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I think I’ve been scammed for several thousand dollars. What do I do?

by Mike Bellamy in 'China Sourcing Information Center'

Hello, I believe that I have been scammed for several thousand dollars by a web site www.XXXXX.com. I ordered a phone and watch four weeks ago and to date have not received the items. The company said that the items were held up in Chinese customs and levied 50 percent duty. The DHL tracking number they provided does not exist. I have the address and phone number that was given if anyone can help me.

ANSWER:

If it turns out that this company really is a scam (sure sounds like a scam so far), I hope you will allow me to mention the scam on my blog and help other buyers avoid this trap.

For your reference, know that you are not alone. In the past 2 days I have received letters like yours from 5 people who have fallen for scams just like the one you describe. With all the excitement about Apple products these days, there is a lot of activity online to try to get good prices on these types of products at a so called “factory direct price” out of China. The vast majority are scams.

It is too bad you didn’t see my blog post called “Genuine products from China?” before you met www.XXXXXX.com as I tried to warn readers about the dangers of buying certain types of branded electronics like cell phones and computers.

But there is still hope for your case and I have some good news. Since they have listed their bank details and address on the website, perhaps it will be possible to have a Chinese lawyer issue a demand letter. 9 out of 10 times, this demand letter motivates the seller to refund your money or deliver the goods.

I want to introduce you to Sophie Mao (www.Chibridge.net) who is an English speaking lawyer in Guangzhou that I use. She has helped other foreign buyers get their money back from suppliers who trick buyers. As I mentioned above, the next step may be a demand letter and if that doesn’t work, consider litigation. I believe some of Sophie’s compensation is performance based, meaning that her service fees are related to how much money she gets back for you. I’ll put you two in touch and let her tell you more about it.

BTW, in future, stick with verified suppliers on www.GlobalSources.com as they are far less likely to be scam artists than sellers found at random online.

Thanks for sharing your case with me and please let me know how things work out. Sophie is very professional, so you are in good hands now.

Wishing you successful China sourcing!


Answer written by Mike Bellamy, an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center. Mike is also the author of "The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing" and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions.

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