Buying products from Chinese vendors via websites such as Alibaba always involves some risk. You do not contact the seller directly, and what is more, you can rely only on photos when it comes to the appearance of products. In order to lower the transaction risk, it is worthwhile to familiarize yourself with the Alibaba Trade Assurance service. It is the free-of-charge buyer protection offered by Alibaba.com. On its basis, buyers are entitled to refunds if shipments are delayed or the goods do not meet the specified requirements.
What is Alibaba Trade Assurance?
Alibaba Trade Assurance is a service offered by Alibaba.com. It is a set of security measures to ensure that the suppliers respect a commercial contract’s details with a foreign buyer. Thanks to Trade Assurance, the importer will receive a refund in one of the following cases:
- The goods have not been shipped within the deadline specified in the contract.
- The manufactured elements do not comply with the established quality requirements.
Unfortunately, the Alibaba Trade Assurance service is not available for all transactions with the Alibaba suppliers. It is an additional service that some of the vendors offer. Therefore, when choosing a supplier from Alibaba, it is worth verifying whether they belong to the Trade Assurance program. The Trade Assurance mark should appear in search results next to information about the seller. When searching for a given product, you may choose only to see the suppliers that provide this service. Keep in mind that the Alibaba Gold Supplier badge alone does not prove the seller’s reliability.
The purpose of the service is to build trust between sellers and buyers. It is intended to ensure that the Alibaba vendors will produce and timely deliver high-quality goods that meet the buyers’ expectations.
How does Alibaba Trade Assurance work?
In case the supplier fails to ship the products within the deadline or does not meet all of the quality requirements, Alibaba Trade Assurance allows the buyer to apply for a refund. However, the amount of money covered by the assurance is limited. For each supplier bearing the Trade Assurance mark, you can find information about their insurance coverage limit. It means that if the cost of your order exceeds the limit, you will only get a refund within this amount, but not the entire order’s worth. You can select one of the two types of Trade Assurance security measures.
- The „Pre-shipment” option protects the advance payment and requires a quality check before the goods are shipped from China.
- The „Post-delivery” option, in turn, covers the whole order’s cost (up to the limit of a given supplier) and obliges to check the quality of goods within 15 days after the import customs clearance or 90 days after shipment of the goods.
Using Alibaba Trade Assurance when ordering goods, you must specify the shipment date and present a trade contract. In case of a dispute between the buyer and the supplier, Alibaba will evaluate the order’s compliance with the requirements based on the contract’s provisions. It would be best if you describe your needs very precisely; otherwise, you will not be able to claim a refund. Remember to specify such demands as the date of shipment, product size, number of items, materials to be used, product color, packaging, etc.
Alibaba will not take action against the supplier if the buyer does not specify requirements. One should note that it is mainly the Alibaba Gold Supplier mark holders that use the Alibaba Trade Assurance services. Those are the fee-paying users of the service, on which Alibaba.com earns money. In case of ambiguity, Alibaba may employ a company to carry out quality control based on general standards.
Alibaba Trade Assurance – summary
One should keep in mind that “compliance with the outlined standards” is not synonymous with “good quality”, which is understood by everyone in their own way. Alibaba Trade Assurance does not guarantee reimbursement in case the product is of lower quality than was expected. A distinction must be made between the deliberate replacement of materials and components with those of inferior quality and the supplier’s non-professionalism. Remember also that you should open a dispute and try to reach an agreement directly with the seller in case of any problems with the goods or delivery. If the supplier does not respond within 15 days or you fail to reach an agreement, you can apply for a refund.
In conclusion, Alibaba Trade Assurance is a useful tool to secure a transaction on Alibaba. It allows the buyer to apply for a refund if the supplier fails to comply with the contract. That is supposed to ensure the quality of goods and timely delivery. However, it is not a guarantee that you will receive a satisfactory product. When choosing a supplier and goods on Alibaba, you should always remain cautious. Before starting cooperation with a contractor from China, we encourage you to verify the Chinese company. To be sure about the product quality, you may also contact us to conduct quality controls at every stage of the production process.