Buying from China online - eyes wide open!

GearBest Great prices ZERO service
An experience I don’t want other to share, so I’ll be brief.

Needed a replacement phone, as my YotaPhone 2 was broken, so searched the net and GearBest popped up. The selection looked huge and the prices were very reasonable so I took the plunge and placed an order for a new YotaPhone 2, easy right?

But then the fun began. I received an email from GearBest requesting ID proof of who I was. They required a copy of a ‘utility bill for the last month showing my address’ and a colour copy / scan of my credit card showing at least the ‘last 4 digits of your credit card number, expiration date and your full name’. Right.

So here in Australia there are very strict laws regarding privacy and rather reasonable protection from banks for your credit cards. Naturally I contacted GearBest immediately and advised them that they had gladly taken my money but now request this. I told them that that won’t be happening any time soon, and that I found it a complete bloody insult, and I demanded to know ‘Who they were’. You can imagine the discussion that ensued, one indignant Australian and an offended Chinese ‘service department’ in a chat room.

After some fuss I was allowed to have the ordered phone. It arrived rather quickly and I immediately began to install aps via Wi-Fi. As it took a Nano card I had to request one from my phone company, and that oddly took 1 ½ weeks. When the Nano card arrived, in it went and presto the YotaPhone 2 was working. Then it stopped and then worked, then stopped. Shit I had a faulty phone – Oh joy!

Back to GearBest. I attempted to request a replacement phone as a technician in my city identified it as simply a faulty SIM card reader. What did GearBest say? Please send us a video of the faulty item, Oh how delightful!
So I send a video of the faulty item and show the exact fault. No reply. I send it again, still no reply or acknowledgement of the video! I get onto them in the “Service department’ issuing emails (internal) and get the run-around that I though they would give me.

So I have a faulty phone sold by company in China that promises all the wonderful things we are used to in a Western consumer world, but are incapable of delivering.

My summary; if you don’t want quality, or service or warranty in electronic products, buy from this company as they are cheap, and CHEAP is what you will get. As a westerner you WILL be frustrated by their double speak and false promises and complete lack of honesty when it comes to service.

Its such a pity as I really wanted them to achieve even the most basic level of Consumer service, as their product range was so enormous.


This is one of the risks of dealing with any company which is overseas as they have different/limited/no consumer law. Even the basic warranty one would expect may not even exist. If there are problems like yours, it can be very hard to deal with and get resolved (if at all).

If you used a payment service like paypal, some offer refunds for products which are faulty and if the online retailer is not forthcoming with replacement/refund. If you did, check what can be done through them noting that most have limited time periods to make a claim.

I buy quite a lot of stuff from China, generally low-priced things that don’t matter too much if and when they disappoint. I also always use Paypal, which gives me some redress.

I’m cautious about buying expensive stuff from China. There’s a reason that it’s cheap, though you certainly can bag a bargain if you’re lucky - but you do have to trust to luck.


I buy quite a bit from China, but never electronics because of the warranty issues and language problems. I deal with a few companies, which seem to handle everything under the sun, but I always start through Ebay, and using Paypal, so that I have some come-back if everything goes belly up. Ebay have weeded out most of the really bad sellers, and apart from the fact they do not send to PO addresses, I find them easier to deal with than the Australian equivalent. Even postage is sometimes faster!
If there are disputes and returns, its all handled according to Ebay and Paypal’s rules and the sellers co-operate so as to keep their place on Ebay. This makes quite a difference as to how you are treated. It also gives the buyer a chance to read the seller’s ratings, and while none of them have 100%, you can be sure that the loss of ratings is for bad electronics that do not work. Some of this is due to the soldering inside that simply does not cope with the rough way freight is handled here, and this can also apply to goods purchased in Australia and sent via courier.
The moral is buy local if you are buying electronics. It will cost more, but its easy to return faulty goods because you are protected by our consumer laws and you have a warranty. If you buy from anywhere else, its your risk alone, and you are carrying the warranty and the insurance yourself should anything go wrong, and you will have to hope that your credit card company or bank will help you get your money back.


I had experience with eBay sellers that was an eye opener. We have consumer protection laws in Australian I/we generally take for granted, whereas on eBay they will display a picture that represents their product and ship you something similar but lower quality or compatible to the genuine part number and photo shown. I had this happen on a replacement remote control which has the specific genuine part number and a photo but sent me a compatible remote control instead. Their response was to send it back for a full refund of my purchase price (but not my shipping cost).

I have since become very wary of Chinese sellers on eBay. I found one the other day with 7 photo’s of the product - 6 showing high quality material and finish and the 7th of much lower quality finish and material, I sent them messages trying to get a confirmation of which product would actually be sent but they refused to answer my question without an order to reference.

I have also seen Chinese sellers set-up as if they were located in Darwin, only given away by the ships from detail.

Beware, their consumer protection laws are not the same as ours.

I hope you opened a dispute via eBay.

I was quite angry on receipt, but the remote control worked and it was going to cost more to return than it was to buy, so I kept it. It wasn’t what was pictured though and my feedback was negative but it was too hard to really do anything more without paying more.

This happened again, on a pair of gloves. Product arrived totally different from the photos in the materials used to manufacture. I lodged this one into eBay and the seller gave me a full refund no requirement to return the product. As far as eBay is concerned that is resolved, and that is where the system falls over. They don’t make it easy to lodge a complaint as their first step is always between buyer nad seller and if no resolution then the process continues.