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If you ever wanted to purchase a smartwatch or a pair of sneakers for under $10, now’s your chance with Wish, the discount store of the web.
Browsing Wish is like browsing a store from an alternate universe. With cell phones for $30, and some items even sold for free, you have to wonder if this site’s legitimacy is just wishful thinking.
We explore how Wish can offer such low prices and what you can do to avoid scams.
What Is Wish?
Wish (wish.com) is an online marketplace for anything you can imagine. From hair extensions to selfie lighting, and laptops, its inventory seems endless.
Since its formation in 2010 by ex-programmers from Google and Yahoo, Wish’s worth has soared to $8.5 billion.
It’s famous for low price tags on so-called expensive items. However, the products don’t come directly from Wish itself; instead, they’re sold by different sellers. Wish only takes a portion of their profits.
Why Are Items so Cheap on Wish?
Head to wish now. See how some items often feature a price that’s crossed out? Wish sellers cut that “original” price down to almost nothing. Keep in mind that sellers have the power to make up whatever original price they want.
For example, take a look at this smartwatch. Its price has been supposedly slashed from $269 to a mere $10:
You’re probably wondering why Wish sellers can have such low prices. While many products are made from the cheapest materials available, the low prices also have a lot to do with where most of the products ship from: China.
China’s lenient labor policies allow retailers to produce massive volume of goods for very little cost. Wish products are often shipped by the seller, saving them from maintaining a physical store. The products can also be stored in warehouses owned by Wish and get shipped as soon as a customer places an order.
Searching YouTube for Wish unboxings can give you an idea of Wish’s product quality.
Is Wish Safe and Legit?
Despite its unbelievable prices, Wish is completely legit. That means the $0.50 earbuds you buy will be shipped to your home, but they may or may not work. But hey, it’s only $0.50 right?
Although it’s a legit site, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any knockoffs. Just use common sense—when you see a designer handbag selling for only $20, you should be skeptical.
In addition to the risks of knockoffs, you should know that some of the items you find on Wish are risky buys. Electronics might be poorly made or clothing might not fit right.
Just like the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.”
Will Wish Steal My Information?
You’re probably hesitant to type your credit card information on a website that sells a leather watch for $1. The truth is that Wish is just about as safe as any other online retailer.
In order to view products on Wish, you’ll need to make an account. This means inputting your full name and email. Wish also tracks your computer’s IP address, social network information, location, your internet browser, and even the items you click on.
There’s always the possibility of a website being hacked, and Wish is no exception. Concerned about data breaches? Wish itself won’t steal your information. Some may even say that it’s a worthy alternative to Amazon.
Tips for Buying on Wish Safely
So you want to take the plunge and order something from Wish? There are several things you should know before starting your Wish haul.
If you’re familiar with the risks of shopping with AliExpress, you won’t be surprised at the precautions you have to take when ordering from Wish. Take a look at these four tips to ensure you make a safe purchase.
1. Don’t Ignore Reviews
Sometimes it’s okay to take reviews with a grain of salt. Buyers often nitpick an item if it doesn’t mean their specific expectations, so you ignore it.
However, you should not do this on Wish. Wish reviewers will let you know the ugly truth behind that $13 drone you want so bad.
If the reviews on the item you want are mostly negative, you might want to reconsider your plan to purchase it. On the other hand, some items are “Verified by Wish Shoppers.” This means that a product has received positive reviews from customers.
2. Be Aware of Long Shipping Times
Used to two-day Amazon Prime shipping? Wish will be your wake-up call.
Wish ships from China. That means it could take a long time to get to your doorstep. Let’s just say that one week is a quick shipping time for Wish. Some users report that their item doesn’t arrive for months after their order.
It’s also possible that your item won’t come at all. According to several complaints, it’s not uncommon for a buyer’s item to never reach their home. Always keep track of your order.
3. Watch Out for Misleading Descriptions
One of the biggest issues on Wish is incorrect product descriptions and images. Descriptions aren’t always accurate and images can make the product look better than it actually is.
In this case, it’s better to pay more attention to customer reviews than the product descriptions.
4. Choose the Right Size
If you’re buying clothing on Wish, make sure to look at the size chart. The small, medium, or large in your country might not correspond with the clothing sizes from Wish.
Since most clothes from Wish come from China, the clothes are often in Asian sizes. Luckily, Wish shows a meter on clothing items that let you know whether it runs large or small.
Be Careful What You Wish For
Wish’s affordable prices make it tempting to go on an all-out shopping spree. While you might want to fill your cart with cheap electronics and jewelry that would typically cost hundreds of dollars, you should second-guess yourself every now and then.
Just like Wish, other online retailers come with a host of possible scams as well. Shop smarter by heeding these tips for avoiding common eBay scams, which can be applied to Wish as well.