Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Beware of scams when using alibaba.com

Beware of scams when using alibaba.com

Top 10 things you should know when using alibaba. The list is in a random order.

dont buy electronics from alibaba
The $300 Nokia E90 they are selling is a cheap knock off. And the $20 ipod they are selling is nothing more than a cheap mp3 player. In most countries the consignment will not even pass the custom clearing due to copy right infringement laws. Not only you will lose your money, but there is a high chance of you have to spend few years proving your innocence in courts.

Never use western union to send money to alibaba suppliers
Most of the alibaba suppliers will ask you to send money through western union. What ever the reason they give, you never do that. Once you send money through western union you have no control over it. It is very easy to scam people using western union. Early days I have been a victim of a $2000 fraud through western union. I do not want you to lose your hard earned money. When you see western union as the only payment method listed, do your self a favor and run away from that supplier.

Never fall in to fake sample images from alibaba sellers.
alibaba stocks photo

The scam sellers in alibaba will send you images of stock to prove that they have the goods in hand.

For example if you are looking to buy a nokia N95 they will send you images of 100’s of Finland made Nokia N95’s.

But I have experienced,same images are circulated through dozen different suppliers. Either they all are a part of one scam ring or they all have obtained the image from the same source.
alibaba fake phones

When you ask for a sample image always ask to write your name in a piece a paper and take the snaps with it. Just like I have done here.

The image with my partner’s name on it is a fake N95.

The sample images can reveal you a big story. but Don’t trust the supplier just from looking at the sample image. He may have few quality collections of stocks. But that does not mean he will send it your way.

Do not trust the EMS tracking number from alibaba sellers.
Most of the suppliers in alibaba tent to do shipments through EMS. They will send you a tracking number saying that they have done their part of the deal. It is very easy to create a fake EMS tracking number. So be alert until you receive the goods to your hand.

Never send money to a personal bank account to an alibaba seller.
Most of the sellers will ask you to send money to their “Bank of china accounts”. When they send you the bank details look for the bank name. If it is a personnel name avoid sending a cent. If they are a established entity they must be using a business account and should use them in their business transactions. If this is not the case you might be sending money to a Chinese who is scanning you in his pygamas.

If the price of a alibaba seller seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
Be rational when making a decision. There is no way that a supplier can offer you a $700 worth product at $200. You will be surprised how many suppliers have these types of prices. True, alibaba is a very good place to find products at filthy cheap prices. But their products do not come out of magic. So do your due diligence when the supplier sends you the quotation.

Don’t fall for samples sent by alibaba sellers
The supplier may have sent you a real sample. (Paid / Free). That does not mean you can trust him with a $10,000 deal. There are suppliers who send you real samples for quality products. But when you place the big order you will either get scammed or will receive a big consignment of crap. So if the supplier cannot meat other credentials, do not trust him just because he sent you a sample.

alibaba scam companies
Scammers know most people are intelligent enough to do a Google search about the company before doing any transaction with them. So some scammers use reputed company names to scam you. Most of mid level and small scale buyers do not go beyond the level of online contacts when making correspondence. Once we search about their company we will see only good things about them. That’s why we must always send money to business accounts. If the account name is different from the company name they are pretending, Red flag; Run away.

visit the alibaba companies in china
Alibaba is not consisting of only Chinese suppliers. Even I do have an active supplier’s account with them. But most of the supplier’s and the most profitable one’s are from china. If your order level value is over $5000 try to visit the supplier at least once. There are cheap trips available to china if you are bit tight on your budget. Once you verify the supplier you do not have to make repetitive visits.

alibaba forum
Before selecting suppliers post your choice in the alibaba forum. There is a section dedicated to reveal scam and fraudulent suppliers. It is always better to do a double check in the forum before making that transaction. I have found many helpful members in the forum. One person eventually became one of my partners and we both together have pulled off so many deals in the past 2 years.

Can the scammers over weigh the importance of alibaba. Definetely NO. You cannot find a better market place if you are running a business. Unless you like selling/buying one item at a time on ebay. If you apply the knowledge you gather from this post and use your intelligence, You will be able to get the best out from alibaba b2b market place. If you are running a small online business I highly encourage you to start something off line too. You have a much better chance competing at your local area rather than competing against thousand of international marketers.

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