Importing is not an easy task. This is a statement that we have always defended in our company and our blog, as experience has taught us that an import is much more than an international purchase: it is a complex process where each step needs special attention, starting with the selection of suppliers, a process full of nuances and crucial decisions, especially from markets as dynamic as the Asian one.
However, caution should not be confused with fear, nor should it be mistakenly thought that trading with China or any other Asian country is synonymous with traps and deception. Are there risks in importing? There are! But it is not the place of origin that determines the risk, but the quality and reliability of the supplier we choose to partner with.
The language barrier and cultural differences are undoubtedly real challenges in this process. These aspects can create complications in communication and sometimes lead to misunderstandings that some may misinterpret as attempts at fraud. However, it is important not to confuse these natural obstacles with malicious acts. Often, what appears to be a warning sign is simply a reflection of these differences. That is why expert advice or even the help of local intermediaries who understand both the language and the cultural subtleties of trading in Asia is essential.
But how can we really identify fraudulent suppliers in this environment? There are certain signs that, if known and well understood, can serve as valuable indicators and prevent us from falling into the hands of a fraudulent supplier who will ruin our import experience.
Lack of references
One of the first (and most important) signs that we may be dealing with an unreliable (or unreliable) supplier is the lack of references. As we have made clear on many occasions, supplier selection is not just a matter of buying a list online, but involves extensive research to find reliable suppliers. A legitimate and reliable supplier should be able to provide evidence of previous successful transactions or references from satisfied customers.
Inconsistencies in reporting
Detecting inconsistencies in the information provided by the supplier is another clear red flag. Discrepancies in contact addresses, company names or even the details of the products offered may be an indication that something is not right and require further investigation into who we are doing business with.
Sudden changes in payment conditions
While this is certainly a sign that quickly generates distrust, it is not always detected in time. An unexpected change in payment terms, especially if this occurs after the purchase process has been initiated, is a cause for concern. If a supplier suddenly asks to change bank account or payment methods without a clear and verifiable reason, we should be quickly suspicious and, at the very least, go the extra mile to make sure we are dealing with the right company.
Evasive or ambiguous answers
It is quite obvious that a business relationship is built on questions (lots of questions!), especially the first few times we deal with a supplier. Beyond seeking answers, asking questions is a great way to find out if the other party is being honest. When there are evasive or ambiguous answers and the necessary clarity is not provided, this may indicate an attempt to hide important information or, in the worst case, a fraudulent scheme.
Cheap… too cheap!
This warning signal requires special attention. We all know that one of the main reasons for importing from China or other Asian countries is price, as production in the area is very competitive and offers great business opportunities. However, we must be wary of offers that seem too good to be true (if we think about it, this is something we tend to be wary of if it happens to us in a purchase of any type of product when we make it at a personal level).
It is necessary to know how to differentiate between reduced prices thanks to good negotiation and those that can lead us to be victims of deception. Extremely low prices or unusually favourable sales conditions can be attractive, but they can also be a strategy to lure unsuspecting buyers into a fraudulent deal.
We help you to find reliable suppliers!
If your company is just starting to import from Asia or you are embarking on a new project with products you are not yet familiar with, the concern about finding the wrong supplier is common and understandable, but we can help you!
As a sourcing partner, one of our most frequent tasks is the search and selection of suppliers. Our extensive network of suppliers, both for the creation of new products and for the localisation of end products in China, makes us uniquely placed to meet a variety of requirements.
In addition, our comprehensive sourcing service goes much further, always adapting to the needs of your company, from rigorous quality controls to logistics management and shipment of the final products to their destination. We integrate ourselves into each project with a commitment that goes beyond that of a simple service provider because we act as a member of the team, sharing a common goal: to maximise the profitability of your (our) business.