miss delivery. Tracking is still provided by the different postal services by the merchant, you'll just go blind with the postal service by your own country. For example, Chinese tracking might say, "Arrived at custom's office (destination country)" but there's nothing for you to verify from your own country. Like what happened to some people, they never got their items.

Surprisingly, two of my untrackable items via Phil Post are the ones that arrived on my doorstep first, 28 days after payment! *Mind blown* What's more amazing is the fact that I didn't pay a single peso upon receiving 2 packages. It might be perhaps they're too cheap to be charged anything. Well, I wasn't the one who was handed the packets. You see, I live in a different house but in the same community as my parents. When someone is looking for our surname, people would point to my parents' house since they're the known people. My father just decided to receive the packages.

I panicked again upon receiving the packages which came as two small packets. The smaller packet has, in red ink, an encircled number 2 in it, while the other a 3. If there's a 2 and a 3, then where's number 1? My father told me he saw my name only appearing twice on the delivery list where he signed. I still don't know what those numbers mean. I just hope for the best that the other items will arrive at my doorstep just like the others. Okay, the last purchase is the most important one not because it's costly but because it's the best choker to me.

This is my Deathly Hallows choker in it's natural form (natural form I say because I trimmed it later):
After cutting 6.5cm off for it to live by its designation of choker (that is to "choke" me), this is how it looks:
This choker is made of faux (or synthetic) suede so it has a definite shape around my neck unlike lace or velvet when you have a pendant of considerable weight on it hanging.

I decided to trim it since I can move better with the choker in the middle than it hanging loosely at the foot of my neck. If you want your loose choker "choking" you and to get the best width for it, wind a tape measure around your neck and bend your neck backwards. The tightest fit around your bent neck would be your best bet. Also, do try flexing your neck sidewards before cutting off.

These are the four pendants in the other packet:
I love how they're light-weight and small in size since I plan to attach the pendants in other chokers (velvet ones) which are yet to arrive at my doorstep. All the pendants in the choker and the necklaces aren't attracted to magnets.

So in conclusion, what can you learn from this post?

  1. Don't blame AliExpress if you have a failed transaction. Rather than ranting online and posting negative reviews of AliExpress on review sites, check with your bank first.
  2. Mandaue City is safe for online purchases from abroad. What's more? You don't have to pay anything when your package is delivered right at your doorstep, not even a postal service fee. This is still to be confirmed on my other packages.
  3. Merchants from AliExpress truly deliver. You can track your items via AliExpress' website. If your purchases don't arrive, chances are they're being held off by your country's post.
  • UPDATE! May 2016
My first buckled leather choker was held off in the post office for 5 weeks. By then, I already had 8 items delivered to my doorstep (technically my parents') by the same delivery man. I mustered the courage to ask him for a favor by having him check my tracking number. Upon the next delivery, my first buckled leather choker showed up with my other buckled leather chokers. As it turned out, those packages went into the Package section.

The difference? The package section is for huge package boxes wherein for each box, claimers are supposed to receive a claiming slip sent by the post office and one has to claim his/her package with the slip and an amount of P112 for each box. Luckily for me, my delivery man is totally the man! He convinced the post office that my packages are of negligible value. I didn't pay a single peso for the delivery! My delivery man didn't even ask for a tip (I didn't bother giving him any). Bless him! He delivered other items after that.

The definite thing to look out for to know whether or not your parcel will end up in this dreaded "Package" section: if your tracking number starts with an "R".

6 Comments

  1. Hi Ate Liz, I want to purchased an item in Aliexpress but I'm really scared to use my debit card. Should I be bothered? I really want it since then but there is no one selling here in the PH. I hope you can give me an advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should never be scared. Your debit card is completely safe. Just make sure that when prompted, you should enroll your debit card at AliExpress' express payment system: Alipay. The website would be intl.alipay.com. When you have chosen your item and click the button for payment after entering the details of your debit card, you will be prompted to enroll (or have your card remembered) by Alipay. Tick the "yes" (or similar) button. After that, go to intl.alipay.com to set up your security questions. Any kind of trouble encountered like what happened to me can be dealt with by your bank.

      Jack Ma has billions of payees under his business. There's no report of hacking whatsoever. In terms of payment, Alipay is a trusted and safe website.

      Delete
  2. Hi! I recently purchased a dress in Aliexpress, didn't cost much approximately $8 just for testing. Seller sent it July 21, 2016 & it arrived PH August 5, 2016 but until now I haven't heard or received anything. On the tracking status, it shows "enroute to delivery office" dated Aug 9, 2016. Do you think it's better if I can go to our Post Office to check if my package is there? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry for the late reply. You usually have to wait 2 weeks for the delivery office to process your delivery. If your package has not arrived now, then by the second week of October. If your package is a big box (perhaps because you ordered a dress), chances are it will wind up in the parcel/package section where you have to pay P120 for delivery. Usually too, the notice from the parcel section gets lost during sorting. If after the second week your note/form didn't arrive yet, I suggest you go to the post office to check. Chances are... even the clerks on the claiming window will not entertain your inquiry (some of them are lazy to even check the list). I suggest you inquire with a mailman instead and give him your tracking number.

      Delete
  3. Air freight shipping is utilized for little to larger than average things and can be facilitated if the shipment is earnest. aliexpress dropshipping sites

    ReplyDelete
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