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alibaba.com - global trade scam
China = Fake
Please read this post from ALIBABA website, one of the victim of Alibaba Manufacturer Directory - Suppliers, Manufacturers, Exporters & Importers
I've been a victim of 3 'gold suppliers' on Alibaba (I've lost over $10000), so here is what I advise all of you before purchasing ANY APPLE product from any Chinese supplier.
The best thing I can say is before dealing with any supplier is to do a quick check on Alibaba forums and google on their trading name. If their name, and the words 'scam' or 'fraud' are shown on the same line then don't do business with them!
*General Apple Products:
Apple manufactures their own products in China under their roof of management. Unlike most other computer brands, there is no such thing as an ODM or OEM Apple product. Only authorized distributors sell Apple products, and you normally have to buy 25+ units for a close-to-retail price. Apple only give retailers about 5% -15% profit margin, some of the lowest in the electronic device industry. They do it to prevent retailers selling below MSRP, and to cover their outrageous advertising costs. Therefore if you see a supplier sell a $2500 Macbook for $800, or even $1500, its almost definately a scam or a fake product (China is the motherland of fakes right?).
*Apple products are made in China, so they should be cheaper in China?:
Yes, and NO! Although Apple products are made in China, virtually all of them are exported, because about 99.9999995% of Chinese people can't afford them. Don't think that because a supplier is in China, he can buy them cheap there and ship it to you. Apple products in China cost almost just as much in the USA, UK, AU, JP, etc, simply to prevent people from buying it retail in China and selling overseas. In reality, a small Chinese supplier has the same chances of getting wholesale apple products than you do at your country! You must remember that Chinese factories only get about 10% of the profit from Apple products, which is why China will always remain a very poor (per capita) manufacturing country. Why do you think Apple hasn't really made many Apple Stores in China like they do in the US?
*Payment - What to NOT do:
Most suppliers will ask for Western Union, MoneyGram or T/T. Using any of these methods is basically like stashing your money under a rock (W/U transfer), and then telling your 'supplier' where the rock is (MTCN code). Once the money is taken, you can't reverse it, and almost anyone can take it, especially in China. Western Union STRESSES that you should only use their service to send money to people/companies you KNOW are reliable. The above methods are only ways to safely transport money from point A to B, but the receiver himself might not to be safe. The last thing you want to do is send money to a ching chong Chinaman that you don't know and is untraceable - Chinese people look so similar, hundreds of thousands have the same name, and MILLIONS have similar names (first and last name combined). China is really like a seperate planet on its own!
*Payment - What you should do:
Always (ALWAYS!) use a method of payment that is trackable, and reversible. Paypal is better for small purchases since you can issue a chargeback if you get scammed and don't get your money back via Paypal dispute. Note that chargebacks are normally for credit card payments (not debit card) via paypal. The BEST (by far) way to pay is via Escrow, since the seller is paid only if your satisfied. Letter of Credit (or 'Documentary of Credit' in the UK) is good, but sometimes the seller might send 'dummy' products to trigger a premature payment from your sending bank.
* Alibaba, and Chinese Government Help:
Honestly, what do you think they can do to help you? If you've just sent $10K to a chinese supplier who has run away with your money then thats it! If you've sent payment by B/T, W/U, M/G, T/T, etc then technically there is NO trace of the funds, nor any deal you made! Remember that many Chinese people have the same name, and many of them look the same, so tracking them down is more like finding a sand grain in a hay stack rather than just a needle.
*Chinese business registrations, identity:
In China, things like registration numbers, licenses, zip/postcodes, ID's, etc are not like everywhere else. NOTHING is definately real or moderated. Just because a company is registered, doesn't mean its safe - in China you can get away with almost anything! Many people share the same ID's name, etc, since they look so similar and don't make enough money to have individual credit accounts. To give you an image, think of the medieval ages with Chinese people - that is pretty much how it is!
Always remember that advertisers that promote international business are the sellers, NOT the buyers. Although this may not be very PC, I must say that you have to be very careful dealing with ANY Chinese company as most of them will cut your throat to make a quick buck, and Chinese regulations are very bad! I've lost thousands, and when I get help all they do is just listen but don't actually do anything - much like the police when your house gets robbed (lol). Also, you should really visit a supplier when making big purchases, and perhaps purchase there and then.
Unfortunately on Alibaba, 19 out of 20 Apple suppliers that I've contacted are scammers. Trust me... the 'gold supplier' mark means nothing, because scammers tend to sell lots of Chinese [email protected]
to cover up their illegal activities. On Alibaba, selling 10000 Chinaman hats can cover up 1000 fraudulent Macbook sales. As long as Alibaba can make money of a supplier, they will give the 'gold supplier' mark knowing that the supplier is a fraud. Personally I can see a serious imminent lawsuit heading up Alibaba Group's rear end.
I've been to China and everything is so (so, so, so!) risky and fake. You even have to ask the bartenders to open the bottle in front of you so you know your drink is not fake and that he isn't diluting your drink! I was suprised when my Chinese friends in China were so serious about it. Think about it, if Chinese people are so proud of their country, then why do so many of them risk their lives to get out of it?