How to Avoid Chinese Suppliers Scams—2022 Checklist

China is the manufacturing hub of the world, where you can find manufacturers for almost every item and source raw materials at a meager cost.

Many popular clothing brands get their products manufactured in China because it is the most cost-friendly option. Therefore, startups and beginners also think about selecting a Chinese supplier for their clothing brands or products. Undoubtedly, they are thinking in the right direction as China is the best country for manufacturing, but there are numerous scams and scammers.

Beginners usually do not know how to find the right supplier and how to avoid getting scammed in China. They fall into various scams, and ultimately, they think China is not the right place for manufacturing.

While finding a Chinese manufacturer or supplier for your products, you need to be careful. You need to know how to avoid scams and find the right manufacturer or supplier.

Fortunately, you can easily avoid scams with Chinese suppliers if you know the tips and tricks. In this article, we will explain a few important things so that you can avoid scams with Chinese suppliers. We will explain various aspects and how Chinese suppliers scam people.

Stay with us and learn how to avoid scams with Chinese suppliers. Let’s start the discussion without further delay.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed in China

Say No to Middlemen

The first thing that you need to identify is whether you are dealing with a manufacturer/supplier or a middleman. Mediators are the agents and brokers that take orders from you and forward them to a manufacturer. They take their commission, and you don’t have direct communication with the manufacturer.

You should deal with the manufacturer directly. It lowers the risk of scams and low-quality final products. When you are in communication with the manufacturer, you can convey your requirements and have a follow-up with them.

There are three types of middlemen: Traders, Wholesalers, and Agents. Traders and wholesalers buy products from manufacturers, and they sell those products after adding their commission. The difference between them is the quantity that they keep in their warehouses. Wholesalers deal with manufacturers in bulk, and they have more contacts. But in both cases, you are at a loss, and there are higher chances of scams.

Agents can help you buy products and whatever you need. They have the knowledge of the manufacturers. But most of the time, they are scammers. They scam buyers and even send third-quality products in bulk manufacturing.

Simply put, you need to stay away from these middlemen. You should contact a company directly. Most of the time, these middlemen do not show their identity; they show themselves as manufacturers. So, you need to identify them on your own.

Agents can help you buy products and whatever you need. They have the knowledge of the manufacturers. But most of the time, they are scammers. They scam buyers and even send third-quality products in bulk manufacturing.

Simply put, you need to stay away from these middlemen. You should contact a company directly. Most of the time, these middlemen do not show their identity; they show themselves as manufacturers. So, you need to identify them on your own.

If you are contacting a company from their profile, you will stay away from these middlemen. You can ask the person about the company and various things for identification. Make sure you ask over a phone call, and if the person stutters while answering the question or does not have the answers, it indicates that you are dealing with the wrong person.

Middlemen force you most of the time to buy from them. They keep calling you and sending emails. In contrast, reputable manufacturers do not do such kinds of things. 

In addition, middlemen can give you any type of service. If you are contacting them for clothing and telling them you are also interested in buying shoes, they will try to sell you shoes as well. They never say “NO”. In reality, all manufacturers have a limit and capability of manufacturing certain items. They cannot take every type of order.

You need to identify to whom you are talking. Middlemen will never say they are not from the company. They will try to sell their stocked items or push you to order from them. If you are successful in identifying mediators, you can avoid scams with Chinese suppliers.

Do Company Verification and Background Checks

The second step for avoiding scams is doing company verification and background checks. If you are trusting anyone blindly, you will end up having a huge loss. It is better to do background checks in the first place and ensure everything is up to the mark. You will be satisfied during the entire deal.

First, you can try a few famous eCommerce websites and check the manufacturer’s reputation and reviews. You can locate the company on Google maps and see reviews if there are any. Make sure to have a conversation over a phone call and verify their numbers and emails. Reliable manufacturers always contact you through their official email IDs, and they do not contact you via Gmail or any other public email services.

You can search the company name on Google and see whether it has ever been involved in a scam or not. Check the company’s reputation and see what customers say about it. You can also ask for business licenses and certifications. But do not stop after receiving those documents; make sure to cross-check them. They can be fake or made up for the scam.

If you find a company famous and reliable, you can have a contract with them.

Get a Quote from Different Manufacturers

Getting a quote is quite helpful in pointing out scammers. You should never rely on the quote of one manufacturer. 

Once you take quotes from different manufacturers, you get an idea of the cost. Any manufacturer asking for more than a reasonable price is a red flag because it could be a middleman.

Middlemen increase the cost of the product because of their margin. So, you can easily point out such margins if you know the reasonable price. Moreover, when you get a quote from different manufacturers, you have an idea of the cost and the market. You can easily bargain with them.

While getting a quote, make sure you ask for hidden charges or costs. Some manufacturers reveal shipment costs, customs clearance, and other hidden costs in the end. You can confirm that the quote they are giving includes everything.

Another benefit of getting a quote is that you can include it in the contract. The contract should also include that you can go to court for legal action if the supplier asks for more money than the given quote.

A Clear and Foolproof Contract

A clear and foolproof contract is the indication that you are on the right track. Scammers avoid such contracts because if they try to scam you, they might end up facing legal actions. Therefore, they try to get everything done without having a clear contract.

Even if the manufacturer is ready for the contract, make sure to mention everything. You need to discuss the terms and conditions and should never hesitate to add minute details. Scammers usually skip various terms and conditions in the contract, and you might have to face various problems in the end.

For instance, at the start of the deal, both parties agreed on a 50% payment at the start of bulk production. But it was not mentioned in the contract. Scammers take benefits from these loopholes that they have made deliberately. They might ask you to make full payment before bulk production.

Make sure everything is mentioned in the contract, including payment schedule, product specifications, raw materials, time of delivery, shipment cost, sample cost, method of payment, cost of packaging and branding, and everything from top to bottom. There is no way you can leave a minute detail.

If you have a foolproof and clear contract, you can take legal action against the manufacturer in case of any problem. You have a way to recover your money even if you are scammed.

Get Samples

Reliable manufacturers never refuse to send samples. They might charge for the sample, but they are happy to go through this stage before bulk production.

Scammers usually avoid sending samples. They give you various excuses and ask you to trust them on the quality. Never trust these suppliers or manufacturers. They might end up sending fake or cheap quality products.

Sample making is a standard process in the clothing industry. You can get at least one sample per color per size. Once you see the sample, you get the idea of the quality, fabric, stitching, color, and branding. Always insist on sending samples to your doorstep; never agree on seeing samples on a video call. When samples are in your hand, you get a better idea of the fabric, color, and overall quality.

When you select a clothing manufacturer, send them the design and ask them to send you a few samples. You need to pay for the samples, but it is worth it. After getting samples, you can decide whether you want to go with the manufacturer for bulk manufacturing or not.

Simply put, if the manufacturer refuses to send samples or tells you that they only deal in bulk, it is a red flag, and you need to stay away from them.

Never Pay All or A Lot in Advance

Reliable manufacturers never ask you to pay all in advance. If you want their design service, they will charge for the design first. Then, you need to pay at the time of sample making. Even at the sampling stage, you only pay for the samples because you are not ready for bulk manufacturing.

Once you get samples, you have the choice to decide whether you want to proceed with bulk production or find another manufacturer. Even if you decide to go for bulk manufacturing, there is no need to pay all. You can give 50% in advance and the rest when everything is ready or as discussed.

Beginners usually end up giving excessive money at the sample-making stage. Then, if they are not satisfied with the samples, it is not easy to get the remaining amount. Some beginners also pay 100% at the start of bulk manufacturing. This is another mistake because once the manufacturer gets full payment, you lose your control. Then, the manufacturer might delay your order.

You need to be very careful when the manufacturer asks you to pay. You should pay according to the expense of the manufacturer. For instance, if the cost of manufacturing samples is $300 along with shipping, you don’t need to pay $500. In short, pay as little as you can.

Check for Any Court Cases

Another way to find out whether the manufacturer is reliable or not is by checking any court cases related to the company. You should check Chinese court databases. If there is any case of fraud or scam against the manufacturer, it means you need to find another manufacturer.

Some manufacturers also get fined and penalized because of frauds and scams. You will find everything in the database. But unfortunately, the database is only available in the Chinese language. Thus, you can either translate it using a translator tool or ask someone to translate for you.

Visit the Factory In-person

The last and best way of avoiding scams is to visit the factory. Obviously, you cannot visit China for small orders as it will increase the cost of the product. But if you are planning for bulk production, you must visit the factory.

When you are in China, you have many options. You can visit various manufacturers and look at their terms and conditions. You can easily find a suitable manufacturer according to your needs. In addition, there will be no chance of scams.

Many brand owners visit China to select the right manufacturer for their products. They do this to find a long-term manufacturer that will manufacture the product in the future. Once you find a reliable and trustworthy manufacturer, you can order in bulk next time from your own country and without any worries.

Sings You are Dealing with a Scammer

  • The representative rushes to close the deal. He is pretty impatient.
  • Lack of communication or over-communication
  • The supplier asks you to send money to his personal account.
  • No quality or safety certificate
  • No or false contact details on the website.
  • He refuses to send you the samples.
  • The website looks incomplete and fake.
  • He refuses to sign a legal contract.

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