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    1. MafiaDave is offline

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      #1

      Am I asking for trouble if I look for Alibaba suppliers?

      Hello everyone. Im currently working on expanding my business and the process involves looking into some new products which Im hoping to add to my inventory. Ive dealt with American wholesalers in the past but a friend of mine recommended that I look overseas for better products which would be available to me at a cheaper rate. This friend also recommended that I check out some Alibaba suppliers.

      Ive studiously avoided Alibaba.com because of all the terrible things Ive heard about it. But Ive since learned that some new features have been introduced to make the payment process more secure. And Ive even heard of some people whove had a good experience with the site. Id really like to hear your feedback on this topic. Would you recommend using Alibaba to find suppliers? Are there ways to avoid being scammed? Is it worth it? Thanks in advance for your responses.
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    2. BaiLing76 is offline

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      #2
      You know, I always think it’s such a shame to hear how people immediately think ‘scam’ when they think of Alibaba.com. I think it was a great concept and there’s also some very legit companies there who you can do wonderful business with for many years.

      But there’s no smoke without fire and there’s a reason why people think of scams when they think Alibaba. The supplier directory is riddled with frauds and the site does nothing to verify whether a supplier is legit or not; they basically let everyone in. And yes, it certainly looks like they’re more concerned about bringing in that membership cash than integrity.

      I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad idea to do business with Alibaba suppliers. I think it’s a bad idea to do business without having a clue about what you may encounter and how to deal with it. Now a lot of folks get scammed, I’m not denying that. But I’ve seen that most of them didn’t bother to do any kind of research on the company or payment process.

      Now maybe people like that deserve to get scammed, I don’t know. It seems strange to me because I wouldn’t do business on the handshake in the real world and I definitely won’t do it on the internet. I think as small business owners, we need to be responsible for ourselves and unfortunately, there’s no cyberpolice out there that’s going to help us if something goes wrong. We have to help ourselves.

      So my advice is this. By all means, look for Alibaba suppliers, you may find some great ones! But keep the following tips in mind.

      Do not send money through Western Union or to a personal bank account. When you deal with a scamster, they will give you 101 reasons why PayPal won’t work for them or why they can’t accept payments through Alibaba’s new Escrow services called AliExpress. Don’t believe it. Any legit company will, at the very least, accept money through AliExpress.

      Do not buy branded items. When it comes to branded items, understand this very simple rule. You cannot get authentic authentic branded merchandise from China. You cannot get “extras” from the Chinese factory they were made in. Calvin Klein does not allow his “factory-seconds” to be sold by suppliers in China. The world of branded items is not a joke and in order to protect the brand, companies go to great lengths to ensure the market is not saturated with the product. This means they will not be readily available, especially to small fry like us. I can guarantee that ANYONE claiming to offer branded items for cheap rates is selling counterfeit goods or is looking to scam you some other way.

      The same rule applies to electronic goods, especially things like iPads, mobile phones and laptops. There are totally legit companies in China who sell refurbished electronics but that’s a whole different ballgame and they’ll have no problems telling you straight up about what they sell.

      Be picky about the pics. By all means ask for a picture of the product you are interested in but do not be fooled by stock pics. When you ask them for a pic, specifically ask them to write your name and their name on a piece of paper and include it in the shot. Now this doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is legit. But if they can’t take a pic like that, then it’s probably a scam.

      Don’t be fooled by the EMS tracking number. These are actually really easy to counterfeit, so getting one of these doesn’t mean it’s kosher.

      Don’t be fooled by samples. This one’s harder to read because if you’re dealing with Alibaba suppliers who have taken the time to send you totally legit sample, they must be legit, right? Wrong. A lot of scamsters use legit samples as a lure. It doesn’t mean you’re going to get the same thing or anything at all if you deal with them.

      Don’t neglect the little things when looking for Alibaba suppliers. There are a bunch of things you need to be tuned into which are huge red flags.

      1. They claim to work for a big, respectable company but the email comes from a free email service like hotmail
      2. They have no website or they do not show up on Google at all
      3. They have no landline, only mobile phone numbers
      4. They have no proper physical address
      5. Their locality does not appear in their company’s name
      6. They are based in Fujian, although a lot of other provinces have started churning out counterfeits as well
      7. They sell everything under the sun

      Don’t be nave. If the deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Just because the goods come from Alibaba suppliers in China doesn’t mean you’re going to get original products at dirt cheap prices with free shipping. Come on, you wouldn’t believe that in the real world, would you? Why believe it on the internet?
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    3. DropshipDiva is offline

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      #3
      Wow, thats a pretty complete list, I dont have much more to add to that. I do want to mention the Alibaba forum though. Ive actually got most of my information about which Alibaba suppliers are frauds, from there.

    4. MafiaDave is offline

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      #4
      This is a very comprehensive list, thank you. I have been poking around the forums a bit myself and Ive come across a formidable number of fraud alerts. Its going to take a fair amount of research before I actually take the plunge, thats for sure.

    5. SEONewbie is offline

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      #5
      I recently heard about a guy who got conned by someone who was actually a Gold Member. This person had dealt with other Gold Member suppliers on the site and they were totally kosher. So he assumed (his mistake, I get that) that Gold Member sellers were legit to deal with.

      I mean, I understand that it was kind of, the guys mistake because he didnt do his research on how these scams work. But Im also wondering why the site isnt verifying their Gold Members. Isnt that wrong? Are they just getting money for the Alibaba suppliers memberships and letting anyone in?

    6. BaiLing76 is offline

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      #6

      Quote:

      Originally Posted by SEONewbie View Post
      Are they just getting money for the Alibaba suppliers memberships and letting anyone in?
      At this point, unfortunately yes. Thats just what theyre doing. They dont verify the Alibaba suppliers and they dont check stocks, nothing. This is a slightly different scam mode because the scamster does need to pay up initially and Im guessing, its good only until someone complains and after that, the scamster needs to disappear. Its a new move I guess, I hadnt heard of it before. Thanks for mentioning it.

    7. SteelyDan65 is offline

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      #7
      One of the best angles these Chinese scammers have is that, they can pretty much bank on the fact that no ones going to go all the way to China just to inspect their products and pay them a factory visit. I sure as hell visit all my suppliers personally but the furthest I have to go is across a few state lines. The language problem, the fact that its China, all these factors just make it easier to sucker someone.

    8. BaiLing76 is offline

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      #8
      I agree and I think this is really something you should do if you decide to work with Alibaba suppliers from China. I visit my suppliers pretty regularly and its not that big a deal. You can hire a translator to help you out or hire a third-party agent to check things out and report back to you. And flying out is not as expensive as you might think; you can manage it in just a couple of days.

      Its an important thing I think everyone should do, even if you have a good relationship going with your Alibaba suppliers. Visiting their premises, seeing them in person will do a lot to make a good relationship better. And if somethings not right, youll be able to check it out first hand.

    9. Justin85 is offline

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      #9
      I dont get it. Seems like working with Alibaba suppliers is more trouble than its worth. Why bother? Why not just use that time to hook up with a legit supplier from somewhere else?

    10. BaiLing76 is offline

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      #10
      I dont know if Alibaba suppliers are more trouble than theyre worth, like I said before, there are some good people there. I think you just need to know how to work the site and make the best of it. I know people who have hooked up with great suppliers there, the scamsters didnt keep them away, they just made them more careful.

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