Alibaba Supplier Scams: 3 Common Types & How You Avoid Them

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He got scammed online

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None of these scams are unique to Alibaba.com. On the contrary, Alibaba.com verifies all Gold Suppliers and offers far more supplier data than any other B2B supplier directory.

Alibaba.com is in many aspects the safest way to source products in Asia, as long as you have a risk management process in place.

That said, Alibaba cannot monitor every single email and WeChat conversion between suppliers and buyer’s on its platform. There are rogue employees out there, and hackers breaking into suppliers email accounts.

In this article, I explain how you can avoid 3 different types of scams, and the measures Alibaba has taken in recent years to make their marketplace safer. Continue reading Alibaba Supplier Scams: 3 Common Types & How You Avoid Them

How to Make a Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) to a Chinese Supplier

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Suggestion: Watch the 10 minutes video tutorial before reading this article

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Telegraphic Transfer (T/T), which commonly called ‘Wire transfer’ is still the most common payment method, when transferring money internationally.

Yet, making Telegraphic Transfer payments is not without risk. In fact, the risks involved are far bigger than most importers might think.

In this article, we explain why a slight misspelling could result in tens of thousands of dollars being withheld by the receiving bank – and why you should never pay privately held bank accounts.

Keep reading, and learn how you can avoid payment delays, scams, and other Telegraphic Transfer related issues.

1. Get the beneficiary name, address and other account details right

When writing money to your supplier’s bank account, you need to make sure that all beneficiary and bank details are correctly, and fully filled in.

If, for example, the beneficiary name is not correctly typed in, the money will be withheld by the Chinese bank – and finally returned back to you.

This is indeed a good security measure, but this will cost you at least 2 to 3 weeks. In addition, you don’t get the bank transaction charges from neither your bank or the suppliers. But, that quite irrelevant, in comparison to what a month long delay could cost your business.

So, why is this even an issue to begin with? Continue reading How to Make a Telegraphic Transfer (T/T) to a Chinese Supplier

How to Resolve a Dispute with Your Supplier

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Picture that you’ve paid up thousands of dollars upfront, only to receive a delayed and defective batch of products. Or, what if your supplier decides to double the price, halfway through production?

Sending angry emails at 1 AM will not get you far, but there are methods that can help you gain the upper hand in a dispute with a contract manufacturer.

Methods that I will present in this article.

But first, we need to draw the line between you being disappointed, disputes and outright frauds.

This is how I define a supplier dispute

If you the supplier has failed to comply with the written product specifications, quality requirements and order terms – signed and stamped in a contract – and refuse to comply, then you are in a dispute. Continue reading How to Resolve a Dispute with Your Supplier

Supplier Scams in China: How to Get Your Money Back: By Kai Xue and Li Xianyun

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Supplier scams

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Small businesses importing from Asia get scammed everyday. You’ve heard the stories, so that probably doesn’t come as news. Most people would assume that there is no recourse, if you are scammed by a fake supplier.

But, I know two Chinese lawyers that don’t agree.

This week, we publish a practical ‘how to guide’ for reporting scams directly to the Chinese authorities and getting your money back – co-authored by Mr Kai Xue and Mr Li Xianun – both lawyers working for DeHeng Law Offices in Beijing.

In this article, Kai and Li explains how you should deal with fraud situations, including how you should manage the scammers and how to file a police report (that will actually be accepted).

Kai Xue and Li Xianyun, please tell us a bit about your backgrounds and roles at DeHeng Law Offices

Kai Xue (Left photo) is a transactional lawyer advising mostly in cross-border finance and outbound mergers and
acquisitions. Li Xianyun (Right photo) is a litigation lawyer representing clients in general commercial arbitration or litigation, including disputes stemming from foreign trade.

Aside from our professional interest in being engaged in legal matters, we are enthusiastic about providing better public information on smoothly conducting business in China, and if necessary, catching bad guys. Continue reading Supplier Scams in China: How to Get Your Money Back: By Kai Xue and Li Xianyun

China Company Verification: How to Vet Suppliers in 4 Steps

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China Company Verification

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All too often I hear Buyers making supplier selections on highly arbitrary factors, primarily the responsiveness the sales rep on the other side. Such factors are largely irrelevant. A supplier selection without the right data is often the root cause of quality issues further down the road. In this article, we explain how you can perform a China Company Verification by analyzing their documentation. This procedure can be managed from your office, and doesn’t require an on site visit.

Consider it a first step of the selection procedure, as there are limitations to what can be done from a distance – as compared to more comprehensive, and far more expensive, factory audits. The ideal outcome is identifying a number of potential candidates. In this article, we look into two sets of documentation, company related documents and product related documents, and the role of buyer references and US customs data. Continue reading China Company Verification: How to Vet Suppliers in 4 Steps

Shipping Scams In China: How to Protect Your Business

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Shipping scams in China

During the last 6 months, we have received several reports from importers being defrauded by Chinese freight forwarding companies. Since mid August, the frequency of these shipping scam reports has increased rapidly. Thus, we decided it was time to issue a warning to our readers, and explain how you can best protect your business from scammers.


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The scammers exploit the Bill of Lading

Let’s begin by introducing you to how the shipping process usually works, when no scammers are involved. Most importers buy according to FOB (Free on Board) terms, which means that their Chinese supplier takes care export clearance and delivery to the Port of Loading (e.g. Shanghai or Shenzhen). Continue reading Shipping Scams In China: How to Protect Your Business

Payment Fraud in China – How to Avoid Going Bankrupt

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A true story from Qingdao

Afraid of losing (all) your money when you’re importing from China? You should be, and you’re not alone. Paying frauds are one of the most common forms of scam, and they are targeting small to medium sized businesses sourcing products on Alibaba.com and other online B2B platforms. In the last few years I’ve seen small importers losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in this type of scam.

The first time I had to handle a payment fraud case was in late 2011. It was late on a Friday evening and I’d barely opened my first beer when I received a desperate phone call from a long term client. She had, without telling us, contacted a suppliers, in Qingdao, selling food supplements. They had previously imported the same product from this supplier and my client experienced no problems whatsoever. This time she wasn’t so lucky. The supplier stated that they did not receive a single dollar from her, something which made my client nervous considering she had transferred around US$ 40,000 two weeks before she called me. Continue reading Payment Fraud in China – How to Avoid Going Bankrupt

Product Certification & Suppliers in China: A Cautionary Tale

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A few months ago I got a phone call from a business owner in Northern Europe. His company had purchased a small volume of jet skis from a Chinese supplier. Upon arrival in the port of destination the cargo was inspected by the customs and they requested the buyer to show proper certification. This should not be much of a problem, if it wasn’t for the fact that this guy had no clue what he was doing.

The importer didn’t even consider certification an issue until he was notified by the customs, and they refused to release the products until the certification papers were presented. The next logic step in this story would be that the supplier stepped in, FedExed some paperwork and saved the day. It was a dead end though, because the supplier was equally clueless. This was in fact the first time they had exported to Europe. Continue reading Product Certification & Suppliers in China: A Cautionary Tale