Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Problems with Alibaba.com and other Chinese e-commerce portals
I've had a number of readers mention, in private correspondence, that they'd like to do business with Alibaba.com, the premier Chinese e-commerce Web portal. However, they complain that paying for goods using US bank accounts or credit cards is often fraught with difficulty. Transactions are rejected, transfers denied, or some other problem prevents the purchase from being completed.
I experienced this myself yesterday. I needed a couple of components that simply aren't available from local suppliers, but I found them on Alibaba.com. I set up an account there, then tried to register a US bank account for payment purposes, and a US credit card, too. The bank account was rejected without explanation. The credit card appeared to have been accepted right up to the actual payment, which was declined - not by my card issuer, but on Alibaba's side (I confirmed this with my card issuer). In sheer frustration, I eventually canceled my order.
How about you, readers? Has anyone used Alibaba.com or other Chinese e-commerce portals? How did you get over the payments hurdle? Can you suggest anything that would make life easier for the rest of us? I'm sure such international transactions will become more frequent for most of us over the coming years, and I'd like to figure out how to make them work.
Over to you! Please tell us your experiences in Comments.
EDITED TO ADD: Some readers have asked, in Comments, why I'd want to buy from China, or provide bank information to that country where fraud and crooked conduct are so notorious. The answer is simple: in many cases, that's the only country that makes what one needs. Some US suppliers have Chinese parts in stock, but they often charge 3-4 times as much as the price in China, and that makes them unaffordable for a small-volume purchaser like me. By ordering direct, even paying shipping charges, I can save a bundle.