I have been caught out a few times here in China with products that just weren’t up to scratch. I have received goods that were nothing like the samples I thought I was getting. I have been left scratching my head, open mouthed with my jaw slapping at my neck while trying to work out if the factory was playing a trick or they really thought they had got it right.
This is how business in China can make you feel sometimes. The Chinese attitude of near enough is good enough is deeply ingrained in their psyche. As my brother fondly remembers when he was buying underwear “one size fits all”. Even if you will be left pushing lumps from your throat after a day wearing underwear that should have been given to a 10 year old boy. I never realised that it was possible to stretch fake Calvin Klein’s so far to demonstrate sizing without tearing the seams to pieces. A lot of Chinese sellers will say anything or do anything to make a sale. Once the order is placed and the deposit is set do not be surprised what you get or what they try to pass of on you.
I probably shouldn’t be so critical, there are fantastic sellers out there. They are professional and give you exactly what you ordered. But remember whenever you hear the words ” No Problem” or ” I Understand” be aware that usually they are just saying to make you feel secure enough to hand over your cash. Trading companies and factories usually employ English speaking sales staff. Unfortunately there exists a flaw in the sales staff in China who have their jobs based on the fact they can speak fluent English. On paper they can work it out given a dictionary and some time. But the issue arises during trying to explain and confirm things verbally.
Rather than acknowledge that they do not have a clue what you are saying many Chinese sales staff will just nod their head and say “OK”, “No Problem”, ” I Understand”. They are embarrassed to admit they do not have a clue and will try to cover this over by just agreeing with whatever you say. Beware!!!!!!
Once you think you have worked out the seller understands it is important to get a sample exactly the same as what you have ordered. Do not lose this sample because there is a good chance it may be different to what you receive. If you are in China it is better if you are able to personally inspect the goods. If you are dealing direct with a factory then it does pay to check in on production to make sure everything is going smoothly. Make sure that the materials being used are exactly what you agreed to and that everything is going to schedule. A presence is important as lead time can become ridiculously drawn out if the factory thinks they can put it off. Agree to penalties where possible in a supply contract for late delivery.
Once the goods are finally ready (usually late) be ready to inspect the majority of goods pieces by piece if possible. This needs to be done prior to payment of the final balance. Once you have paid for the goods there is little chance of being refunded once you have accepted them by making final payment. If you are dealing through a trading company and are not in direct contact with the supplier then make the trading company present you with all the goods. Never let them show you a few sample cartons because more often than not they will only show you the best possible examples. The cartons holding the faulty goods will always be at the back of the pile or they will hide the bad ones at the bottom under the goods.
Check the finished goods carefully. Many materials are very similar at first glance and it is not until detailed inspection that you will notice subtle differences in the quality of the materials. What often happens in production is that the factory will run out of the material used in production and will order cheaper stock from a different source. There are a lot of companies in every production area in China that can provide quality control services. They are easy to find online. My suggestion is that you find an experienced agent that can take care of this if you cannot be in China to check the goods in person.
Quality control in China is one of the most important things to consider when buying wholesale products for export. Never take the risk everything will be ok even when you have established a long term relationship with someone you believe is a stable supplier.