Is Wish a Legit and Safe Place to Shop?

More than 1 billion people a month depend on online shopping for their daily or impulse-buy needs. Amazon is the undisputed king of online shopping, but there is a whole range of new sites that have emerged to provide alternative online shopping experiences. Of these, San Francisco-based company Wish has been making the biggest ripples.

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When you shop at large well established sites like Amazon you have a sense of trust that you will receive your package in a timely manner. The question is whether you can similarly trust new shopping startups like Wish to the same degree.

In this article, we break down the essential questions related to Wish and provide answers for those savvy online shoppers who want a good deal without risking a scam.

What is Wish?

Wish is an online e-commerce platform based in San Francisco and led by a team of three: Piotr Szulczewski, James Prendergast, and Danny Zhang. Though it debuted in 2011, Wish has grown to become a popular online marketplace with over 100 million visitors per month in 2020. What makes Wish distinctive from other online platforms is the browsing method available for users. The majority of online retailers and e-commerce platforms depend on navigating users via a search bar or via a traditional category structure but with Wish, users have a feed with products that visually appeal to their tastes and reflect their browsing patterns, i.e. look at lots of auto related products and your feed will reflect this.

One of the reasons Wish has grown so quickly is their habit of advertising the most random array of odd items on Facebook. Even if you’ve never visited wish.com you have almost certainly seen their advertising on Facebook. Who knew anyone wanted a $2 pile of worms or a Jeffrey Goldblum pillowcase!

The prices on Wish are more than likely to make online shopping veterans raise an eyebrow. Given that the average price for items on Wish is a jaw-dropping $5, many are naturally skeptical. How are such low prices possible? Is Wish a scam? What do the prices say about the quality of the goods purchased on the website?

Is Wish a Legit and Safe Place to Shop?

Wish is a legitimate company just like Google or Pinterest. And the vast majority of sellers on Wish are also legitimate vendors trying to promote their own merchandise. Just like on eBay or Amazon.

However, since Wish is an online marketplace, it does mean that some sellers will appear who try to scam the system. In general, every website with a marketplace-like design runs the risk of hosting scammers and the same goes for Wish. Of course, like Amazon or EBay, Wish does everything it can to weed out such bad actors and in general the incidence of scams seems low.

At the time of writing, according to Trustpilot, Wish.com has an average rating of 4.2/5 from 43,835 reviewers, including 56% of which gave the site a 5/5 score. That’s pretty good…

In terms of the website being safe, Wish does not host malicious software and will not give your computer a virus. When signing up for Wish and shopping on the platform, the website isn’t any different from any other online shopping platform. You will be asked for information such as your name and email when signing up, and when you make a purchase, you will have to input sensitive information such as your mailing address and your payment details.

When it comes to information that Wish collects from users, the website has a privacy policy that specifically states it collects information automatically such as:

  • Your computer’s IP address
  • Your location (only with your permission)
  • Your browser when accessing the website
  • Traffic analysis data such as the amount of time you spend on a specific webpage or what buttons you click

For those who are especially sensitive about privacy and revealed information, one thing some users have pointed out is that your full name is linked to your profile’s wishlist. This means that not only can unaffiliated users see your wishlist, but they can also see the full name you gave to Wish when registering for an account. For those who prefer to be 100% anonymous on the Internet, we suggest creating a pseudonym for your Wish account before finalizing your account registration, or just using the built in features to set your wishlist to private.

One last thing to keep in mind when forming your opinion on Wish and its cybersecurity is that like any other company, no matter how big or small, cyber attacks are always a possibility. When making an account that includes sensitive information such as your contact information, physical address, and credit card information, be sure to keep up with the company’s updates and act accordingly if there’s ever a security breach in order to keep your personal information safe.

Why is Wish so Cheap?

The answer is simple: there is no middle man.

It’s clear that the majority of the companies and private sellers on Wish are from China. When ordering a specific product from these companies and sellers, more often than not, you’re receiving your order directly from the factory that made the product. Unlike brick-and-mortar stores, the company/seller doesn’t need to pay for extra costs such as shipping the item to a store, hiring store representatives, or advertising. Thus, the vendor is able to pass these savings on to the customer.

However, naturally, one of the downsides to this is a decrease in quality control. As you have no middleman, you also have nobody to check on the quality of the products produced. On top of this, many fashion items sold off Wish are off-brand knock-offs of more popular brands or designs, leading to strange size adjustments and below-average cloth quality.

The other downside is shipping times. Because the prices are so cheap and you are buying direct from a factory in China in most cases the shipping times are slow…think weeks rather than days. This can be annoying and inconvenient for first time Wish shoppers but regular shoppers know that this is normal and accept the slow shipping times come with the super low prices. You can get it fast or cheap, but not both!

What Do the Reviews Say About Wish?

You should always look at reviews before buying online from a new store. We mentioned Wish’s aggregate rating on Trustpilot already (4.2/5), but to help you get a more detailed sense of the raters feedback we’ve looked over hundreds of Wish reviews and compiled them into a straightforward list of pros and cons…

Pros of Wish.com

Super Cheap Prices

With careful vetting and research, online shoppers can access the cheapest prices anywhere for great products.

Amazing Deals on No-brand Electronics

Many reviewers were also very pleased with paying lower prices for no-brand electronics that still did the job just fine. While some reviewers admitted that the quality isn’t the best, it also wasn’t the worst.

Lots of Variety

Especially for the impulse-buyer or the habitual browser, Wish has a wide variety of goods available for sale. If you want to buy a specific item, Wish will have multiple versions of the item you’re looking for. However, keep in mind Wish’s algorithm: if you end up curiously clicking on a fishing rod, there’s no doubt a wave of related fishing products will flood your feed.

Cons of Wish.com

Long Shipping Wait

Considering the fact that a majority of companies and private sellers are based in China, the wait for your purchase can be a little long. Most reviewers suggest giving your purchase two to four weeks, which will seem rediculous compared to Amazon’s one/two-day shipping plans. But this is the trade-off for really low prices.

Size Adjustments

Especially when it came to clothing items, many reviewers had complaints about the sizes of purchased clothes. For some users, items were too small or items didn’t match the photos provided by the seller. While it’s hard to completely avoid these types of problems even with domestic US based clothing retailers, many users strongly recommend reading reviews of products and sellers to ensure the quality and size of your clothing purchase.

What Does Reddit Say About Wish?

For those who want additional opinions, we also looked over threads on Reddit, and here is a list of points that regularly came up:

  • Always check the reviews. Reviews are the first indicator of how legitimate a company/seller and their product is.
  • Products do arrive two to four weeks after shipping, so don’t purchase something you need immediately or urgently.
  • Don’t have high expectations quality-wise. Sometimes the items you get are of decent quality, but remember, you get what you pay for.
  • Clothes tend to run small. Many users suggest ordering two sizes larger to compensate for this.
  • In general, children’s clothing seems to be of more decent quality compared to clothing for women’s fashion, men’s fashion, etc.
  • Always double-check the price for shipping as it depends per company/seller.

Wish.com FAQs

Who owns Wish.com?

Wish is a privately owned company with a number of shareholders including the founders Piotr Szulczewski (CEO), James Prendergast (COO) and Danny Zhang (former CTO), as well as investors such as Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and the Chinese eCommerce behemoth JD.com.

How does Wish Work?

Wish is a marketplace for vendors to list and sell their products. Wish itself does not sell any products or handle any logistics, it is simply a platform which enables vendors to list products and accept payment. The shopping is all handled by the vendors, who are in most cases the manufacturers based in China.

Where is Wish located?

Wish is located in San Francisco, USA. Their main HQ is located at One Sansome Street, San Francisco, CA 94104.

How to contact Wish?

Wish has a customer support number 1-800-266-0172 and may also be contacted via their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/wish/) or Twitter account (https://twitter.com/WishShopping)

Where does Wish.com ship from?

Product purchased on Wish is shipped directly from the vendor, and in most cases this means directly from the factory in China. Their are vendors on the platform who ship from other places, but the majority of vendors are based in China.

How to sell on Wish.com

Selling on Wish is very easy. First you must create an account here: https://www.merchant.wish.com/open – Then you upload your product information and assign it to categories, select your desired payment gateway(s) and accept the terms and conditions. Once this is all done Wish will review your account and products. Once approved by Wish your products will be live on the site and available for purchase.

How much is Wish.com worth?

The company behind wish.com is privately held, but based on the last publicly announced round of funding the business was valued at $11.2 Billion US dollars.

Is Wish a Chinese company?

Wish itself is not a Chinese company. It is an American company based in San Francisco. But it is a marketplace and many (if not most) of the companies selling product on Wish are Chinese companies. This is why the products are so cheap and the delivery time frames are often quite long as the product is shipped directly from the factory in China.

Conclusion

Online shopping will continue to expand. Whether it’s new search features, different ways of hosting companies/sellers, or a shifting demographic, Wish is simply part of that expansion in online shopping. While there’s no telling how this company will change, or what new features it’ll roll out, Wish has certainly attracted the attention of not just online shoppers, but also the Internet.

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