Is Taobao Trustworthy?

Yes! Yes! Yes! (mostly.)

For the uninitiated, Taobao is basically an everything-in-one online shop. It’s Amazon and eBay in one, allowing used and new products to be sold, both customer-to-customer and business-to-customer. The parent group, Alibaba, also runs AliPay, a Chinese version of Venmo. So basically they have a lot of markets covered, and run good business. In addition, they’ve supposedly co-opted the name “Single’s Day,” from a college tradition and turned it into the largest single shopping day on earth.

The so-called “Chinese Amazon” gets a bad rep for having loads of fake products. (Which it occasionally  does.) However, in my experience. Taobao is really quite alright, granted eight of the ten purchases I’ve made were for videogames. But here’s a rundown of my experience. (Fun fact: the biggest market for Taobao in the US is African Americans who buy weave.)

All the video games I’ve purchased (five in total) were real. That’s a good start. The charger I bought was not a Nintendo product but cost a dollar and fried the minute I plugged it in the wall. That’s bad. The second charger I bought was also not Nintendo’s, but I figured fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, you’re so smart. It’s worked great these past few weeks (insofar as performing the basic function of a charger can be considered “great.”)

One time I tried to buy a game however, and then I got a message saying they were out of stock, even though they listed their inventory at 100+ units. So I could trade for another game. I picked one that was ever so slightly more expensive and they guy sends me a link to cover the price difference. To which I said b***shit. (I bleeped that out properly, right?) People make markets based on what others are selling for. They’re quite literally the biggest video game store on Taobao, so if you set a price based on x number of units but don’t actually have them, you’re killing others’ potential profits. It’s deceiving. So for screwing over other little stores, you can give me a 5 dollar discount on this game. (I showed him, huh?)

But beyond the bad plug and the inventory mishap, it’s been speedy and cheap. Then I compared it to Amazon. On Amazon, my brother has once purchased a fake game, for which the seller more or less admitted to knowingly selling. Or loads of times, the pictures and descriptions of used items are miles off from their actual condition. So, Amazon isn’t perfect either and sure Taobao has some shitty things, but it does good. It does good, folks.

Final Score: B+

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Like what you’re reading on China? Check out some other related articles in: The China Chronicles!

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