Or maybe you know that importing from China is the real solution, but your don’t know how to import!
Or probably you know somewhat about the game but are afraid of scammers.
What about Alibaba.com?
“it is a site full of scams. There are so many scam stories associated with that site.”! I hear you cautioning.
Yes, unfortunately, there are scam stories as far as AliBab.com is concerned. But that does not mean AliBaba.com is itself a scam.
Yes, there are scammers, but AliBaba is not a scam.
The site was established around 3 decades ago and has since then been the biggest portal to bring importers and Chinese suppliers and manufacturers on one platform.
It receives millions of visitors each month, has more than 15000 regular employees and has large physical headquarters.
Now can scam business exist that long? And can a scam business have that many employees?
As I mentioned earlier, there are some dishonest people who are abusing the platform and make most newbies as they victims of their target.
This guide is intended to help you get through the scammers and reach real and genuine Chinese and Hong Kong suppliers through AliBaba.
Before I proceed to the actual guide, let me explain that I have no affiliations or any sort of business association with the company.
I do not guarantee you a 100% safe business after following these guidelines.
Simply because no business venture is completely risk free.
But… I am sure that following this guide, you will be able to filter through all the scam suppliers and reach to genuine, honest and trusty worthy business people.
1. No Branded Items
Why? There are two reasons that you must avoid ordering branded items from mainland China no matter whichever source or portal you use.
The number 1 reason is that high brand names do not supply their goods through mainland Chinese suppliers. They distribute their goods through authorized distributors who are normally based in each country or a region comprising of a couple of countries.
The No 2 reason is that all those who claim to supply high brand name items are either fake or complete scams. So in both cases, it is not more than deceiving the buyer to rip them off.
So, if you come across any suppliers offering big names branded items at through away prices, avoid them.
Most newbies become an easy targets for such scammers. They have well designed flash websites and their prices are a lot cheaper than being retailed online or offline. This allures the inexperienced eBay or Amazon sellers thinking they have a great chance to establish their business by sourcing genuine and authentic branded items.
There is no such way…Please stay away from such suppliers.
2. Go For Gold Suppliers
Who are gold suppliers? They are suppliers, wholesalers or manufacturer who are registered with AliBaba and pay regular fees to maintain their status.
They pay thousands of dollars in their fees. Scammers are not able to pay thousands of dollars just to maintain their status. They simply can’t afford or they are kicked out as soon as they are found to be scammers.
In order to further ensure that suppliers are genuine, go for gold suppliers of at least 3 years or more of membership. Now I don’t mean that gold suppliers with 1 or 2 years of their membership are all scams. There can be genuine suppliers among them, too. But this is an extra step towards saving yourself from being defrauded.
3. Say No to Free Members
I will never advise to go with free members. Chinese businesses are usually large establishments with millions and even billions of investment in manufacturing, exports and distribution. Free membership does not make sense as businesses pretending to be that large should be able to afford premium membership. And if they cannot, they are most probably not genuine.
Exporter, manufacturer and can’t afford premium membership!, Why?
4. Check out Suppliers Complaints
This is another great way to find genuine suppliers. People rate suppliers for their business, service and dealings. You must check out what are other people saying about them. The higher the rate of positive reviews and feedback, the better it is.
If you see a lot of complaints against a particular supplier, move onto the next one.
Please note that some suppliers have complaints about small or minor issues. In many cases, it could be a part of the normal day to day business and should be ok. However, things which the suppliers fail to meet repeatedly, then you should be wary.
Anyone with less than 70% positive score should raise your red flag alert.
5. Check out Suppliers Last log in Time
As I mentioned earlier that doing business with a 3 years gold member is better than on with less time, it is even much better to go with suppliers who have been on the portal longer.
I have found many suppliers with gold membership who have been in the featured on the AliBaba portal for 6+ years.
The older a supplier profile is the better. Make sure you check that the supplier is not a free member and that they have been active during the period of their membership.
Escrow is a company between the buyer and seller who will hold the payment until the buyer receives goods and is happy. Once the escrow company receives a confirmation from the buyer, the funds held are released.
Escrow services are great for peace of mind. Remember that the escrow services are not free and they will charge their fees for the service. However, such fees are normally not very high and the service is worth considering.
Let me warn you that there are many escrow scams out there. Do not trust any escrow company you see on internet. Use only genuine and trusted services. eBay recommend to use escrow.com as the only escrow company for such services.
7. Check the Suppliers Detail at Ali Express Store
Ali express store is a company owned by Alibaba.com. Here only those suppliers are listed who have been verified.
Furthermore, suppliers at Ali express have low minimum order quantity (MOQ) requirement. It is always good to order samples on Ali Express and once you are satisfied with them then move on to higher volumes at the main Ali Baba site.
I have successfully found several suppliers at Ali Express for small sample orders. If I am satisfied with the quality of goods, speed of shipping, mode of payment and others such requirements, I then proceed to the next step of going bigger.
8. Profile videos
Check the suppliers’ profile and you will often see videos about the suppliers site, warehouse, factory, offices, products and employees etc. There two kinds of videos: posted by the supplier themselves or by Ali Baba. If the video is posted by Ali Baba it shows a physical verification of the supplier site. So videos produced by AliBaba are more authentic than those self-produced by suppliers.
9. Web Presence
Genuine suppliers should have their own websites. This is not always the case but it is always good to check if they have one. Note down all the details from their AliBaba profile and match them against the details found on their websites.
Check the whois details and compare it with details provided on the AB site.
Genuine suppliers have professional websites with updated inventory, listings and records. However, you must be careful as most scammers are very good at creating flash websites which look professional and genuine.
Check their contact details such as phone numbers, email and physical address. Giving them a call or a shooting them a quick email message can always prove helpful. Fraudster normally do not reply to emails and do not take phone calls.
10. Verify it with Global Source
Global source.com is another such portal where only verified suppliers are listed. It is not as large as Ali Baba but many suppliers listed on AliBaba are also listed on Global source.com
In addition to Chinese suppliers, I have found a few good deals from South Korean and Taiwanese suppliers.
Before a supplier is listed on Global Source, the following three checks are carried out by the company.
1. Verified Suppliers
They only list those verified suppliers who are visited at least three times in-person by the Global source team.
2. Credit Check
The company also conducts credit checks of the suppliers company status, shareholders and licenses. They hire Dun and Bradstreet (D&B) and Sinotrust who the World’s two most trusted business credit reporting providers
3. Supplier Capability
Global source partners with Bureau VERITAS to audit suppliers. Checks are conducted across several key areas including production facilities, production capabilities and product quality.
11. Match Financial Details with AB profile
Check the financial details such as PayPal address, bank accounts and so on. Once you receive payment instructions make sure that these financial details match with those on the profile page of the supplier.
Never pay to personal or the company’s employees accounts. If you are paying by bank transfer, the funds must be transferred to the company’s official account only.
12. Modes of Payment
Genuine suppliers always try to help their customers and make things as easy as they can. They supply several mode of payment such as bank transfers, PayPal, TTs, credit card and so on.
Most scammers would want you to send them money through Western Union or Money Gram. If the suppliers offer Western Union and Money Gram as the only payment method, then RUN AWAY!
13. Exercise Common Sense
Last, but not the least, is exercise common sense. Once you have acquainted yourself with the system, you should be able to differentiate genuine business people from con artists. Don’t jump in. Do your homework by going through all these filters. You may also discuss it with friends, colleagues or family members before you put your first order.
Remember, a supplier does not have to have pass all these filters. You don’t have to look for people who can come up with profiles that matches all the conditions outlined in this post. You may skip some and strictly follow others.
This guide will not guarantee you 100% risk free import. You still have to exercise your common sense and use your brain. But… If you follow these guidelines, your chances of being scammed stand at bare minimum.
Want to Import from China? Check out this course!