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Thursday, April 12, 2007

How do scammers flourish? How do we stop them?

First off is not a scam!!!! This is a B2B Marketing web site. China Suppliers and Trust Pass Members pay a fee for the ability to ADVERTISE on this site. This is not Ebay its not Taobao. There are no auctions here.

The scam has been around since man realized that there were greedy, not informed, not schooled, other human beings that were looking for something for nothing. We hear about email scams, lottery scams, and business scams. What is the single most thing that entices people to respond to these scams? MONEY - In the form of something for nothing or almost nothing.

Rule of thumb - If its to good to be true, IT IS.

Every product made has a minimum cost to produce. If you don't have a clue about a product or service you want to buy how can you make an informed decision?

EXAMPLE: Apple has been successful for many years. They come out with the iPod it costs X amount of dollars to produce. However to make money they must mass produce the item. They mark up the item 20-30% for sale on their own sites which becomes the MSRP. However, in order to market them around the world they sell them to authorized distributors for a 50% discount on the MSRP mark-up who in turn sells them to retailers or VAR's (Value Added Re-sellers) for a price around 7-12% of MSRP depending on quantities ordered. If you follow this progression of formula's you would find that a retailer would be making about 7-15USD on each 4GB iPOD they sold. Here again they are not making vast amounts of money from selling 1 or 2 but because they are selling hundreds. Also its a clear fact that most of them oney made in electronic's is on the accessories not the actual products themselves. Like replacement headphones docking stations, iPod surround sound.

This process is followed by all companies with Brand names that have no self distribution. Therefore if you see Name Brand items advertised for more than 10-15% off MSRP price you need to be highly suspect of the seller and exhaust all avenues in completing "Due Diligence".


1.) Eliminate the greed in yourself.
2.) Be informed, know the product.
3.) Exhaust the available resources for confirming trade partners.
4.) Never do first time deals via the internet alone.
5.) Get a pre-shippment inspection done by a reputable service.
6.) Don't pay until you recieve the inspection. If they want 30% in advance tell them you need a factory audit first.

Inspections are honored by real suppliers and manufacturer's it also sends them a signal that you are a serious buyer. Lastly understand that you can not buy a branded product from anyone other than the manufacturer or factory authorized distributors and VAR's

New ways to identify scammers. 7 advices

This is how I normally do to identify scammers, with this, you should be ok for quite some time.

First of all, I do Google search with the name of the company and the word scam. Normally, there should be no page with the company listed with the word scam next to them but if you see at least one, maybe it is a scam. No need to have several pages, only one is neccessary.

Secondly, I go on a very good website, who have a list of all website and company listed as scam. They just saved me from sending sample to a scam company.

And thirdly, just ask people around on forums. I saw a mate who've done that.

Fourth steps is that you can verify the address they gave you and find out what's really on this. Go on and enter the address they gave you to find out if the address is really registered as their business address or at least at their names.

Fifth test is to ask them to phone you. Normally scammers won't do this but beware, some also tries to call you. Please be aware that some scammers uses call redirection which is call callback (I'm not sure of that) or they can use fax to email. Using this, they get number that are listed in U.S.A., U.K. or any European country where in reality, they are located elsewhere.

Sixth, always inquire about the mail address. This is a mistake scammers often made. Try to see whether the email address comes from a free mail server. Suppose you get a mail from, be sure this is a scam. The mail address (it truely exist and they tried to scam me) is not from the Cameroon government, but from a free mail server. This is how I caught my first scammer.

Seventh and last advice for the time being; JUST COME AND ASK ME. Yes, you can come and ask me and I'll help you. I've been for so much time victim of scammer, who fortunately failed in their attempts, that I've got some pretty much experience.

This is approximately all I can remember for the time being but again, if you need advices, feel free to contact me.

The problem of suppliers from China?

Everybody is writing about not trusting suppliers from China – what is exactly the problem? I have had good relationship with China suppliers but I am dying to know the details of the problems others experience –I might be able to help.

These are the problems and personal suggestions I have for the Chinese suppliers:

1. Oversupply - too many manufacturers and suppliers of the same product, causing gluts in supply, high competitiion and a downward pressure on price, compromising the quality of the product.

2. Fragmentation - the manufacturers of the various SEZ need cohesiion and unity, to share information with each other, to work in cooperation and compliment each other.

3. Brand names - China has short history of International brand names.

4. Advertisements - China has conservative ideas about propagating and soft selling their products. Spendings on marketing promotion, and working with US models can help to improve this weakness.

5. After-sales service - International warranty coverage and distribution network has rooms to improve.

6. Shipping and logistic systems has yet to realize to world class.

7. IP law and copyright regulations has to be enforced 100%, especially on software piracy and counterfeit brands.

8. Payment terms need to improve. Work with financial institutions and build up two-way trusts. Due deligence by third party has to be available for big transactions.

9. Transparency. Published company profile, lists of directors and shareholders, account report briefs, and track records have to be current, comprehensive and authenticated.

10. Technology and innovation. The interim measure is to work with imported technology, get licensing from brand names and to foster links between industries and technogy institutions and universities in the country. The long term solution is to have Research and Development centres to the different groups.

How can you import authentic NOKIA mobile phones from China?

It's strange that there are many Chinese Gold or Trustpass at members claiming that they can export authentic NOKIA mobile phones in China. I called the sole/exclusive NOKIA manufacturer and distributor in China ( free call: 4008800123 ) and I was told that authentic NOKIA are not allowed to export to other countries at low prices. IN this case, how can you import real NOKIA from China with low prices? There must be something wrong. As far as I know, there are some small trading companies in Shenzhen, Guangzhou or Beijing processing some used NOKIA or second-hand Nokia series and labelled again and resell to other countries as brand-new NOKIA. Please be careful, everybody. You have to know where their factory is located exactly in China when you import such branded products from China, of couse, a Pre-shipment Inspection or a Factory Inspection is very necessary when your order is large enough.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Shenzhen Pengyuan Electronics Co., Ltd.

Shenzhen Pengyuan Electronics Co., Ltd.

Whilst not technically a scam as this company did eventually ship the
ordered product to us, I am posting this message as a warning for anyone
buying products from this company.

This company, although assuring us that they were a genuine quality
manufacturer, CE ISO etc and of course are trustpass & gold members, shipped
memory cards to us that were re-blown cards repackaged as Kingston Sandisk

They send me the different kind of card from what I ordered, the worst thing
is they sent me the VERY POOR QUALITY, HALF CAPACITY products...The 1gb
cards were actually 512mb, the 2gb were 1gb and even one batch of supposed
Sandisk 2GB SD/CF cards were actually 512mb. This of course was easy to spot
as they had simply blacked out the printing underneath which can be easily
read through the new printing.

I was trying to contact the sales person (Arnold), he blocked my messenger
and trade manager. I called to their company in China, even the boss name
(Coco Xiao) is very rude. First she told me that Arnold is working in the
other company, so there nothing she can do, how could she say that as that
her company. After that, I called again, this time the other sales person
(Joey) said Arnold is not working there.

After that Joey ask me to return back her items for exchange, I sent back
some of them, but after 1 month later I received the cards back, the cards
she sent back to me are exactly same with the card I sent to her, she only
change the sticker, the card is not working, some have half capacity, all I
can say is VERY POOR quality products. I sent the card back to them and
since then they just ignored me and never sent back the item back to me.
Because of they products, all my customer complaint and ruined my company

Please be advised and I would strongly recommend you to avoid this supplier.

Contact Information
Company Name: Shenzhen Pengyuan Electronics Co., Ltd.
Contact Person: Coco Xiao
Address: Room 18F, jiahui Bldg., huming Road, Futian, Shenzhen City,
Guangdong Province. China
Zip: 518000
Telephone: 86-755-25322591
Mobile Phone: 86-13008891210
Fax: 86-755-25322594

3 out of 3 Gold / Trust Pass Members fail site Inspection

Last week I paid several factory visitations to some Shenzhen-based companies in China upon request of some foreign buyers.

All the three companies are Gold member or Trust pass members in Shenzhen, who all claimed that they were real manufacturers of electronics in China. I’m sure most of the foreign businessmen will be astonished at the result of my visitation in Shenzhen; here is the basic information from my visitation report:

Company One:
Declined my visitation on the pretext of goods shortage, but they promised to receive us before our departure to Shenzhen.

Company Two:
Received us at an office in a Hotel, there are 3 salespersons working in the office. We cannot even find a Logo on their company in the office and on the door. They are checked out to be a small offshore trading company in China.

Company Three:
This is the best one among the three. They are a registered small trading company in China, however, they do not have their own right to export ( I mean they do not have the Certificate of Import & Export issued by local government authorities ), they normally export their goods via Freight Forwarders, for which the buyer may bear some risks.

They registered only on 2005.08.26; however, they claimed themselves they registered in 1999 online. They do not have any factories at all. They cannot show me any quality control measures and after sale services in written forms; they cannot even show me a formal sales contract!!

My suggestion:

You’d better deal with larger trading companies or manufacturers directly for sake of better quality control in China. Lot of trading companies disguise to be a real manufacturer in China, so a factory visitation or inspection is very necessary for a large order in China! A factory visitation can tell you everything about the supplier and it’s one of the best way to verify your Chinese supplier!

What can a factory visitation performed by a local bring you?
As we all know, there are many false things on the web, which perplex us often when we are going to make a decision. The case is also true with buyers who are going to buy from oversea suppliers. Here I bet a factory visitation (better by a local person) is a second-to-none solution.

1.Genuine or False?
The local person can go and check the company (the potential seller) and all its factory registration information to see if it’s a genuine and serious enterprise. This is the basic thing that any buyer has to do before any sincere cooperation!

2.Production Competence (Throughput)?
The visitor can inquire about the factory’s producing ability (also known as throughput) with the director of Production Department. How much can they produce in a month or a quarter? By learning their production competence, the buyer can avoid the risk of a delayed delivery to some extent.

3.Quality Control?
The visitor can try to get to know the factory’s quality control system with the help from the director of Quality Control Department. He can also get to know more by inspecting their assembly lines or work shops. Good quality is always one of the crucial things that buyers are always pursuing.

4.After-sale Service?
After-sale service is also important for buyers. Here the visitor or inspector can make sure if the factory can offer good and effective after-sale services and also confirm if they can include after-sale services as one clause in the contract? After-sale services can keep you free from some troubles.

5.Export License?
Some suppliers do not really have export license. Here the visitor can check the supplier’s registration information with the local customs to see if it can really export directly to the buyer’s country. This is also one of the factors that can free you from being scammed. Other qualifications of the supplier can also be checked out by a local expert in this field in China.

Thank you for your attention, good luck, everybody!

China Economic Review - Daily Briefs