Aliexpress for small items

All of you are likely already using it, but Aliexpress is great for small items (such as iPhone cases - I had a nice looking one delivered for 1.15CHF total cost) and extremely cheap. I have never been charged additional customs duty. Tip is to search for your item and then filter by ‘orders’ , see the best reviews and then you get the trustworthy sellers. Be careful with electrical items, there have been safety concerns reported in the press in the past. Hope this helps, enjoy

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Ali’s pretty good for cheap generic stuff. Branded and expensive items however often can be counterfeit or knockoffs, you need to be very careful, plus warranty and returns promises are a joke, of course, at swiss return shipping costs and that you barely stand any chance to enforce them after ali’s buyer protection period is over

Swiss VAT for imports is normally waived so long as it’s under 5 Fr - so at a standard VAT rate of currently 8.0% (soon to be increased!) it’s tax free for up to 62.50 Fr of goods value. However postage counts towards taxable goods value and unless you insist, the chinese usually don’t declare it - bad idea for >20-30 Fr items. If there’s no declaration of postage, the customs will apply ripoff postage rates (China is zone 5) that can easily blow up your total to be over the tax free limit. Causing you to pay not only the VAT but also to get double ripped off by post’s admin costs. If actual postage was less than they assumed, you can contest it with the customs that you didn’t have to pay VAT and everything else in the first place - but the process is not free either and so you’ll end up getting ripped off then either way. So always ask the chinese to declare postage costs on expensive items! Customs duties are a separate thing in addition to VAT. There’s a registry per item type and country. If you have the misfortune of ordering and receiving something on the list, you can get shafted in this way too…

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Do you have a reference to the VAT rate increase? I searched around and actually found the opposite: https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/en/home/mehrwertsteuer/fachinformationen/steuersaetze/entwicklung-mwst.html

Ah I didn’t know that the increase is cancelled out by “Expiring IV supplementary financing 31.12.2017” and depending on referendum outcome it might even drop (but I think unlikely due to demographics). Good to know

You have to be careful with DHL deliveries as well. I got charged additional 29 CHF from them for their “efforts” in getting the good through the duty. This happened to me because I didn’t know that “price + mail < 62 CHF”, as @hedgehog mentioned.

I love Aliexpress. Today they seem to be running a promotion where new users get a US$100 coupon to spend within 5 days. I am not eligible because I already have an account but, for the sake of others, does anybody know if this is for real?

You could buy a lot on of quality stuff on Aliexpress for $100. Just sort your search results by “Orders” and only buy items that have lots of good reviews.

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Can you spend it in different purchases? like 4dollars here, 10 there etc… ?

Just created an account, and if you read the small print this are the coupons you get:

  • $4 off for an order of $20 or more
  • $6 off for an order of $119 or more
  • $10 off for an order of $199 or more
  • $30 off for an order of $599 or more
  • $50 off for an order of $999 or more

So you have to order $1940 worth of products to get $100 off.

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Ha!
I knew there was a trick. No one gives free money.
I did read their “rules”. No offense to chinese here, but…well… That page is very chinese…

I hope chinese businessess will change and do the same trick japanese did a while ago. (and many other countries before them)

The fine print page:


There is probably a “finer print” page…

Free money you can get if buying on AliExpress using a dedicated link from TopCashback :wink:
Currently you get ~4,39% of each purchase.

TopCashBack is UK based but easy to withdraw the money, for example to your Revolut or TW account.
After signing up, search for Aliexpress and get there through your own link.


it’s my ref link, I might get 5 pounds if one day you actually start using TopCashback a lot

Other cashback you can get from TopCashback, that might be useful:

  • Audible
  • booking .com
  • skyscanner
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