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Importation Tips

6 Ways Not to Get Scammed on Alibaba

We all know Alibaba is the Largest B2B online Trading Marketplace in the world. This is a place where you can get suppliers without knowing their Physical store location or factory. Are you looking at venturing into online Importation Business? Where you can buy cheap goods in large and small quantities and make between 200% – 1000% ROI depending on the goods you are importing? Then, you are talking about Alibaba. There are thousands of cheap products you can buy on the trading platform ranging from Electronic Products, Children and Adult wears, Phones and accessories, Sporting goods and so on. Just think of any product you would like to buy and resell for maximum profit, chances are that you will find a supplier or Manufacturer on Alibaba that will offer you the goods at a dirty cheap price.

Although, Alibaba is a fantastic way to find Suppliers, Manufacturers or Distributors, there have been several reports about people getting scammed by unscrupulous Suppliers/Manufacturers that are available on the Trading Platform. Despite the efforts of Alibaba in ensuring that the Marketplace is safe for both the Sellers and the buyers, some dubious elements still found their ways to the marketplace and rip off unsuspecting buyers.

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Having been a regular buyer on Alibaba for over 3 years, Here are my 6 tips not to fall into the hands of scammers available on the site, base on my experience.
Never Buy Brand Names
HP, Adidas shoes, Sony Plasma TV, Canon digital cameras are all available for purchase on the site. However, your purchase of these branded products would result in you getting counterfeits or not getting any product at all. If at all you get the counterfeit of these product shipped to you, it will be very hard to find customers that will buy the products from you, because there would be an obvious difference with your products and its original version available in the market. And if you are able to get a customer, its either you sell it at a very cheap price which might give you little or no profit at all.
Manufacturers like HP, Sony, Samsung, Apple, Nike, Adidas already have strict arrangements with select distributors/wholesalers which I’m not sure you would ever find on Alibaba
Never Purchase a Supplier’s Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) Immediately
The Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ) is the least quantity of a particular product you can order before the supplier can do business with you, You will always see this on the product’s information page. Although, its not every product on Alibaba that has MOQ. But for the products that have MOQ, Its advisable you first order for small units of the product to have a glimpse of the product and detect any irregularities before going ahead to place order for the quoted MOQ. You should only go ahead to order for the MOQ provided you are satisfied with the sample you ordered for.
Although, Many suppliers will tell you that they have a MOQ on their advertised product pages, Most will work with you on small orders in order to build your trust, Most especially when you tell them you are ordering a large quantity but you want to test their product first by ordering a small unit.
Never Believe Gold Suppliers Are Scam Free
There is a general advice that you should only do business with Gold suppliers. Gold Suppliers are those  suppliers that have been verified by Alibaba and are perceived to be safe. However, there have been several resolved and unresolved cases about some Gold Suppliers getting money and not sending the goods to the buyers. This is to say scammers have also found their way to the League of Gold suppliers and nobody can be trusted again. But despite this, Gold suppliers still remain the safest set of suppliers to deal with on Alibaba. To confirm if a Gold Supplier is genuine or not, Just follow these three advices:
  1. Use the Company name they provide to find their company website on Alibaba
  2. If the products offered to you by a supplier is in a different category to those in Alibaba showroom, you may be dealing with a scammer. E.g if a company sells clothes but offer to sell you an iPad
  3. It is advisable to contact suppliers using Alibaba TradeManager to confirm their company details and their genuine email address.
Never Believe too Much in Free Samples
Scammers are known to always use the bait of free samples to gain buyer’s trust and later abscond with your money or send you junks after placing a big order.
Always Use The Escrow Service
Whenever you are buying goods from Alibaba, Always make sure you use their Escrow service in making the payment. Rather than paying the supplier directly, you will pay Alibaba, who will hold the money till you get the goods and confirm your satisfaction. If you are not happy with the product after receiving it or you didn’t receive it at all, you lodge a refund complaint and Alibaba will refund your money.
Always Do Your Due Diligence
Always make sure you carry out some background check on the suppliers you want to transact with. Take your time to research on the Alibaba Forums if there have ever been any complaint about the supplier. check the number of years they have been around and the goods they majorly produce or sell.
Remember you are in this business to maximize profit and not to get ripped off by some unscrupulous elements. Hence, always do your due diligence before transacting with any supplier.

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Since I was a 22-year-old undergraduate in University, I've run a home-based business importing products from China and generating millions of Naira on a yearly basis. Since then, I've made China and its culture not only a key part of my business but also of my personal life.


  1. Nice post. Thanks

  2. Pls can i get ur phone number or email?


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