Is the Wish App Legit or a Scam: The Real Reasons Why It's so Cheap
Is Wish Legit?
The Wish shopping app features crazy low prices on a lot of fashion items and accessories for men and women. Shopping on Wish is risky though. It's hard to know if the products are genuine until you order and receive them.
Wish is as legit as Amazon and eBay. The company is real and there are real people selling products on the site. But since the sellers on Wish are located all over the world (but mostly in China), shipping takes longer, and product quality is less reliable. Understanding the process behind Wish reveals that the service is perfectly legit. Just follow these tips and take the time to understand where the products you order comes from so that you know what to expect before checking out a shopping cart.
Where Do the Products on Wish Come From?
Look at where the stuff on Wish comes from and you'll understand why the prices are so low. Wish is a mobile shopping site that connects buyers directly to individual merchants selling merchandise made in Chinese factories. Unlike most online shopping experiences, where you buy from a retailer, an item from Wish comes directly from the factory. There are no middlemen, which means lower prices and less quality-control.
The Reason Stuff Is so Cheap on Wish
There's no middleman, no brick-and-mortar store, no employees restocking shelves, and no advertising money spent promoting a single shopping site. The savings go directly to the customer.
But there are some downsides to this stripped-down model. Read on!
Are Wish Products Fake?
The website and the app are definitely real: You order something, pay with your credit card, and the items will get delivered (eventually). But are the products offered fakes?
Wish doesn't sell many brands that are available in the United States. You'll find knock-offs of common brands. The quality is definitely lower than items in other stores or shopping sites, but if you're willing to take the chance, Wish can be a great value.
Cons of Shopping on Wish.com
The sizing is a gamble when ordering from Wish. Look at customer product photos and reviews to get a good idea of what size you should order.
Material and stitching is definitely cheap but can be appropriate for certain casual items. Sweaters, hoodies, and accessories make good Wish buys when you don't need the highest quality.
I tried ordering two tops from Wish. They were much more sheer than they looked in the picture. The V-neck peasant blouse I purchased was way too big. The other was a white long-sleeved shirt that looks okay but is made of cheap, breathable material. I learned to not order clothing to wear to work and stick to the casual or novelty items.
Is Personal Data Safe on Wish.com?
One of the biggest concerns some users have about Wish.com is that the site displays full user names on the profiles linked to wish lists. This means that your wish lists aren't private and any items you put on your lists show your real name.
- When customers sign up and purchase products Wish.com asks for name, email address, payment method information, shipping address, phone number, and social media account credentials.
- Wish.com collects other data automatically, including your computer's IP address, location information (they say they ask for customer permission before obtaining specific GPS data), social network profile data, the browser you use, usage data including where you click and how much time you spend on pages.
With these things in mind Wish.com appears to be as safe for personal data as any other shopping site, and all sites can potentially be hacked.
Pros of Shopping on Wish.com
Legit Electronics from Wish
Purchasing electronics from Wish is hit or miss. Expect the audio quality from speakers or earbuds to be poor. Cables, like USB or HDMI, will work but they might not be as robust or last as long as their more expensive counterparts. A flash drive or storage device from Wish will also work as promised, which can be a great way to get cheap data storage. Bluetooth is also surprisingly reliable.
I recently received a pair of noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones from Wish. While the sound quality isn't spectacular, the Bluetooth always connects and it's great to have when traveling or going for walks. Pretty good for $10.
Many of the electronics you buy in the U.S. come from Asian countries anyway, so the products don't differ too much. Think twice before buying anything that requires customer support, however, like a tablet or a smartwatch.
Beware of Deceptive Product Photos and Descriptions on Wish.com
There are going to be sacrifices in the order process when you buy directly from any factory. Though they cost more, the US-based retail stores serve an important purpose as middlemen to smooth the way for the customer.
Skipping the retailer entirely leaves the potential for a few drawbacks:
- Mislabeled items
- Wrong sizing in clothes
- Inaccurate descriptions and photos of products
- Poor customer service
Most of the time the customer receives exactly what they paid for from Wish. This requires that the item from the factory matches the description and pictures of the item in the app, which can be difficult in translation to English. Order from Wish often enough and eventually the product you ordered in the app will turn out to be slightly different than the item that shows up in your mailbox.
What About You?
What was your experience shopping on Wish like?
How to Avoid Getting Scammed on Wish
Read Reviews Carefully!
The best way to avoid being disappointed by products sold on Wish.com is to do your research before purchasing. Read through customer reviews. Look at photos that other customers have posted of the product they actually received. Users can also leave star ratings for merchants, but these aren't as useful as written descriptions and photos.
It takes some work to have a good experience with Wish.com. Since it's a global marketplace, customers and merchants are located all over the world. Product descriptions and reviews may be written by people whose English is not fluent. Find as much information as you can about the product you're interested in and its merchant before purchasing.
Some Drawbacks to Shopping on Wish.com
Shipping Takes Forever
The number one complaint about shopping on Wish is that items can take several weeks to arrive. Some might show up within five to seven days, but other orders may take a month to arrive.
Inconsistent Clothing Sizes
Clothes sizes on Wish is another issue. Asian and American sizing don't translate well and this is made worse by the fact that most Chinese factory-made items do not carry a size label. Customers that shop for clothes on Wish are often left wondering whether the "medium" they ordered, but which was small enough to fit a child, is really an "extra small" or just a factory mistake.
Poor Customer Service
The other downside of buying from a foreign factory is the customer service support is not very strong. With a retailer between you and the factory, the customer service experience is a lot better for the customer because that retailer has a reputation to uphold. The out-of-country factory has less direct stake in keeping you happy so it's up to Wish to communicate between the customer and the factory. This can lead to a lot of frustration from customers.
Making Returns on Wish.com
If you do get an item that differs from the item you ordered, is it possible to return the item to Wish for a refund? Yes, returns are possible, but they are not very easy.
Wish does offer returns and refunds, but they don't refund the initial shipping cost (usually pretty low) and you can expect to deal with a clunky customer service process.
How to Make a Return on the Wish App
Initiate a return to Wish through the app. You will message back and forth with customer service and they will send you a shipping label to return the item. Wish does not list a phone number so it is hard to contact someone directly. There is also no obvious option to escalate the customer service concern to someone else if the rep is not satisfying your concerns.
My Terrible Experience Trying to Return an Item
In my experience Wish is very good about issuing refunds, but the return process isn't friendly, as I unfortunately discovered first-hand. I bought a PAX 3 vaporizer as a Christmas present, hoping to get a deal. But the product that arrived was a clear knock-off, so I initiated a return. I was allowed 60 days to return the item but the customer service rep stalled and ignored me for long enough that the 60 days vanished. I had no option other than to say good-bye to that $85.
With the low cost of items on Wish, it seems like they make the return process difficult so most people will choose to eat the cost of a $3 item instead of fighting customer service.
What About You?
Have you returned an item to Wish.com?
Other Money-Saving Apps
Shopping on Wish isn't the only way to save money with your phone. A few other Asian bargain apps like Geek are on the market.
Cash reward apps will give you a percentage of your purchase back from major retailers. Drop is one example, read the Drop review before downloading.
Apps like Ibotta and Checkout 51 work a little differently. After you scan your receipt they give you cash back on certain grocery items.
Wish vs. eBay
The same cheap, fast-fashion clothing items from China can be found on eBay too. So what's the difference?
The eBay sellers with similar items usually have slightly higher prices so they can still make a profit after paying eBay's fees. They may also charge a bit more for shipping because they don't have the ability to do bulk shipping orders like Wish.
But a transaction on eBay is easier to dispute if you run into problems as a buyer. Also, the item descriptions tend to have more information, letting you get a better idea before you purchase.
Questions & Answers
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