Alibaba.com News: Website Disclosing More Information About Problem Suppliers

Alibaba.com has begun posting a bit more information about problem suppliers hosted by the B2B website, making the product-sourcing process more transparent for buyers.

While Alibaba.com does not offer buyers the ability to give public feedback on their dealings with manufacturers, the site does alert users if suppliers have been involved in recent trade disputes with their customers. In the past, this notification only appeared in instances where a buyer had lodged a serious complaint, such as fraud, against the supplier through Alibaba.com's dispute resolution system.

But this practice was recently changed because fraudulent companies are being more quickly kicked off the website. Now, notices displayed on the pages of suppliers' Alibaba.com stores involve less serious complaints, such as problems with product quality or delivery delays, if website staff have determined sellers are at fault. The publicly disclosed information only covers cases concluded in the previous 90 days.

Alibaba.com tries to get buyers and sellers to work together to reach an amicable settlement in trade disputes, company officials said. The additional disclosure is designed as a penalty to help motivate uncooperative suppliers to reach a fair settlement. In addition, the change will also help buyers better assess the trustworthiness of suppliers and enhance the platform’s safety, according to Alibaba.com staff.

Buyers can find the information in a field showing the number of "substantiated" (seller at fault) complaints appearing on the supplier's storefront home page; on pages displaying specific products offered by the supplier; and on product pages displayed after a buyer search. (see example of a supplier home page at left).

Additional details of complaints against suppliers can be found by clicking the "company profile" tab on suppliers' homepages and then the link for "buyer interactions" in the left column. This will produce a page with a field showing "reason for complaint" (product did not meet terms specified in agreement, product was not delivered on schedule, etc.)  and "status" (indicates whether supplier did or did not respond to the complaint). Alibaba.com hopes the added disclosure can help buyers make more informed decisions when comparing suppliers.