AliExpress / Alibaba - for low cost Home Automation - Warning

I've been buying from Aliexpress for years, mostly because home automation gear has always been difficult to source in the UK if you don't have deep pockets. In all honesty, it's no better or worse than any other online market place - perform your due diligence and it goes a long way to mitigate "risk".

Even delivery times aren't too awful, I waited longer for an ebay parcel from Bristol (60 miles away) than I did for my last batch of D1 minis from China. This is probably because most eBay sellers in the UK these days don't carry stock and just dropship from China anyway...

ha ha.. I created an account today and I added an item to my cart. I noticed the $26 shipping charge and now I can't remove the item from the cart. oh well, so much for aliexpress.

avoid walmart too. they now allow 3rd party senders and dont do any validation.. i orderd something .. good price.. got a email that is was shipping with a tracking number 6 months old.. when i complained they made some excuse that their system automatically generates a tracking number but the item was not avial.. ya a tracking number to the wrong address 6 months ago.. right.

i complained to walmart they were good about giving me a credit but i then had to find a real seller and lost a week.

then magically that seller is gone, but there are 5 new fly by night sellers with the same item same low price..
obviously they don't care.

I avoid them for reasons like this and insisting on my CC or a money order. No thank you.

Gearbest and Banggood both take PayPal and have never done me wrong. Higher cost, but worth not dealing with that nonsense.

Fun fact about Walmart - when I worked there in Bentonville AR the Web dev team left en masse and created an online bookshop called Amazon :slight_smile:

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i believe Jeff Bezos was somehow left out of that statement

I don't think he was on the Web Dev team :slight_smile:

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Aliexpress buyer since 2010. Never was ripped off by sellers.
Just one rule to follow with sellers:

Prior to puchases, ask precise questions to have proofs (chat history) in case of problems. Especially if it seems that the seller says "yes" to anything but don't seems to understand your questions (automatic translating tool).

If you have proofs and argue when opening a dispute with the seller, Aliexpress team "always" agree to your arguments. When validated by AE team, you'll always obtain your money back. But honestly, most disputes are about failed deliveries.

I hope AE are that good.

5 days ago they ruled on a Dispute for £146, an order had been cancelled by the store and AE declared a Full Refund is required.

Today it is still showing that the Dispute is still underway and awaiting a decision - which is published on the line above :slight_smile:

I am hoping that at some point AE recognise that AE have declared a refund required and that AE then donor the AE declaration and actually process the refund.

But while AE are arguing with AE not a lot I can do as the is NO way to communicate with them.

Sounds like their dispute resolution process takes about as long as their shipping.

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hi @habitat the humidity sensor is working properly with hubitat? I'm about to switch based on humidity, I wonder if this device works or not.
I mean the tuya one you ordered:

So far the TUYA are the most reliable Zigbee Temp sensors I have directly connected to HE.

Just. checked and the Tuya sensors and they are reporting humidity with the same regularity as Temp Sensor.

I have been testing them on different drivers.

One on the OhLa Labs Sonoff Zigbee Temp/Humidity Driver and the other on the Built in Generic Motion/Humidity Sensor.

Not come to a conclusion yet on which is better, the OhLa Labs has the Presence detector which is good to have.

The Built in Driver you can set how often you want the sensor to report - I have just enabled Humidity reporting on both and will return here and post on my findings.

But all in all very impressed by the Tuya Temp sensors, much better build quality than Sonoff.

Also the Sonoffs are extremely unreliable in my setup, wheel the Tuyas are very reliable in the same setup

Ok the TUYAs are doing extremely well

For Temp and Humidity

The Built In Generic Zigbee Motion/Humidity Sensor Driver is doing an excellent job of getting a reading every 5 minutes - the Lalalabs Sonoff Temp/Humidity driver seems to be more change orientated.

I like the 5 min reporting as it gives me a higher confidence is has not died for a while - like the Sonoffs are likely to do - sometimes for up to 12 hours - or more.

I have a test running on all of my ~10 Sonoff temp/humidity sensors where all are 2 feet from the HE Hub and I am testing against a Hue Motion Sensor on a Hue Hub and a zwave Secure SRT321 sensor.

thanks much for your reply! going to order then. you may want to add it to the community tested devices list!

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Apart from a couple of trivial (<£2) orders on AliExpreess I've only had bad experiences. In the end I had to get my bank to reverse a £52 charge after the seller sent me junk and AliExpress dispute process was designed to be unusable.

They even mention EU/UK distance selling regs and the right of return but then DO NOTHING that permits this to happen. I even made sure to order from a seller that shipped from an EU country (Poland) to make sure I was covered just in case.

Makes ebay look like Harrods.

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Caveat emptor applies here.

I have had great experience and really awful experience.

Given that

a. Prices can be exceptional
b. You can get things that aren't available anywhere else

It is a good option if you don't mind a side order of buyer stress and long delivery terms.

I have learnt to closely examine the Seller's Reviews and choose very carefully.

The one really bad experience I had was a low rated seller (did not check - my bad) gave a fake shipping code to block a dispute to AliExpress while they failed to ship for a MONTH despite clearly stating under their terms and conditions ALL items shipped within 5 days.

That said it took over 6 weeks to get it but the Tuya zigbee Alarm and Temp Sensor works a treat!!!

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And everywhere else :wink:.


Yeah Amazon is getting kind of flaky lately - have had orders suddenly cancelled with no explanation. A few have been "lost" in shipping - I can see they are at some weird location in the hinterlands.

The big thing nowadays is people buying things from other sites (like Alibaba) and reselling on Amazon. This just happened to me - got an order that was delayed due to shipping and when I looked up the shipped from location it was walmart. When I went to the Walmart site the same product was offered at a much cheaper price.

It's worth doing a little shopping around..

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Amazon uses one particular shipping provider for most same-day/next-day deliveries in my area.

For some reason, anytime I’ve had a problem with items that were supposedly delivered, but never showed up, it was with this company. UPS, fedex, USPS, sure there are problems sometimes too, but they don’t report a package as delivered when it wasn’t.

I doubt it’s a coincidence, and it’s not package theft from my doorstep. But whatever, Amazon replaces “lost” items for nothing more than the cost of the time, and sometimes aggravation, it takes to report the package as such.

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I must be extremely lucky/blessed.

Of the 504 Amazon orders over the last 16 months (ie 2021/2020 to date) I cannot recall an issue.

A couple of things, items of clothing that did not fit as expected, but very very quickly refunded.

We get same delivery here so order by 13:00 and it is delivered that afternoon.

It has been so reliable and if there is a problem they fix it so fast it never registers as an issue at all.

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Download the Hubitat app