Well apparently the refund is being processed, still no answer about return shipping though after asking repeatedly so it looks like GPD lie just as much as other stores. AliExpress deal with the refund so AFAIK it will just be for the initial cost of the console.
Pretty pissed off as if I had known it would cost me money to return I would have just kept it. I've had GPD consoles before and have always recommended them to people, not doing that any more.
I understand that you are pissed off, I would be pissed too if I were you.
But let me ask you one question. You said you buy it from the AliExpress store. Which one?
I mean you can buy the GPD products in many different stores in AliEpress website, including two official GPD stores.
Concerning your return fees, it is sad but that's basically how any online company works (especially chinese ones).
I mean even on amazon, on local stores in your own country, you will almost never get the return shipping fees back in any way. That's rarely included in the warranty.
By buying a cheap product from a chinese shop, you understand the risks and all. If you don't want any of those trouble, you should try to find a local shop instead.
Also you said the AliEpress buyer protection system is worthless, well you got your refund thanks to that system don't you?
Do you think you would even get a refund of your device on a website without a proper buyer protection system??
From my experience, AliExpress is the best and most secure website to buy those kind of chinese products, you just have to be extra careful and knowing the risks of buying in china.
Despite the fact I had to send back my first defective GPD XD too, I still think GPD is one of the best chinese company for android products.
I mean beside them making really good products (especially if you consider the cheap price), how many chinese company actually listen for their customers when there is a software or hardware issue, and release a fix asap? They are the only one I know doing that.
I just don't think that people managing the shops and the actually GPD company are the same people.