Looking for a cheaper alternative to Amazon, or fed up with the overcrowding on AliExpress? The DHGate website offers an affordable and reliable solution, but negative reviews might turn you away from the Chinese-based wholesale platform.
DHGate is a legit and safe platform, but as it doesn’t vet sellers, its merchandise is of variable quality. Nevertheless, a savvy shopper can find exciting deals on DHGate, while the platform’s payment protection can help you avoid scams, if not low-quality goods.
Using DHGate safely involves careful navigation of the listings and a willingness to research your chosen merchant. It is possible to safely and securely use DHGate, but the product’s quality can disappoint many overseas buyers.
How Does DHGate Operate?
DHGate is a wholesale e-commerce marketplace with headquarters in Beijing, China. It provides independent businesses based in China with a platform to reach businesses across the globe.
DHGate is a legit company, acting as a middleman between the buyer and seller. A standard DHGate transaction follows this pattern:
- The seller lists the products, takes photos, and sets the price.
- The buyers find and purchase products.
- DHGate receives the money for sale, holding the money for the time being to protect buyers.
- The seller approves the transaction and ships the items.
- The buyer receives their purchase and confirms a successful transaction with DHGate.
- DHGate releases the funds to the merchant.
- DHGate receives a standard service fee from each successful transaction for offering the platform and facilitating the payment.
A wide variety of products are available on DHGate, from sunglasses to cell phones and sneakers to hubcaps. Primarily sourced from China, these items are rarely straight from factories but come from small, local businesses.
DHGate also provides a platform for merchants to sell leftover stock at a competitive price, which can lead to potential bargains.
DHGate acts as a wholesaler, but it’s hard to find consistency. As a result, many sellers tend to use DHGate to shift smaller quantities. For e-commerce businesses overseas, that makes it a useful source of cheap price goods to test the market. When you find a winner, it’s better to turn to another source for your supply.
Is DHGate a Legitimate Marketplace?
DHGate is a legitimate marketplace. Overseas buyers can source unique, cheap products in varying quantities from DHGate. Most merchants on DHGate are legitimate, but as such a large marketplace, there are some dishonest sellers.
Orders placed on DHGate will be fulfilled or refunded, as the money isn’t released to the seller until the buyer has received the product. This limits the risk of fraudulent listings, as a seller won’t receive payment for a non-existent product.
Some buyers will be disappointed by the products bought from DHGate. Since being established, over 1.2 million merchants have used DHGate to create over 30 million product listings. Unfortunately, within that, there are some false listings from untrustworthy sellers. The same can be found on Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress.
However, buyers can still trust DHGate because these issues are with the individual sellers and not the platform. In addition, DHGate itself offers a useful service that can be taken advantage of. While DHGate provides numerous protections against fraud, it’s the buyer’s responsibility to source legitimate services and select reliable sellers.
If you do make a wrong purchase, DHGate does what it can to resolve the dispute in your favor. According to its buyer protection policy, DHGate won’t release the money to the seller if the product isn’t received. If the product isn’t as described, DHGate will provide the seller with a refund. When a buyer makes a legitimate complaint, DHGate will freeze the merchant’s account.
Are There Scammers on DHGate?
Yes, there are scammers on DHGate, but the platform provides multiple protections for the buyer. In addition, DHGate itself is a legit and safe site for global e-commerce businesses and consumers.
Does DHGate sell products of its own? Unfortunately, no. Everything listed on DHGate comes from an outside source. Unfortunately, DHGate is unable to police every listing, and some scammers are able to make it onto the platform.
While DHGate can’t stop all scammers from taking advantage of the open site, they provide safeguards to prevent buyers from losing money. For example, the buyer protection period ensures a full refund if orders don’t arrive and a free or partial refund for items that aren’t as described.
Most sellers on DHGate are legitimate. Occasional bad actors sneak onto the site, but the protections favor buyers. Buyers are still expected to be careful when making a purchase, and to do their research to avoid scammers.
Does DHGate Sell Poor Quality Products?
DHGate does have a reputation for poor and counterfeit products, and this isn’t an unfair opinion. The quality of products on DHGate range from awful to wonderful, but due to differing expectations between buyers and sellers, it’s difficult to predict the standard you’ll receive.
There are a few reasons behind the reputation for poor quality goods:
- DHGate is based in China, and most sellers on DHGate come from China. The merchandise isn’t always the quality you might expect from a US-based seller. This can lead buyers to feel they aren’t getting the product they wanted, even though it is as described.
- There are many sellers on DHGate looking to offload excess products. These merchants offer low-quality products at a deep discount, netting them a small profit with a quick turnaround.
- Products might be “as described”without meeting the buyer’s expectations. The buyer then complains, expecting a refund. DHGate believes the product meets the seller’s description and rejects the refund. When the buyer complains, the reputation for low quality persists.
Using DHGate can cut out the middleman, saving you on a high-quality product. Without the middleman, however, there aren’t the quality control checks you expect to find in branded marketplaces. So if you’re looking for consistent high quality, DHGate will unlikely meet your expectations.
How To Avoid Scams and Shop Safely on DHGate
To use DHGate safely, you must sign up for an account. Never take a sale off the site; you’ll lose buyer protection. Then you can take the following steps to shop safely on DHGate:
It is free to join DHGate, and the process is easy. You’ll have to select whether you’re a wholesale or personal buyer, but the sign-up process is quick. You can also log into DHGate via your Facebook or Google account.
Use the search bar to find products
To start shopping, use the search bar to find products. DHGate is a vast platform, and it can be overwhelming at first. However, if you have a specific product in mind, use the search bar to narrow down your options.
Check the legitimacy of the seller
When you find the right product at the right price point, the next step is checking the seller’s legitimacy. You can find the seller’s name in a box by the Item Description. Make sure you check the seller’s profile. Once you’ve added the item to your cart, it’s also easy to find the seller — the store name will be next to the item.
Once you’ve assessed the information above, you can decide whether they are a reliable seller or not.
Navigating Legitimate Sellers on DHGate
If you want to buy from DHGate, it’s important to vet the sellers on DHGate before buying. Additional research will help you to avoid low-quality products, ensuring you get the best from the DHGate website.
The seller’s profile contains all the information you need to decide whether a purchase is legit. The seller’s profile and store can be found by clicking on the store’s name. Basic information is also on the product page, but you should navigate deeper to establish a complete picture.
Before buying any product from DHGate, follow these guidelines:
Learn about the merchant.
The first criterion to check is how legitimate the store looks.
- Logo: Experienced merchants will add a logo and alter the homepage. Stores that keep the DHGate branding tend to be small-time sellers.
- Store categories: Each homepage will have a section labeled Store Categories. This lists all the categories in that the seller offers products. A wide range of products without clear categorization indicates a potential lack of quality. These merchants are shifting whatever they can handle at low prices.
- Stick to a niche: A professional seller sticks to a niche. There will be fewer Store Categories, and the categories will be linked. A store that sells phone electronics can be better trusted to provide a quality USB cable than a store that sells everything from the wedding dress to yard tools.
- Establish time: Check how long the merchant has been using DHGate. The longer a reliable seller has been around, the better the chance you’ll find high-quality products. Scammers should get shut down quickly or leave the platform when they fail to make money.
Read the reviews.
It’s essential to read the reviews if you want to establish trust in the seller. Product reviews will indicate if the item is as described and if it’s worth investing money in.
- New products: New products are unlikely to have reviews. You can either avoid these items or look at the general store reviews for guidance. Reviews for other products can show how fast the seller is, how responsive they are, and the overall quality of products.
- Default reviews: Be careful when reviewing reviews on DHGate, and don’t go by star rating. DHGate provides default 5-star positive reviews if the buyer doesn’t leave a comment within a certain time. These default reviews clog up the star ratings and can mask the actual quality of the product. DHGate indicates whether the review is legitimate or the site has generated it. A quick glance at the review page might show a lot of stars, but take the time to read the reviews to get a clear picture of the quality.
- Reviews date: Check the dates on the reviews. Avoid merchants with primarily old reviews, which might not reflect current quality.
- No reviews: Can’t find any reviews? This isn’t always a problem. Some DHGate sellers will use it to offload excess stock and then abandon the platform. You might consider a new seller if you’re interested in a product and can’t find another merchant. This is a risk, so think before making the decision.
- Top merchant icon: DHGate uses icons to indicate a top merchant, and you can find a list of these symbols on the DHGate website. Keep an eye out for these symbols when shopping to increase your chances of finding high-quality products and avoid dishonest sellers.
Read the item description.
Always read the item description carefully. Pictures don’t tell the whole story, and they can be misleading. If your item doesn’t match the picture, but it does match the description, DHGate won’t always side with you if you request a refund.
For example, a cosmetics store might display three lip glosses as the lead image. You order, expecting one unit to be a pack of three lip glosses. When the item arrives, you discover one unit is a single lip gloss. Reading the item description closer, you discover the store does list one lip gloss per unit.
In this scenario, DHGate will side with the seller. However, unscrupulous merchants can use misleading images to confuse buyers, without breaking the rules of the site.
Never leave DHGate to complete a transaction.
You must always refuse if a seller asks you to leave DHGate and complete the transaction elsewhere. Leaving DHGate means you leave their buyer protection behind and can’t claim a refund for a scam product.
Merchants who ask to leave DHGate will likely be scammers attempting to lure you away from the DHGate security measures. End the transaction, and report the seller to the DHGate complaints department.
Only confirm delivery when you have the product.
DHGate only releases payment to the merchant when the buyer confirms the order has arrived. So if your order hasn’t arrived, even if you think it’s on the way, don’t confirm the delivery. This will cause problems if you don’t receive the order.
Only confirm the sale when you have the order and have checked it. If there are any issues with the product, take detailed photos of the item and any faults. Keep hold of the order confirmation and the original listing, allowing you to compare the two.
When you receive your order, leave a review for the seller and the item. This might not help you avoid scams, but it can help future customers.
DHGate Delivery Times
Most DHGate merchants ship from China, meaning the delivery timeline varies from seller to seller. However, expect delivery to take between two weeks and two months. Here are the reasons to take into account when calculating delivery time:
- The buyer’s location
- The seller’s location
- The delivery method you choose
- The shipping carrier you choose
DHGate sellers use a variety of different shipping methods. The most common options for individual sellers are ePacket and China Post. These are economical shipping services, offering slow deliveries for cheaper prices.
Some sellers offer a commercial shipping service via DHL, UPS, FedEx, or similar. Cooperating with a shipping company offers you fast delivery, but they charge higher shipping fees. An established online store will provide the buyer with a choice of shipping methods. You can then decide whether you value speed or savings.
Merchants will try to lure you in with the promise of free shipping, but this isn’t always accurate. For example, the free shipping method might not be available for your location, or it might significantly delay delivery times.
Regardless of the delivery method you choose, note the delivery date range. The package should be with you by the shipping deadline. If it isn’t, you can claim a refund or partial refund with DHGate buyer protection.
While most DHGate merchants ship from China, a few of the more established stores will use a US warehouse. This is ideal. Items shipped from a US warehouse can be delivered quickly and for less money. A US warehouse is also a sign of a reliable supplier, as they’ve sold enough to justify the cost of overseas storage.
How To Pay on DHGate
When you place your order, DHGate will take your payment information and charge your card. The money won’t be released to the merchant until the buyer has confirmed the delivery of the parcel. This is to prevent sellers from listing goods that they don’t have.
DHGate is a legit e-commerce marketplace that you can trust with your payment information. DHGate might have a mixed reputation regarding quality control, but the payment service is safe.
DHGate has PCI-DSS certification, and is VeriSign Secured. These certifications allow DHGate to act as a PSP, keeping your payments safe before passing the money on to the merchant.
There are a few different ways to pay with DHGate. These supported payment methods include:
- American Express
- Diners Club International
- Maestro by MasterCard
- Bank Transfer
Using a credit card offers the buyer extra protection when using DHGate. If the item isn’t as expected, and DHGate is taking too long to refund the money, you can open a dispute about the payment. This is another layer of security for your transaction.
Canceling a DHGate Order
Clicking an order on DHGate and receiving a full refund is possible. The faster you act, the easier it is to get all your money back.
To cancel a DHGate order before it has been shipped:
- Before the order has shipped, head to the order page in your DHGate account. This can be done online or via the DHGate app.
- Head to the customer service center or your profile.
- Request a cancellation.
- DHGate will contact you to confirm the cancellation and advise when the money will be refunded. For standard orders, DHGate offers a full refund. For a custom order, DHGate offers an 80% partial refund.
It can take over 15 days for an order to be processed and shipped, allowing you plenty of time to make a cancellation.
Once the order has shipped, it can no longer be canceled. If you change your mind about the product, you must return the items and apply for a refund. Orders with a short delivery time are harder to cancel, as they get processed quickly.
If you’re thinking of canceling an order because it’s taking longer than expected to ship, DHGate recommends contacting the seller directly. They can inform you of any legitimate delays, and you may be able to request a partial refund while keeping the order.
DHGate Buyer Protection: How Does It Work?
DHGate does offer buyer protection. If there is an issue with your order, act quickly to take advantage of these protections.
Before making your purchase, check the item listing to find the seller’s return policy. A standard return policy offers seven days to return the item for a full refund, with the buyer paying the shipping cost. However, if the buyer is unhappy with the item’s quality, the shipping cost can be reduced.
To ensure the return and refund go smoothly, keep your transaction’s details as it is processed. For example, save the original listing and any communication you may have had with the seller.
When your DHGate order has arrived, do not confirm delivery until you have opened the box and inspected the order. Try and do this as soon as possible, in case of a dispute.
Suppose you suspect an issue with the seller, video, or photograph opening the order. This will act as proof if the seller disputes your refund.
Contact the seller first with your refund request. They should work with you to ensure your refund is processed quickly and correctly if there is a legitimate error. Also, take photos of any damage or issues with the product, to help with your claim.
If the seller is uncooperative, DHGate buyer protection comes into play. You will need to open a dispute with DHGate to claim your refund. DHGate acts as a mediator between seller and buyer.
DHGate can side with the seller if they don’t believe your complaint is legitimate. Use photographs, conversations with the seller, and the original listing to make your case.
Items To Avoid on DHGate
Items to avoid on DHGate include:
- Branded items.
- Items providing consumer safety, such as helmets.
- Items with stolen listing photographs.
- Brand name items: These products listed and sold on DHGate are fakes and should be avoided. Buying and reselling counterfeit items is a crime. The products can be seized, and you may face criminal charges.
- Consumer safety items: These items will have been tested to the safety standards in their country of origin. When buying from DHGate, this is likely to be China. These items might not meet the safety standards expected in the US.
- Items with stolen listing photographs: If the item uses stolen photographs in the listing, and the product description doesn’t match the photos, then the item is likely to be of low quality.
Final Thoughts — Is DHGate Safe?
Yes, DHGate is a safe platform, but any buyer should be careful when choosing merchandise. DHGate acts as a middleman between merchants and buyers. Although the DHGate platform is legitimate, it doesn’t guarantee the item’s quality.
Before purchasing from DHGate, it’s important to vet the seller. Check for reviews, and read the listing closely. DHGate offers impressive buyer protections, but carelessness on the buyer’s part can lead to financial losses.
The major issue with DHGate is the quality of the products. The actual platform provides buyers with plenty of information, a secure payment method, and legitimate buyer protection. Navigating the quality issue does, however, make DHGate a difficult platform to rely on for an e-commerce business.