Is the Wish App Real? Here's How the Prices Are so Low
Is Wish Legit?
The Wish Shopping App features crazy low prices on a lot of fashion pieces and accessories for men and women. It's hard to know if these products are genuine until you order.
But understanding the process behind Wish will reveal how the prices are so low and that the service is perfectly legit. Just take the time to understand where the clothing you order comes from so you know what to expect before checking out a shopping cart.
Where do Wish's Products Come From?
Looking at where the stuff you buy comes from holds the key to why prices are so low. Wish is a mobile shopping site that connects buyers directly to 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. Read an in depth review on Wish here.
This is a huge contributor to the cost savings you see in their prices. 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.
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 style. The quality is definitely lower than paying for something in store but for items you're willing to take the chance on, Wish can be a great source.
The sizing is a gamble when ordering from Wish. Look at customer picture 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 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 try to order clothing to wear to work and stick to the casual or novelty items.
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 travelling or going for walks. Pretty good for $10.
Many of the electronics you buy in the US come from Asian countries anyway, the product is not going to differ too much. Think twice before buying anything that requires customer support like a tablet or a smartwatch.
Drawbacks of Buying with Wish
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 middleman to smooth the way for the customer.
Skipping the retailer entirely leaves the potential for a few drawbacks:
- Mislabeled Items
- Wrong sizing in clothes
- 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.
Sizing clothes 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 that shows up in a size to fit a small child is really an Extra Small or a factory mistake.
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 to Wish
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 that operates about 12 hours off from the United States.
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.
In my experience if an item doesn't arrive Wish is very good about issuing a refund. But the return process isn't as friendly and unfortunately I dealt with it 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, yikes!
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.
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 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.
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