David vs. Goliath (a.k.a. my former employer) Part 4 cont’d

                                                                                             The Great Fapiao Quest of 2010 cont’d

Just for clarification. A fapiao is like a tax receipt. Basically the Chinese government has some difficulty in getting businesses (especially restaurants since they can open and close so quickly) to pay taxes to the government. So the government created the fapiao/lottery system. You get fapiaos at restaurants that have a scratch off section and you can potentially win money (I’ve yet to win money yet). But how it is a tax payment is- you ask the restaurant for a fapiao and they bring you the equivalent amount to your bill. But when they run out of them, they have to buy more from the government. So they pay their “taxes” by purchasing fapiaos. And the system is overall the same with any business (i.e. a company has to get fapiao sheets from the government).

What my school was wanting was fapiaos from us, so they could in turn get a tax break by saying that they gave us the money as a reimbursement expense. Anyways, the accountant has rejected our receipts which led to me getting A LOT of practice with my minimal Chinese. V and I were livid! The school called the agent explaining things and then in turn the agent talking to us. Turns out, the agent gave the school OUR (V and I) fapiaos. So the school took our fapiaos and told the government that they paid us this money without telling us! So they defrauded V and I of our money and the government! My pre law background kicked into high gear. I told the agent off! Those are our documents, and sometimes police or anybody else who gets curious can audit us at anytime and without fapiaos as proof we can get in serious trouble. I threatened legal action against the school AND the agency for this move. Surprisingly they didn’t budge.

By this time, V and I are exhausted and are nearly ready to quit. BUT we had gone too far, so we went fapiao searching. Fortunately I had enough to cover us both (as V was quite short) and 6 hours later we had our money. Money mind you, which was OWED to us.

So it’s been an interesting few days to say the least. There was lots of crap to deal with even with me giving my old school a year of my services. One has to be careful who they choose to deal with in China. My example is probably quite tame to some of the things that other foreigners have had to deal with. If you’re going to be working or doing business in China, please pick someone reliable. Yes that takes time, effort, and some money, but you won’t regret it. PassageMaker has had some clients for nearly a decade. China is all about the “guangxi” or connections. With PM in your corner, you have more than connection. You have reliability, product confidentiality, rebates (see VAT on our site www.psschina.com) and trust. Trust is something not to be taken for granted here. Trust me; you DON’T want to go through the ringers like I did, ESPECIALLY if you have shipment deadlines or a certain budget to follow.

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