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As I am on a tight budget, how can I verify the honesty of laptop, notebook and desktop computer suppliers without traveling to China?

Posted: 2011-12-13

Full Question

I saw some companies online that wrote me and I did reply, but I need to confirm that they are honest. I do not have the money to travel to China, but I need to import some things to sell here in Nigeria. Please, I need your advice. I'm into laptop, notebook and desktop computers.


The sad reality for small buyers is that it is the same amount of project work to find and manage the suppliers in China if you order 10 or 10,000 items. So it is not realistic that you will be able to go factory direct with a small order. The blog post "Too small to go factory direct?" explains why.

You will have better luck if you explore these possible options:

a.  Nigerian-based importer and distributor. They have the volume to go factory direct to China and can pass on the savings to you. In other words, they can give you a better price than you could find on your own.
b.  China/Hong Kong- based trading company. Same logic as above but shipping from Asia. So most likely you will be dealing with some kind of intermediary. But regardless if a manufacturer or trading company, you still need to verify they are legit and do QC.

Here are a few ideas to help you avoid scams.

•  Be clear with the seller that you will be doing an inspection of the goods before the goods ship out and BEFORE you pay the seller! As you say you don't have enough money to check the good in person, the good news is there are third-party inspection agents like who can visit the supplier for you for just a few hundred US dollars. If you need an introduction, let me know and I will be happy to introduce a reputable inspection agent.
•  Ask for references. Talk to some of their customers to get a feel if the supplier is legit.

BTW, lots of buyers are looking to get a factory direct purchase with famous computer brands. Check out this blog post (Genuine products from China?) if you want to learn why such a purchase if very unlikely to happen and why buyers of these goods are often targeted by scams!

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