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-   -   Is It Safe To Purchase From Alibaba? (https://www.avsforum.com/forum/23-screens/3065740-safe-purchase-alibaba.html)

aeneas01 05-04-2019 04:43 AM

Is It Safe To Purchase From Alibaba?
 
i've reached out to a couple of projection screen manufacturers / distributors found on alibaba, including one that is favorably mentioned at avs quite a bit, and in both instances they've reduced their prices significantly once i told them thanks but no thanks.

in the first instance i emailed a company (the one that's been favorably mentioned at avs) asking for details about a specific screen - i promptly received a response with the details i requested but they also informed me that alibaba prices were not up to date and that the screen i was interested in was substantially more than the price shown at their / alibaba site.

i then asked if they sold just the thin bezel frame, they responded absolutely, and quoted me a very, very high price... i thanked them for their time and told them both the screen and frame were much more than i was willing to pay... a couple of days later i received an email from the same company offering me the screen and/or frame at about half the quoted prices, and well below the "outdated" price shown at alibaba.

this spooked me so i moved on.

but i recently revisited screens from alibaba, looking for a custom 2.35:1 screen with thin frame, and came across one that looked absolutely perfect - moreover the delivery time to the u.s. was quoted at 5-7 business days... i mailed the company and got a quick response that included an extremely high quote for the screen i was interested in, way more than i wanted to pay, and responded accordingly, that it was just too expensive... a day later i received an email from them stating that if purchased within the next 24 hours, they could offer the screen at an amount that equated to about 1/3 of their original quote.

so what's the deal with these guys? are they safe to purchase from? their business approach has left me a bit uneasy, but perhaps that's just the way business is done on alibaba?

markmon1 05-04-2019 07:28 AM

You're not buying fro alibaba. You're buying from random sellers in asia that list on alibaba. Its just like ebay. Person can be anyone.

cathodeRay 05-04-2019 07:37 AM

Negotiating is a way of life for the Chinese, it is literally part of their culture. And negotiating there is not the same as negotiating with Americans, Germans, etc., let alone having language differences and interpretations. Alibaba is another Ebay so the same 'buyer beware' rules apply.

aeneas01 05-04-2019 08:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by markmon1 (Post 57997670)
You're not buying fro alibaba. You're buying from random sellers in asia that list on alibaba. Its just like ebay. Person can be anyone.

Quote:

Originally Posted by aeneas01
i've reached out to a couple of projection screen manufacturers / distributors found on alibaba.

Quote:

Originally Posted by cathodeRay
Negotiating is a way of life for the Chinese, it is literally part of their culture. And negotiating there is not the same as negotiating with Americans, Germans, etc., let alone having language differences and interpretations. Alibaba is another Ebay so the same 'buyer beware' rules apply.

so it sounds like i shouldn't worry about their stabs at trying to get as much as they can for an item by first pitching a very high price, only to reduce that price significantly, by more than half, once their apparent bluff is called... have you purchased through alibaba before? if so, how was your experience?

cathodeRay 05-04-2019 09:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aeneas01 (Post 57997786)
so it sounds like i shouldn't worry about their stabs at trying to get as much as they can for an item by first pitching a very high price, only to reduce that price significantly, by more than half, once their apparent bluff is called... have you purchased through alibaba before? if so, how was your experience?

I lived in mainland China for 5 years, I'm American. The absolute best and worst deals you'll ever find are possible.
Read this and compare to Ebay's: https://service.alibaba.com/ensuppli...l/13862971.htm

Your deal is based on the seller not on Alibaba. Having read Alibaba's refund policy you should document everything important in writing, in clear, quantifiable terms. You won't be dealing with a native English speaker. Be polite, be clear and as simple as possible without leaving out anything important, and don't be afraid to politely get clarification on anything they say and don't worry if that takes a little time because everything you say and think comes from a Greco-Roman-Judo-Christian method and China is everything else except that.

Your 2 choices are either be the first to try a vendor/product, or seek out others that have bought what you want and use who they used.

monakh 05-08-2019 04:08 AM

I was surprised to get a quote from the "AVS favored" vendor (hint: I dealt with a lady) and was shocked to see the price of the so called Crystal screen was $1200 for the 120" variant.

I recall this variant being closer to half as mentioned in some threads to which I was promptly told 'that's impossible, we'd never sell that low'.

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Volusiano 05-14-2019 09:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monakh (Post 58015660)
I was surprised to get a quote from the "AVS favored" vendor (hint: I dealt with a lady) and was shocked to see the price of the so called Crystal screen was $1200 for the 120" variant.

I recall this variant being closer to half as mentioned in some threads to which I was promptly told 'that's impossible, we'd never sell that low'.

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I got a quote from August Liu of XY Screens for a 120" ALR screen using PET Crystal material for UST projectors for $1250 shipping included to the US. So far he hasn't offered to reduce the price, despite my reluctance to proceed with a purchase. He offered to quote me lower cost options if I can tell him what my budget is. I said I don't have a budget, just want the best product for the best price. I searched some older posts on this forum about a year old and somebody here mentioned being quoted the same price as I am ($1250) from XY Screens for the same product 120" PET Crystal screen. So at least XY screen seems to be consistent on their price quote, and they haven't offered to lower their price with me to close the deal.

I mentioned to XY Screens that I found a similar product (120" UST ALR screen) being offered by another company (Snowhite screen) for only $800. But this didn't prompt XY screen to offer to lower their price to me, yet.

Comparable UST 120" ALR screens sold in the US seems to be running at $1600.

monakh 05-15-2019 12:07 PM

I went with Azure ALR screen at the end. I didn't like the way XY dealt with me. They were a bit condescending.

Azure has a very similar Pet Crystal screen also at 120". After quite a bit of negotiation, I paid about 20 percent less than I would have for the XY screen shipped to the Middle East. It will be used with the upcoming VAVA projector. Prices to the US are about a hundred dollars lower and should be less than a grand delivered.

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monakh 05-15-2019 12:08 PM

Oh.. And completed the deal on Ali Baba :)

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aeneas01 05-15-2019 01:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Volusiano (Post 58049468)
He offered to quote me lower cost options if I can tell him what my budget is. I said I don't have a budget..

not sure how compelled / motivated a seller would be to offer goods at a reduced price if told budget wasn't an issue?

torii 05-15-2019 01:24 PM

I purchased a headphone cable from alibaba. the cable arrived in 4-6 weeks from china. the input jack didnt work. the seller sent me a second one which I receive 4-6 weeks later and does work perfect. I got to keep original defective cable. so it all worked out.

monakh 05-15-2019 03:15 PM

A cable isn't quite the same as something two hundred times the price. Not sure if the vendor would ship you a thousand dollar screen if the first one didn't work out, though I'd be interested to see how they react.

Ali Baba's contracts aren't very specific. They leave the bulk of terms between the vendor and buyer, only choosing to mediate during disputes and acting as a payment processor. I am not sure if I want to find out how they rule in a dispute over a grand or more of my hard-earned cash.

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aerodynamics 05-16-2019 12:05 AM

I bought my 100” UST screen from Snowhite through Alibaba. They were very easy to deal with and even shipped it overnight so I would have it before businesses shut down for CNY.

monakh 06-13-2019 01:45 PM

I also received my 120 inch Azure Pet Crystal ALR screen through Ali Baba. No issues. Thank goodness. The vendor was a pleasure to deal with.

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Slava Jacobson 06-15-2019 05:38 PM

For me it's been hit and miss. Item normally takes forever to arrive 1-2 months to Canada, and they often send you a broken or wrong item, but support has been great and it is easy to get a refund.

aeneas01 07-03-2019 07:40 PM

well i finally purchased a custom 2.35:1 lenticular fixed frame screen (145" diag), it was shipped 4 business days after i made payment, it's en route now, so it will be interesting to see how long it actually takes to arrive.

my experience: there were no less than 10 different manufacturers on alibaba that carried what i was looking for (a lenticular / pet crystal fixed frame tension screen with thin aluminum bezel), and if not identical to one another they were awfully close... i also found that 120" (diag) was the max size for about half of the companies i contacted.

for me the easiest approach was to 1) within alibaba, search for pet crystal, lenticular, alr, etc. projector screen and then 2) send the same note to each company (contact seller button) detailing exactly what i was looking for (size, fabric, fixed frame, etc.), ask if they had it and, if so, what the cost would be including shipping to my zip code... i also attached an image of the lenticular screen graphic to the note.

from there it was just a matter of dealing with each seller via alibaba's excellent message center, and every single seller i contacted replied.

the quotes were all over the place, they varied quite a bit, while one of the forum's (seemingly) favorite dealers was considerably higher than the rest, not only higher but ridiculously priced if you required a size they didn't list, whereas the other manufacturers added a very reasonable (imo) premium for a custom size.

not only did screen prices vary considerably between suppliers, but so did shipping costs, a couple of companies said that on top of the shipping costs i would have to pay an import tax upon arrival and pick up the screen at the port of delivery (it couldn't be shipped to my location). several companies also told there would be an additional bank transaction fee for change in currency processing, and that would be required to be paid by me.

when i responded that i had recently purchased a projector directly from china and that i did not have to do any of this (pay an import tax, pick up the package at the port, pay a bank transaction fee, etc., etc.), all but one company said they had made a mistake, that no additional costs would apply, and that the item would indeed be shipped to my location.

so you get the picture.

also, fwiw, i noticed that a few of the companies i contacted tried to get me to move the conversation from alibaba's message center to private email or skype, and pay outside of alibaba... these requests could have been benign, but i couldn't help feel that they were trying to circumvent alibaba's transaction commission as well as alibaba's buyer protection which no doubt depends on buyer/seller communication.

bottom line is, when called on everything, additional costs, communicating outside of alibaba, etc., all but one company stepped up and was more than willing to work within what i considered to be the rules.

anyway, most of the sellers i dealt with were very nice, and i feel very good about the transaction, and the price... of course the proof is in the pudding, we''ll see if i change my mind once the screen arrives!


https://i.postimg.cc/V6vg0dxT/z01.jpg

noah katz 07-08-2019 10:46 AM

Very interesting.

Is there a thread with more info on the screen you're getting?

Volusiano 07-08-2019 12:15 PM

I inquired from XY Screen, then Snowhite, then Azure.

Snowhite (Kathy Xiang) quoted me the lowest price, but when I asked if their material is PET Crystal or not, they told me that it's Graiting material. I asked again whether that's the same as PET Crystal and didn't get a clear answer from them (they repeated that it's Graiting material), so I decided not to go with Snowhite because I suspected it's not the same material as PET Crystal, hence the lowest price. They quoted me $730 plus $313 for shipping, totaling $1043 for a 120" size screen. The package weighs 22 kg.

Joey Xu from Azure confirmed that they sell PET Crystal screen. They quoted me with shipping included $963 for their 120" PET Crystal screen. Their package weighs 18 kg. Joey actually approached me first (I guess they learned that I was searching for ALR PET Crystal screen on Alibaba). They offered 18% discount if I ordered within 7 days of their message to me. Later when I asked about the 18% discount off their $963 quote, I was told that $963 was the discounted price already. If that's really so, it would have made their non-discounted price $1131.

August Liu from XY Screen quoted my $1250 originally for their 120" PET Crystal screen with shipping included. Their package weighs 30 kg.

I asked XY Screen why they have the highest price, and they said that their frame is more substantial and sturdier and heavier than the other vendors' frame (as evident in the 30 kg weight for XY Screen compared to only 18 kg from Azure), so this drives up their total cost, including more expensive shipping cost as well.

I looked at the installation videos from both AZure and XY screen, and the first thing I noticed was that while both of them use aluminum frames, the Azure frame (the rear part) was not powder coated, only the front part was powder coated black (or brown?). Meanwhile, the XY Screen frames are powder coated black all throughout, both front and back. I can't really tell by watching the installation videos whether one frame is more substantial than the other or not, but it is evidently apparent from the weight that the XY Screen is almost twice as heavy as the AZure screen. One other thing I notice is that the Azure frame uses only 1 vertical bar in the back for support, while the XY Screen has 2 vertical support bars in the back for their 120" screen.

After some careful consideration and negotiation, I decided to go with the XY screen. I received the screen 4 days after it was shipped (via FedEx). Despite my concern, there was no custom import tariff I had to pay at all. FedEx just delivered the screen and asked me to help them carry it in the house because it was quite long and heavy indeed. I had no problem installing the screen, although the installation instruction can be better. The packaging is very well done and professional, with lots of extra parts and springs to spare, even a set of white gloves. I found August Liu to be very professional and responsive and patient in answering all my questions and addressing all my concern.

Now I just need to receive my Vava 4K UST Projector (being shipped to me as we speak) to see how well the screen will work with it.

aeneas01 07-08-2019 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Volusiano (Post 58271746)
I asked XY Screen why they have the highest price, and they said that their frame is more substantial and sturdier and heavier than the other vendors' frame (as evident in the 30 kg weight for XY Screen compared to only 18 kg from Azure), so this drives up their total cost, including more expensive shipping cost as well.

interesting re the weight, just checked my invoice and the shipping weight for my screen is 28.9 kg (for a 145" 2.35:1 scope screen)... i ended up going with a sams av-tech "t-prism" screen (lenticular/pet) because they were extremely easy to work with in terms of a custom size, were very responsive to all of my questions, and ultimately offered me a very reasonable price imo, $1,025.00 shipped.

the quote i got from xy for the same size pet crystal scope screen was more than twice as much because, according to xy, it was a "custom job"... xy wouldn't budge on the price, and suggested that i should instead consider their "grid" or "black crystal" fabrics which would be less... thing is, everyone offers these two fabrics as well, these two less expensive options, also at a much lower price than xy.

anyway, about half a dozen other manufacturers i contacted said they were able to do the custom size i was looking for in pet crystal / lenticular, all at well below xy's quote, but i ended up going with sams because the entire experience went so well... hopefully i will be able to say the same thing once the screen arrives this thursday!

i was told the screen ships in a 6 foot box as pictured:

https://i.postimg.cc/K8GVjxsR/05.png

and here are a few specs:

https://i.postimg.cc/fT2yqTXN/03.jpg

https://i.postimg.cc/wxk7Jkj3/02.jpg

a link to their t-prism screen / website:

https://screenpro.en.alibaba.com/pro...6a577fa7ZwQbZu

noah katz 07-08-2019 10:52 PM

Are any of these screens available in rollup?

monakh 07-08-2019 11:22 PM

Great info regarding the weight info and the difference between Azure and XY.

I would have honestly gone with XY instead of Azure but I really didn't like their ever so slightly condescending attitude.

Whether the frame weight translates to real world issues or not remains to be seen, but I guess I'll find out. For reference, my 120 inch Pet Crystal screen was $1050 from Azure shipped to the Middle East. Duties and fees added another $133 to the cost. On the plus side, Azure shipped me the Xiaomi Mijia 4K projector at cost (~$1500). I had already canceled my VAVA projector through Indiegogo which is more or less the same unit as the Mijia with some enhancements that I did not feel are worth the extra grand.

The package at a bit over $2500 was totally worth it. Well ask me in a couple of days. The PJ comes today. Let's see how it fares. I got the screen a month back but I haven't opened it yet.

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sdb5057 07-08-2019 11:51 PM

I ordered a high gain 100" tab suspension AT screen for around $800 to my door about 6 months ago.
Looks great, works great. Pretty damn heavy!

I wanted to get their ALR version, but they said that the screen wasn't doable in the system I wanted for the way the screen is made.

Volusiano 07-09-2019 01:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aeneas01 (Post 58273906)
interesting re the weight, just checked my invoice and the shipping weight for my screen is 28.9 kg (for a 145" 2.35:1 scope screen)... i ended up going with a sams av-tech "t-prism" screen (lenticular/pet) because they were extremely easy to work with in terms of a custom size, were very responsive to all of my questions, and ultimately offered me a very reasonable price imo, $1,025.00 shipped.

Wow, that sounds like a great deal at $1025 for a 145" screen. In all honesty, 145" may be too big for my wall space and the viewing distance in my living room so I was kind of glad that I was constrained to pick the 120" anyway, although my initial instinct was to go for a 150" screen.

I can see how the price can go up a lot for custom jobs, though. You lose the mass manufacturability.

I don't know how the "t-prism" material is different from the PET Crystal material. But from the marketing brochure, the concept seems the same. I wonder if they're different in terms of how fine the lines are.

Volusiano 07-09-2019 01:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by monakh (Post 58273966)
Great info regarding the weight info and the difference between Azure and XY.

I would have honestly gone with XY instead of Azure but I really didn't like their ever so slightly condescending attitude.

Whether the frame weight translates to real world issues or not remains to be seen, but I guess I'll find out. For reference, my 120 inch Pet Crystal screen was $1050 from Azure shipped to the Middle East. Duties and fees added another $133 to the cost. On the plus side, Azure shipped me the Xiaomi Mijia 4K projector at cost (~$1500). I had already canceled my VAVA projector through Indiegogo which is more or less the same unit as the Mijia with some enhancements that I did not feel are worth the extra grand.

The package at a bit over $2500 was totally worth it. Well ask me in a couple of days. The PJ comes today. Let's see how it fares. I got the screen a month back but I haven't opened it yet.

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That's a great deal you got for the Xiaom 4K at cost of $1500. I think the differentiation between it and the Vava may be in the Harmon Kardon sound system. Not worth the $1K difference, however. But then the $2550 Indiegogo price for the Vava is not the at-cost price like the Xiaomi 4K that you got. There's also the warranty aspect, although most likely moot if there's no problem developed in the first year.

Do share more when you get both the screen and projector in for further review!

Sorry to hear that you weren't happy with the XY screen sales approach and found them a little condescending. I didn't have that experience with them myself, but things happen differently to different people anyway.

monakh 07-09-2019 02:54 AM

Projector arrived today. I am relieved to see the model number matches the 4K variant. You never know but at least Azure (Joey) has won my trust.

I'll write more once I get everything set up. Am a bit concerned about the screen since it's been a month and I am past the return period. If there are any issues, I'm screwed!

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aeneas01 07-09-2019 04:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by noah katz (Post 58273916)
Are any of these screens available in rollup?

"t prism"

http://www.samsav.com/

Rose Lawrence 07-09-2019 04:25 AM

I think it is safe.

Volusiano 07-09-2019 08:54 AM

4 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by monakh (Post 58274154)
Projector arrived today. I am relieved to see the model number matches the 4K variant. You never know but at least Azure (Joey) has won my trust.

I'll write more once I get everything set up. Am a bit concerned about the screen since it's been a month and I am past the return period. If there are any issues, I'm screwed!

Sent from my GM1917 using Tapatalk

I just don't count on returning the screen to China simply because of the shipping cost involved. If they would ship new parts to address any issue, I would be happy enough with that.

I saw a YouTube video review of a guy who bought a screen from a Chinese company. He noticed a tiny fleck on his screen that appears to be a deposit of some sort that's not removable. The company offered him $50 compensation or else he'd need to return the screen to China for a new one at his own shipping cost. He opted to take the $50 because it would have been a big hassle and costly to do the return.

noah katz 07-09-2019 02:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aeneas01 (Post 58274248)


I went to the site; *very* interesting indeed.

I searched this forum for "t prism" and there weren't any hits except this one post, and google hits were only to the mfgr sites and a marketing blurb on projectorcentral.

So I guess you guys are the pioneers.

I'll be extremely interested to see how these work out.

You guys got the long-throw version, right?

monakh 07-09-2019 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Volusiano (Post 58275036)
I just don't count on returning the screen to China simply because of the shipping cost involved. If they would ship new parts to address any issue, I would be happy enough with that.

I saw a YouTube video review of a guy who bought a screen from a Chinese company. He noticed a tiny fleck on his screen that appears to be a deposit of some sort that's not removable. The company offered him $50 compensation or else he'd need to return the screen to China for a new one at his own shipping cost. He opted to take the $50 because it would have been a big hassle and costly to do the return.

You have a point. My projector seems to be a lemon. Beautiful image but slight distortion in top and center left. Can't live with it. So do I return this 1700 dollar paperweight or try to live with it?

I am not at all particular about the image most projectors throw but it's hard to ignore this issue.

It's a risk buying from China directly. Most people have no issues but in the event you do, there should be some insurance to mitigate the risk.

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