Buying Transformers on Taobao

Discussion in 'Transformers 3rd Party Discussion' started by botfan, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    Shopping on Taobao seems to be something for the adventurous among the TF collecting crowd. The rewards are great, with dirt cheap prices, but the challenges are many. Hopefully, the thread helps people on their journey.


    Here ya go let me know if it clears up some things:

    1. Use Google chrome to go to the website it should automatically translate.
    2. Use Google translate when communicating to send either from Chinese to English and then when reading you can translate their Chinese to English. Sometimes it's funky, speak like a caveman with basic sentences. Use smile emojis because we come off as rude due to the language barrier.
    3. Download Google translate on your phone so you can use your camera to translate words that don't translate.
    4. Register for taobao, I believe you add your address during the registration.( I had some really weird issues and I was banned on my first registration, let me know if you have any problems and I'll help you work through them).
    5. If you can logon to taobao you are half way there.
    6. You need alipay(taobaos equivelant to paypal) but I did not have to setup an account like you normally would with PayPal, when you create taobao account they create alipay also.
    7. You need to download aliwangwang that is for chatting through the little blue tear drop next to the sellers names typically.
    8. So when you are in taobao you need to setup an address. That should've been done upon registration if I remember correctly.
    9. When you find your item and you want to buy, click your choice and add to cart..if it does not work remove the translation on that page and click again. There is some weird bug that makes you mash on the cart button like 50 times otherwise.
    10. If it gives you an error saying this item can not be shipped international it means they are using some sort of banned term such as Hasbro, transformers or the name of the toy etc. You will need to chat with the seller and either buy a similar priced item and they ship the one you want, or have them create a custom listing without any of the banned terms.
    11. Once it is added to cart and you want to pay, you must choose your warehouse this is where the seller will send your stuff, it's basically a warehouse. Make sure it doesn't have batteries or is to big. In the USA most of us use EMS.
    12. If that all goes smoothly. It will ask you to pay. You pay with credit card only. If you have an issue here your card company blocked you and they will either call you or you call them ONLY do this during your banks normal business hours.
    13. After you pay they will ship to your warehouse typically using a courier service, this service is not the warehouse.
    14. It has to be accepted at warehouse, there are strict size limits, weight limits and categories. Be very careful ex. No batteries, liquids, weapons, guns.
    15. If it is accepted they will weigh it and tell you your current charge for the items based on weight. You now have 20 days to add whatever you want to your little consolidation zone. As far as I can tell right now the incoming and outgoing restrictions are different. Most important incoming can't be larger than 80cm or 130cm unilaterally. But after when they mash everything together it just can't weigh more than 30kg.
    Info: they (seller)don't get your money until your product is in hand and you confirm receipt, you are charged for the items , the shipping to warehouse the shipping from warehouse any insurance a taobao fee and a conversion fee from your bank typically. Also the people selling and warehouses are all at our night time so most of your stuff will be after 8pm eat

    Let me know if that helps. I have only shipped one thing and next order on way but I learned a bunch

    I agree, it has been fun enduring the trial and error when I began though LOL. I'd also add some tips and tricks:

    * Try find a 0% no annual fee credit card to save on FX charges. It amounts to a lot annually and especially with big ticket items
    * Set your Taobao country to mainland China (top left of the website) otherwise search filters are applied to country specific Taobao websites
    * Search works best with item alphanumeric codes as names don't translate literally. For example 'FT-24' and 'Fanstoys' as a search will yield better results than 'Fanstoys''and 'Rouge'
    * Image search is also a great feature
    * Anything that is listed as used or has licensed products in the description (Hasbro, Lego, Disney, Marvel, Nikon, Canon etc) will be blocked for purchase as your country likely has its own local distribution. It's to get around grey / parallel importing. Transformers being banned as a word is likely another reason why Taobao prevents purchases and we have to communicate with the seller
    * Check the first page of this thread for English sellers so there's minimised issues with language barriers
    * Best to check if there's stock first mostly as few sellers keep live inventory levels. You may purchase something and wonder why it hasn't shipped and then you have to initiate a refund. For new things this is less of an issue but for say FT Sovereign or MMC Magna which got recent reissue / releases I wouldn't trust stock levels necessarily
    * Some people stick to sellers with a minimum of 4 diamonds in ratings. New stores go from. 1 to 4 hearts in ratings before progressing to 1 diamond and so on. 1 crown comes after 4 diamonds. This would be a measure of reliability and peace of mind for you the buyer

    That's all I can think of



    PLEASE NOTE:


    English speaking sellers

    首页-THOR TOYS-淘宝网
    首页-钢铁星玩具店-淘宝网
    首页-黑骑士模玩-淘宝网
    首页-TFCLUB变盟俱乐部-淘宝网
    首页-小蜜蜂小王子玩具特区-淘宝网
    首页-比利大叔的玩具城堡 上海刚丝厂特许店-淘宝网

    首页-银河之力 动漫模玩-淘宝网





    For the Aussie shoppers

     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2019
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  2. DoubleClouder

    DoubleClouder Prototype / Testshot collector

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    I've had really mixed results. I've always gotten my money back but it's a pain.
     
  3. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    When did you know to ask for your money back and how many scammers did you come across? 50/50, 30/70?
     
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  4. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    Awesome, thanks! I'll use these points for my next purchase. I ordered stomp from a seller at what seemed like the standard going price on the site. I don't speak mandarin, so I can't communicate through the app, and there doesn't seem to be any way to send an email to the seller. The order was placed last Wednesday, so I might be jumping the gun, and I've used the "remind seller to ship" option several times. It's possible I just haven't given it enough time. I've also wanted to use the "Honey Bee" communication from Taobao, since it seems to support english, but I think I'm outside of their business hours and will need to try again Monday.
     
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  5. barrelks

    barrelks Captain Funtastic

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    Choice Toy is the shop I have dealt with for a majority of my purchases. Not sure how I stumbled across them, but I think (could be wrong) they may have a storefront in Shanghai that my buddy who is working over there happened upon and shot me some pictures of (at least they looked very similar to the shots on their Taobao page). Though I have had my buddy buy from them and ship/carry it over when he visits, they have been great, and have great prices on a lot of things. I think I paid less than $130 total for the Ace and Elite seeker sets combined.
     
  6. kukuburd

    kukuburd Eh?

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    There's a recent wave of preorders up on taobao for the reissue of ft stomp, with most sellers giving and ETA of June '17. Just be careful, you might have paid for a preorder instead. The honey bee option as far as I know is an AI assistant that helps with general queries, I'm not sure if you can reach an actual taobao support person via that...I've never really used it. Your best bet would be to use Google translate and try to ask the seller directly when he can ship the goods...

    Yea I think it's the same. They do advertise their Shanghai shop on their taobao profile page, and many product shots are taken in their store too. Prices are great and their service is outstanding. I've dropped them messages via the taobao app past midnight a few times and gotten near-immediate replies.
     
  7. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    So I finally got my red Soar XT in hand.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The package was shipped out on 3/19 and delivered on 4/6. I never got any tracking info, but that's the total shipping time to finally get it to me.

    Total paid - $130!!!!!!

    Yeah, I think I'm going to be buying all my FT stuff on taobao from now on. As far as a tutorial, there's a couple of things people need to know going it.

    1) Get chrome and translate all the pages into english. This does not always work well and some pages have frames that won't translate at all. In those cases, highlight the text and copy it to clipboard, then paste it into google translate in another tab.

    2) You'll need to set up a Taobao profile. Again, some options here might be tough to translate, like entering your mailing address. Drop down boxes are the worst and will require you to look at the source code to pick out the option for US in mandarin.

    3) I set up an alipay account for my first payment. This is done during checkout and is pretty painless and straightforward.

    4) When you decide to buy, find a gold rated seller or at least one that has been on the site for a long time. I had two failed buying attempts before my success above and both ended in me getting a refund. This was pretty easy to do also.

    5) Your item will be shipped to a warehouse in China before being shipped domestically. You won't know the full shipping cost until it arrives at the warehouse, but I was happily surprised by how cheap it was, $20.

    6) In some sales, you may want to communicate with the seller. This is done using a messenger app that you need to install called aliwangwang. No one speaks english, so again, google translate will be your friend here. You can arrange to have the seller ship to you in the US, but I preferred to do the warehouse route and get it into USPS's hands quickly, since they handle the overseas shipping. UPS is also an option.

    7) Finally, don't worry about the countdown clock asking you to confirm delivery. It will automatically confirm it after some time, even if your item is still en route. I still haven't played with getting a refund once that clock hits 0, but I'm pretty sure you can still do that.

    Anyway, good luck to anyone willing to give this a go. The savings make the trouble worth it. I got a freaking X dibot for $130 shipped! I'm just sad they don't have severX listed anymore. However, they do have grinder for $100 and stomp for $100. If the shipping is only $20, I could have those figures in hand for $120 each! Unfortunately, I got grinder from bababobo for $158 shipped. I'm shocked I'm actually saying that.
     
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  8. ChromeMagnus

    ChromeMagnus Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for posting this! Congrats.
    A few questions...
    On #4 what caused the failed buying attempts? Did you end up getting scammed? Was it because the seller wasn't around for a long time? What would you say is a long enough time to be considered trustworthy?
    You mention that going the warehouse route gets it to USPS faster. Would the shipping charge be less if you arrange to have it shipped directly to you?
    Is the aliwangwang messenger app for your mobile phone or desktop pc?
    You mentioned your order shipped on 3/19/17. When did you actually place the order?
    Do you have the name of the seller you used and are there any others you feel are also trustworthy?
    So doing the translations pretty much eliminated the need of using an agent?
    Maybe at some point we could look into starting a China Taobao Seller Check thread. What do you think?:) 
     
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  9. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    On #4 what caused the failed buying attempts? Did you end up getting scammed? Was it because the seller wasn't around for a long time?
    I haven't had a typical ebay "scamming" experience on taobao. I'm not sure you can. They take a deposit from every seller and if they close their account, the money is there to give you a refund, but that didn't happen to me.

    The first seller I bought from was sloppy. He had an item listed that was no longer in stock, FT-07. I waited a few days and didn't see any updates on shipping, so I messaged him and through a lot of choppy mandarin was able to determine that he didn't have it in stock, but would gladly agree to refund my money. So that was painless.

    The second experience was a bit of me learning taobao and a bit of the seller being a jerk. On the site, they allow you to put down money for a preorder for around $5. I did that for grinder, but then the seller listed a shipping code, without shipping the figure. This started the "confirm receipt" countdown clock, which panicked me, since I knew they didn't actually send the item. I tried to message the seller about how this works on Taobao and explained that I'm new and don't speak mandarin, other than through google translate. I got a limited amount of responses, basically informing me it would ship at the end of the month, but nothing else. I got frustrated and asked for my preorder money back and in 4 days the seller agreed.


    What would you say is a long enough time to be considered trustworthy?

    I can't say for certain. Taobao has a rating system for their "gold" sellers. Those sellers are supposed to be the best ones. The seller I bought from didn't have a gold icon on their name, but was in business for 11 years and sold 7 figures before mine. They list a sales history on posting for the site, so you can see how many figures have sold so far. This was my best seller experience, since they messaged me right away to see if I had questions and even tried to speak a bit of english with me. The seller was "art tour baby", or 艺游宝贝.


    You mention that going the warehouse route gets it to USPS faster. Would the shipping charge be less if you arrange to have it shipped directly to you?

    Honestly, I don't know. I haven't been bold enough to arrange anything with the seller directly. Warehouse shipping is good enough for me, since it is pretty cheap already.


    Is the aliwangwang messenger app for your mobile phone or desktop pc?

    I'm using a macbook and installed it on that.


    You mentioned your order shipped on 3/19/17. When did you actually place the order?

    Order was placed on 3/18.

    Do you have the name of the seller you used and are there any others you feel are also trustworthy?

    See above.


    So doing the translations pretty much eliminated the need of using an agent?

    Correct. I went through the pain myself to save some money.


    Maybe at some point we could look into starting a China Taobao Seller Check thread. What do you think?:) 


    Lol, that would be good. I'm happy to share the experience to save some other people some money. The odd thing I noticed is the savings for other lines is not as great. MT stuff is priced pretty close to what it sells for here. FT seems to be the biggest benefit. TT stuff is cheaper from Japan, so no point in buying it on a Chinese website. I normally use NY or amiami for TT products.

    I'd like to do a few more purchases before starting a thread. I just snagged a FT-06x I saw pop up for about $133. We'll see if the seller actually ships it and how it arrives.
     
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  10. ChromeMagnus

    ChromeMagnus Well-Known Member

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    Was the warehouse option all included as part of the checkout process?
    Does google translate also translate the yaun currenct into english or does chrome translate it right on the taobao web page?
    Sounds like taobao gives the best deals on FT items based on your experience. Did you notice any favorable savings for Badcube, KFC/XTB, KO companies like Yes Model etc?
     
  11. DinoSnarl

    DinoSnarl Obese chocoholic

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    Thanks @botfan for the Taobao info. Stomp is a great figure - hopefully now I can pick up a second copy.
     
  12. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    Was the warehouse option all included as part of the checkout process?

    Yes, you select which shipping service you want once the seller sends it locally to the warehouse. There were 3 options, all similarly priced. USPS, UPS, and a third I can't quite remember. I'll have to check.

    Does google translate also translate the yaun currenct into english or does chrome translate it right on the taobao web page?

    Normally the US price is shown on the taobao page. I'm not sure if this is a translate feature, but I don't need to do conversions in my head when I browse figures, though I do have a rough idea what's a good price and what isn't for a figure in yaun. The prices do vary heavily, with some stuff ridiculously overpriced, kind of like the sellers on amazon.

    Sounds like taobao gives the best deals on FT items based on your experience. Did you notice any favorable savings for Badcube, KFC/XTB, KO companies like Yes Model etc?

    I honestly didn't check anything other than MMC, MT, TT, and FT. FT was by far the best. I saw jaguar from MMC there for about $40. If I could get that with a big purchase and have the shipping from the warehouse be almost free for the figure, it might be worth it. I don't have the warehouse shipping totally figured out, other than knowing they'll hold several items for you then start charging you a storage fee after some time. You can combine shipments that way and I assume make them cheaper, but I haven't tried yet.
     
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  13. edgecrusher

    edgecrusher Pepperidge Farm remembers TFW2005 Supporter

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    FYI: There are pre-orders available for the reissue if you don't want to mess with all that. For example Fans Toys FT-07 STOMP (Reissue)


    edit: Since these posts all got moved to a new thread this post seems somewhat out of place now, so I'll just add that this knowledge sharing is valuable and thank you for helping walk through how to do this. It seems like a lot of trouble to go through but the reward in pricing seems like it could be worth it. Hopefully someone will come up with a more direct method of facilitating this sort of transaction in the future without all the translating and hoops. :) 
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
  14. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    Well, good news is my SeverX just shipped to the warehouse. If I can get that thing for around $150, I'm going to be on a real high. I might try to add jaguar to my shipment and see what happens to the shipping cost.

    If anyone wants to dip their feet in the water, start by going to taobao.com using google chrome. If your page doesn't translate right away, right click on the page and select "translate to english". Then, try searching for some FT stuff. A good price for Grinder is a little under 800 yuan, don't click anything higher or any prices ridiculously lower.

    I have a thread I started in the toy discussion asking about buying from Taobao and a few members there gave some advice. It might be worth searching up before you plunk down cash for skyfire and omega. The discounts for those two will help...A LOT.
     
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  15. Devastator21

    Devastator21 Well-Known Member

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    how much for phoenix and omega
     
  16. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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  17. ChromeMagnus

    ChromeMagnus Well-Known Member

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    Was your recent final delivery made by USPS?
    You mentioned you didn't get any tracking number with your order. Is that the norm with taobao or is there a tracking option with a fee? I think I'd go nuts if I didn't have a tracking number.
    Can you post a link to your thread about buying from taobao?
     
  18. botfan

    botfan Quote this Avatar

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    Was your recent final delivery made by USPS?

    Honestly, I'm not sure. It was the option I selected for the after-warehouse courier. I assume so, but I wasn't checking their site with one of their tracking IDs.

    You mentioned you didn't get any tracking number with your order. Is that the norm with taobao or is there a tracking option with a fee? I think I'd go nuts if I didn't have a tracking number.

    I don't remember what I said, but I should clarify. I didn't get an expected delivery date, but tracking was provided to give me updates on where my package was. Here's the history from the Taobao website.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Can you post a link to your thread about buying from taobao?

    Buying Transformers on Taobao

    I guess at this point we should move all conversation about this over there, since this has been an epic topic derail and the mods have been super patient. It might also be worth moving that thread into the 3P discussion forums, since 3P buying is the most relevant on taobao.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2017
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  19. ChromeMagnus

    ChromeMagnus Well-Known Member

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    I'm guessing the waybill numbers are the tracking numbers right? One number assigned for China and then a different number for the destination country. I just want to make sure I can use that tracking number on the postal carrier's website and set up email alerts to myself regarding tracking updates.
     
  20. kukuburd

    kukuburd Eh?

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    For preorders, that's the norm actually. Sellers put up a preorder listing, you pay for it and it will trigger the item delivery countdown, even tho there's nothing to be delivered at that point. It's basically down payment.

    When the actual item arrives, the seller will usually inform you via the chat function and direct you to another listing to make the balance payment. Sometimes you have to check for yourself in their store.