Alibaba.com's buyer beware

                                           Alibaba.com's buyer beware

As great as Alibaba is, it's also played with some problems that you need to make yourself aware of  when you are researching and contacting various suppliers. 

Let's take a look at three of the biggest problems with sourcing suppliers from Alibaba: 

Middlemen - Alibaba has hundreds of thousands of ''manufacturers''. However, many of these ''manufacturer'' are not manufacturers at all, rather middlemen that masquerad, marking up the price, increase the level of miscommunication between you and the actual manufacturer while providing little, if any real value.

Scammers - Middlemen are bed but they will only take a bit of your money by charging you higher fees, scammers will take all your money. Although Alibaba has put forth a strong effort to combat and remove scammers from their platform, there are still a good share of dishonest suppliers on Alibaba that you need be cautions of.

Quality - Quality is another big concern when ordering from overseas. Many products will be advertised as premium or high quality, however it is not uncommon to find that your opinion of premium quality and the overseas supplier's opinion are vastly different.

So how exactly do you protect yourself from middlemen, scams and low quality products on Alibaba?

Although no single method is perfect, together practicing several safeguard is your best bet.

Let's take a look at several things you can do to protect your money when sourcing from overseas:

1.Verify suppliers - Alibaba has their own verification program in place which include several levels of verification. Below is a chart that summarizes the three different levels of verification Alibaba has. These verification badges will appear on product listing and supplier profiles if they have them. 

Looking for these verification is a good first step.

Verified information             A&V Check       Onsite check     supplier assessment  

Business license                              *                            *                                *             

Contact information                        *                            *                                 * 

Business type ( e.g. trading

company, manufacturer or both)                                   *                                 *      

Company / factory location                                            *                                 *  

Ownership status of the premises                                   *                                 *

Photos of supplier's operations                                       *                                 *

Certifications from subsidiaries                                      *                                 * 

Partners and contractors                                                  *                                 *  

Main product lines/services certification                                                            * 

Human resources                                                                                                 * 

Production / export capacity                                                                                * 

International trade capabilities                                                                            *  

Product quality                                                                                                    * 

Production process management                                                                         *

Company development / expansion plans                                                            * 

Production flow                                                                                                    * 

Verified main products                                                                                          *

In addition to Alibaba's verification, there are also independent 3rd party services located in Asia that will visit factories on your behalf to verify the supplier and product quality. depending on the size of your order, a few hundred dollars extra for added piece-of mind maybe well worth it.

   2.Ask questions and followup - As you begin narrowing down suppliers make sure to ask a lot of questions about their business and their products. Ask for a copy of their business licenses, ask for a phone number and actually call it. have a skype meeting with your contact. ask for photos of the factory and sample products.

3.Get samples - It should go without saying that before you invest any significant amount of money into inventory you need to get samples to check and verify quality. feel free to even contact them through another name and Email and get an additional sample so you can compare quality.

4.Too good to be true - Finally, if something is too good to be true, it usually is. Be weary of pricing or promises that do not seem right or that are way off from other suppliers you have contacted. Always be willing to walk away from deal if something doesn't right.

Please express your opinion, write a review post at the end, I wonder and pleasure I get comments from readers make sense.                                               


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