Is Shein Legit And Safe? Read This Before You Buy

Is Shein Legit

Over the years, Shein has become the go-to online retailer for fashionable and affordable clothing.

But is Shein legit and safe to shop from? What can you buy there and is Shein an ethical company?

Shopping from Chinese stores like Shein comes with its own set of challenges, including delays in shipping, subpar customer support, and sometimes poor quality items.

In this Shein review, I’ll break down everything you need to know about Shein and help you know if the deals are really as great as they seem.

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What Is Shein?

Shein is one of the largest fast fashion retailers in the world that sells trendy, affordable clothing to customers in over 200 countries.

They are known for their ability to replicate high-fashion looks at a fraction of the cost. If you spot a celebrity in a stylish outfit, chances are Shein has a cheaper version.

Shein was founded in 2008 as SheInside by Chris Xu and initially sold only women’s clothing. They started as a reseller and sourced their garments direct from Guangzhou’s wholesale market.

By 2012, Shein expanded their catalog to include other product categories and established their own supply chain to manufacture their goods themselves.

Then in May 2023, Shein launched the SHEIN Marketplace for 3rd party sellers from the US, Brazil, Mexico, and China to sell products on their platform.

Shein’s marketing strategy heavily relies on social media, using Instagram videos and partnerships with influencers on TikTok and YouTube.

Is Shein Legit?

Shein homepage

Yes, Shein is a legitimate online retail company that offers a wide range of fashion and lifestyle products at affordable prices. It operates globally, providing consumers with access to thousands of items, from clothing and accessories to home goods.

Shein’s website attracts over 200 million monthly website visits and the company has over 10,000 employees, mainly in China. In 2022, Shein’s revenue reached $24 billion, which is equivalent to established retailers like Zara and H&M.

As of 2024, Shein is valued at $45 billion and plans to file for a US IPO within the year.

Shein’s customer ratings stand strong at 4/5 on Trustpilot and 4.6/5 on the Apple App Store, which indicates a reliable shopping experience.

However, Shein has only a 1.8/5 rating on Sitejabber. If you look at their customer reviews, you’ll notice a significant number of complaints about unhelpful customer service.

To minimize potential issues, check product reviews before you buy any product.

Is Buying From Shein Safe?

Scrabble blocks spelling SAFE

Yes, Shein is generally considered safe for online shopping in terms of providing secure payment options and maintaining the privacy of customer information.

However, Shein has had mixed reviews in terms of product quality, unethical business practices, and customer service.

While Shein is a safe place to shop, some users have raised concerns about the quality of their products, sizing issues, long shipping times, and the company’s environmental and ethical practices.

Shein’s customer service is also unhelpful and makes it difficult for customers to make a return or an exchange.

Why Is Shein So Cheap?

A hand removing dollar bills from a brown wallet

Shein’s prices are low because they manufacture their products in China, where labor costs are less than in countries like the US and the UK.

In addition, Shein sells their products directly to customers and doesn’t have physical stores, which keeps their operational costs low.

Moreover, Shein uses influencer marketing, which is a cheaper form of marketing compared to social media ads, celebrity endorsements, and commercials, and it often leads to more profitable results.

Is Shein Good Quality?

Shein customer reviews on a product page

The quality of Shein’s products can vary significantly. As a fast-fashion brand, Shein offers items at very affordable prices and low prices come with tradeoffs in terms of product quality.

You’ll see many customers complain about how clothes from Shein may fade, lose shape, or show wear after a few uses.

Overall, customer reviews on Shein’s product quality are mixed. Some customers find the quality acceptable or even surprisingly good considering the low price, while others report issues with fit, material quality, or durability.

To achieve low prices, some products are made with cheaper materials and a lower level of craftsmanship than name brand items.

Why Is Shein Considered A Bad Company?

a 3D question mark graphic leaning against a wall

Shein has a bad reputation because it has been accused of breaking labor laws, harming the environment, and compromising data security.

A 2021 investigation by Public Eye revealed that workers at six Shein suppliers in Guangzhou worked 75 hours a week, breaking Chinese labor laws.

On top of that, Bloomberg News in November 2022 found that Shein’s products used cotton from Xinjiang, a region linked to the Uyghur genocide, which raised serious ethical concerns.

These issues initially blocked Shein’s entry into the US market, with lawmakers urging the SEC to pause Shein’s IPO until the company could prove its products were free from forced labor.

Another controversial issue raised about Shein is how their ultra-fast fashion model impacts our environment. In 2023, Time magazine reported that Shein’s operations emitted more than 6.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.

Moreover, a data breach in 2018 leaked the email addresses, credit card information, and encrypted passwords of 39 million users. Shein initially underplayed this breach, which later resulted in a $1.9 million fine in 2022.

Many users also accuse Shein of stealing information and sending it to China. There is no evidence of that. However, Shein does track your device, location, and browsing activity.

You can find more details about Shein’s data collection and privacy in their privacy policy.

Another serious Shein controversy, which I feel we all should be more concerned about, is that CBC Marketplace found children’s jackets from Shein with lead levels 20 times over Canada’s health safety limits.

As a result, you should take caution when purchasing any clothing for kids from Shein.

Does Shein Use Child Labor?

A wooden gavel on a white marble backdrop

Shein has publicly stated its commitment to ethical practices, including not using child labor.

The company also claims to adhere to local and international labor laws and standards, conducting audits and requiring suppliers to sign a code of conduct that prohibits child and forced labor.

However, critics have questioned these claims because of the lack of transparency with their supply chain. It’s extremely difficult to monitor and enforce labor standards across different suppliers and subcontractors and no one really knows the full story.

What Are The Best Products To Buy On Shein?

Shein categories

The best products to buy on Shein are trendy women’s and men’s clothing, pet accessories, electronic accessories, stationery, and event supplies. These items are usually light in weight and less likely to face issues like defects or damage during shipping.

These include:

  • Clothing: You may face some sizing issues, but Shein has one of the most fashionable and affordable clothing online, adding almost 1000 trendy and cheap clothing items every day.
  • Stationery: Items such as journals, stickers, pens, tape, and notebooks are generally reliable purchases with low weight, which makes them easy to ship.
  • Electronic accessories: Go for simple gadgets like phone cases, iPad covers, and phone holders, as they are often of reasonable quality and functionality.
  • Pet accessories: Shein offers various pet products, from toys to outfits, that generally receive positive reviews for their quality and value.
  • Event and party supplies: You can find a wide selection of home decor items, such as artificial vines, satin ribbons, and greeting cards, perfect for personalizing your events.
  • Storage and organization: For home organization, small items like makeup storage solutions, hat racks, drawer organizers, and hangers are good buys.

Avoid jewelry, cosmetics, kids’ clothing, and electronics because the quality and safety standards may vary from your local standards.

How Shein Works For Buyers

Shein offers products in various categories like clothing, pets, toys, appliances, automotive, and office supplies at unbeatable prices.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to shopping on Shein:

Open An Account

Shein account registration

Shein doesn’t allow guest checkout in most countries, so you’ll need to create an account.

Here’s how to sign up:

  • Visit the Shein homepage.
  • Click the user icon at the top right.
  • Select “Sign In/Register” from the dropdown.
  • Enter your details like mobile number or email, password, and style preference, or sign up using Google or Facebook.
  • After registration, click the activation link sent via email to activate your account.

Shop On Shein

Shein shoes catalog

Shopping on Shein is as simple as adding items to the cart and checking out by providing your shipping details and credit card information.

Shein offers a loyalty program, SHEIN VIP, with four levels: S0 for registered members and S1 to S3 for buyers, based on purchase history.

Each level offers perks like event access, special promotions, fashion news, and reward points.

Except for S1, each tier remains valid for 12 months from the date you qualify for that tier. After the 12-month period, you need to validate your identity every month to maintain your VIP status.

Shein Shipping

Delivery van

Shein delivers orders in seven to ten days, depending on your country and shipping method.

Shein also provides estimated delivery times on product pages and during checkout.

For example, there are two shipping methods for US-based customers:

  • Standard shipping: It costs $3.99 per order and is free for orders above $29. 75% of orders with standard shipping arrive in less than 10 days.
  • Express shipping: It costs $12.90 per order and is free for orders above $129. 80% of orders with express shipping are delivered in less than 7 days.

Most items ship from China, but products with a “Quickship” tag come from US warehouses.

Shein also has an “On-Time Delivery Guarantee” program, which offers 500 Shein points if your order doesn’t arrive by the expected date.

For US customers, this service is free of charge, while in some countries like Singapore, customers need to pay $1.32 on orders to avail of this offer.

To be eligible for this program, check the “On-Time Delivery Guarantee” box at checkout and enter a valid delivery address.

What Is Shein’s Return Policy?

Delivery man in a brown uniform delivering packages

Shein allows US-based customers to return items for a refund within 35 days of delivery.

But this policy excludes:

  • Accessories (except scarves, bags, and mermaid blankets)
  • Bodysuits
  • Cosmetics
  • Customized products
  • Free gifts
  • Jewelry
  • Lingerie
  • Party supplies
  • Pet products

To return an item to Shein, follow these steps:

  • Log into your Shein account.
  • Go to “My Orders,” find the relevant order, and click “Order Details.”
  • Select “Return Item,” choose what you’re returning, explain why, and move to the next step.”
  • Pick your preferred “Refund Method.”
  • Choose your “Return Method.” You can return either by USPS or UPS if you’re in the US.
  • Drop off your return package at the nearest USPS or UPS location.

Shein offers free return shipping on the first return package per order. Any additional returns from the same order incur a $7.99 shipping fee, which will be deducted from your refund.

Once Shein receives and processes your return, expect your refund within seven business days.

However, if you receive a damaged item, you’ll need to report it to Shein customer service within 24 hours. They may require additional information or instruct you to return the item.

For lower-value items, Shein often issues a direct refund. For electronics or higher-value items, Shein may arrange a return to inspect the product before refunding.

What Payment Methods Does Shein Accept?

Payment options

Shein accepts payments from major credit cards and other prominent providers like Klarna and PayPal.

Here’s the list of international payment methods available for your Shein orders:

  • Affirm
  • AfterPay
  • American Express
  • Cash App Pay
  • Diners Club
  • Discover
  • Klarna
  • Maestro
  • Mastercard
  • PayPal
  • Visa
  • Venmo
  • ZiP

Tips For Buying From Shein

Shopping on Shein can be a hit or miss, so focus on reviews with photos, use measurements instead of size labels, choose trendy items over basics, and avoid cosmetics and electronics.

Check Photo Reviews

Shein customer ratings on a women's product

Reviews with photos are invaluable on Shein. They give you a real-life glimpse of the product, helping you gauge if it matches the description and looks good in person.

But beware of generic reviews that are posted to earn “Shein points.”

Measurements Over Size

Shein product size

Shein’s sizing can often differ significantly from what you might expect.

This inconsistency is partly because Shein’s sizing tends to mirror Chinese standards, which may not match the sizing conventions in your country.

Measurements are more reliable, so compare your own with those listed on the product page to ensure a better fit.

Avoid Certain Categories

Shein makeup products

The quality and safety of items from cosmetics, electronics, and jewelry categories may not meet your local standards.

If you buy cosmetics, conduct a patch test first to avoid any adverse reactions.

Choose Trendy Over Basics

Shein women partywear items

Shein excels at offering fashionable, trendy items at low prices.

These pieces can’t withstand frequent washing or daily wear, so invest in high-quality basics elsewhere.

What Is Shein Marketplace?

Shein Marketplace homepage

Shein launched Shein Marketplace in 2023 to allow sellers to list their products on Shein’s platform. But as of 2024, it’s only open to those based in the US, Brazil, Mexico, and China.

Sellers can sell in the following product categories:

  • Automotive
  • Baby Essentials
  • Beauty & Personal Care
  • Clothing & Fashion
  • Electronics & Tech Accessories
  • Handbags & Accessories
  • Home & Kitchen
  • Household Appliances
  • Jewelry, Watches & Accessories
  • Luggage & Travel
  • Office & School Supplies
  • Pet Supplies
  • Shoes
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Tools & Home Improvement
  • Toys & Games

The referral fee is 10% across all categories, but there’s a promotional period where it’s free for the first 3 months.

During this initial phase, Shein also covers return and shipping fees. After the first 3 months, you need to cover customer return fees.

To attract more sellers, Shein is also not charging any platform fees and provides the following features for free:

  • Inventory Management
  • Order Management
  • Analytics
  • Billing & Payments
  • Customer Service
  • Seller Education Hub

Shein Marketplace has the following seller requirements:

  • You must make a minimum of $2 million in annual revenue
  • You must operate domestically in a supported country
  • You must ship direct to customers from your own warehouse

You’ll also need to provide business details like a Certificate of Incorporation and a Trademark Registration Certificate.

Shein Pros

Doba pros

Buying from Shein comes with many benefits:

  • Cheap pricing: Shein’s products are priced competitively, with most products priced below $20. If you’re a seller, Shein’s affordable pricing allows for potentially high markups and profits.
  • Large collection: Shein has over 600,000 products across 21 major categories, and around 100 new items added daily.
  • Easy to shop: The Shein website is designed with intuitive filters and search functionalities, which simplify the shopping process.
  • Free shipping: Shein offers free shipping for orders above $29.
  • Free return shipping: The first return package from any order comes with free shipping.

Shein Cons

Here’s a list of potential downsides to consider before purchasing from Shein.

  • Customer service: Shein’s customer support is often criticized for being slow and sometimes unhelpful.
  • Refund delays: Shein initiates a refund only after they receive the return order, which could take from a week to a month, plus an additional 7 to 12 days for processing.
  • Sizing issues: Sizing can be inconsistent, with some products offering limited size options that generally don’t align with standard sizes in your country.
  • Quality concerns: Shein products wear and tear easily. That’s why you should opt for trendy items over everyday basics in categories like clothing.
  • Damaged items: If you receive a damaged product, you only have 24 hours to report it to Shein customer service for a refund or exchange.

How Are Shein’s Online Reviews?

Shein has a review rating of 4 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot but struggles with a lower rating of 1.8 out of 5 stars on Sitejabber. In addition, Shein has not received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and currently holds an F rating.

The main areas of concern for customers include poor customer support, missing packages, and products with unpleasant odors.

Below, you’ll find the most common complaints about Shein and tips to avoid these problems:

Shein Review #1: Poor Customer Service

Shein's Trustpilot review about customer service

If you look at customer reviews, most complaints are about their customer service being non-existent.

Without a phone number listed on their site, your only recourse is to reach out via email. Although Shein has a 24/7 live chat feature, the responses are often automated, and there’s no human support agent to help you out.

Shein quickly responds to negative reviews on TrustPilot, but their replies are often generic and direct you to their live chat for any resolution.

That’s why I’d recommend to avoid placing orders for high-value items. Go for more affordable items instead and buy with the expectation that you won’t be able to return or exchange any goods.

Shein Review #2: Missing Packages

Shein Trustpilot review about delivery service

Some customers have complained about not receiving orders. When asked for a refund, Shein points to delivery confirmations and suggests resolving the issue with the courier service.

Depending on your country, they partner with various couriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, China Post, Aramex, DHL, and Fetchr.

After the order is dispatched, there’s not much Shein can do. They can’t protect against porch pirates, which is a growing problem for many online shoppers.

Unfortunately, unlike Amazon, which provides Hub Lockers for secure package pickup, Shein does not have a similar service.

Shein Review #3: Smelly Products

Shein Trustpilot review about smelly products

Some customers have complained of a chemical odor from products.

This smell often comes from the shipping process, the materials of the shipping container, or the use of cheap synthetic materials in the product itself.

As a solution, avoid placing orders for cosmetics, kids’ products, and cheap jewelry from Shein, which can cause skin reactions.

If you receive clothes with a persistent chemical scent, try washing them with detergent and airing them out in a well-ventilated area.

If that still doesn’t remove the smell, you can try soaking the garment in a mixture of water and white vinegar before another wash.

Are Shein And Temu The Same?

Shein vs Temu

Shein and Temu are not the same company. Both are large online retailers from China that offer items at very low prices.

Shein specializes in fashionable clothing and accessories, and caters to consumers who follow the latest trends.

Temu, on the other hand, offers a broader selection of everyday items, not focusing solely on fashion.

In fact, Shein sued Temu in October 2022 for allegedly hiring social media influencers to make “false and deceptive statements” about Shein.

Then Temu accused Shein of “mafia-style intimidation of suppliers.” Temu claimed Shein was calling in suppliers it thought were working with Temu, holding them for hours, taking their phones, and threatening them if they did business with Temu.

The two companies, both started in China, have clashed legally many times as they both try to win over shoppers in America.

Shein Alternatives

If Shein doesn’t match what you’re looking for and you want clothes that are both stylish and affordable, here are some other alternatives to consider:


Zara homepage

Zara is one of the world’s leading fashion retailers, which offers stylish, high-quality clothing at reasonable prices.

Unlike Shein, Zara has many brick-and-mortar stores around the world where you can try things on before buying them.


Homepage of

Temu offers a huge range of everyday items across 29 categories and 250 subcategories.

The main difference between Temu and Shein is that Temu is a marketplace that lists products from other Chinese sellers and doesn’t manufacture goods themselves..

You can read my complete review on Temu, where I discuss the pros and cons of shopping there. I also talk about whether Temu is a scam or a safe online shopping platform.


H&M homepage

H&M caters to a wide audience with its fashionable, economically priced collections for women, men, and children. Compared to Shein, H&M’s clothes are more classic and timeless.

H&M also has taken steps to reduce its environmental impact by making products that contain 24% recycled materials and 84% sustainably sourced materials.

Should You Buy From Shein?

Shein homepage

Shopping from Shein is a smart choice if you’re after trendy, affordable items and don’t mind long shipping times.

But make sure you buy low-cost goods only. There have been issues reported with delayed refunds for items costing over $500.

If you are looking for products to sell on your online store, you can read my review on how to be a Shein reseller, where I explain how to find a niche and select winning products to succeed.

If you want to expand your supplier base or include products other than clothing in your inventory, search for wholesale suppliers that exclusively work with businesses.

This way, you won’t be competing with your suppliers, and it can also help you discover specialized items that are less commonly found in online stores.

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About Steve Chou

Steve Chou is a highly recognized influencer in the ecommerce space and has taught thousands of students how to effectively sell physical products online over at

His blog,, has been featured in Forbes, Inc, The New York Times,  Entrepreneur and MSNBC.  

He's also a contributing author for BigCommerce, Klaviyo, ManyChat, Printful, Privy, CXL, Ecommerce Fuel, GlockApps, Privy, Social Media Examiner, Web Designer Depot, Sumo and other leading business publications.

In addition, he runs a popular ecommerce podcast, My Wife Quit Her Job, which is a top 25 marketing show on all of Apple Podcasts

To stay up to date with all of the latest ecommerce trends, Steve runs a 7 figure ecommerce store,, with his wife and puts on an annual ecommerce conference called The Sellers Summit.  

Steve carries both a bachelors and a masters degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University. Despite majoring in electrical engineering, he spent a good portion of his graduate education studying entrepreneurship and the mechanics of running small businesses.