A big China sourcing scam to watch out for!

A big China sourcing scam to watch out for

My friend Renaud Anjoran of the Quality Inspection Blog (which is fabulous, you should subscribe if you have not already done so) posted an instant classic today. Just when I think the chutzpah and sleaziness of Chinese trading companies can’t get any worse, it does. Forgive me for quoting at length:

My friend Gaetan, from Eyo Green Alliance, told me about an incredible story. I mean, incredible to people who don’t know the Chinese business environment. He gave me some photos as illustrations, and he blurred them to avoid any dispute.

Last month he scheduled two factory visits over the same day, in the city of Shenzhen (between Hong Kong and Guangzhou). He was looking for a good manufacturer of LED lamps.

The factory he saw in the morning seemed to have a storage problem — they even placed some cartons in the reception area.

In the afternoon, Gaetan noticed he was driven to the exact same building. It was the same place!

Below is a photo of the same reception area. You will notice two things:

  • The cartons had disappeared, and revealed a large logo.
  • The company name on the wall was different.

Oh, and also… The prices he was quoted in the afternoon were 25% lower than in the morning!


Could he have spotted it before the visits? No. The company names were different, and one address referred to the area while the other gave a street address.

Read the whole thing. I have thankfully not had anything so dramatic happen to me, but this is an example of why it pays to do your homework and have an agent on the ground. If this kind of thing happens to experienced buyers, what makes you think you can avoid such situations buying online from the USA?