Business Scams to Avoid When Sourcing from China

POSTED ON April 8, 2021

China has emerged as the global sourcing hub for almost every product that you can think of. From electronics to glassware and toys, you can source any product at the best rates from China. With the growth of e-commerce platforms, a large number of sellers have started sourcing products from China and selling them over their e-commerce sites. In most cases, they are able to enjoy great margins on the sales. However, it is essential that you choose your supplier and product sourcing service provider carefully so that you don’t fall prey to any scams. Most Chinese suppliers are reliable and have a good track record of exporting to other countries, still, Business scams are not uncommon. Here are some types of scams that every business must be aware of when sourcing from China.

Counterfeit products

Unfortunately, some Chinese manufacturers tend to ignore copyrights and manufacture and sell counterfeit products. Most e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are very particular about not allowing counterfeit products, and if you try to sell counterfeit products, you may face a permanent ban. While they may tempt you with very low prices, you must avoid this trap. Make sure you choose a sourcing agent from the China base who does not work with counterfeit goods. You must choose a manufacturer that will fully protect the copyrights of your design.

Poor quality/substandard/wrong products

Not every manufacturer is capable of customizing a product to your standards and expectations. Still, many would not hesitate to overpromise, and when it comes to delivering quality, they fail miserably. In worst cases, the products do not match the samples. This necessitates that you hire a product-sourcing service that takes care of your interests and help you source from the right manufacturers capable of meeting the highest quality standards. To ensure that the products meet the specified design and quality specifications, you should also seek services of a third party quality inspection service.

Payment related red flags

Oftentimes, scamsters lie about their actual identity. They somehow clear the initial screening process but at the time of payment, they ask you to make payments to an entirely different recipient. Sometimes they may ask you to pay into a personal account. In this case, you must cross check that the account is directly attached to the business you are dealing with. You must seek bank details right at the beginning so that there are no surprises at the end. Some suppliers would insist on receiving advance and other payments through e-wallets such as Western Union that are not too thorough with credential checks. It is best to route transfers through safe channels such as banks and other reliable payment gateways. Your sourcing agent China base should discuss the payment terms during well in advance.

Not sending samples

This is one of the most common scams you will come across. If you are placing a large order, you must always request samples before you get the complete consignment. The product may look completely different on a catalogue or the website. Even the images may not give you an exact idea of the product quality. This is particularly true in case of sophisticated, customized products. So, it is a good idea to seek verification through proper 3D models, images or samples. Remember, a manufacturer who has the capability to customize the product as per your specifications will be willing to send the samples.

Fake businesses

When you search for suppliers online, you get hundreds of results. However, not all of these suppliers exist in reality. As they say one dirty fish can spoil the whole pond, some people who use fake companies to scam people bring disrepute to the whole market. You must never fall prey to such suppliers. Take a good look at their website. If the company is genuine they will have their complete address and contact details on their website. They will provide information about their business and the products they offer. Beware of the businesses that have incomplete websites with no/minimal contact information.

Sometimes, the business scam can be really big. The supplier may just vanish and not deliver products after receiving the payment. This usually happens in cases where factory-direct products or branded products are concerned. The supplier may promise to provide branded goods at a much cheaper rate than the market and scam you.

While these types of scams are not too common and most Chinese suppliers follow ethical business practices, it is advisable that you do complete research before choosing a supplier. Some things you must do to avoid being a victim of these business scams include:

  • Verifying licenses and certifications, and purchasing products from only authorized suppliers
  • Performing factory audits
  • Performing quality inspections with the help of third parties

If you want to source from China in a hassle-free manner, it is in your best interest to hire the services of a sourcing agent China base. The product sourcing service provider will help you with every step right from finding the supplier to negotiating prices, doing quality checks and ensuring safe delivery of the products. To get the best sourcing experience, you must choose a service provider that knows the local market well and has a great track record.