Alibaba’s AliExpress criticized by European consumer bodies

The complaints concern AliExpress’ return and dispute resolution policies.

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Consumer protection groups from Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain have claimed that AliExpress violates EU laws, and have called on national consumer authorities take action against the Alibaba-owned firm, Reuters reports.

AliExpress lets Chinese merchants sell across more than 150 countries, complementing TMall and Taobao, which operate domestically. Earlier this month, the Alibaba-owned platform opened up to foreign merchants for the first time, bringing it in closer competition with Amazon.

Two main issues raised by EU consumer bodies concern AliExpress’ return policy and the inability for EU consumers to take legal action against the company on their home turf.

AliExpress’ terms of agreement says disputes between sellers and buyers are referred to an arbitration court in Hong Kong. The platform also allegedly does not allow customers to return goods within a two-week period.

This is in contrast to EU rules, wherein European consumers have a right to take legal action in a court of their own country and can return purchases without justification within 14 days.

AliExpress has since issued a statement to Chinese-language financial news outlet Lanjingtmt, saying it is aware of the concerns raised by the EU groups, has always respected local laws and regulations, and is actively working to address this consumer feedback.