Is It Safe To Order A Drone Through Chinese Retailers Like GearBest or Banggood?
We get this question all the time. It's a fair question. When you plunk down your hard-earned money in exchange for a shiny new quadcopter, you want to be sure you are not only getting what you paid for, but getting it in a timely fashion.
You can find some pretty incredible sales and bargains on quadcopters from both Banggood and GearBest, and both carry a wide assortment of accessories and replacement parts. But, is ordering directly from China safe?
Will your drone arrive in one piece? How long does it take to ship? Keep reading to find out…
Are Online Chinese Retailers Reliable?
The answer? Yes and no. (I know, not what you wanted to hear, right?!)
The fact is, sooner or later you will have a bad experience with just about any online retailer, whether they are based in China or the US or wherever.
We've placed dozens of orders through both GearBest and Banggood, and overall we have had excellent experiences. Yes, sometimes the boxes arrive a little banged up, but we've never received a broken item. If you google around a bit, you'll read horror stories of people who've had a bad experience with ordering items from Banggood or GearBest. Take them with a grain of salt.
You see, we've ordered hundreds of items through the biggest and most reliable online retailer in the WORLD (yup, Amazon!), and every now and then we have an issue or receive a broken item. It happens.
No retailer is perfect, and items can get damaged whether they come all the way from China or from a distribution center a few states away.
How Long Does Shipping Take From China?
It usually takes about 1-2 weeks, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Plus, you are usually able to upgrade to expedited shipping for only a few bucks more – which will get your order to you in a week or less.
So if you are used to two-day Amazon Prime shipping, even a week feels like forever – let alone 2 weeks or longer in some cases (don't have Amazon Prime? Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial).
Both Banggood and GearBest have US warehouses, so items ordered from there tend to arrive in less than a week – we've even received some orders within a couple days. You can choose to browse only items in their US warehouse by visiting the relevant links below:
What About Returns?
Both GearBest and Banggood offer a return policy. Each have their pros and cons. The bottom line is both will replace items that arrive broken/damaged or have missing pieces (though we've yet to experience this issue with either retailer). Both also allow you to return items even if you just don't like it or change your mind.
For full details, you can check out their respective pages here:
Can I Contact Them With Questions?
Of course! Both GearBest and Banggood have quick response time to questions, in fact, both offer live chat so that you can instantly get your question answered.
Their customer service reps are well-trained and speak good English, however, you may still experience some miscommunication now and then due to the language difference.
To avoid any misunderstanding, always remember to keep it simple. Use simple vocabulary, as if you were talking to a child (don't talk down to them, but don't use big words). It is best if you can even phrase your question so that it only requires a “yes” or “no” answer.
Be patient with them. They truly want to help you. If they misunderstand your question, try rephrasing it another way. If you still don't get a satisfactory answer, try emailing or chatting with them again a little later so that you get a different support agent – some have better English skills than others.
What About Other Chinese Retailers?
There are dozens of other sites out there, such as: Tiny Deal, Deal Extreme, or Fast Tech. However, we do not have any first hand experience with these guys, so we can't vouch for them.
Use common sense. Do a little research before buying from a website you've never used before. Google around and see what others are saying.
You'll always find negative reviews, people love to complain. But as long as you find people who've had positive experiences and the website is not brand new (avoid new retailers who don't have a reputation and proven track record), go ahead and give them a chance.
Start with a small item though. Don't go out and buy a $300 quadcopter from one of these sites if it is your first purchase from them. Most of these sites offer items for less than $1 – buy one of those and see how well the process goes for you.
We've been buying drones from GearBest and Banggood for a long time, and we'll continue to do so. When it comes down to it, we are looking for a great deal from a reliable seller.
Sometimes the best deal is on GearBest or Banggood, or sometimes it is on Amazon. Maybe the price difference is only a few bucks, in which case we'd probably opt for Amazon – mainly because we'll get the item much faster (remember, we are addicted to drones! The faster we can get them the better!).
Whenever we see a great deal, we post it to our Deals Page – so keep an eye on it for great bargains and hot prices!
How about you guys? What sites do you use to order your quadcopter stuff? How's your experience been with Banggood and GearBest? What other sites do you use?
Let us know in the comments!