Friday, April 28, 2017

My Aliexpress Account got Suspended!

It all started with this message I got from Aliexpress.  I tried to raise a dispute on an item I had not received.  I ordered the item back in January or February but it still had not arrived.  Most times, items take a long time to ship or they are not shipped at all.  It seems to be happening more and more these days.    

In past years, you could open a dispute knowing that your purchase was protected by the Aliexpress Seller Guarantee that said you would be refunded if the item you purchased wasn't received.  At first it was 30 days, now it is 60 days.

I think the problem I am encountering is that because the shipping is so slow, several months to be exact, I have had to open a number of disputes for non receipt of items.  Because after 60 days, you just don't know if you will ever get the stuff you ordered from Aliexpress.  

So now they have blocked me from making any further disputes, despite the seller guarantee that they offer.   I tried to contact Aliexpress support below but they were no help.  I contacted them twice to no avail.  Here's my recent chat log with them.

View Message History


Hello,I am a service consultant Invo_


Thank you for contacting AliExpress. My name is Invo. How may I help you?


hello, i contacted aliexpress support last week about inability to raise dispute. i was told it would be resolved by tuesday. it is now thursday and i am still not able to raise a dispute. please help.


I see.


May I know your name and order number please?


order number is xxxxxxxx.   name is me.


Thank you for the information you have provided me


May I know why do you want to open a dispute?


because i ordered this on feb 27 and it is now 60 days, and i still have not received the item.


I am sorry to hear that you still have not receive your order. Rest assured that I will help you with this. 


May I know if have you tried to contact the seller about this issue?


yes, initially he offered to refund, but i said i could wait but now i'm thinking it will be another two months will be too long, so i would like to get the refund.


unfortunately the system will not let me raise dispute and i don't know why


Thank you for confirming this to me.


I am sorry to know that you were unable to leave a feedback or open a dispute. Rest assured that I will help you with this.


May I know what was the error when you tried to open a dispute?


some message about my account is disabled


but i don't know why


Can I have a screenshot of this error messages please?



what is the security concern regarding my account?


Thank you for the screenshot.


Please be informed that your account was still enable in our system, however our system disabled this action since many of our buyers do open a dispute and abusing the protection of Aliexpress.


However this concern is common since you are not the only affected many buyers in Aliexpress was affected to so don't worry.


so i need to legitimately raise dispute for items that are not received and taking over 60 days, how can i do it?


To fix this may I know your email address please?


 my email address is


Thank you very much.


Sorry for the inconvenience, I just checked our system and there's no existing report in our system.


In this case  I will send a reactivation request for your account to be enabled again, would that be great for you?


thats what the last person said but nothing happened.


Exactly since there's no report, don't worry rest assured that I will talk to that agent for you.


Do not worry, I have already submitted a request to our system to activate your account in the site.


Kindly wait for our Higher Department to follow up to you within 48 hours through email for the confirmation. 


please reactivate my dispute function, i will take screen shot of this conversation in case this issue is not resolved in 48 hours.


Yes of course, you have the rights for this and don't worry I already sent it for you.


Our system says: 


is there a way i can check the status of my account?   how can i check it?


Yes you can only check it by trying to open a dispute, however it will be done after 2 working days.


but by then my orders will have already passed the dispute period, and i have not received those items.


so what can you do to help me with this problem?


Oh don't worry about that because once the protection time is over, Aliexpress will be given you an extra 15 days of protection time, meaning you still have lots time to open a dispute.


can you not raise the dispute on my behalf?


Oh I am sorry but it was impossible since we need to open a dispute using your account.


Don't worry because I already did what's best for you.


if my account issue is not resolved in 48 hours, how can i escalate this issue?  do you have a supervisor for me to deal with?


Oh take note it was 48 business hours.


Meaning Saturdays and Sundays are not included.


Yes of course we have


please advise what the procedure will be, should this issue not be resolved to my satisfaction?


i need to know how to proceed if i don't get any results in the next few days.




Please don't worry because I never had an issue that was not resolved, also I already provided your information to our higher department once it was done you will be able to open a dispute again.


Because I never encountered a issue that was not solved by requesting to our higher department.


what is the higher department?  you must understand i dont want to keep doing this.


can you tell me what the higher department is and what it does?


and how they can resolve my problem?


Higher department is the one who approves the request from lower department.


We are only from lower department.


Yes because they have the power to enable or disabled, also we are requesting to higher department for the refund as well.


So it means they are the one who handle this issue and our job is to forward the issue, also take note that I sent it urgently for you, because I know how important this for you.

I am sorry to know that, but I hope you understand that I already did my part and my best for you, I hope you can appreciate it as well since, I am only from lower department.


Also please don't worry because this chat has been documented already.


The reference number is the order number you provided which is : xxxxxxxxx

The following morning, I received the following email from Aliexpress ...

Dear custom:

AliExpress is committed to the principle of good faith and the protection of the interests of both buyers and suppliers. To maintain a safe and fair trading environment, our duties and responsibilities require the investigation into areas of clear dishonest trading activities, such as consumer fraud and counterfeiting operating to the detriment of consumers and reputable traders.

After we review your account activity in the Aliexpress Buyer Protection program, we regret to inform you that your account has been suspended considered to be at high risk of Abusing the Buyer Protection Programs. This is because your associated accounts were found continue to violate the Buyer Protection Program rules.

We do not allow:
·         Claiming that an item is ‘not as described’ when the item condition is consistent with the description in the listing.
·         Claiming an item hasn't been received when it has arrived. 
·         Opening a case when you have already received a refund from the seller or reimbursement from your payment provider.

·         Opening a case against a seller to retaliate following previous disputes.
·         Threatening to open a case against a seller in order to get a discount or additional goods and services, when the item arrived in the described condition.
·         A pattern of excessively opening Buyer Protection cases.

If you have any concerns or questions, you may go to the Customer Service and Connect to our agent.

Best Regards, Online Trade Security Department

Once you have received this notification, you are in a no win situation with Aliexpress as there is no apparent re-instatement of your account.  Customer Service will not be able to help you either.

In fact, it seems to be happening to a lot of people who open a dispute and then have their account disabled.  You can see more evidence of this here:

For now, it seems I can still buy items off Aliexpress but just can't dispute anything anymore.  So be very careful when opening disputes on Aliexpress, or you will have your account suspended like mine was.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Bela 10372 Bootleg Lego Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper Building Set Review

It's time for another bootleg brick set review here at Its-Not-Lego.  This one is the Bela brand Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper which is a knock-off of the Lego set 75081.  Recently, another bootleg brand called Lele has also cloned the T-16 Skyhopper with it's own set 79216.  Instead of the Bela Space Fights series, Lele calls it's series Star Wart, hahaha.

The set consists of 246 brick pieces and two minifigures, a Skyhopper pilot (not sure if it's supposed to be Luke Skywalker) and a Tusken Raider.  You also get a rat accessory which is supposed to be a womprat.

The Bela set came with six bags of parts, one instruction booklet and a sticker sheet.

Here's a look at the two minifigs.  The Skyhopper pilot has a two sided head, the other face doesn't have a visor on it.  I don't know why, but the Tusken raider looks more goofy then threatening.

Here's the base of the Skyhopper.

Building the giant wing.

Test fitting the wing onto the base of the skyhopper.

I was disappointed that there's not much of an engine on the back.  I wonder if I should make up some kind of engine in the near future?

Adding the flaps over the cockpit.

Front gun attached.

Wings added with spring loaded shooters.

The skyhopper pilot inside the cockpit.

When you lift up the flap you can access the cockpit and the storage box in the rear of the vehicle.

Front view of the T-16 Skyhopper.

Rear view of the Skyhopper.

Last thoughts:  The Bela bootleg of the T-16 Skyhopper is an exact copy of the Lego version.  Brick clutch was excellent but the glass panels were scratched.  Normally this is more of an issue with Lepin sets than Bela.  The minifigs had good printing but I don't know if I like the Tusken raider figure that much.   Of the 246 pieces, I didn't encounter any missing or deformed bricks, but I didn't get any extra pieces either.  The spring loaded shooters were good and didn't fire off by themselves.

As far as the design of the ship, I wish it had a bigger engine and it's hard to hold onto making it less swooshable.  Now that the Lego T-16 Skyhopper set is retired,  it sells for about $45-50 USD on Amazon.  The Bela bootleg sells for about $17 USD on Aliexpress, but I got mine on sale for about $10 USD.   Thanks for looking!

Brand:  Bela
Model: 10372 Star Wars T-16 Skyhopper
Number of pieces: 246
Minifigs: 2

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Lepin 15001 Fake Lego Brick Bank Modular Building Set Review - Part Two

Welcome back to!   In this post I will finish reviewing the Lepin Brick Bank modular building set.  In case you missed the first part of this review, you can find it here.

In my previous post, I finished building the first floor of the bank and laundromat.  I modified my set by exchanging most of the sand blue bricks with white bricks.  Now we will start working on the second floor of this establishment.   

The second floor basically has three sections;  the staircase leading up to the banking assistant's desk, the bank manager's office and the atrium of the banking center.

The exterior walls of the second floor were white, so I didn't have to do any more brick substitutions.
Pictured above is the second level ventilation shaft which sits between the assistant's area and the bank manager office.

The windows go in for the manager's office.

The manager's office with all the furnishings put in place.  The manager's office has floor to ceiling windows that look out onto the bank mezzanine.  

Here's an overhead shot of the manager's office.  He has a large desk, a table lamp and office chair.  He's also got a small cabinet with an owl statue on it and a guest chair.

I was thinking about changing the green wall to white but then figured the office needed some contrast so i left it as is.

Hmm,  what kind of bank fees can I charge today?

The office assistant's area is pictured above.  She has a desk with a lamp and computer on it.  I'm not sure what the machine is supposed to be in the corner.

The second floor of the Brick Bank's exterior is almost complete.

Here's some views of the second floor as I rotate it 90 degrees each time.

You can see that there's another staircase, this one goes to the roof.

This view shows the open area above with lots of windows.

Last look at the interior of the second floor.

The corner clock is installed. I really like the design.   The police woman doesn't come with the set.  She's just doing her rounds.

The support beams for the roof are in place.  I encountered a missing white brick piece that I had to substitute with my own piece.

This is the giant chandelier that hangs over the bank branch.

I was trying to figure out how to take better pics of the chandelier, so I quickly rigged up these temporary supports to hold up the roof.  I should point out that the Lepin crystals kept falling off the chandelier, so I poked each of the chandelier arms into a glue stick and then re-attached each crystal to secure them.

Look up, look way up.

Continuation of the  brick bank roof.  

Roof opening for the skylight.

Here is the completed roof of the Brick Bank.

I also was short one pulley piece and I don't have any extras of this unique part.  I had just enough to complete the roof detailing but not enough for the winch.  At some point in the future, I will probably modify the roof to remove the winch altogether.

The completed Lepin Brick Bank.  Too bad there's no signage to identify the bank over the front entrance.

Here's the other side with the Laundromat entrance.  The third missing piece I discovered was the 2x3 arch brick that is supposed to be displayed as a laundry machine above the front door.  I made due with just a regular 1x3 brick instead.  

Instead of using the pair of blue pants above the awning, I substituted a red top instead.

The Lepin Brick bank is now the seventh bootleg modular building to be added to It's Not Lego town.  I enjoyed creating the bank.  Luckily the three missing brick pieces didn't hinder the experience too much.   Thanks for looking!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Lepin 15001 Bootleg Lego Brick Bank Modular Building Set Review - Part One

Hi all, I'm back with another alternate Lego set review.  Today I'll look at the Lepin 15001 Brick Bank modular building set.  Unlike my other Lepin modular sets, this set was missing a number of key pieces, so I had to improvise the construction to complete the build.  I also made some of my own modifications to this set and I'll point these out later in this review.

The Lepin Brick Bank has 2413 pieces according to the information provided on Aliexpress.  I always wonder how accurate these numbers are given that the findings of more or less parts by others who have previously built the Brick Bank modular.  I got the thicker base plate with this set and luckily the base didn't warp too much.

I'm pretty happy with the minifigs that come with this set.  

You can see that formation of the brick bank and attached laundromat above.  Got a big stack of cash against the back wall.  I like the design of the bank lobby floor.

I started to build up the walls with the sand blue bricks that came with the set.  And then I thought, hey this is a really unique brick colour that I don't have and it seems kind of wasted that they are on the sides of the building that most will never see.

So just as I had completed the exterior wall, I stopped and reviewed the instruction manual to see where all the sand blue bricks were used.  I then determined where I could sub in a different colour without affecting the overall outward appearance of the Bank.

Since white bricks are pretty common, I swapped out the sand blue walls and replaced them with the white bricks that you see above.  Yeah it does look a bit plainer, so that is the tradeoff.

Here's some another view of the first floor with the white walls.

The gray brick pillars go up as do the windows and doors.  My bank windows were pretty scuffed up so not too happy about that.  The sand blue window and door frames of the laundromat are a nice touch.  The columns are clad in bevelled pieces but these differ greatly from the the pieces you get on the original Lego Brick Bank set.   These ones all have dimples on them and I hate them, they look so shitty.  I would surely replace them, if I can find the correct pieces.

More progress on the first floor interior.  The bank teller window is in and the bank vault gets the grated ceiling that lifts up for easy access.

The original Brick Bank laundromat design uses two window frame parts as the laundry table.  I always try to save window parts for future mocs and mods, so I just used subbed in some regular 1x2 bricks.

Here's another look at the crappy tiles I was talking about earlier.  Yuuck!

Here's the closeup view of the detailing above the Bank entrance.  Interesting use of wings and wolverine claws here.

Building up the bricks above the windows.  Nice use of the transparent bricks to simulate stained glass.

I was having trouble finding all the parts necessary to putting the vault door in place, so I skipped it.  At this point I was wondering if I had some missing pieces or not.

Here's a look inside the bank vault.  The safety deposit box/washing machines unit put in place.

I found all the parts for the bank vault door!   Luckily the stairs fold up so it was pretty easy to access the vault to install the door.

This is the view of the first floor of the Brick Bank with a better view of the Laundromat.

Here's the laundromat entrance.  The laundromat window glass pane is printed, just like the bank windows.  I was happy that it wasn't too scratched.

Another progress shot of the first floor.

Window arches installed.

Peering into the laundromat.

The vault door will really lock, if you turn the handle on the door.

This is how the ventilation shaft looks like.  The bank robber minifig would lower himself into the shaft to gain entry to the bank vault.   So, the original Brick Bank design only features a one storey wall between the bank and laundromat.  This would make it really easy for any robbers to get access to the bank, just by scaling the wall from the laundromat side.  

I decided to rectify this problem by building up the wall to two storeys.

Now the robbers really have to work at gaining access.

The ventilation shaft is easily removable, just in case your minifig gets stuck inside.

In fact, you can pull out the washing machine unit.  The wall above the laundromat entrance is the only place where the sand blue bricks were preserved.

Here's what the bank, washing machine unit looks like.

There are different holes in the washing machines that let you deposit coins and gems into the bank's safety deposit boxes.

I pulled out the side wall to give you a better view of the laundromat.

Here's a last look at the exterior of the Brick bank with first floor completed.

The bank's exterior wall.

One last look at the laundromat from above.

This ends part one of the Lepin Brick Bank review.  I'll look at the second floor of the bank in greater detail on part two of this blog post coming soon.

Thanks for taking the time to look at the pics!