• Alibaba Trade Assurance Explained: What Importers Must Know

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    Since Alibaba launched it’s Trade Assurance program in 2014, we’ve received countless questions about what it is, and how it can help importers reduce risk.

    So, we decided to take a closer look, and uncover what the Trade Assurance is, and how it can protect start ups and small to medium sized businesses, buying from manufacturers in Mainland China. As we did that, we also found out that the Trade Assurance is only as ‘assuring’ as you make it to be.

    How the process works

    Below follows an overview of the Alibaba Trade Assurance process.

    Step 1: Place order through Trade Assurance

    Step 2: Use Alibaba Trade Center (Under My Alibaba) to communicate with the supplier

    Step 3: Create Purchase Contract on Alibaba.com

    This contract is only valid for the products. Trade Assurance doesn’t cover any warranties, replacements or other services agreed upon between the Alibaba supplier and the buyer.

    Step 4: Confirm contract

    Step 5: Make the payment: Credit Card or Telegraphic Transfer

    ONLY use the designated account

    Trade Assurance protects you in 2 ways:

    A. If the goods are not shipped on time (as specified in the agreement)

    B. If the products are not matching the specifications (as stated in the agreement)

    This video from Alibaba shows what the interface looks like:

    What is Alibaba’s Trade Assurance Program?

    The Alibaba Trade Assurance Program is meant to add an extra layer of security to overseas buyers of goods, primarily, from Chinese suppliers. As such, the Trade Assurance allows the buyer to receive a refund if any of the following occurs:

    1. The shipment is delayed, beyond the specified shipping date

    2. The manufactured items are not compliant with the provided quality requirements

    We’ll get back to these later, but let’s stick to the basics for now. The Trade Assurance program is only offered to Alibaba Gold Suppliers that meet certain criteria.

    Thus, Trade Assurance is not offered when buying from all suppliers. Currently, the number of suppliers offering this is somewhat limited but almost certain to grow rapidly in the coming months.

    The amount, covered by the Trade Assurance, is also limited, and often ranging between US$10,000 to US$30,000. That said, it is often enough to cover the initial deposit order, which is mostly set at 30% of the total, FOB, order value.

    Before, there was also a minimum transaction amount, set at US$1,000. However, as of 2015, this is no longer the case, as the minimum order amount has been removed.

    What importers should also notice, is that the Trade Assurance only covers transactions that are first registered through the Alibaba checkout system, following payment to the bank account specified by Alibaba.

    For obvious reasons, Alibaba is not offering any Trade Assurance on payments made to private, or offshore, accounts. That said, the transaction is still not made ‘within’ Alibaba, but, for example, by Telegraphic Transfer.

    alibaba trade assurance

    How can Alibaba’s Trade Assurance Benefit My Business?

    The Trade Assurance allows overseas buyers to claim a refund from a supplier that either fails to ship on or before, the set shipping date – or fails to ensure compliance with all specified quality requirements.

    Considering that it’s very hard, even impossible, to successfully claim a refund of deposit payment, this program is indeed filling a desperately needed gap. Especially for orders not large enough to make a supplier accept a Letter of Credit payment.

    Don’t Expect Compensation Without Clearly Defined Product Specifications and Quality Requirements

    Clearly, Alibaba cannot offer a refund entirely based on the buyer’s request. What if the buyer is at fault, and not the supplier? After all, Alibaba.com generates revenue through membership fees, paid by companies listed as Gold Suppliers.

    The truth is that very often, quality issues are caused by disorganized buyers, rather than suppliers.

    As you enter the Trade Assurance checkout, you will be required to first specify the shipping date, and confirm if the order shall comply with “the quality requirements agreed in the purchase contract”.

    After the order is confirmed, the supplier will then upload a contract, still on Alibaba.com, which specifies the quality requirements, set for the order.

    This is also where things get a bit complicated. If you fail to properly specify clear quality requirements, you cannot claim a refund later on.

    For obvious reasons, Alibaba will not issue a refund, simply because an item is non-compliant with your imaginary definition of what makes ‘good quality’. Indeed, there’s no universal definition of good quality.

    Luckily, Alibaba is very clear on how they deal with situations when quality is not detailed in terms of technical specifications:

    “What if the agreed quality requirements are not clear?

    If your agreed quality requirements are not clear and are not quantifiable and actionable, in case of a dispute we will adopt a third-party inspection company’s recommendation of industry standards as a basis for determination.”

    As such, Alibaba will appoint a Quality Inspection company, to approve, or reject, the order entirely based on industry standards, for example, ISO and ASTM standards.

    That said, compliance with a standard is not necessarily the same thing as ‘good quality’. Let’s say you’re importing children’s clothing, you may want to include the following quality specifications:

    • Fabric: Organic cotton, 200 gsm
    • Fabric Color: Pantone 1935 D
    • Design: As specified in design_draft_a.pdf attachment
    • Dimensions: As specified in design_draft_dimensions.pdf
    • Care label: As specified in label_b.pdf attachment
    • Zipper. YKK
    • California Prop 65 Compliant: Yes
    • REACH (EU) Compliant: Yes
    • CPSIA (US) Compliant: Yes

    If you leave a gap, no matter how small, you are exposed to severe quality issues. Alibaba will certainly not act against a supplier if you fail to provide clear specifications.

    Instead, they will request the QC inspector to arbitrarily, approve, or reject, the batch – entirely based on ‘general quality standards’.

    These are certainly not covering specific material and component quality requirements. Nor are they covering compliance with applicable substance regulations (e.g. REACH and California Prop 65) and labeling requirements (e.g. CE marking).

    Thus, the Trade Assurance is a tool, but certainly not a guarantee for a ‘successful delivery’.

    What at first may seem like a simple transaction, now require that you confirm the following before you even think about placing an order:

    1. How shall we define product specifications for our product/s?

    2. Is the supplier able to comply with these product specifications, and how can this be verified?

    3. Which product standards and regulations apply to my product/s, in our target market/s?

    4. Is the supplier able to ensure compliance, and do they have a verifiable track record of previous compliance?

    It’s only when these questions are answered, that you, and the supplier, can draft the contract, which in turn is used by Alibaba as a reference.

    As long as you manage to clearly define your quality requirements, using established technical terms and definitions, the Trade Assurance is indeed vastly reducing your risks.

    Dispute Resolution and Compensation

    As previously mentioned, Alibaba appoints a quality inspection company to verify that the products are manufactured in compliance with the specified quality requirements.

    If the quality inspector rejects the batch, the buyer is notified, and can then file a dispute on Alibaba.com.

    Counting from this date, the supplier has 15 days to resolve the dispute, or Alibaba will get involved.

    If it goes to the point where Alibaba is forced to interfere, they will first review the contract, and then compare it to the quality inspection report, to determine if the supplier failed to comply.

    Assuming they did fail, Alibaba may now refund the payment – or, if the payment exceeds the limit, refund the amount covered by the Trade Assurance, set for the specific supplier.


    The Trade Assurance is a great feature, empowering buyers to claim compensation if the supplier has evidently failed to comply with the buyers (clearly stated) requirements.

    This is certain to make Chinese suppliers think twice, before using cheap and substandard materials and components or using other strategies to improve their profit margins, by reducing quality.

    That said, Alibaba cannot act without clearly defined product specifications.

    Certainly, they will not issue a refund, simply because a product batch is not matching a buyer envisions quality requirements.

    Therefore, the Trade Assurance shall be considered a tool, but not a mechanism capable of reducing all risks involved, when importing from China, and other countries in Asia.

    It’s still your job to do the groundwork, and work your way through the product development process, no matter how much time it may take.

    Other Articles About Alibaba.com


    This article is provided only for informational purposes only and neither the author nor any companies and/or service providers mentioned in this text makes any representations as to the accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information in this article. This article only represents the views of the author and is not endorsed by any company and/or service provider mentioned in this text.

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  • 75 Responses to “Alibaba Trade Assurance Explained: What Importers Must Know

    1. Boris C. at 10:29 am

      This is a timely article after Trade Assurance was introduced. I have been wondering what it is since.

      Do they cover deposit only or balance payment? For claims you mentioned 3rd party Alibaba assigned quality inspector but here they mention that I must arrange inspector myself?

      “If the supplier don’t ship on time or the quality does not meet your requirements contained in the contract (you need to raise any product quality claims before the products are shipped out, which means you will need to arrange for the products to be inspected before they are shipped out), the balance hasn’t been paid, and your initial payment is covered by the Trade Assurance Amount, the payment will be 100% refunded.”

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 7:35 pm

        Hello Boris,

        Seemingly, it is not restricted to the deposit or balance payment, but instead a fixed sum. That said, assuming that you follow up a 30/70 payment plan, and only wire the balance after the (approved) QC, this shall in reality only concern to deposit payment. That said, I have not used this system myself, nor am I aware of any client of ours that has.

        1. Boris at 2:30 pm

          When I am on Trade Assurance page I am able to proceed by selecting one of the following options:

          Pre-shipment coverage – You will be protected for the covered amount of your initial payment. Please check the quality of your products before shipment.

          Post-delivery coverage – You will be protected for the covered amount of your total payment. Please check your product quality within 15 days of clearing customs.

          The first one protects initial payment which is good against potential scams as buyer later required to send quality inspector to approve and wire the balance. This seems safer than last option.

          The last option covers entire transaction and allows buyer to approve quality within 15 days of clearing customs. Looks like option that does not require quality inspector but I surmise proving quality mismatch would be the hardest part without at least some report from quality inspector.

          1. ChinaImportal at 5:53 am

            Yes, I totally agree that “Pre-Shipment coverage” is the better option!

    2. Renaud at 12:04 pm

      Thanks for looking into this offer in depth.

      The text “we will adopt a third-party inspection company’s recommendation of industry standards as a basis for determination” is not clear:
      – Which inspection company? Will Alibaba pay them? In that case, will they work with a good inspection company?
      – A third-party inspection company may suggest that a batch is “conform” or “not conform”. But it’s really not clear on what basis. There are many “industry standards” and one can guess that Alibaba will try to keep the bar low (as you mentioned, suppliers are Alibaba’s customers). So an importer might buy watches for sale in an upscale distribution channel, and end up with a basic QC inspection based on AQL limits of 2.5% (major) and 4.0% (minor). Not exactly appropriate.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 7:38 pm

        Hello Renaud,

        Yes, I thought it was relevant, as many suppliers now join this program. Alibaba lists a number of inspection firms. If I remember correctly, Bureau Veritas is on that list. Currently, they also offer US$1 Quality Inspections, and I assume this is paid by the importer, yet subsidized by Alibaba.

        If a buyer fails to provide any specifications, I assume they will refer to general ISO and ASTM standards. However, there’s no way to ensure compliance with highly specific quality requirements and design details. Then again, it’s up to the buyer to specify these details, and Alibaba is very clear on the potential consequences if this is not done.

    3. Bob F. at 2:25 pm

      I am a 1st time importer. I am planning to import Microsoft Xbox gaming consoles to sell in USA. I recently attempted to make a purchase from a seller I found on Alibaba. He asked him to contact him directly to complete transaction. Probably my 1st mistake. He didn’t tell me about the Trade Assurance fee I needed to pay until after I had paid him $900 for the units. I didn’t have an additional $900 for it. I had paid him via Western Union and he wanted me to send an additional $900 for the “Assurance Fee.” I know now to never do this again and instead complete the transaction through Alibaba. But am I responsible for the Trade Assurance fee? I’m still not sure about this.
      Any wisdom you can share about this process would be greatly appreciated. Or, If there is someone else I should talk to please let me know.
      My direct email is: Bob2kat@hotmail.com.
      Thank you!

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 9:37 am

        Hello Bob,

        Sounds like a scam. Xbox consoles sold in Mainland China are, as of today, imported from Hong Kong and Japan – even though the contract manufacturers are based in Shenzhen. However, those manufacturers would of course not trade consoles on the side.

    4. jim emmerson at 10:00 am

      i am becoming a gold member april 24, 2015 – being verified
      as a manufacturer, is TRADE ASSURANCE included or how do I get it.
      killy hsu is my business agent.

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 4:13 am

        Hello Jim,

        Seemingly, a Gold Supplier membership is not including trade assurance by default. Also, it’s only offered to companies registered in Mainland China.

    5. SHAKEEL at 7:28 pm

      It deals with only quality and timing. What about infringement? Does it cove that as well?

    6. Ebon at 9:16 pm

      Hello im also a first time buyer im looking for Brazilian unprocessed hair.. 7a quality ..I’m very nervous about buying a large order.. How do I wing of the fakes.. Can u please give some advice.. And is talking Ana making deals on Skype and paying through PayPal considered paying without Alibaba.. Email me or respond here please and also I want the hair to be from India and manufactured in China..

    7. Basit at 1:13 pm

      As I am using the trade assurance programme for the first time. I want to pay my supplier using trade assurance programme just want to know if I can transfer the first 3o% deposit into Alibaba’s account using the third party sites like Azimo.com as it costs me less than using my own bank. Can you also tell me How will alibaba know that payment was made by me.

    8. Rahamon b. Aweda at 4:15 pm

      Hello alibaba trade assurnce,

      this is full sincere ent co situated in Nigeria we are importer and we want to be using your trade assurance to importying from china, becuse your trade assurance was just intrdoced to us but we do nto way to operte right

      now, please when we ordere from china, are you going to send out the goods to us before payment ??? or atre you going to notify us the airwaybill and flight no before send you payment?? please reply back
      yours faithfully,
      full sincere ent co
      e-mail: oseru_opaleye@yahoo.com

    9. Doug Vaughan at 8:50 pm

      What is the cost of Trade Assurance – to both the buyer and the supplier?

      1. Fredrik Grönkvist at 7:20 am

        Hmm, I need to look this up actually. I assume the cost is carried by the buyer though.

        1. Boris at 2:22 pm

          I remember they required minimum transaction of $1000 for Trade Assurance eligibility but as of today it seems this limit is removed as I can’t find it.

          1. ChinaImportal at 5:51 am

            Hi Boris,

            Yes, seems like it’s removed. I found this: https://resources.alibaba.com/topic/801362880/Quick_Guide_to_Trade_Assurance.htm

            Kindly note that currently there is no longer a minimum transaction amount for Trade Assurance orders.

    10. samson at 6:42 pm

      Hi this is my first tym to do any transaction online, how i know if the supplier are acredited and what is full cycle of transaction step by step
      I have plan to buy from surri company,, from china can u give me feedback
      Should be all transactions from alibaba messenger application are not fake

      1. ChinaImportal at 4:24 am

        Hi Samson,

        I suggest you check out our Buyer’s Guide: https://www.chinaimportal.com/all-categories/

        It provides a step-by-step guide for the entire sourcing and procurement process, including payments.

    11. Boris at 2:39 pm

      When I tried to go through Trade Assurance transaction I was told by supplier that I will be using my own freight forwarder agent and after speaking with Alibaba support supplier told me that Trade Assurance will not work in such case. When I asked why I was told that transaction must be made for international export which must go through customs under “One Touch” by Alibaba. It seems this is Alibaba’s affiliated company that works as en export agent and issues proper exportation documentation for all Trade Assurance transactions and suppliers participating in it work with this export agent. I was told that I must have my freight forwarder to export through “One Touch” to proceed with Trade Assurance transaction with supplier.

      I don’t know whether there were misunderstandings but maybe it’s because it is related to option for “Post-delivery coverage” which specifies that buyer has 15 days from clearing customs to report quality issues. But then I did not select this option and neither did I start Trade Assurance transaction. Could be specific case to me…

      1. Boris at 2:40 pm

        “One Touch” is mentioned in Trade Assurance terms of service: https://rule.alibaba.com/rule/detail/2155.htm

        1. ChinaImportal at 5:53 am

          Thanks, we will check it out!

      2. ChinaImportal at 5:52 am

        Hi Boris,

        Very interesting. Hence, Trade Assurance will only work if you ship with a freight company that is affiliated with them?

    12. David at 5:19 pm

      I’m ordering off alibaba via trade assurance and was originally going to pay the full amount through trade assurance but changed to paying 30% of the amount through trade assurance then 70% before shipping. I’m only covered for 30%, but it feels safer than paying the full amount upfront.

      Is the 30/70 way I just switched to a smart move or is it better to make the full payment under trade assurance upfront?

      1. ChinaImportal at 5:37 am

        Hi David,

        No, you shall avoid making the entire payment upfront. As far as we understand, the transaction is still made directly to the suppliers bank account. Hence, Alibaba is not acting as an intermediary. Assuming something would go wrong, Alibaba will surely intervene, to resolve the situation (and somehow, manage to issue a refund to the buyer). That said, better avoiding a refund to begin with.

    13. VICTOR MOODLEY at 8:59 am

      dear sir / madam

      good day to you

      how do i make direct payment for goods from china via alibaba trade assurance, please send me details

      victor moodley

      1. ChinaImportal at 11:37 am

        Hi Victor,

        As far as we are aware, the payment is not done on Alibaba.com, but to the suppliers bank account. However, that could have changed.

    14. Onyeka at 11:46 am

      Hello, i have ordered some goods from a company via Alibaba and now its gone to shipment stage. I am using my own shipping agent and what im shipping aint more than 1cbm, the supplier says that they need Vessel number, date and name to be added unto the Alibaba Trade Assurance contract for their money to be released.

      How true is this? also why cant Alibaba accept receipt of delivery issue by the shipping agent as a proof to indicate that all is fine?

      1. ChinaImportal at 9:24 am


        You better email Alibaba directly to find out. However, it doesn’t sound too strange that they could require this sort of information.

    15. sofia at 4:31 am

      alibaba supports only their premium registered suppliers i case of a quality problem we serious got defective products we submitted the invoice /the defective products photos /paypal payments proof
      but still alibaba ruled in their favour they claimed this wasn’t their goods
      thats it the matter was closed once and for all

      this is all bullshit of fair play
      trade assurance its crap please proceed cautiously as after a mont with great difficulty u find a buyer and ship out the products stops working ater a few days — made in china
      very sad today selling online we have to give free replacement warranty no questions asked or else we will disappear with 2-3 bad customer reviews so selling inferior products in the guise of superiour product finish from china may not work

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:46 am

        Hi Sofia,

        Alibaba requires that you sign a contract with the supplier, in order for Trade Assurance to be valid.

        Don’t you have any documentation that proves that the products are manufactured by that supplier?

        What about quality control records?

    16. Fabian at 11:29 pm

      This new Alibaba Assurance coverage is a SCAM! We are going through a dispute right now, they don’t even give you the chance to email them documents, you have to upload everything but it doesn’t upload big files, i had to take screen shots and make it smaller, i begged them to let me send it by email and i still have not heard from them! I understand that Alibaba will never side with the buyer, they will always side with the supplier, i can read this between the lines, how do you prove salespersons lies during sale activities or how do you prove 4 months of communications (You can upload up to 5 files of tracking information, proof of customs withholding, notification letters from the Post Office or other information here, Only jpg, jpeg, pdf, png, formats or word, excel, psd (2MB max per upload)?? Explanation not to exceed more than 2000 characters.

      1. ChinaImportal at 1:45 am

        Hi Fabian,

        Based on our understanding, you must have a contract signed with the supplier. Without this, Alibaba cannot decide in your favor.

        What exactly happened in this case?

        1. fabian at 5:34 am

          Yes we have contract, i will post the results of the dispute when they are done.
          shipment returned yesterday by customs, they consider our product medical device and needed to be fda registered by the supplier.

          1. ChinaImportal at 3:30 am

            Hi Fabian,

            Normally it is the Importer that is responsible to ensure that the product is registered and fully compliant with all product regulations.

            1. fabian at 3:55 am

              Customs asked us to get the registration number from the manufacturer The number that is needed to clear the goods is a registration number. The listing number comes from the manufacturer. How can the importer be responsible to provide this number while the Manufacturer is the one who suppose to have it printed on the product, i spoke with customs daily and they said that the manufacturer should have it.

            2. ChinaImportal at 2:27 am

              Because very few overseas manufacturers are aware of these regulations. In theory that might be the case, but the importer is still taking the loss when something goes wrong, and unless this requirement was clearly stated, in writing on a contract, the supplier cannot be held responsible.

    17. victor-economistul at 8:20 am

      Dear Sirs/Madams,

      Can you please tell us if the bellow mentioned company is ‘covered by your ‘Trade assurance’ conditions:


      We have made a payment of 30 % -initial payment, the balance will be due after shipment.
      We have selected a ‘post delivery assurance’ on our ORDER.

      Thank you
      Victor Farkas

      1. ChinaImportal at 3:31 am

        Hi Victor,

        Notice that this website is not part of Alibaba. This is only an informative article.

        If the supplier is covered by Trade Assurance, you can see that on their Alibaba site.

    18. Theresa at 9:53 pm

      Can you tell me Alibaba Trade Assurance fee?

      1. ChinaImportal at 5:50 am

        Hi Theresa,

        Honestly I am not sure if there is any. They do not handle the payment as far as I am aware…

    19. Helgaard Holtzhausen at 8:23 am

      Hi I am trying to arrange for purchasing items from a supplier in Chine. they have Trade Assurance listed on their website as being available to transact through. When i now said I would want to use that option they came back stating that they cannot accept trade assurance order now as order value is over 300USD. Is this correct, why is there then a limit imposed?

      1. ChinaImportal at 9:06 am

        There are upper limits, but 300 USD is an extremely small order.

        The limits are normally set at 10 k USD or above.

    20. Chris at 3:52 am

      Ali assurance is no assurance. I recently completed an Ali Assurance order for a plastic extrusion line. The total amount of the sale was $45,000 for all the machinery and parts. Within the contract, it clearly stated the manufacturer would provide an engineer to train me and my employees to use the machinery as well as help with final set up at no cost to me (very very clearly stated in contract they pay the airplane ticket, I would provide accommodations). The company was unable to send their engineer due to him being denied a visa. As there were costs with this, they decided they would not send an engineer at all, unless I now paid. I contacted Ali Assurance, provided all evidence to include the contract that was uploaded originally on their platform. They simply told me too bad. So be warned, it does not matter what is clearly written in the contract. They will do whatever they want.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 9:52 am

        Hi Chris,

        I doubt that the Trade Assurance cover services or other arrangements with the supplier (for example the case explained above). They can only offer compensation based on the product value.

      2. Zak at 3:00 am

        While the circumstances explained are inconvenient and costly, I do agree with Fredrik that Ali assurance was not intended to cover and practically cannot cover extraneous services like providing engineers for installation and training. Companies do not provide or are not required to provide these services unless there’s 100s of thousands or millions of dollars involved. A machinery that cost 45k, it’s foolhardy in the first place for the supplier to suggest free engineers to be sent. More than likely the supplier had good intentions but the visa denial was obviously the final straw.

    21. Bisharo Kasim at 5:39 pm

      I’ m new to this. I’m trying to buy a sofa from China’s main land. The seller is telling me that not to do the sale through Alibaba because if the commission fee that the buyer has to pay. I’m assuming buying though Alibaba will offer me protection if something’s were to happen to the shipment. Do I need Alibaba or will I be just fine without them. Also if I have bond do I still near to pay the seller for all the filling fees if so do my custom bond doing or for.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 7:29 am

        The trade assurance only works if you follow the ordering process laid out by Alibaba.com

    22. Santilla at 11:25 pm

      Trade Assurance failed us miserably. We mistakenly submitted a wire payment to themvwhich belonged to someone else. The momey was deposited into the supplier’s account. We were told it would be refunded and it waa not

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 11:33 am

        Hi Santilla,

        If you don’t wire the money to the Trade Assurance designated account, the transactions is not covered by Trade Assurance.

    23. Curtis at 7:54 am

      I have a trade assurance contract, and my product was shipped past the date we agreed on. The manufacturer even lied and said they shipped it, but when I checked the shipping date, it seems that they shipped it after. This delay ended up costing me a very large sale. I’m considering requesting a refund, but I was wondering who pays to return the product?

      1. Ivan Malloci at 11:31 am

        Hello Curtis, if the supplier didn’t deliver within the time that was agreed upon the trade assurance contract, I suggest you to get in touch with Alibaba to see if and how you can get a compensation

    24. Curtis at 8:07 am

      I filed a dispute and I am in negotiations with the supplier. I will let you know what happens.

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:22 pm

        Hi Curtis,

        Keep us updated!

    25. Vicky Woolford at 10:27 pm

      Hi Fredrik,

      We have bought through Alibaba Trade Assurance many times and luckily we have not had an issues with the stock we have received until last week. We ordered 5000 x shopping bags black with our brand logo on. We had previously ordered from the same supplier and the goods delivered were of a high standard. However, the standard of the shopping bags we received last week was dreadful.

      Each black bag had scratches, were scuffed, creased and had many white spots on the black bags. Unfortunately the whole shipment is unusable. We tried negotiating with our supplier who said that it is normal to have scratches on the bags and refused any liability.

      We then approached Trade Assurance and and sent extensive video of all 35 boxes of damaged goods showing damaged samples from each box. (It is impossible to video of 5000 separate bags) Alibaba Trade Assurance say that is not enough evidence and we don’t seem to be getting anywhere with them. They have suggested we get a company nominated by them to check the bags. The 3 companies they suggested are in China (US$500.00 a time) and we are in New Zealand. The process seems very difficult and only favours the supplier. The bags we have been delivered are unusable!

      Look forward to any suggestions you may have.

      many thanks
      Vicky Woolford

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 10:11 am

        Hi Vicky,

        Trade Assurance requires that the goods are inspected before shipment. There’s nothing they can do once the products are shipped.

    26. soni at 6:25 am

      Im planning to buy electronic stuff, Im not sure that if gold membership is trustworty for trade assurance, because they asking for 40% TT, what is the safe payment

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 4:45 am

        Hi Soni,

        Gold supplier means that the supplier is a registered company, but there are many other factors that go into whether you should buy a certain product – especially product compliance.

    27. Jan at 5:01 am


      I purchased a machine from from china using alibaba with trade assurance. But what happens is that the supplier forgot to include some part of the machine and it will not work without that part. Now I did not request for refund becuase the supplier ask and promise to fix it. But until now they have not and the trade assurance emailed me and says that orders is already complete because no response from both parties. Since the supplier have not yet fix the machine I request for a refund. Is it still counted even if trade assurance cleared the order? Because it’s kind a late request, because I was waiting for the supplier to fix the machine..

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 12:27 pm

        Hello Jan,

        Trade assurance can only resolve this matter if :

        a. All included parts are listed in the order terms

        b. The part was found missing before shipment

        Trade Assurance doesn’t offer refunds for goods that are already delivered. It’s based on the principle of clear and written order terms, and pre-shipment inspections.

    28. Sheriff Oyewale at 9:03 am

      I ordered a massage bed, paid 680 pounds for the product which broke within 24hr and another 670 pounds as landing cost and clearing from a fraudulent company working with the supplier. To make matter worse, Trade Assurance was not reliable and partial. They support their Chinese supplier after submitting pictures and videos as requested of the broken device. Do not use it or rely on or trust Trade Assurance, its a scam they will frustrate you.

    29. Ignacio at 12:28 pm

      Hi Fredrik, I have received today a product and the goods are damaged, they are still in the port, I was notified about the issue and went to the port storage for verification and confirmed the damage.
      The product is still usable but obviously damaged.

      Is this covered by Trade Assurance ? (the term contracts were CIF by the way)

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 3:15 pm

        Hello Ignacio,

        Did you use Alibaba Trade Assurance when paying the supplier?

    30. Saadat Saadat at 3:31 am

      Assuming we order a laptop but supplier send a piece of stone!!!
      What happen in this case?
      I ask this because there isn’t any evidence that we get stone

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 3:13 pm

        You need to get the cargo inspected before shipment. Otherwise, Alibaba cannot enforce the trade assurance.

    31. RJ at 8:19 pm

      Hi Team,

      I have placed with Alibaba Trade Assurance , the problem is that Alibaba has assigned an account of Citibank ,Singapore to a supplier in Zhejiang ,China . Now I want to transfer the Money through Wire Transfer only – So
      1. Should I furnish the details of beneficiary (name and address- Singapore) assigned by Alibaba Trade assurance or the original details – China ?
      and Bank details : now those will be Alibaba Trade assurance – i.e the citibank account

      The problem is
      1. the beneficary account and address and everything will be Singapore
      The actual beneficiary will be in China – hence Chinese address
      And I think the country of Bank where the supplier account is and the supplier country should match – otherwise even the bank and the customs department will not agree that they are same company since – they payment is being made to Singapore and we are getting goods from China
      So help me here , how do people handle this , I have going nuts over this problem : even the Help centre is giving non sense answers on that :

      The proforma Invoice details don’t match

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 6:22 pm

        Hi RJ,

        When you use the Trade Assurance service, I think you must pay to an Alibaba bank account – not directly to the supplier.

        1. RJ at 11:30 pm

          Yes, that is true ,but the payment will happen to Alibaba account in ‘Singapore ‘(I need to furnish the Alibaba trade assurance account in Wire Transfer Form) but the supplier is in Zhejiang ,China . When the product reaches the Customs Department , the ‘Payment Proof (from Bank)’ shows payment made to supplier in Singapore and the product will have an invoice from supplier in China . What is the way of dealing with this ?

          1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 5:06 pm

            Hi RJ,

            I think this is managed internally by Alibaba and their OneTouch platform. That’s how I understand it at least.

    32. Ron at 7:28 pm

      I am trying to initiate a business relationship with different companies offering hi grade metal detectors – for treasure hunting. It seems like many want to whats app….and want you to send funds Western Union – which I know is a scam. * How can I find a company that is a trusted business? I have one that wants me to buy two get one free….that’s quite a sum to risk for me.
      3k? Can you check for a trusted source? Mine Lab GPZ 7000, Nokta models, Puls AR III, DRS etc. I have researched contacted companies and can’t seem to find one that participates in trade assurance purchasing. Please Helppppppppp! (-;

      1. Fredrik Gronkvist at 8:41 pm

        Hi Ron,

        You cannot import brand name products directly from Chinese manufacturers – even if they are made here. You need to contact an authorized reseller in your country.

    33. supplier535 at 5:55 pm

      Good article. Thanks for info

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