How to Verify if a Supplier in China is Real or Fake
Many folks today have shifted away from finding and meeting Suppliers at Trade shows to online using search engines and e-commerce facilities such as Alibaba to find suppliers for products. But how do you know if this Supplier is real or fake? How can you tell if the Supplier has the capability to not only provide you with products which meet your requirements and needs? But also to provide you with adequate levels of customer support that are required for you.
So, work through the complicated quagmire of fake suppliers or trading companies pretending to be factories or factories but with insufficient experience in your markets. It can take a lot of time, money and dedication. Therefore, a strategic approach is required to differentiate between real and fake suppliers. An essential part of this strategy is asking the right questions to research and verify the credibility of a prospective Supplier in China. In this blog, I will share some of the more critical questions you should be answering through your investigations.
Needless to say, many firms often prefer to hire experts in this area. I will end this article by highlighting that TCIs China Purchasing Consulting Services instantly provide clients with trained experts to find suppliers who can meet their requirements.
Table of Contents
- Have You Checked the Seller’s Profile Thoroughly?
- What Do the Feedback and Reviews Reveal?
- How Does the Supplier Communicate?
- What Payment Methods Are Accepted?
- Have You Evaluated the Product Details?
- Can You Request Sample Orders?
- Does the Supplier Participate in Trade Shows and Exhibitions?
- Have You Considered Utilising Goodada Supplier Audit Services?
- What Do External Sources Say?
- Do Reputable Associations Recognise the Supplier?
Have You Checked the Seller’s Profile Thoroughly?
Investigating and conducting thorough research into a Supplier is critical. Items to explore include:
- How many years have they been in business?
- Who are the shareholders of the company?
- Has there been any legal cases taken against the company?
- How many international clients does the company have?
- What type of machinery does it use?
- What certifications and licences do they possess?
All of the above help create an image of a long-standing business, which often indicates reliability. However, many inexperienced purchases may use this as the central part of their due diligence. Always be aware that checking the Seller’s profile should be viewed as only part of verifying if a Supplier is real or fake.
What Does the Supplier Feedback and Reviews Reveal?
Reviews and feedback are often reflective of a supplier’s overall reputation. They provide a history of past experiences of clients. These help you understand the Supplier’s reliability, professionalism, and adherence to quality and standards. Positive reviews generally indicate a supplier’s competence and reliability.
But it would help if you also thought of fake reviews or companies with a minimal number of reviews. Dig deep into the feedback and reviews available for the Seller. Are the majority of feedback too positive? Has anyone given neutral or negative feedback? What languages is the feedback written in?
When reviewing feedback, look for comments about delivery timelines, product quality and communications.
How Does the Supplier Communicate with You?
When dealing with suppliers in China, paying attention to how they communicate with you is crucial, as it can be a big hint in determining if they are genuine.
First, check their email address carefully. Does it match with a legitimate website? Is the name in the email signature the same as in the contact details they provided?
Next, consider the platforms they use for communication. While WhatsApp is generally banned in China, some suppliers might still use it. If so, how do they manage to use it? Similarly, if they communicate through WeChat, note how they share their details with you and what picture they use for their profile.
Lastly, think about their overall communication style. A supplier who responds quickly and professionally to your queries is usually a good sign. Being open and responsive indicates that a supplier is reliable.
Remember, understanding how a supplier communicates can be valuable in identifying if they are trustworthy.
What Payment Methods Are Accepted?
You should always investigate the payment methods accepted by the Supplier. For business transactions, generally, a deposit is required. Best practice indicates that up to 30% deposit should be given. However, having the Supplier Audited and verified by a third-party Inspection firm before you provide a deposit would be best.
Additionally, you should review the payment details of the Supplier. Check that the bank account name and the name on the invoice correlate. And that the bank is in the country where the Seller is from.
For B2C transactions. Is the Seller encouraging secure payment options such as Alibaba’s Trade Assurance?
Have You Evaluated the Product Details on the Sellers Platform?
Take a detailed look at the product listings. Are the descriptions detailed and the images realistic? Asking for real product photos is a proactive step to determine authenticity. At the time of writing, Google offers a “Search Image with Google” service. Suppose you see multiple images of the same product on various websites or from different sellers. Make a note of this and investigate the reasons why there are so many images of the same product.
Having an inspector visit the Seller’s facility to check the products in their warehouse is an excellent way to ensure that the Seller is real and genuine.
Can You Request Sample Orders?
Before placing a bulk order, inquire if you can get sample products. Does the sample match the details provided on the website? This step can help in assessing the quality and reliability of the Supplier.
However, always be aware of the Golden Sample issue. In this instance, many fake and fraudulent suppliers will buy a legitimate product from a Supplier in China and then send you samples from that purchase. However, when you order it, they will go to an alternative, possibly inferior Supplier, to copy the product or send you an alternative product.
Therefore, it is vital to consider having a bi-lingual purchase contract between you and the Supplier and then stipulate the sample as the benchmark for your order.
Does the Supplier Participate in Trade Shows and Exhibitions?
Find out if the Supplier participates in trade shows and exhibitions, as this is a common practice for legitimate businesses and showcases a commitment to the industry.
I have written in a previous blog about Why Trade Shows are not the best way to find a Supplier. However, they are a beneficial way to help form an image about the reputation of this Supplier.
Recently, there has been a massive growth in Chinese firms travelling out of China to exhibit at international tradeshows. Indeed, some firms find it easier to exhibit internationally than at a trade show in China.
Have You Considered Utilising Goodada Supplier Audit Services?
Many companies like to bring in expertise to help them assess and verify potential sellers in China. The firms that specialise in this are third-party Quality Control Inspection firms. Our partner company, Goodada Inspections, provides Supplier Audit and Verification Services. Goodada is a spin-off of TCI’s China Supply China services. So, we have been providing these services for over 20 years. Over that time, we have succeeded in preventing many firms from losing tens of thousands of dollars through fraud and poor-quality suppliers.
Additionally, with Goodada, you can chat with a member of our team who can guide you through the audit findings. To learn more, visit Goodada’s Supplier Verification page.
Do Reputable Associations Recognise the Supplier?
An essential step in vetting a supplier is to find out if reputable industry or government associations recognise them. These associations often have stringent criteria for membership, including adhering to certain ethical practices and maintaining a proven track record of reliability and quality.
Being affiliated with prestigious groups can be seen as a stamp of approval, showcasing the business as trustworthy and validated in its operations. For this reason, always make it a point to inquire about any such affiliations the Supplier may hold. It’s also wise to verify the authenticity of these affiliations, as it isn’t uncommon for businesses to falsely claim memberships to gain trust.
Thus, checking a supplier’s membership with recognised associations can strongly indicate a legitimate and potentially high-quality business partner. Doing this to verify if a Supplier in China is Real or Fake could save you from future disappointments and help ensure a fruitful business relationship.
How to Verify if a Supplier in China is Real or Fake – Conclusion
Verify if a Supplier in China is Real or Fake requires a is a series of structured investigations formulated as critical questions. By considering each of the questions outlined and employing services such as Goodada Supplier Audit Services, you can significantly reduce the risks and ensure secure and informed business transactions. The due diligence you exercise today will be the cornerstone of a successful business partnership tomorrow.
Finally, if you would like to contact me about using TCI China or Goodadas Inspection Services. Please find my contact details below:
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Or at the following numbers:
(Europe/ Rest of the World) +353 1 885 3919
(North America) +1.518.290.6604
Or email me, Aidan Conaty
tcichina.co.uk | think China, think TCI