What To Do If You Get a Fake China Post Tracking Number?

The first thing to do is directly contact the seller and bring up your concerns – let them know the tracking number they provided isn’t working or is showing suspicious updates. Politely ask them to look into the matter and provide you with a correct China Post tracking number.

Most sellers will cooperate and give you a working tracking number if you reach out to them directly. However, if the seller starts making excuses or ignores your messages, it’s usually a red flag that indicates something fishy is going on.

Check If The Tracking Number Is in The Right Format

Tracking numbers issued by China Post are usually 13-digits long and start with letters like EA, EB, EC, EE, RA, RB, RC etc. They also end with “CN”.

So verify that the tracking number format is correct. If it’s unusually short or doesn’t start and end with the right letters, then it’s surely invalid or fake.

Track on Multiple Sites

Don’t just rely on the China Post website to track your parcel. Cross-verify the tracking updates on sites like 17Track, ParcelsApp and Postal Ninja.

If the tracking number shows no record on multiple tracking platforms, then it’s likely fake. But if it’s working on some sites while not on others, then tracking issues could be due to technical glitches.

Check Delivery Timelines

China Post tracking will show realistic transit timelines based on parcel type – Air mail, ePacket, EMS etc. The tracking updates will seem suspicious if the parcel has unusually fast or delayed transit time.

For example, a parcel sent by regular China Post mail from Beijing to New York can take 15-25 days in transit. If the tracking shows it reached New York in 2 days, it indicates fake updates.

Contact Your Local Postal Service

Your local postal service like USPS might be able to look up the status of international parcels headed to your address.

So you can contact USPS and give them the tracking number to verify if they have any delivery information for your parcel within their system.

File a Dispute on the Sales Platform

If reaching out to the seller doesn’t help, the next step is filing an official dispute on the website you ordered from.

Platforms like AliExpress and Ebay allow buyers to open disputes within a certain time frame after the estimated delivery date.

Explain your issue and provide evidence like the invalid tracking number, screenshot of the “no record found” error on China Post tracking page etc. This will put pressure on the seller to either provide a real tracking number or issue a refund.

Be Wary of New Tracking Numbers From Seller

Sometimes when you file a dispute, the seller will suddenly provide a new China Post tracking number showing the parcel is already on the way.

While it’s possible the seller mistakenly gave the wrong tracking number before, be wary of any new tracking numbers, especially if the parcel is now magically shown as moving or delivered. Verify the new tracking number carefully as described in the steps above.

Issue a Chargeback on Your Credit Card

If the dispute process with the online platform doesn’t work out, the last resort is contacting your bank or credit card company.

Report the issue and request to chargeback the payment. Provide details like the incorrect tracking number, lack of delivery etc. This will start a chargeback investigation and you will get your money back if your bank finds the seller guilty of fraud.

Be Patient With Delivery Time

While an invalid tracking number usually means something is wrong, also factor in delays around the holiday season or due to COVID-19 restrictions.

International deliveries can understandably take longer than expected. So give it some time before taking action against the seller. But if it’s been over a month with no delivery, then it’s likely your parcel is lost or was never shipped.

Tips to Avoid Fake Tracking Numbers

  • Buy from reputable sellers with lots of positive reviews. Established sellers rarely engage in such dubious practices.
  • Avoid new sellers with no feedback rating. New sellers are more likely to provide fake tracking to buy time.
  • Check seller rating – Avoid sellers with lots of negative feedback mentioning issues like fake tracking numbers, non-delivery etc.
  • Don’t fall for too good to be true deals – Extremely cheap prices often come with caveats like fake tracking numbers.
  • Pay via secure methods like PayPal which offer buyer protection. Avoid risky payment options.
  • Purchase shipping insurance if the seller offers it. This gives you more recourse in case the parcel gets lost or tracking number is invalid.
  • Take unresolved issues seriously – Reach out to seller at first sign something seems off with the tracking number.
  • Document everything – Keep records of all communications with seller and screenshots as evidence.

Final Thoughts

To sum up, here are some of the key things to remember:

  • Invalid tracking numbers are common when ordering from Chinese online stores
  • Contact seller first if tracking number doesn’t work or shows suspicious updates
  • Verify tracking number format – check if it’s the right length and ends in “CN
  • Cross-check tracking on multiple sites like 17Track, not just China Post
  • Compare delivery timelines to expected transit times for China Post
  • Reach out to your local postal service to check if they have received the parcel
  • Open dispute on the sales platform if seller is uncooperative
  • Be wary of sudden new tracking numbers from seller after dispute
  • Request chargeback from your credit card provider as last resort
  • Have patience with delivery around holidays and COVID delays
  • Pick established sellers and avoid too good to be true deals
  • Keep detailed records as evidence if you need to file dispute

Following these tips will help ensure you either get your real China Post tracking number or can get your money back in case of issues with dishonest sellers. With the right approach, you can minimize frustration and still continue safely buying products from China online!

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