by Renaud Anjoran in 'Quality Inspection Blog'
At least once every 6 weeks, I get an email from the victim of a scam performed by a Chinese supplier. They ask me whether someone can help them recover the money.
Sometimes it is a scam (seller asks for a deposit before shipment, then ships nothing and stops responding to emails), and sometimes it is just a brutal retaliation (seller estimates he was poorly treated by the buyer on a previous order, and cancels a transaction after receiving some pre-payment).
Invariably, these people don’t have a contract with their supplier–not even one page in English. That tells you two things:
So, what can these importers do? Generally, not much.
The best strategy is often to contact a lawyer, who can send a demand letter and try to scare the supplier into paying. I don’t think the success rate is high, but it might work. Here are a few success factors:
Unfortunately, the victims of scams are in the same situation as the purchasers who receive junk products after paying in full. Here is what I wrote six months ago:
From time to time, a reader who has received unacceptable products asks me how they can force a Chinese supplier to refund an order.
My response is usually “forget it, and do things right on your next order (make sure you read about best practices)”.
Now seems the good time to write about this topic, according a recent China Law Blog article:
December is fraud month because that seems to be when Chinese companies seem to decide whether they plan to continue operating as a viable business or not and oftentimes those who choose “not,” will decide at the same time to go out with all guns blazing.
A small proportion of suppliers are scammers in China. But they are out there, make no mistake about it.