Although at the start of the coronavirus pandemic the entire parcel flow from China stopped, international e-commerce is gaining traction again. We wrote down three important things to keep in mind when waiting for parcels ordered during or after the pandemic.
- Keep an eye on the expiry date of your order
In the detail view (View Detail) of your AliExpress order you can see information on your order – what is the estimated delivery time (from payment) and what is the final deadline for submitting a claim if the order has not been delivered and the client would like a refund.
In light of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the delivery times of many parcels have been extended to months, which is why it is especially important to observe the deadline for when the order will be closed (order will be closed in…). If the client has not received the parcel, they can apply for an extension of buyer protection 10 days before the deadline ends. If the seller does not react to this, the client should submit a claim and request a refund five days before the deadline ends.
When ordering to Estonia from AliExpress, the maximum default delivery time in normal conditions is 60 days and buyer protection is also valid for this period. In other words, it is presumed that the orders will be delivered within this period. If the 60 days is up and the seller has not extended the buyer protection period (and the buyer has not applied this), the order is automatically closed, even if the tracking system shows that the parcel is still en route. Due to the special circumstances caused by Covid-19, often the seller extends the maximum delivery time when filling the order.
Fortunately, AliExpress has also loosened its rules and it is now possible to submit a claim within 15 days after the order is closed. However, once this term passes, the client no longer has the chance to request a refund for a parcel that has not arrived.
For example, in the AliExpress app, a closed order is displayed as follows:
- International tracking information can be misleading
It is worth noting that when the parcel tracking page shows the first event concerning a parcel destined for Estonia, in the postal world this often means that the parcel has only just exited the export terminal of the shipping country and is en route to Estonia and the date of arrival is estimated. This means that it could still take several days or even weeks or months in the case of sea or railway transport before the parcel physically reaches Estonia. Misleading tracking information is often what makes clients believe that the parcels are being held up in Estonia. In reality, the delays often happen in the international supply chain where Omniva has little power to influence the parcel movement.
In AliExpress tracking information, instances occur where there is a ‘shipped’ notation next to the shipment, although in reality the parcel has not yet left the country and is still waiting for a suitable transport solution to reach the destination country. Misleading information is displayed due to AliExpress using a tracking system developed for parcels that are not actually tracked (tracking code usually beginning with U or S), where after a certain time has passed, the parcel information is automatically updated according to the stage of delivery the parcel should be in at the time. However, at the moment, the processes do not happen under normal conditions and with usual speed; therefore, the track and trace statuses of AliExpress orders do not indicate the actual location of the parcel.
In such situations, the Omniva customer service assistant cannot help the client and contacting customer support will not speed up parcel delivery. One possible recommendation is to track the parcel using the website https://www.17track.net/en. If the parcel is registered and can be tracked (tracking code usually starting with L or R), in our experience this is quite a reliable source for tracking parcels because the information is obtained directly from the information systems of post and logistics companies.
In the case of untracked parcels, there are no reliable ways to follow the parcel route. For peace of mind, the client can always contact the seller via AliExpress and ask for confirmation that the parcel has been shipped and, if necessary, extend the buyer protection period as mentioned above if the seller has not yet done so.
- Delivery periods vary from a couple of weeks to several months
Chinese parcel traffic is slowly recovering. However, there was a period at the beginning of the year and in early spring where no parcels were despatched from China and all parcels were simply on hold. Over the past weeks the situation has slowly been returning to normal, but the majority of parcels still move from China to Estonia via railroad.
Longer delivery times must still be considered in the case of international parcels. Longer delivery times are due to, on one hand, the infrequent air traffic and piles of parcels in countries of origin (especially China) waiting for transport and on the other hand, the 2+2 requirements and other rules for work rooms where parcels are handled.
Both AliExpress shipments and goods sent from elsewhere in the world arrive to Estonia with different delivery services, which is why the delivery times can vary from a couple of weeks to even several months. If some more popular products are shipped from a warehouse in Europe or Asia, or are flown in directly from China to Estonia, in other cases the goods are shipped using the universal postal service, which means that the parcel passes the universal postal network and several parcel terminals across the world. In such case, it may indeed take a couple of months for the parcel to reach Estonia.
According to Omniva statistics, ca 15% of registered parcels sent from China reach Estonia in 2-3 weeks, ca 45% reach in 4-6 weeks and ca 40% of tracked parcels have recently taken up to 2 months or even longer to arrive. In the case of untracked parcels, delivery times can even be extended to 3-4 months.
One more important piece of information. Although it does not provide a 100% guarantee and often the merchant is the one making the final decision on the shipping method, it is nevertheless visible that the majority of the goods that arrive to Estonia via faster charter flights are labelled with the “AliExpress Standard Shipping” service.