No Agent Taobao Direct Buying Guide! Let's view all baby and determine
Taobao Direct Guide for users familiar with 3rd party agents and navigating taobao (with chrome google translate on, hence the title)
Taobao direct consolidation and shipping is available in the following countries: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan. This review is primarily geared towards the US as that’s where I live.
What is Taobao direct? Basically instead of copying and pasting the item URL into the agent website, you add items to your cart like a regular ecommerce site, check out, wait for items to arrive in the warehouse (similar to what happens when you use an agent) and then when all your items from various sellers are in, you request the logistics company to send everything to you. Disclaimer: I have no Chinese fluency written or otherwise. I did everything through Google translate and my experience with how tb works through agents. If something goes wrong I will probably write off the item 🤣 if you communicate a lot with the ts who use translators it also helps get your point across. If you type in English in tb live chat they will redirect you to the HK/tw help staff who have medium English. Also I bought items I purchased previously with an agent or vouched for here on RL or had crazy high reviews/ratings. Pros:
Duck the agent fees and exchange rate bs
Shipping is cheaper but EMS is the only option right now
If you are overcharged for shipping you can get a refund
It’s also easier to collect the discounts and coupons from stores (ymmv with agent)
Not good for reps or mainstream branded rep items as they can be marked as contraband by taobao and then you have to get a refund and return to the seller
You pay 5% sales tax (see note at the end) and 3% on the total payment through alipay with a foreign cc (regardless if your cc does not charge forex)
No qc pics and can't really control the declared value if that matters
Other categories of items like make up brushes, liquids, powders, sharps, etc. are not eligible
20 day hold limit apparently every day after that is charged 1 yuan per item per day
I think the ideal usage for taobao direct would be light items like innerwear, jewelry, soft/non fragile goods, generally clothing and shoes although I don’t know if they will include the box by default. Please see here for the image guide for ordering Sorry in advance if my descriptions are wonky, I'm not great at following OR writing instructions but hopefully the screenshots make it easier to follow along.
Create an account (there are various guides out there for overseas members) and go into your account and add your home address (or the superbuy warehouse address)
Find your items and change the delivery location to "overseas", add to cart
When you're ready to check out hit check out, enter your cc info on the alipay (remember to use a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees) and confirm it goes through.
Wait for all your stuff to come in. When its in the tb warehouse it will show up in the "consolidated delivery" section tagged with a weight (usually volumetric or actual). The 20 day countdown will start once its available for international shipping.
After all your items are in, or you can batch up by selecting items on the consolidated delivery page, submit for delivery. Pay again through alipay.
Use the check logistics option to get the tracking info and wait for your haul!
After receiving but before you open, take photos of it on a scale and the lxwxh with a ruler as well. This is because they will overestimate your shipping but there isn't rehearsal shipping like with agents. You can request a refund after the fact with the "refund/complaint" option on the consolidated delivery page (mine says check refund because I've already gone through it)
Getting a refund: select the "only refund" option, "goods received" and "shipping cost does not match" and leave the full shipping amount in. Upload your measurement and weight photos (make sure the file size is not too big). Within 72hr they will reply and ask you to modify your application with the real amount owed (if any). It will go back to your cc through alipay (may take a few days).
Cost comparison: Even after the 5% sales tax and 3% alipay, it cost me $6.20 total from my credit card statement. A 39 yuan top up for sb is $6.53 as of today (if using paypal). For some the qc pictures and the longer storage period are well worth the difference. However a good compromise is the parcel forwarding option in sb. Instead of shipping to your house you can set up superbuy’s warehouse address and pay in taobao and wait for your items to show up in sb. You also have to submit the item link and the tracking # in superbuy so they can find your stuff. There's no sales tax and usually no shipping and you can select the coupons you want. I had a pair of pants make it to the sb warehouse almost 24hr after ordering, and another 24hr after entering my shipping info and item link in sb, it showed up in my account with free (non hd) pictures of the item. Then I cried putting together the shipping parcel lol. This is a good way to dodge the sales tax and hold items for longer. However then you're at the mercy of the shipping costs (but you do have more options for delivery lines and you can customize how you want your items packaged too). The taobao warehouse will really throw everything in there, probably in a poly envelope. The taobao shipping rates are 90yuan for the first .5kg and 48 yuan per every .5 after which is very competitive even after accounting for volumetric weight. Sb ems starts at 186 for the first .5kg and 61y every .5kg after. Of course rates and terms are subject to change with the times. I had a package that came in at 277g when I measured it at home but I was charged for 1.6kg. After sending in the package images they refunded 144yuan (the true volumetric weight was about .97kg.) Taobao volumetric calculation is lxwxh (cm)/6000. Timeline wise I submitted 8/16 and received 8/28 although I think because it was so light they used epacket/china post because it was not an EMS tracking # big sigh. Still less than 10 days can't complain. Hope this helps! I'm sure I missed something on this guide so feel free to leave any questions and I will update the post accordingly. Apologies this is very us-centric, I also cannot comment on getting a refund or exchange from sellers before you ship out but there is now english support (albeit a bit wonky) through chat and aliwangwang+google translate can get you pretty far. Ps: highly recommend using the app too as its easier to get chat messages from the seller. You can screenshot and upload images to Google translate to read the text.
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Have any of you radically changed your political views since childhood?
I grew up in a typical conservative middle-class household in the 90s. Like most conservative families, I grew up hearing about how horrible Sheikh Mujib became after 71, and how people were so relieved after he was murdered in 1975. This is something I heard from everyone, relatives, friends, etc. I, too, used to hate Sheikh Mujib. I thought he was a dictator, pro-India, anti-Islam, traitor, just wanted to be Pakistan's PM, etc. Of course, I was a teenager in the 2001-2006 period when the BNP-Jamat government rammed the entire country into the ground. There were hartals and oborodhs all the time, electricity used to go off every other hour, terrorist would blast a bomb every other week while the government would term it all as a "conspiracy", there was no development and we would stagger from one crisis to another. Mullahs would carry out misils all the time calling for Shariah law, and attacking Ahmadiyya houses. Khaleda Zia had zero control over the country. She just didn't have any leadership qualities. I felt that I wanted to leave this shithole as soon as I got the first opportunity. The BNP regime was interrupted by the caretaker government. Full of "highly educated" bureaucrats, I naturally supported them. But their "Minus 2" plan went nowhere, and they weren't being able to handle the country either. Fakhruddin Ahmed and Moinuddin Ahmed just didn't' have any leadership qualities either. Facing an unfavourable situation, they at least had the decency to organize elections and arrange a respectable exit for themselves. Then we the Awami League get power in 2008. I still hated them back then. Their first term, 2009-2013 was full of turmoil, with the "Shahbag movement" and the "ICT Tribunal" and the hanging of the senior Jamat leaders. But the country gradually started getting into shape. If you look at the economic indicators we started taking off in 2010. By 2014 political stability was re-established. This was all possible due to Sheikh Hasina's leadership qualities, which others lack. The Awami League's electricity reforms paid off, and loadshedding is largely over in Dhaka. Awami League drastically reduced prices of broadband internet, and we got access to bufferless YouTube for the first time. BNP was jumping up and down screaming that government was looting crores of taka under the name of quick rental power plants. But our forex reserves zoomed from 10 billion to 30 billion. New roads were being built everywhere and Bangladesh's Debt-to-GDP ratio remains one of the lowest in South Asia, and in the world. So I was really forced to re-evaluate my hatred of Awami League, Sheik Hasina and Sheikh Mujib. When I looked back at the life of Sheikh Mujib, I found that he dedicated his life to the people of East Bengal. He was a part of the Muslim League to get independence for us, and after witnessing the bloody religious riots changed his worldview to secular democratic socialism. That's something very admirable! That's not anti-Islam at all! And then he joined forces with India to free East Pakistan. That's not treason, his loyalty was to the people of East Pakistan. He single-handedly united 60 million very backward and uneducated people and led them to independence. After that, he presided over the creation of a Constitution that was secular, in a overwhelmingly rural, uneducated Muslim country. He could easily have given in to Saudi Arabia in return for oil, like so many Muslim countries, but did not compromise. He could have chosen to recognize Israel, and have gotten instant recognition and support from the West, but stayed firm to his principles of loyalty to the Palestinian people. All of his actions point towards the qualities of a great leader. Sheikh Mujib did not allow the Indians to stay in Bangladesh and ensured their withdrawal. Just have a look at countries around the world today. Look at Syria, where they have a bastard dictator who murders his own people, and an opposition full of traitors and terrorists. Look at Libya, where the people have no leadership. Look at India, where they are under the thrall of a fascist religious dictator Modi. Sudan is only establishing secularism in their constitution in 2020, while Bangladesh did it 50 years ago!!! Look at Iran, where people are all trying to escape their religious government. Look at Pakistan with their blasphemy laws and their mullahs trying to oppose any law against child marriage! We bypassed all of this thanks to Sheikh Mujib and his foresight!!! The closest leader who resembles Sheikh Mujib would be Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. While Ataturk was objectively greater than Sheikh Mujib, since he was an accomplished military leader who led the actual Turkish War of Independence himself, Ataturk also modernized a backward, rural, uneducated nation overnight into a modern, secular and democratic state. Of course, Ataturk has many haters. They also accuse him of being a dictator. But his achievements greatly overshadow any sacrifices that may have been required to achieve the goal of a modern independent Turkey. The same goes for Shiekh Mujib. Whatever are his faults, Rakkhi Bahini, BAKSAL, I am willing to forgive him for his leadership during our independence and his creation of a secular and democratic Bangladesh. Today we are blessed to have his daughter Sheikh Hasina in power. Lots of you might call her "fascist". That's such a lazy and pathetic position to take. Trust me, if there was any other leader other than SH as PM the government would be just as "fascist" as her government is now. Its so easy to sit back behind a PC and cry "fascist fascist fascist". YOU try organizing a political party in a nation of 165 million people, and then successfully leading that country on the path towards economic development. Without a doubt, if those crying 'fascist fascist' were put into power as PM they would be 100 times more fascistic than Sheikh Hasina is right now. Without a doubt, human rights abuses occur under her. Abrar was beaten to death by BCL thugs (which was fully supported by the 'humanist' Taslima Nasrin btw). But those BCL thugs are in jail now. Major Sinha Rashed Khan was murdered by OC Liakat and Prodip. Both of them are in jail. If SH was as fascist as people claim, they would be out in the streets, like the Hindu thugs who carried out the Delhi riots in February, or the terrorist Mullahs in Pakistan who forcibly convert and kidnap Christian girls. So, from what I have seen, Awami League is an organic political party of the people of East Bengal. They have deeper roots in the hearts of the people than any other political movement. And they should be lauded because they have established secularism and inclusive nationalism where there is space for Bangladeshis of all religions and ethnicities in a united Bangladesh. While sometimes they have acted in a fascist manner, it is excusable because there is no other alternative in Bangladesh who can win elections and be more liberal than BAL. Instead of pathetically criticizing them, those who want the best for Bangladesh should work with them in order to reduce the human rights abuses which do still occur. BAL will be remembered in history like the PAP of Singapore, or the UMNO of Malaysia, or the Chinese Communist Party; all of whom were authoritarian, who were accused of being fascist, but ultimately ensured the evolution of their societies from backward uneducated agricultural societies to modern, secular democratic industrial ones.
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