Buying stuff from merchants in China directly, rather than from a retailer whose stock comes from a distributor who may be sourcing stuff from a supplier in China or a wholesaler generally translates into cost savings but can require some additional work on the part of the purchaser. Remember the maxim,
Good, fast, cheap. Choose two.? When buying directly from Mainland Chinese sellers via a Chinese platform like Taobao, one perhaps ought to be thinking
Good, clean, well-packed, full quantity ordered. Choose two.
A lot of things sent from China will be dirty. Handling a few small rolls of stainless steel mesh grimed-up the leather palms of the never-before-worn pair of work gloves shown above.
Goods will often be wrapped in trash, like discarded fruit wrappers and sticker-sheet backing paper.
Sometimes, you’ll receive less of something than you’ve ordered or, if you order multiple related products, some won’t be shipped. That’s what happened with the order of small SS springs in the photo above. When I complained via AliWangWang, the seller required me to photograph what they’d sent and send them the photo before they’d dispatch the missing items. Another issue is a seller shipping a cheaper/older/less-featureful model of a product, like for example, the previous-generation model of a soldering iron. Occasionally, there will be outright fraud. Once, instead of the soldering fume extractor I’d purchased, a seller shipped a small box containing a plastic mobile phone stand.
In the case of the soldering iron, I’d only bought one of them and the price would’ve been a bargain for the new model but was the going price for the older-gen model. The merchant claimed it had been a mistake and, knowing the logistics and hassle entailed, invited me to return the old one for a refund. I elected to lump it, held onto the one they’d sent, and purchased the latest model (which I still wanted) from a different shop. When confronted, the seller who’d shipped a phone stand instead of fume extractor blamed it on a disgruntled former employee and gave me a refund. How doggedly you would like to pursue justice in a given case is up to you.