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Alibaba Trade Assurance Explained | A Definitive Guide

China is known and trusted worldwide for low-cost, standard quality, bulk supply, and a vast supplier base. People around the world seek chances where they can start trading with Chinese Vendors.

Formerly, seekers prefer to join product fairs in China to check and verify the quality and quantity before ordering in bulk. With the invasion of e-commerce platforms, making orders without crossing distances has become feasible.

In addition, these platforms are successfully running throughout the globe and making it possible to achieve bulk products from Chinese markets in cost-effective dealings. Still, the lack of any Trade Assurance was a major strain.

Alibaba has been named a leading B-2-B e-commerce platform, making e-commerce easier. It has helped tackle the central issue of facing scams by launching the Alibaba Trade Assurance program in 2015.

It has become a game-changing factor for China’s sourcing. Also, it provides an additional sense of security by alleviating the stress followed by online cross-border trading or trading through Sourcing Agents.

Before that, buyers could hardly recoup their payments when the seller failed to serve the promised product quality or quantity. Now, they can file a Dispute in case of an agreement breach.

What is Trade Assurance?

As the name predicts, the Alibaba Trade Assurance program is launched to develop and boost the trust between buyers and sellers. It is beneficial when the seller breaches any pre-agreed terms for the order agreement placed under Alibaba Trade assurance.

It specifically helps,

● The order doesn’t get delayed from the planned shipment date as on-time order delivery is assured through this program.

● The quality of the products matches the buyer’s intended standards (which is decided between supplier and receiver during the time of completing the order contract)

1. How does the Trade Assurance protect buyers?

Under this Trade Assurance, you become eligible once you have agreed with a reliable supplier offering trade assurance. Remember it is necessary to complete the process of making contracts and payments through the Alibaba platform. Or your refound on Alibaba may be much harder, because Alibaba only acknowledges chat recorders and transactions on the platform.

Alibaba grants Trade Assurance to the suppliers after cross-verifying their previous history. They consider every point, like how many orders they have completed, their client satisfaction rate, and the quantity of product they can produce.

Other than that, Buyers can opt for two options at the time of making an order;

 Pre-shipment Coverage

● Post-delivery Coverage

When the buyer claims a dispute for contract breaching, it will be verified by a third-party inspector, which Alibaba approves. The buyer can call for a dispute through the Alibaba helpline center through this program. One can enjoy the perks of this free transaction security service if all the order agreements and transactions are made through Alibaba.


The buyer can recoup some or all of the payment when the dispute is accepted and the platform requires the sellers to take full responsibility. Or in another case, the platform assists in forming a new agreement between vendor and buyer to mitigate the order loss. Initially, the supplier is given three days to resolve the conflict with the buyer by forming any acceptable solution. If the solution is not accepted by the buyer, the buyer can escalate the dispute. And here, the Alibaba team will intervene.

In addition, Alibaba will automatically step in if the issue remains unresolved for seven days. After that, they will ponder over the arguments from both buyer and supplier. And they will check the contract processing history. A further decision is based on facts they conclude.  Meanwhile, one shouldn’t think that this service is rooted for the buyers. The mediators only reimburse order payments when they have verified both sides and judged clearly which side is wrong. So, it is better not to mention any confusing statements when arguing and make sure all your statements are based on reality.

2. Trade Assurance User Guide

Here is a basic explanation of all the procedures that will help you complete your Trade assurance. It is to be noted that not all the suppliers are granted Alibaba Trade Assurance. Alibaba has a complete procedure for assigning that assurance tag to any seller. After checking the supplier’s history, if they come under the credible trading standard, then the supplier is considered.

So, before you start searching for the relevant product, you have to apply a filter for Trade Assurance in the search bar. With this step, when you enter the product, all the options for suppliers you see will have the trade surety policy. After that, you should check if the product has a label for trade assurance from Alibaba. Alibaba’s examination to businessess is very strict, so our answer to question like “Is Alibaba trade assurance safe?” is Yes. If you buy products on Alibaba under this project, then you can contact Alibaba trade assurance to protect your own rights when there are something wrong with the products.

2.1 Find and Negotiate

After entering your intended product in the search bar, you can observe a large base of suppliers for your product. Here, the buyer can take advantage of low-cost production. You can choose among them to make a highly cost-effective deal. For bulk orders, negotiation is a must thing. Most suppliers in Alibaba will set a MOQ. You can contact the sellers to make a fair deal.

The point to keep in mind is that you should contact sellers through the Alibaba communication platform. It will help, as the platform itself will record all the chats you do to make the contract. As we have mentioned above, all transactions are carried out on the platform are conducive to later dispute resolution, and are also meet the Alibaba trade refund. It’s helpful when you want to protect your rights through Alibaba trade assurance.

2.2 Request Contract

After sharing all the details about the product with the supplier, you can request a ‘Contract .’ The contract should take all the details into count, including:

● The shipment dates

● Product specification

● Order Quantity

● Exact material, color, weight

● The packaging

The above options are just some basic parameters, the basic details need to be confirmed according to your reality. And your negotiation with the supplier will also influence the specific contents of the contract.

2.3 Confirm Contract

After you have assured that the Contract Terms are entirely determined and that the rates are specified under Alibaba’s communication platform, you can confirm the contract with the supplier. It is better to inspect the quality of the product sample before making payment. It adds a layer of security while ordering in huge quantities. Another thing you need to remember is that the more detailed the contract is, the more convenient it will be for you to protect your rights. Don’t be afraid of trouble when making a contract.

2.4 Payment

So now, when everything is documented between you and the supplier, it’s time to pay for your order production. As mentioned earlier, there is two payment coverage: the Pre-shipment coverage and the post-delivery scope. You can opt between the two or whatever the supplier provides you. Just choose the one you feel safer than others. It is convenient and safe to use the payment methods allowed by Alibaba. They give you multiple options so you can make transactions through the platform.

And for a valid dispute or refund claim, your transaction should be completed through this platform. The transaction methods that Alibaba Trade Assurance offers are following:

● PayPal

● Credit Card

● Online Bank Payment

● Online Transfer

● Telegraphic Transfer (T/T)

● Western Union

● Pay Later

● Boleto

● Letter of Credit (L/C)

2.5 Shipment

We have come to the last step of an order, when everything is settled, you can discuss the shipment with the supplier. Cautious buyers usually will ask for additional protection. You can hire a third-party quality inspection and production monitoring to help you inspect the quality of the products. Alibaba authorized two kinds of inspection services.

– Quality inspection before shipment

This inspection service can help you reduce the probability of faulty products to the maximum extent. With the help of the inspection team, you can select all the faulty products before delivering the goods to the freight forwarder and place them with good products, which can protect your profit.

– Quality inspection after delivery

This program can be called an after-sale service. When you received all the products, it’s necessary for you to check the quality of the products again in case there are any products that have been damaged during shipment. If there are products damaged in transit, you can decide whether to claim compensation from the seller according to the actual situation, both in cash and goods, but you need to negotiate. The Trade Assurance also provides a guarantee for this. Proper quality inspection will make your case more decisive in front of the dispute resolving team. In another case, if the shipment gets delayed, you can claim and escalate the dispute too.

2.6 Confirm shipment

After you have finalized the Contract and Shipment method, you can pay and confirm your order for shipment. Here, your order procedure will come to an end, and you can wait for order delivery.

5TIPS- Alibaba trade assurance

How to create a Trade Assurance order?

To successfully make a Trade Assurance order on Alibaba, you have to move forward with these simple steps as following:

Step 1. Create the Product Specifications and Delivery Terms.

In the first step, you have to form an order file where you will mention each concrete detail about the production. It is necessary to look at each statement thoroughly because any rift after delivery will be taken into account only when your side or agreement is determined.

1. Product Design File

To make further entries, the buyer has to enter the exact design file for the desired product. Such as the color, size, material, function and so on.

2. Quality Requirements

It is vital to mention each minor detail about the product requirement. The buyer should not merely rely on a ‘Good quality Statement.’ Instead, they should provide stringent quality requirements in the contract for later inspection.

3. Mention Order Quantity

After the quality inspection team has checked the sample, the buyer confirms the order quantity for the related product. The specific quantity of products must be included in the contract, which will also facilitate disputes that may arise later.

4. Add Packaging Details

Most of the time, the Contract buyer starts to sell the received production directly to the market. That’s why they already ask the seller to make solid packaging. For selling the goods easier and faster, wholesalers need to confirm with the suppliers about the package details. Make sure the packages are suitable for your products and cannot be damaged easily.

5. Enter Shipment Date

After confirming all the details, the buyer and supplier will mutually decide on a Shipment date. The shipment date is essential to mention in the Contract Order. Shipment date is an essential factor that the buyer can use for raising a dispute. It is because, in Business-to-Business commerce, the buyer has further dates for confirming production distribution. Or, in another case, they have to sell it directly to the Customers.

When the shipment gets delayed, it affects the buyer’s business, so Alibaba considers it one of the two reasons for filing a Dispute.

6. Customization Specifications

Here you can mention any type of customization that you need in clear terms, like branding, packing, color specification, etc. And these parameters are also important enough to mentioned in the contract.

Step 2. Choose the Coverage Type for Your Order

In Pre-shipment coverage, buyers have to submit an initial payment for the order. After that, they verify the quality standard of the product before shipment. If the seller fails to meet the promised quality standard for the product, then the buyer can withhold the rest of the amount. Also, they can claim a refund for their initially paid amount.

In post-delivery coverage, a buyer is asked to inspect the order received within 15 days of customs clearance. If the buyer witnesses any issue in the pre-determined product quality standard in the contract, he or she can contact the team for a full payment refund or maximum repay, possibly within the coverage limit.

Step 3. Confirm Your Order and Initial Payment

When both parties agree upon the Trade Assurance Order Contract, the buyer can confirm the contract and make the initial payment through Alibaba’s given payment account.

How can a buyer apply for an offline Refund?

Offline payment means when you don’t pay the amount through Alibaba Payment methods. According to Alibaba Dispute claim rules, Alibaba will only handle the offline complaints, or when the supplier does not deliver the products after providing the payment. Or in another case, when the buyer does not pay for the order after delivery. Any other contract breaching is not considered valid.

Do all suppliers accept Alibaba Trade Assurance orders?

It is not necessary that all suppliers are eligible for the Trade Assurance or they have applied for the policy. So, you specifically have to choose the filter that results in ‘Supplier with Trade Assurance. Also, it might happen that you have previously ordered from a seller, and now, they don’t offer trade assurance. Or, your preferred or referred seller doesn’t provide trade security.

Under this kind of situation, it relies on your personal choice whether to believe a previously tested seller or search for a new supplier base. It can help you get new amazing low-cost deals. But it’s essential for you to know that businesses do not provide protection because their credibility is too low and cannot pass the qualification examination, so buyers should learn to identify low-quality businesses so as not to harm their interest.

Another central point is Alibaba grants trade surety labels to the suppliers after thoroughly observing their track record, selling behavior, sales volume, comments, previous history, and successful order completion. It provides ease in selecting suppliers with this policy as it indicates that they have a satisfactory business dealing. So, the chances for risk are decreased to making bulk orders.


Who can apply for Alibaba Trade Assurance?

Trade Assurance registration is free of cost. Any supplier can apply as long as they lie under the following conditions:

1. China and Malaysia are account registered countries of Alibaba.com

Currently, only Mainland China and some selected suppliers from other countries can apply for Trade Assurance. Only they can receive payments through Alibaba.com payment transferred by the buyers.

2. Alibaba.com account is Gold Supplier Membership

Alibaba provides benefits to the Buyers as well as Suppliers. All Suppliers can apply for the Trade Assurance as there are no rigid conditions. So, they just need to log in to their profiles and use Alibaba Trade Assurance. Alibaba considers certain aspects to allow payment coverage limit to the Suppliers and lists them under Assurance providing product supplier.

How do I open a dispute for my Trade Assurance order?

To raise a dispute with the supplier, go to Alibaba.com

1. Move to Orders- All Orders. Find the order and click on the ‘View more’ button to see the details.

2. Once the buyer has paid the initial amount, he can access the ‘Apply for Refund’ to open them through the order detail page.

3. Here, the buyer can fill up the Dispute form and press ‘Submit Hereafter.’ the buyer submits evidence:

● Maximum file size: 10MB Maximum of 5

● Format: jpg, jpeg, png, gif, zip.

● Special characters are unacceptable.

4. Once the buyer submits the dispute, one must wait for Supplier Response.


Dispute Resolution, Escalation, and Refund Claims

Once the buyer has paid the initial or total payment, he can get access to the function to raise Disputer and apply for a Refund. In pre-shipment coverage, if the buyer pays for third-party quality inspection, they go and check the production. The company is approved and appointed by Alibaba. If the specified quality requirement is not exactly what was described in the Order Contract, they will cancel the batch. And then, they will inform the buyer.

To claim the refund for the paid amount, the buyer can file a Dispute on Alibaba. From the date the dispute is filed, the Alibaba conflict management team will automatically invade after the exact 15 days.

Before that, if Alibaba is strained to interfere, they will review the matter. The first thing they will consider is an intense Contract Analysis. And then, they will check the report given by the inspection team to verify whether the quality meets the given standards.

● If the Production supplier fails to comply with the mentioned requirements, Alibaba will recoup or refund the payment.

● The buyer can Escalate the Dispute to ask Alibaba to look after the matter if the seller doesn’t show any response within four days of filing the dispute.

● If the supplier doesn’t show any response to the Proposed Solution, the dispute will be escalated automatically.

● The case will automatically be closed after seven days if the buyer has not shown any response to the Proposed Solution to the dispute.

● After 30 days, if the dispute remains unresolved, a team of Alibaba will step in to mediate the matter.

Ask Alibaba Message Center

At the time of the Ship date, when you ask the supplier to confirm order shipment, then ask it through Alibaba Message Centre. If the supplier doesn’t guarantee the delivery schedule or asks for an extension, you can immediately ask for a refund.

Post Delivery Coverage

For post-delivery coverage, when the approved Inspection company of Alibaba says the product quality isn’t exactly what the buyer asked in the contract, the buyer can ask for a refund within 30 days of order delivery. Once the buyer raises a dispute, you have some time to negotiate the rift. And the buyer should communicate through the Alibaba platform.

Alibaba Dispute Mediation Team asks for evidence from the buyer and the seller within five working days. Alibaba has assigned coverage to the supplier. If you have ordered the above seller’s coverage, the buyer won’t get the entire amount to repay.

FAQs about Alibaba Trade Assurance

Here we have written some of the fundamental questions to make sure necessary things are clear for our readers;

Q1. Why might Alibaba refuse to refund?

Not all your claims for a refund need to be accepted. Alibaba has no policy to return payments because the buyer filed a dispute. Here, the platform has a procedure to resolve the rift.

As mentioned earlier, Alibaba takes action only when terms are breaching for shipment date or quality standard.

● Firstly, they check if the instructions about product quality and shipment date are mentioned clearly.

● Secondly, they check if the chat history, contract finalization, shipment, and transactions, are all made through the platform.

● Third, they consider if the buyer has included third-party quality inspection before and after shipment.

● Lastly, they won’t recoup the payment if the quality issue happens only after shipment to the respective country.

Q2. Is Trade Assurance safe on Alibaba?

Online trading always carries along with a risk factor. Many B-2-B e-commerce platforms offer products. But there is no surety factor involved. Alibaba has launched the Trade Assurance program, which provides a certain level of relief to the buyer. But, as the platform is not directly involved in selling or buying, contract completion issues happen. The buyer can claim for Refund through Dispute. But it doesn’t mean that decision will always be in your favor.

Q3. How much is Alibaba Trade Assurance?

The best part about this program of Alibaba is that it is free for buyers. They are not charged any fee at the time of payment. On the other hand, the sellers have to pay 3% of the total amount they transact through the platform. A flat transaction fee is $1, which is charged at every transaction.

Final Thoughts

To close it with clarity, Alibaba has a Trade Assurance policy which adds to a certain level of seller credibility. Because they don’t provide it to every seller, also, they sensibly grant order volume for payment coverage.


Rather than totally relying on the seller, Alibaba Tarde Assurance is a better to choose, but it is not entirely safe because the Dispute or refund claim has a procedure. And conflict resolution team will decide after looking at both sides. So, even though the Trade Assurance can provide a lot of protection for the buyer, it is not 100% safe.

Joey Gan
Article by:
Joey Gan
The Co-founder of Ruizhi Sourcing. With 10 years of experience in the field of sourcing in China, we help 1k+ clients import from China and customize new products.. Contact with me at Linkedin
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