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Chinese sellers using fake tracking numbers and websites

AliExpress and eBay are the largest online stores, and you can basically buy anything at a cheap price from the sellers registered on these websites. That's thanks to Chinese Post really (REALLY) cheap parcel prices for small items. You can just order some small gadget for less than €1, shipping costs included, when just sending a postcard to your grandma living 10 kms from you will cost you more in stamps.

There is a belief that buying on those websites is dangerous. Like maybe you pay and the product is of bad quality (well yes sometimes, for the price don't expect the top quality stuff), or you don't even get the product at all, or the warranty service is non-existent. In my experience the sellers on eBay and AliExpress are really helpful, and they will refund you if you don't get the package after some time, or if the product breaks, no questions asked and no need to send the product back (as it would cost more than the product price!). This is a much better experience than having to deal with a European customer service, which often requires to send back the product to another country, at your own cost (with Sandisk you have to send the product back to Czech Republic, it costs around €10, and after 4 to 8 weeks you get a new product, that's a shitty service).

But sometimes the Chinese sellers are trying to earn some more money (not that I would blame them). AliExpress require sellers to send their parcels with a tracking number. But sending an untracked parcel is a bit less expensive. So what some sellers do? They send an untracked parcel and provide you with a fake tracking number and a fake tracking website. The website will show some dates and events which may appear to be kind of realistic. This is one recent example:

Shipping To - DIJON
Shipping From - SZ, China

    2014-11-15, 2014-11-15, Acceptance, CHINA 
    2014-11-18, Export of international mail, China 
    2014-11-23, Processing, left China 
    2014-11-24, Import of international mail 
    2014-11-27, Handed to customs 
    2014-11-29, Customs clearance completed 
    2014-12-04, Processing,, BourgogneSorting 

You might think at first "Oh, my home town is mentioned and the package actually is moving, fine I just have to wait some more."

Well yes but all of this is fake. The website (ws-shipping.com) is completely empty, except for a field to enter the tracking number, and was registered on march 2014. There is no privacy policy, no information on the company or anything else. The tracking history may seem to be legit, but if you come back often you will see that it is appearing at some pre-determined intervals depending on the destination country.

The website actually knows how long an untracked parcel may take to get to this country, and fills in the gap with fake tracking history. That's clever really, as is the idea to include the destination address in the history. But it still is a complete fake tracking history that does not provide any real information whatsoever.

It doesn't mean your order won't be arriving or that it wasn't sent, it just means it is untracked. So don't trust this website (but there are others), and if the parcel never arrives you'll have to open a dispute on AliExpress or eBay to get your money back.

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