Sunday, April 30, 2017

Lepin Bricks Are Dangerous

The website has nailed it.   Lepin Bricks are dangerous!  They are dangerous to Lego's entry into the Chinese marketplace.   If I were Lego, I'd be worried too.

Lepin bricks are also dangerous,  because they must have baked in some addiction chemical into the bricks.  After I buy one cheap set, I can't stop, and then I buy another, and another.

It's not just Lepin bricks that are dangerous, there are other bootleg brick brands you need to stay away from:

Sheng Yuan

So remember, don't be an idiot, pay a lot more for Lego bricks, because the Ole Kirk Kristiansen family that owns Lego aren't rich enough.  They only have a few billion dollars of net worth.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bela 10407 Friends Pop Star Bus Building Set

With the recent price increases of bootleg Lego on Aliexpress, deals like this one are getting harder and harder to find.   The featured deal of the day I found is this Bela 10407 Friends Pop Star Bus and  the lowest price I found for this set is $19.90 USD.

Here are the details of this cheap bootlego find:
It has 684 pieces and comes with three friends-like minifigures.  It is a knock-off of Lego's retired Pop Star Tour bus set 41106 that had an original price of $59.99 USD.  You can find the real Lego set on Amazon for about $79.99 USD.   On Aliexpress, the regular sale price of the bootleg version of this set costs around $25 to $30 USD.

Here's where you can get it:

Please remember that I cannot verify whether the seller or the item featured is good or not. Use your own judgement and research before making any purchases.  I have no affiliation to Aliexpress or the sellers found there.

My Aliexpress Account Got Suspended!

It all started with this message I got from Aliexpress.  I tried to raise a dispute on an item I had not received.  I ordered the item back in January or February but it still had not arrived.  Most times, items take a long time to ship or they are not shipped at all.  It seems to be happening more and more these days.    

In past years, you could open a dispute knowing that your purchase was protected by the Aliexpress Seller Guarantee that said you would be refunded if the item you purchased wasn't received.  At first it was 30 days, now it is 60 days.

I think the problem I am encountering is that because the shipping is so slow, several months to be exact, I have had to open a number of disputes for non receipt of items.  Because after 60 days, you just don't know if you will ever get the stuff you ordered from Aliexpress.  

So now they have blocked me from making any further disputes, despite the seller guarantee that they offer.   I tried to contact Aliexpress support below but they were no help.  I contacted them twice to no avail.  Here's my recent chat log with them.

View Message History


Hello,I am a service consultant Invo_


Thank you for contacting AliExpress. My name is Invo. How may I help you?


hello, i contacted aliexpress support last week about inability to raise dispute. i was told it would be resolved by tuesday. it is now thursday and i am still not able to raise a dispute. please help.


I see.


May I know your name and order number please?


order number is xxxxxxxx.   name is me.


Thank you for the information you have provided me


May I know why do you want to open a dispute?


because i ordered this on feb 27 and it is now 60 days, and i still have not received the item.


I am sorry to hear that you still have not receive your order. Rest assured that I will help you with this. 


May I know if have you tried to contact the seller about this issue?


yes, initially he offered to refund, but i said i could wait but now i'm thinking it will be another two months will be too long, so i would like to get the refund.


unfortunately the system will not let me raise dispute and i don't know why


Thank you for confirming this to me.


I am sorry to know that you were unable to leave a feedback or open a dispute. Rest assured that I will help you with this.


May I know what was the error when you tried to open a dispute?


some message about my account is disabled


but i don't know why


Can I have a screenshot of this error messages please?



what is the security concern regarding my account?


Thank you for the screenshot.


Please be informed that your account was still enable in our system, however our system disabled this action since many of our buyers do open a dispute and abusing the protection of Aliexpress.


However this concern is common since you are not the only affected many buyers in Aliexpress was affected to so don't worry.


so i need to legitimately raise dispute for items that are not received and taking over 60 days, how can i do it?


To fix this may I know your email address please?


 my email address is


Thank you very much.


Sorry for the inconvenience, I just checked our system and there's no existing report in our system.


In this case  I will send a reactivation request for your account to be enabled again, would that be great for you?


thats what the last person said but nothing happened.


Exactly since there's no report, don't worry rest assured that I will talk to that agent for you.


Do not worry, I have already submitted a request to our system to activate your account in the site.


Kindly wait for our Higher Department to follow up to you within 48 hours through email for the confirmation. 


please reactivate my dispute function, i will take screen shot of this conversation in case this issue is not resolved in 48 hours.


Yes of course, you have the rights for this and don't worry I already sent it for you.


Our system says: 


is there a way i can check the status of my account?   how can i check it?


Yes you can only check it by trying to open a dispute, however it will be done after 2 working days.


but by then my orders will have already passed the dispute period, and i have not received those items.


so what can you do to help me with this problem?


Oh don't worry about that because once the protection time is over, Aliexpress will be given you an extra 15 days of protection time, meaning you still have lots time to open a dispute.


can you not raise the dispute on my behalf?


Oh I am sorry but it was impossible since we need to open a dispute using your account.


Don't worry because I already did what's best for you.


if my account issue is not resolved in 48 hours, how can i escalate this issue?  do you have a supervisor for me to deal with?


Oh take note it was 48 business hours.


Meaning Saturdays and Sundays are not included.


Yes of course we have


please advise what the procedure will be, should this issue not be resolved to my satisfaction?


i need to know how to proceed if i don't get any results in the next few days.




Please don't worry because I never had an issue that was not resolved, also I already provided your information to our higher department once it was done you will be able to open a dispute again.


Because I never encountered a issue that was not solved by requesting to our higher department.


what is the higher department?  you must understand i dont want to keep doing this.


can you tell me what the higher department is and what it does?


and how they can resolve my problem?


Higher department is the one who approves the request from lower department.


We are only from lower department.


Yes because they have the power to enable or disabled, also we are requesting to higher department for the refund as well.


So it means they are the one who handle this issue and our job is to forward the issue, also take note that I sent it urgently for you, because I know how important this for you.

I am sorry to know that, but I hope you understand that I already did my part and my best for you, I hope you can appreciate it as well since, I am only from lower department.


Also please don't worry because this chat has been documented already.


The reference number is the order number you provided which is : xxxxxxxxx

The following morning, I received the following email from Aliexpress ...

Dear custom:

AliExpress is committed to the principle of good faith and the protection of the interests of both buyers and suppliers. To maintain a safe and fair trading environment, our duties and responsibilities require the investigation into areas of clear dishonest trading activities, such as consumer fraud and counterfeiting operating to the detriment of consumers and reputable traders.

After we review your account activity in the Aliexpress Buyer Protection program, we regret to inform you that your account has been suspended considered to be at high risk of Abusing the Buyer Protection Programs. This is because your associated accounts were found continue to violate the Buyer Protection Program rules.

We do not allow:
·         Claiming that an item is ‘not as described’ when the item condition is consistent with the description in the listing.
·         Claiming an item hasn't been received when it has arrived. 
·         Opening a case when you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider.

·         Opening a case against a seller to retaliate following previous disputes.
·         Threatening to open a case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition.
·         A pattern of excessively opening Buyer Protection cases.

If you have any concerns or questions, you may go to the Customer Service and Connect to our agent.

Best Regards, Online Trade Security Department

Once you have received this notification, you are in a no win situation with Aliexpress as there is no apparent re-instatement of your account.  Customer Service will not be able to help you either.

In fact, it seems to be happening to a lot of people who open a dispute and then have their account disabled.  You can see more evidence of this here:

For now, it seems I can still buy items off Aliexpress but just can't dispute anything anymore.  So be very careful when opening disputes on Aliexpress, or you will have your account suspended like mine was.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Bela 10575 / Lepin 05020 Star Wars Obi-Wan Interceptor

The Obi Wan Jedi Interceptor (Lego 75135) was originally copied by Lepin last year as set 05020.  Now the same set is showing up under the Bela logo 10575.   I have the Lepin version of this set in my bootleg bricks collection and it's a pretty good knock-off of the Lego set.  The Bela set has 220 pieces and comes with an Obi Wan Kenobi minifigure and the R4-P17 astromech droid affectionately called Arfour.  Right now, it's only $8.20 USD on Aliexpress with free shipping.

Find it here:

Please remember that I cannot verify whether the seller or the item featured is good or not. Use your own judgement and research before making any purchases.  I have no affiliation to Aliexpress or the sellers found there.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Aliexpress Claim Policies

For those of you buying from the Aliexpress shopping platform, you should be aware of it's policies and how they arrive at their judgements when there is a dispute between buyer and seller.

Here's the link to the Aliexpress claim policies webpage.

Some of the topics reviewed include:

Chapter I: General Principles

Chapter II: Products Not Received
1. Detention by Customs
2. Products in Transit
3. Parcel Returned
4. Dispatching to Wrong Address by Supplier
5. Products Received
6. Tracking Number Abnormal
7. Buyer Returned Parcel after Receipt
8. Buyer's Refusal to Accept
9. Supplier unilaterally change the method of transportation

Chapter III: Products Not As Described
1. Differences in Product Descriptions
2. Quality Problem
3. Sale of Fake Products
4. Intangible Products
5. Short Shipment
6. Goods Damaged

Chapter IV: General Provisions

Hope this article helps you to understand what actions Aliexpress takes when you make a claim during a dispute,