Is It Safe To Purchase From Alibaba? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 13 Old 05-04-2019, 03:43 AM - Thread Starter
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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an email from the same company offering me the screen and/or frame at about half the quoted prices, and well below the "outdated" price shown at alibaba.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?
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post #2 of 13 Old 05-04-2019, 06:28 AM
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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.
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post #3 of 13 Old 05-04-2019, 06:37 AM
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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.
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post #4 of 13 Old 05-04-2019, 07:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markmon1 View Post
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.
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Originally Posted by aeneas01
i've reached out to a couple of projection screen manufacturers / distributors found on alibaba.
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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?
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post #5 of 13 Old 05-04-2019, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by aeneas01 View Post
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.
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post #6 of 13 Old 05-08-2019, 03:08 AM
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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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post #7 of 13 Old 05-14-2019, 08:03 PM
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Quote:
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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.
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post #8 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 11:07 AM
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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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post #9 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 11:08 AM
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Oh.. And completed the deal on Ali Baba

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post #10 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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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?
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post #11 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 12:24 PM
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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.

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post #12 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 02:15 PM
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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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post #13 of 13 Old 05-15-2019, 11:05 PM
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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.

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