Gearbest honest review / opinion scamCategory: Shopping experience
Gearbest is a global e-commerce site based in China that is probably one of the most popular outside China after Aliexpress. Gearbest first broke into Brazil and other countries unusual for this kind of site but it is also becoming popular in Europe. Gearbest looks quite similar to Aliexpress, there are almost the same products but unlike Aliexpress, you are addressing Gearbest rather than each individual seller.
I bought about twenty products on Gearbest, mainly phones (Xiaomi, Honor, Umidigi,...) and despite some problems encountered, I am quite satisfied.
Official website: Gearbest.com
What is Gearbest?
Gearbest is a Chinese company that specializes in exporting products of all kinds, from textiles to electronics. As on Aliexpress, you will not find American or European brands, they only sell brands from China. Gearbest has a centralized model, so when you buy something you deal with Gearbest and not a direct seller. They offer customer service in English, the other languages are based on automatic translation, which is not always of high quality.
Gearbest has a more modern look than Aliexpress and offers a more advanced loyalty system. With each purchase you accumulate points that you can convert into cash or vouchers for your next purchases. The Aliexpress loyalty program does not allow you to do this kind of thing (at least not at the time of writing). They also quite often organize promotional activities where you play games to earn points.It may not matter if you don't buy often from them but for me it helps reducing the prices.
I have collected a bunch of coupon for some high tech products. I'll try to update this section as much as I can. To apply a coupon, you need to click on the link below and enter the coupon at the time of checking out on Gearbest.com
- 7-day dead on arrival guarantee:
If your purchase arrives defective or breaks down within 7 days, you can return the item for free and choose between receiving the same item again or receiving a full refund.
** ATTENTION **
I had the great joy of receiving a defective product, so I invoked this 7-day warranty. I detail my misadventure below in the page but please note that the guarantee does not cover transport costs and insurance. If you buy an item for 10€, part of this price includes transport and insurance costs but this is not indicated anywhere. So they can tell what they want and you end up receiving less than the amount initially paid.
- 45-day money-back guarantee
If your purchase no longer works within 45 days, you can request a full refund. The difference with the previous warranty is that in case of return of the product, you must pay the shipping costs to China.
- one year warranty for repairs
Gearbest offers a one-year warranty for a free repair of your purchase (when possible). Some products have different rules (e.g. textile). By using this warranty you must also cover the return shipping costs.
Some products have special warranties, so you should check the product description before buying.
My opinion Gearbest.com
As on Aliexpress, Gearbest offers a wide range of languages, but most of them are from machine translations. Everything is perfectly understandable in French (or any other language) but some translations are sometimes a little curious. The product descriptions follow the same principle but it is also understandable. In case of a question, you can ask your questions in the language of your choice. Since the support is centralized, they can organize themselves to find the skills to translate the answers into the right language (through an automatic translation or a person speaking the language in question). You will notice a lot of Spanish or Portuguese in the FAQs, Gearbest is very popular in Brazil and Spain.
The interface is more modern than Aliexpress but it is still a matter of taste because there are not many differences in terms of functionality, the search engine works better than Aliexpress and the search by category is clearer than Aliexpress too. Gearbest is also distinguished by its customer interface where you can track your orders, Aliexpress offers the same thing but Gearbest goes further and stimulates its customers with a loyalty system. You earn points for each purchase, you earn points by writing a review or participating in certain activities. These points can be converted into cash quite quickly. After 3 orders for a total amount of 200€, I already had a discount of 10€ to claim on the next purchase.
Like all sales sites, Gearbest has its own evaluation system and I think it is quite well done. As most of the time, there is a star rating system and unlike Aliexpress, there is no default score, the ratings are more accurate. Buyers can also express themselves a little more, so customer feedback is more extensive than elsewhere. Like Amazon, Gearbest also has a question and answer system that allows you to find out before you buy. Evaluations are therefore a strength for Gearbest but this strength has a weakness related to the Gearbest audience, you will see a large number of evaluations in Spanish or Russian, if you do not master these languages the evaluations will not help you much.
Gearbest also has a policy of stimulating reviews because if you review your order, you will receive points that you can use to reduce the price of your next order.
Gearbest offers all the payment methods that can be expected from a site of this kind. Gearbest supports Paypal, so you will be able to benefit from Paypal support in case of a claim.
I was quite happy with Gearbest until my order at the beginning of 2019 when I had to call on their customer service. I don't know if they're incompetent or if they're playing the wear and tear card, whatever, it's not good at all. (see story below)
From the moment you buy something outside Europe, you are exposed to customs duties if the price of your item exceeds 22 EUR. What you buy on Gearbest is no exception, sometimes you will be lucky, sometimes not. Customs duties usually correspond to VAT plus processing fees. For an item worth 25 EUR you could very well find yourself paying more in customs fees than the price of what you are buying. Some sellers will offer you solutions to reduce the chances of going through customs by changing the declared value or avoiding certain carriers, but the risk will always exist.
Gearbest sometimes offers the possibility to order items physically available in Europe, this allows you to avoid going through customs, so you should check the delivery methods before ordering.
I think Gearbest uses transit addresses in Europe to limit the risk of having customs duties. During one of my orders, the purchased item left China and then arrived in Germany and then took the road to Belgium. The outer packaging indicated a German origin, but the inner packaging indicated a Chinese origin. I assume that they first send the object to Europe to clear it through customs (or avoid customs?) and then they transit the object within Europe. This happened to me twice when I bought a smartphone.
I also have another order that followed a similar path through Sweden, the package did not even contain the usual customs documents and it is as if the package had been sent from Sweden.
Stock in US/Europe
Recently Gearbest has opened a section for products available directly in Europe, they have stock in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland and Czech Republic. They say they can deliver in 5 days and this should save you from paying customs duties. The catalogue, on the other hand, is quite limited for the moment.
Local Warehouse Gearbest
Unlike Aliexpress, Gearbest manages the entire customer relationship, so you do not contact the seller. This provides a unified experience and unique customer service. A priori this should have a positive effect on customer service but this is not necessarily the case. The first order that caused a problem was a smartphone, two small phones and a small game console. The two small phones never worked, so I had the Dead on Arrival guarantee applied...
After 14 exchanges of messages, I still didn't have the refund of the items. With each message, you have to explain everything again. They offer me a refund for one of the items and as soon as I ask for a refund for the other, he offers a refund for the other and forgets the first one. To show you what I'm talking about, I'm copying the entire conversation so far:
I finally received a refund for both devices as well as some "bonus" points for the problems caused. Everything went back to normal but I had to spend a lot of time there and insist because I felt like I was talking to a wall. The final result is therefore good but nothing should be left behind.
And here we are again for a ride with their completely incompetent or unwilling customer service (or both).
I bought an Android Alfawise H6 box for my projector, this box is supposed to display the 4k, it is clearly indicated in the product description. I'm testing the box and actually on the main interface, I see that 4k is available, cool! However, it doesn't stop there, so I test my usual apps like Kodi and there, surprise... the resolution drops to 1280x720... I search in the settings but it doesn't change anything. I tested YouTube and a number of other applications to get the same result. So I'm looking for a solution on forums and there I see that I'm not the only one in the case, this box cheats on the resolution displayed. I contact Gearbest to report the problem, the description is not correct, so I want a refund.
1. I contact them to report the problem
- Standard answer from Gearbest to get pictures, serial number,...
- I fill in all the necessary information and send
2. Gearbest's first response
- The problem must be coming from my house, the box is working normally. I would like to know how they can say this but I insist because the projector is a 1080p projector that works perfectly with other Android boxes where I have good access to the 1080p
3. Gearbest's second answer
- they send the question to the technical service
4. Gearbest's Third Response
- they answer me that everything is normal because it is a TV box and not a projector box. Wow, now I don't know if I should get angry or laugh, it's ridiculous but let's play along. I plugged the box into a 1080p TV and guess what's going on...I have the same problem! So I made a short video to show it. I'm curious to see how stupid they'll answer me again....
I will spare you the details but after about fifteen messages, they refunded me a first amount of 10€ and I finally received the full refund after 3 weeks of waiting. I had used Paypal for payment and I was refunded by Paypal as well. I didn't file a complaint with Paypal, I managed without them.
Out of the twenty products I bought at Gearbest, I contacted customer service twice and despite the difficult communication with them, I always got a refund on my order.
I ordered a Redmi Note 8 and a Redmi Note 8 Pro. The next day Gearbest told me that they could not honor my request for the Redmi Note 8 Pro. So I decide to order it from Amazon at a higher price. Two days later, the Redmi Note 8 Pro is available again on Gearbest but as I was not interested in buying it a second time, I asked them if they were ready to convert my order of the Redmi Note 8 Pro into an order of a Xiaomi Mi 9 Lite which was slightly more expensive. To my great surprise they accepted and I didn't have to go through dozens of messages!
What should you buy (or not) on Gearbest?
Gearbest has a wide range of Chinese smartphones and the price offered is often competitive. Obviously, we must not forget the risk of customs fees because even if the prices are lower, they will still be subject to customs fees. The warranty is also important because unlike Aliexpress, Gearbest does not yet offer a local warranty. In the event of a breakdown, your phone must therefore be returned to China...at your expense.
Here you can find everything, it's a real junk. There are memory cards, USB sticks, surveillance cameras, kitchen appliances, vacuum cleaners and many more. Of course they are Chinese products but for low value devices, the quality/price ratio is unbeatable. The Chinese also have their own brands and these brands (e.g. Xiaomi) produce quality products at an unbeatable price.
Gearbest has a large catalogue of remote-controlled vehicles, whether land or air (drones), you will already find toys at very low prices.
Aliexpress or Gearbest?
I could not deprive myself of either, I am satisfied with both and I continue to buy from one or the other depending on the products I find. If I had to buy the same products in Europe (even on Amazon), I would certainly have paid 20% more. My last purchase was a 177€ smartphone that you can't find on Amazon for less than 250€ and even more expensive in other stores.
Is Gearbest reliable?
Yes, but sometimes you have to be patient with customer service.
Is Gearbest a scam?
No, it's a very legitimate site.
Does Geartbest have a stock in Europe?
Yes, but this stock is quite limited, new products are often only available in China.
Do I have to be fluent in English to buy on Gearbest?
Gearbest has a site in French that is sometimes poorly translated but it is possible to place an order without mastering English. If you need to contact customer service, mastering English is an advantage.
Gearbest: final opinion/review
Gearbest has a better site than Aliexpress but the catalogue is less well provided, so the two sites are complementary. If you have never ordered in China before, I advise you to go through Gearbest first because you will not have to manage any communication with a Chinese salesman who has a poor command of English. On the other hand, choose the product you are going to buy carefully because if you want good customer service, it is not from them that you will find it.
I have had some unfortunate experiences with Gearbest but I continue to buy from them because they have good products and so far I have always managed to get a refund for defective products. One could say that in the end their customer service is not so bad but I also think it is due to my perseverance. If you have a problem with them, don't let go!