The Korea Consumer Agency (KCA) has reported a surge in complaints regarding Chinese online retail transactions. This is due to the growing trend of direct overseas purchases through online platforms.

Aliexpress Commercial / Youtube

One buyer, known as A, faced issues with a smartwatch bought for 150,000 KRW ($125) from AliExpress. Despite requesting a full refund, they only received 50,000 KRW ($42). This led them to seek assistance from the KCA. 

The agency recorded a 136% rise in complaints related to international online transactions last year. This is a significant increase compared to the previous year. The majority of these grievances were revolving around goods bought directly from China-based sites like AliExpress. Additionally, consultations for direct purchases from abroad also increased by 68.9%. 

As overseas travel gradually resumes during the pandemic, there was a 41.5% increase in consultations for services such as air tickets and accommodation. Most complaints were linked to air travel, clothing, and accommodation. Companies based in Singapore and Hong Kong topped the list of overseas operators with the highest number of complaints. China-based businesses also saw a significant increase in grievances last year compared to the previous year. 

KCA Statistics/KCA

To address these issues, the KCA is currently collaborating with AliExpress to establish a hotline for resolving customer complaints. This is part of the government’s efforts to safeguard consumers in overseas online transactions. With Chinese online shopping malls like AliExpress aggressively targeting the Korean market, there has been a significant rise in consumer complaints. 

To prevent damages from international transactions, the KCA advises buyers to thoroughly check seller information, transaction conditions, and registration of suspicious scam sites before making a purchase. If the issue remains unsolved, consumers are recommended to seek help from the ‘International Consumer Portal’ ( 

In response to the growing number of complaints, the KCA is discussing with AliExpress to set up a hotline for resolving grievances. They also plan to hold meetings with other overseas online platform operators with frequent consumer complaints. This proactive approach aims to protect consumers and ensure a fair and safe online shopping experience for all.