China Sourcing Plans

DHgate reviews: Is DHgate.com legit or a scam? 2021

October 27, 2021

Urban Leung

Table of Contents

Is DHgate.com legit?

After research, my answer is that it is a legit and safe B2B shopping and sourcing platform.

However, there are so many negative comments across Google. If you type “Dhgate” into Google and carry out a bit of search, you would see tons of negative reviews regarding Dhgate services. One of the common doubts is whether DHgate is legit or are there scams on Dhgate.com. So as a professional China sourcing expert, I will fully disclose the pros and cons of shopping and sourcing on DHgate based on real and actual data that I have collected across the web.to sum up, DHgate.com is transparent and reliable sourcing and shopping platform, however, there are some sellers may scam customers. So in this article, you will be notified by some tips and lessons to avoid potential scams on DHgate.

DHgate VS Alibaba

DHgate Alibaba comparison

Comparison insights

1,  More focused on Western markets

DHgate is less well-known in China, for the public, they have never heard of DHgate. As It only targets on foreign businesses, so DHgate has more relied on international markets. And its operation and company culture would be more western.

2,  Feel tough to compete with Alibaba

DHgate was founded much later than Alibaba. What’s more, Alibaba has a series of businesses from B2B, B2C, and C2C rather than DHgate that only has B2B. So, in terms of experience, seller preference, and market resources, DHgate is way behind Alibaba. So DHgate is not competent to win the market where Alibaba has conquered.

3, Public ratings

DHgate has a much lower rating(2.4) from Trustpilot, if you look into the rating, you can find the key terms are mainly around scams and other issues relating to no tracking information after purchase, products are not working, and order issues can not be resolved with a satisfactory result.

DHgate reviews

Here are some recent feedback from DHgate customers

DHgate reviews
DHgate reviews
DHgate reviews

Why there are so many scams and negative comments on DHgate?

1, Understand DHgate business logic

DHgate is a Chinese sourcing and shopping platform, and many Chinese and foreign suppliers and manufacturers are applying for the privilege to sell products on DHgate platform, the main income source of DHgate is from sellers. In order to maintain and gain more customers, sellers have to pay various fees to DHgate. This is basically the logic behind its business.

So, here are two points I need to clarify: a), DHgate relies on sellers to gain business profit, that is the reason why DHgate somehow has the protection on sellers. b), DHgate has no absolute power over buyers and sellers, as it acts as a shopping agent. When conflicts happened, DHgate only mediates the negative effect on both sides. DHgate reluctantly ends a dispute that favors buyers more than sellers. c), DHgate has no strong control over product quality and seller behaviors. For example, if you opened a dispute with a seller and contacted him several times but without any replies. This situation has beyond DHgate responsibility to regulate. Except for escalating the case to DHgate,  DHgate has no right to force the seller to react to your case.

In conclusion, DHgate is acting as a bridge between buyers and sellers, DHgate has limited responsibility for the disputes and scams on its platform. Also, DHgate has listed its disclaimer under its Terms of Conditions. I know this may not be a business model and a wise means to treat customers, but it is 100% legit. Also, Dhgate has a disclaimer about certain responsibilities. Here is a sentence I have highlighted,“ your use of the site is at your sole risk.” Therefore, we need to be smarter and more cautious while using Dhgate.

DHgate disclaimer

2, DHgate is legit, but some sellers may not.

As discussed, DHgate is a lawful platform, your transaction, and banking information can be well protected. But how about the sellers? I have to say, some sellers on DHgate are not trustworthy. There are several reasons for this situation. a), DHgate is acquiescence to allow sellers to sell knockoffs on its platform. This is the root reason for so many negative feedback and shopping scams. Because customers are easy to be played and cheated by their skillful and intentional tricks. b), sellers are easy to get around DHgate return and refund policies.  Most DHgate shopping is cross-border, which determines the high shipping cost in return and refund. To the seller, they would ask the buyer to return their purchase to the origin country for the exchange or full refund, this is almost impossible for all buyers. This is something the sellers can play with, so buyers are weak and only have limited knowledge and effort to deal with sellers. Finally,  buyers’ rights can not be protected.

3, Cross-border frauds

There are many ways for sellers to play business tricks on customers. Here are some common ways; a), use fake images or videos. In order to attract customers, sellers would apply images that shot on real items, but ship knockoffs or counterfeits to customers. Normally, the counterfeits have poor quality and terrible manufacturing. b), wrong material. Size or color sent to customers. Sometimes, customers will receive different products in color, size, or material. That’s because sellers send out products without proper quality checks. In this situation, buyers can ask sellers to resend products or ask for a refund. c), products with flaws. There is no standard to define what product conditions can be called flaws. In most cases, the flaws customers consider may not be flaws in sellers’ eyes. So the sellers would not accept any return or refund. This is also a root source for disputes.

 4, DHgate is acquiescent to knockoffs

If you scroll across the DHgate, you may find many knockoffs and counterfeits. I know some customers are looking for counterfeits. But as a platform, this is not right business behavior. Customers can not trust a platform where counterfeits are everywhere. Selling counterfeits may result in serious consequences, not only to DHgate, also to the whole community. As there would be many fake products around eBay and other platforms in your country, potentially promoting frauds and online crimes. So as customers, we must be aware of this point.

5, Difficulty in after-sales service, and there are tricks being around.

Although, there are many programs on DHgate to protect customers’ rights, such as “buyer protection”, but there are some places you need to be cautious about.

DHgate customer support

Trick 1, hard to define issues

This is very tricky as they would need many details to prove the loss of your parcel. Also, only not receiving parcels can get a full refund. What if an urgent order let’s say wedding dress that should be arrived within 2 weeks but comes to your door after 2 months or even longer, what can you do with it?  Return it? You have to pay high shipping fee. Ask to get a refund? You may not qualify for the refund policy. So that’s the reason I say this policy is tricky.

Trick 2,  Full or Partial refund

This policy can be easily manipulated and played by sellers. For example, you would buy a hoodie from DHgate and its listed price is 50USD, then you paid and received the item with some subtle flaws, so you don’t want it, also you can’t return it back. The only way is to ask for a refund, possibly, you would get a partial refund and allow keeping the hoodie, which means the seller would keep 25USD, guess what, the manufacturing cost for the hoodie is only 8USD, that’s the tricky place. The seller is always taking advantage of the transaction.

Trick 3, DHgate dispute resolution

DHgate customer protection

Once disputes happened between buyers and sellers, customers can follow a path to get it resolved. Finally, DHgate will jump in and act as a mediator, finally issuing a decision based on evidence provided by the buyer and seller. This is another part that sellers may get around. As DHgate is only a platform and has no preference in favoring buys or sellers. So, its decision would be all based on evidence. For the seller, they are much more familiar with the process and on what kind of material they need to submit to get a decision favor on them. However, buyers mostly have no idea and even have no much evidence to submit. So, this can be unfair or nontransparent to customers.

5 actionable ways to avoid scams on DHgate.

1, compare and research sellers.

I know many buyers would find certain sellers by searching specific products and reading the reviews to make a purchase decision, this screening process is common and applied by most customers. Unfortunately, it is problematic and can be easily scammed. Let me list another method to filter your suppliers and sellers that would greatly cut down the possibility of online frauds.


a), determine whether the seller is the root manufacture of the product.

DHgate store products

When you find a store by searching a product, you are wondering whether the store is a root supplier on a certain product, here is a method  to help you find the answer: you can check the categories’ section on the left bar, if there are categories with high correlation to each other or they are under a bigger category. For example, if the seller carries the categories such as tops, pants, underwear, and socks. All these are subcategories of apparel. So we can say this seller has a focus on his profession. Otherwise,  the seller highly would be a reseller or a middleman.

Why we’d better find root manufacture to purchase products?

1, quality check and guarantee

Basically speaking, root manufactures relatively have much stricter quality checks before items are shipped out. In order to retain customers, most root manufactures have a customer protection policy. Also, because of better quality and customer service, the manufacture can grow bigger and stronger.

2, know more product insights before purchase

While purchasing, customers would disclose their needs or business model to the manufacturers, and then the suppliers would come up with more practical advice or recommendation to their customers. In this way, buyers can benefit themselves by finding the root suppliers.

3, better after-sales service

Root suppliers are more confident in selling and dealing with customer disputes. Because they care more about their names rather than one or two transactions. So from this standpoint, customers can be well treated after buying.

b, read the store reviews (especially focus on the negative reviews)

DHgate store reviews
DHgate store categories

Actually, positive or 5-star reviews can be similar or even, sellers may hire some raters to deliver fake and unreal reviews. So the sense of reference in positive reviews may be very limited. However, negative reviews are all real and objective that reveal some downsides of the seller. So as a potential buyer, you should concentrate on the negative ratings. You can find many potential problems in the store. And then decide whether you are moving forward to purchase items from the store or not. This measure would prevent you from some scams on DHgate.com.

c, see the years of store establishment

DHgate store history

Another way to verify your seller is to check the history of selling on DHgate.com. Although, this is not an absolute parameter to determine the sellers’ credibility, the shorter the seller is on DHgate, the higher risk when you deal with him. Also, you can combine this with other factors such as reviews, product categories to assist you to make buying decisions.

d, Research the top-selling products

DHgate best seller

You can check the top-selling products to get a sense of whether the seller is professional in a niche industry, or is a middleman and reseller. For example, like the top two selling products in the screenshot, the first one is a keychain, and the second one is Christmas gift bags. They have no correlation in terms of manufacture, these two products either can not share producing machines or the same marketing funnels. Even they have different customer segmentation. So we can 100% say this seller is not the root manufacture.

In order to get the best from your suppliers and avoid any scams on DHgate, you can choose to work with a local sourcing agent like Bystie, we have developed over 40 indicators to screen potential frauds and get the best quality products for you.

2, confirm key product parameters with sellers.

DHgate product parameters

For the product information displayed on DHgate, it is very obscure and without transparency. Like the picture shown, you can not get much valuable information for the T-shirt. This is a place that sellers create scams and evidence for later disputes. So you must ask questions to sellers to find out the exact figures regarding the product you are about to purchase. Here are some keys that you need to double-check with your supplier before purchasing bulk.

a), exact size (you need cm or in rather than small, medium and large), so to be sensitive on figures

b), for raw material, you must be clear about the percentage. Take apparel, for example, if polyester is shown under the material, you should ask the seller, is it 100% polyester or any other fabric used.

c), chromatic aberration

In most cases, the color you see on images is somehow different from the real products. This is another problem, especially for fashion buyers. So you can take measures to prevent it. The best way is to ask the suppliers to take a video to verify the color.

d), accessories. Most buyers focus more on the main part of the product and ignore the accessory parts. In order to get the best quality products, buyers should ask the seller questions about the spare parts. Like the material of buttons, zipper brand and material, and even any thread on clothes.

3, confirm shipping and define flaws with sellers

DHgate shipping

DHgate makes optional shipping methods for shoppers to choose from. So basically speaking, the sellers have no control over the shipping time. But they can estimate and give you an expecting date based on their experience. So ask for more details on shipping to the seller.

Another key question is to discuss with sellers what problems can be defined as product flaws that would relate to return and refund. Here is some advice for you;

a), for color, size and weight mismatch with the information on the product page, what is the solution? Do you get any compensation for that?

b), if the parcel is lost or if you don’t receive the package for over two months, Can you ask the seller to resend one or apply for a full refund?

c), if any dirt or scratch on the product, can you apply for a refund without sending the product back?

d), if you bought a product set, and when you received the parcel, you found out a spare part were broken. Under this situation, can you apply for a full refund? As it would take a very long time to receive the part.

And other issues based on your products.

4, ask for the real and live product photos and videos

DHgate product image

Photoshop is powerful. In order to appeal as many customers as possible, almost every seller needs to modify and retouch their product images to make them more attractive to potential buyers. On the other side, the photoshopped images have somehow twisted the true situation of products. Like colors, and raw material quality. So you’d better ask for some real images and videos to get more insights on products.

5, knockoffs and selling certificates from patent holder

DHgate counterfeits

Be careful of counterfeits. As DHgate somehow allows sellers to sell counterfeits on its platform, except for the situation of you expecting to purchase fake products, you should not purchase any branded products from DHgate. In case you’re misled by the product images or videos, you should ask the seller that whether the product has any logo or brand name that the seller has not been allowed to use by the brand owners. You must know, buying counterfeits is not only an ethical problem, but also breaks the law in some countries. So you must clarify with your sellers.  

Summary

Once again, DHgate.com is a legit and safe shopping platform. All your transactions will be well protected. But this does not mean you won’t get scams from there. Like we discussed above, scams are mainly from the sellers that you have not done enough research. If you can follow the steps and process I have shared, your possibility of being scammed on DHgate would be greatly decreased.

About the author

Urban Leung

Urban Leung

Urban is a China sourcing expert with multiple cultures background, he has an MBA degree in international trade direction and has been working as a sourcing agent for over 6 years. He is, especially, good at diagnosing your sourcing issues. Rather than simply “telling” you the solutions, Urban would put them into real tests and quantify the effect by revealing some real data. This implementation has been proven more practical and accurate.

product quote

Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *