AliExpress Seller Ratings Are Misleading: How Not To Be Deceived

We’ve all been there – scrolling endlessly through AliExpress, tempted by those rock-bottom prices. But a little voice in your head whispers, “Is this too good to be true?”

Navigating the vast sea of sellers can be intimidating. Thankfully, AliExpress seller ratings exist to light your way. Let’s decipher them together so you can shop with confidence.

Key Takeaway:

  • Feedback Score: This is a combined score based on all star ratings (1-5 stars) received in the past six months. It’s a quick indicator of overall satisfaction, but consider the number of ratings for context. 98% with ten ratings might be less reliable than 95% with 10,000 ratings.
  • Positive Feedback: The percentage of positive ratings (4-5 stars) from all ratings in the past six months. Aim for 95% or higher for better assurance.
  • Detailed Seller Ratings: These break down buyer satisfaction in specific areas like Item as Described, Communication, and Shipping Speed. Look for high scores (4-5 stars) in each area relevant to your purchase.


A glance at an AliExpress product page, and you’ll find a cluster of numbers and sometimes a shiny badge—these are the seller ratings. But what do they tell you? Let’s break it down:

Positive Feedback Percentage

The Positive Feedback Percentage is your immediate go-to for evaluating a seller’s reliability on AliExpress. Here’s what you need to know:

  • How It’s Calculated: This percentage represents the proportion of buyers who left positive (4 or 5 stars) feedback for that seller over the past six months.
  • What to Aim For: Prioritize sellers with a positive feedback percentage of 95% or higher. Lower percentages indicate potential problems with product quality, order fulfilment, or customer service.
  • It’s Not Everything: While a high percentage is a fantastic starting point, always combine this with a closer look at Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) and genuine customer reviews for a well-rounded picture of the seller.

Think of positive feedback percentage as a quick snapshot – handy, but a closer look will paint a fuller picture of any AliExpress seller.

Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs)

DSRs act like a magnifying glass, providing a closer look at how an AliExpress seller performs in three critical areas:

  • Item as Described: This rating reflects how accurately the product listing (description, photos) matches what the buyer receives. Does the item look the same, function as promised, and have the expected quality?
  • Communication: How responsive and helpful is the seller? Do they answer questions promptly and thoroughly? A high communication rating signals good customer support before and after a sale.
  • Shipping Speed: This rating indicates how quickly the seller processes and ships the order. It only sometimes reflects the total delivery time, as that may depend on the shipping method and customs.

Why DSRs Matter

While the positive feedback percentage gives you a general overview, DSRs help you get more specific. Here’s how to use them:

  • Spot Potential Weaknesses: A seller with a high overall rating might have one DSR that’s consistently lower than the others. Suppose that low DSR is a crucial concern (e.g., a meagre Shipping Speed score when you need an item quickly). In that case, it might be better to explore other sellers.
  • Read Reviews Alongside DSRs: Comments in reviews often confirm a low DSR. For example, if you see many complaints about poor item quality, that should align with a standard “Item as Described” score.

Real-World Examples of Using AliExpress Seller Ratings

Scenario 1: Phone Case Purchase on AliExpress

  • Product: Cute, protective phone case in a specific style.
  • Seller Comparison:
    • Seller A: 96% positive feedback, good DSRs across the board, and a wide selection of cases to browse.
    • Seller B: 92% positive feedback, slightly lower “Item as Described” DSR, THE specific case design you love for the lowest price.
  • Decision Process: You might lean towards Seller A due to consistently higher ratings, which suggest overall reliability. However, suppose Seller B’s reviews on other case designs mention accurate product photos and decent quality. In that case, you may be willing to overlook a slightly lower DSR in return for that unique design and lower price.

Scenario 2: Affordable Tech Upgrade on AliExpress

  • Product: Wireless earbuds
  • Seller Comparison:
    • Seller A: 98% positive feedback, Top Brand badge, earbuds priced slightly higher than the average. Reviews talk about excellent sound quality and fast shipping.
    • Seller B: 94% positive feedback, much cheaper earbuds, but mixed reviews mentioning occasional glitches and inconsistent battery life.
  • Decision Process: The Top Brand badge on Seller A adds extra reassurance, particularly for tech items where ongoing customer support might be valuable. If budget is a primary concern, weigh the possibility of minor issues (which some of Seller B’s reviews describe) against the savings.

Scenario 3: Birthday Gift on AliExpress

  • Product: Unique, handmade necklace
  • Seller Comparison:
    • Seller A: 97% positive feedback, longer shipping estimate (3-4 weeks), beautiful photos, raving reviews about excellent craftsmanship.
    • Seller B: 95% positive feedback, shipping estimate within your timeframe, similar style necklace, decent reviews but some comments about items appearing slightly less polished than photos.
  • Decision Process: Here, shipping speed might be critical. If waiting doesn’t work, slightly lower DSRs for Seller B may be acceptable since reviews still hint at good quality. Contacting Seller B first to confirm the in-stock status and express shipping needs could provide extra peace of mind.

Necessary: Be sure to supplement your comparison of seller ratings with reading relevant reviews for the product and seller!

Feedback Score: The Behind-the-Scenes Rating

The Feedback Score is a numerical value that might take time to be visible on an AliExpress product page. Still, it plays a role in a seller’s overall standing. Here’s how it works:

  • Point System: Each rating the seller receives is converted into points:
    • 5 Stars or 4 Stars = +1 Point
    • 3 Stars = 0 Points
    • 2 Stars or 1 Star = -1 Point
  • Heavier Weight on Recent Feedback: The Feedback Score gives more importance to recent ratings than older ones. This keeps it relevant to a seller’s current performance.
  • How It’s Used: AliExpress uses the Feedback Score behind the scenes in a couple of ways:
    • Search rankings: Established sellers with consistently positive feedback may benefit from a slight boost in search results.
    • Top Brand Status: Earning and maintaining the coveted “Top Brand” badge largely depends on having a solid Feedback Score.

Why You Should Care (A Little):

While more critical than positive feedback percentage or DSRs, the Feedback Score offers a glimpse into the seller’s history. Consider it as secondary support data:

  • Spotting Established Sellers: A very high Feedback Score suggests the seller has been on AliExpress for a while and amassed many positive transactions.
  • Noticing Changes: If you’ve purchased from a seller before, keeping an eye on their Feedback Score can alert you to any significant drops, possibly indicating shifts in quality or service.

Focus on readily available ratings, but know the Feedback Score works behind the scenes to paint a broader picture of an AliExpress seller.


While seller ratings are precious, it’s essential to approach them with a level of awareness. Here are some common concerns and how to address them:

  • Fake Reviews: Unfortunately, some sellers manipulate ratings with fake positive reviews. Be wary of:
    • Overly generic praise without specifics.
    • Accounts with minimal transaction history leave glowing feedback.
    • Highly repetitive language is used across multiple reviews.
  • Regional Differences in Standards: What makes one buyer rave with five stars might only be a 3-star item for another, based on individual expectations and cultural interpretations of quality. Look for:
    • Buyer photos to get a realistic view of the product.
    • Reviews are detailed enough to see if the buyer’s priorities align with yours.
  • Seller Changes: Sellers may go through phases with management, suppliers, or overall quality changes. Focus on:
    • Recent review dates to reflect any current trends.
    • If older reviews are vastly different from recent ones, proceed with caution.

Strategies for Enhanced Confidence

Keep these imperfections from turning you away from using seller ratings strategically! Here’s how to stay savvy:

  • Prioritize Reviews: Pay close attention to recent review patterns. Do complaints mirror low DSRs? Can you identify a shift in quality over time?
  • Trust Your Gut: If something feels “off,” even with decent ratings, don’t ignore that instinct. Consider a higher-rated seller even if their price is slightly higher.
  • Verify with Photos: Buyer-uploaded photos are your truth serum! Do they back up the stellar product description or reveal a less-than-perfect reality?
  • Price = Perspective: Meager prices may necessitate readjusting quality expectations. Refrain from letting a stellar rating make you dismiss potentially flimsy construction on a super-cheap item.

By combining thorough rating analysis with these extra tactics, you’ll make well-informed AliExpress decisions and minimize the risk of disappointment.


Spotting a “Top Brand” badge beside a seller’s name on AliExpress is like hitting a minor shopping jackpot. This symbol is a mark of distinction, indicating several things:

  • Proven Track Record: Top Brands have consistently high positive feedback percentages and excellent Detailed Seller Ratings. They’ve demonstrated reliability over time.
  • Customer First: These sellers prioritize customer satisfaction, resulting in excellent communication and after-sales support.
  • Often Perks Included: Top Brands frequently offer benefits like:
    • Faster shipping options or expedited processing.
    • Exclusive discounts and promotions.
    • Priority customer service support.

Why Prioritize Top Brands

While you can undoubtedly find great deals from non-Top Brand sellers, here’s why the badge offers peace of mind:

  • Minimizes Risk: The rigorous qualification standards mean you’ll be less likely to encounter issues with product quality, misleading descriptions, or unresponsive sellers.
  • Potential for Better Experience: The perks usually associated with Top Brands streamline your shopping and can mean a smoother overall experience.
  • Trust Factor: Seeing that badge immediately inspires more confidence in a seller, especially if you are browsing a less familiar product category.

Remember: The Top Brand badge is a strong indicator, not a guarantee of perfection. Always check individual product reviews and compare top brands’ prices before deciding.


You understand the ratings; let’s put them to work! Here’s how to analyze them for truly informed AliExpress purchases:

Don’t Ignore the Reviews

Ratings offer a helpful overview, but the most valuable insights often live within customer reviews. Take the time to read recent reviews, paying attention to the following:

  • Recurring Patterns: Does everyone praise the fast shipping, or are numerous buyers upset about misleading product descriptions? Spotting trends gives you more accurate insight than ratings alone.
  • Buyer Photos: Uploaded photos provide a real-world look at the product. They can confirm quality, colour accuracy, and size compared to the seller’s pictures.

The Power of Seller Communication

Before hitting “Buy Now,” test the waters by messaging the seller with any questions about the product.

Here’s what to pay attention to:

  • Responsiveness: Do they reply promptly (within a day or two)? Slow or absent replies should raise a significant red flag.
  • Helpfulness: Do their answers clarify details, or are they vague and generic? A lack of clarity hints at potential customer service issues down the line.

When Price Shouldn’t Be the Only Factor

The lowest price tag is tempting, but remember: a deal is only if you receive a usable, quality product.

Here’s when to balance price with ratings:

  • Very Low Prices: Check the reviews meticulously – is there a common complaint about inferior quality? For some “too good to be true” deals, paying slightly more for a seller with stellar feedback might save you the hassle of returns or unusable items.
  • Tech or Specialty Items: If you’re seeking items where accurate descriptions and ongoing support are essential, invest more for the extra reassurance of a top-rated seller.


Understanding seller ratings is a giant leap towards successful shopping on AliExpress, but let’s refine your skills even further with these additional tips:

Country Matters: Shipping and Timelines

The “Ships From” location significantly affects how long you’ll wait for your AliExpress order and potentially impacts any additional shipping costs.

Here’s why you should always check this detail before purchase:

  • China vs. Local Warehouses: Most AliExpress sellers are based in China. Shipping from China generally means longer wait times, usually a couple of weeks to a month or more. However, some sellers maintain warehouses in other countries, including the US, Europe, etc.
  • The Benefit of Proximity: Choosing “Ships From” a country closer to yours drastically cuts shipping time. You might get your package in a matter of days instead of weeks.
  • Customs and Fees: Items shipped from a warehouse within your country often reduce or eliminate surprises at customs. They’re less likely to incur import fees or additional taxes than orders shipped directly from China.

Pro Tip: Many AliExpress product pages can filter search results by “Ships From”. Utilize this to find items closer to home or narrow down sellers offering the fastest delivery for your needs.

AliExpress Buyer Protection

AliExpress Buyer Protection acts as your insurance policy on most items you purchase through the platform. Think of it as a safeguard that helps you shop with more confidence.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • What’s Usually Covered: Buyer Protection provides a way to get a refund or resolution if:
    • Your item never arrives.
    • The product you receive significantly differs from what was described in the listing.
    • You receive a counterfeit item (this may have stricter requirements for proof).
  • The Time Factor: Most items have a Buyer Protection period. You can usually file a dispute (open a claim) within a specific timeframe after the order is marked as completed or you confirm receipt.
  • Know the Process: Familiarize yourself with how to file a dispute through AliExpress. Understand the required evidence (photos, communication with the seller, etc.).
  • Important Caveats: Buyer Protection has limits. Be sure to check the official AliExpress policy for details like:
    • Types of items that may need to be fully covered.
    • Time limits for opening a dispute.
    • Regional exclusions or regulations that might apply.

Remember, Buyer Protection isn’t a substitute for carefully analyzing seller ratings but rather an additional layer of security while navigating AliExpress.

Before You Go

AliExpress seller ratings aren’t a guarantee of perfection, but they’re a powerful tool in your shopping arsenal.

You’ll minimize risks and maximize positive experiences by approaching them with a savvy eye. Consider a few extra precautions for those irresistible bargains, and always remember your gut instinct counts for a lot.

Happy shopping!

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