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AliExpress - is it reliable for buying power tools and other related things?

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Forum topic by MiniMe posted 11-29-2019 01:30 PM 1134 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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MiniMe

229 posts in 614 days


11-29-2019 01:30 PM

Hi guys

Have you used AliExpress for shopping for woodworking tools and in general for other things?
How reliable is it? Do they have transaction coverage like ebay has ? How is the shipping, timewise?

Regards
MM


10 replies so far

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

4318 posts in 1136 days


#1 posted 12-03-2019 06:16 AM

Hey, a drill press for 20 bux, and you get to pick where it ships from China, or Russia. What could possibly go wrong?

No I haven’t, had never heard of it. I’ll let Harbor Freight do the importing, and go cruise the aisles to see if any of it is coming home with me.

One of the biggest complaints is the smell on the HF stuff. I cannot fathom not having that cooling off period it must make in California, before getting shipped across country to me. Direct to you, I would think you would need to keep whatever you bought outdoors a few weeks before bringing it in.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Andybb's profile

Andybb

2228 posts in 1165 days


#2 posted 12-03-2019 06:25 AM

Yes. Have bought a few things through them including 2 laser engravers. Got shipping/tracking notices and they all showed up on time. Out of probably 10 items one got lost and they shipped another one right out. Amazon has lost my stuff too. For being in China and not speaking English their customer support did a good job. It was funny. One time I tried sending a message in Chinese using google translate and they responded in Chinese and it translated perfectly back to English. Shipping is usually free and free return for 15 days after delivery on most items. They must put them on a plane as delivery is usually a week to 10 days. They are owned by Alibaba who is bigger than Amazon.


Hey, a drill press for 20 bux, and you get to pick where it ships from China, or Russia. What could possibly go wrong?
- therealSteveN

Nothing wrong with $20 for that drill press if you only want to spend $20 on a drill press.

-- Andy - Seattle USA

View CaptainKlutz's profile

CaptainKlutz

2041 posts in 2056 days


#3 posted 12-03-2019 09:08 AM

Have bought a couple of small items from Alibaba/AliExpress. It works.

For smaller stuff that can be shipped via China/US postal systems, can expect things to work same as buying cheap Chinese shipped stuff purchased on Ebay or Amazon. You would be surprised how large of box USPS will ship. They use airplanes and shipping time is couple days over the ocean.
The issue is: forwarding/consolidation of air containers takes a week in China, US postal customs takes a week or more to clear entry, and plus normal local 1st class package shipping time across country from port of entry to you. Figure 3-5 weeks total.

Have never actually finalized a personal order on larger tool that required pallet/crate based shipping, but have negotiated a couple. Walked away just before payment each time due hidden shipping costs uncovered.

Works same way as small stuff. MFG delivers to freight consolidator/forwarder, where they take days to weeks to fill a 40×8x8 sea box container(s) to USA, which they deliver to shipping carrier (boat in port), spends ~4-5 weeks across ocean direct or 8-10 weeks indirect. Customs clearance in states is another 1-3 weeks, then it’s trucked to a US warehouse where another forwarder breaks down the container. Forwarder hands off shipments to local trucking companies for final delivery. The biggest challenge with pallet or crate based shipments is the number of people who touch the shipment, and the average shipping time for oversea containers is 3-4 months.

The key to success shipping individual tools in crates/pallets overseas is getting in writing exactly who handles your shipment at every step, how much it costs for each step, and who pays for what. The FOB point on the paperwork is critical. If paperwork says FOB port of Los Angeles, then the shipment stops there and you get charged storage fees until you pick it up.

Going down the rabbit hole:
While not experienced with Alibaba shipments, could share a ton of horror stories about overseas crates of equipment for work; tools getting lost, misplaced for months, stolen, and often adding extra ‘handling fees’ (bribes) on both ends.
If there is paperwork error, expect a delay of at least a week for each one. Customs item coding errors can take 3-4 weeks to resolve, plus you have to pay a US bonded shipper extra to fix it.
Not uncommon for US customs to send individuals a bill for customs duties/taxes, depending on value they sometimes want it paid before they release the shipment.
Have seen less reputable forwarders, ship to final destination via common truck carrier freight collect and not tell anyone. So you either pay the driver with cash/check, or he returns it and still sends you $150 bill for refused delivery.
Overseas shipping can be a scary process, if not closely managed. It is not for the faint of heart, and you can’t cancel or return shipments underway without huge cancellation costs.

Hence: it is the hidden shipping and shipping liability costs that explain why Alibaba is so cheap. Folks like Grizzy/Jet/etc order enough to fill one or more containers, and then have people manage the transportation at each end. It costs same in time/paperwork for 1 crate with jointer as is does for a full container with 100 tools.

#IAMAKLUTZ, not an expert. In my past work life, Every time we thought transportation was figured out, shipping companies find a new way to screw up. Tread carefully.

Best Luck.

-- I'm an engineer not a woodworker, but I can randomly find useful tools and furniture inside a pile of lumber!

View Knockonit's profile

Knockonit

621 posts in 764 days


#4 posted 12-03-2019 11:02 AM

I”ve purchased a gaggle of items from express, some ship and arrive inside a week, and others have taken up to two weeks to arrive, well packaged and as per item described, while i’m not a avid buyer of online products, this one works, as does amazon on some items, like all sales items some things “do happen’‘

rj in az

View controlfreak's profile (online now)

controlfreak

335 posts in 163 days


#5 posted 12-03-2019 11:28 AM

Only thing I have bought from them is their stock (BABA) and I am very pleased with it.

View Lazyman's profile (online now)

Lazyman

4186 posts in 1949 days


#6 posted 12-03-2019 02:14 PM

I haven’t tried it because I usually don’t want to wait that long. As long as you use a credit card to buy it there isn’t much risk. You can always file a claim with the credit card company if they don’t honor their guarantee.

I bought some cheap sandpaper on Amazon once that I didn’t realize until it was too late was being sold and shipped by a Chinese seller. It took over a month to get here. On the other hand, I bought turquoise on eBay (~$5-6 including shipping) from India for doing inlay and it arrived in 3 days. I have learned on 3rd-party sellers on Amazon to check the seller’s country of origin.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

229 posts in 614 days


#7 posted 12-03-2019 02:22 PM

CK thanks for the detailed response
Thanks to the others for the feedback.
In conclusion, small items could be OK, big items = big problems (customs and shipping)

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

229 posts in 614 days


#8 posted 12-03-2019 02:25 PM



I haven t tried it because I usually don t want to wait that long. As long as you use a credit card to buy it there isn t much risk. You can always file a claim with the credit card company if they don t honor their guarantee.

I bought some cheap sandpaper on Amazon once that I didn t realize until it was too late was being sold and shipped by a Chinese seller. It took over a month to get here. On the other hand, I bought turquoise on eBay (~$5-6 including shipping) from India for doing inlay and it arrived in 3 days. I have learned on 3rd-party sellers on Amazon to check the seller s country of origin.

- Lazyman

I guess I will give them a try for small items
Yes on Amazon there is foreign sellers that sell and ship directly but sometimes I get the impression that they have the items pre-shipped to US locations and they ship from there. Other times Amazon does the shipping for them, not sure how.
It is hard to miss, the checkout screen tells you what is the estimated time for delivery. Don’t do “One click” ordering ..that hides the above (probably, I never did it)

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12945 posts in 2942 days


#9 posted 12-04-2019 09:19 AM

There is no free lunch, you pay less, you get less. The ‘less’ might be slower shipping, almost certainly lack of QC, probably less design and engineering (and more copy someone else), and little or no warranty.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View MiniMe's profile

MiniMe

229 posts in 614 days


#10 posted 12-04-2019 02:01 PM



There is no free lunch

there is the middle man

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