Chapter 4: How to Verify Suppliers to prevent a Scammer
Verifying suppliers is the essential step before you place an order. Of course, Alibaba has its verification on suppliers. However, when you’re new to using Alibaba.com, it will take you a lot of energy to sourcing the right one through thousands of suppliers.
Once you are familiar with the 15 tips or the following step, you will save tons of time and keep you from Scammer.
4.1 Choose Golden Suppliers
All Gold Suppliers in China must pass Alibaba Onsite Check while those from other countries and regions must pass Alibaba’s A&V Check. Alibaba’s supplier verification service short for A&V check, which means suppliers need to spend a significant expense on it(29,800RMB per year, around 4,500 USD in 2021).
Gold Supplier can be quite the right choice. Simultaneously, a scammer won’t spend so much on this to scam you. As a result, most of them use a free account. In that case, if you choose the Golden supplier for more than three years, 99.9% of you are not dealing with a scammer.
Stick with Gold Supplier is the Gold rule to prevent from a scammer, the number of years a member has been a Gold Supplier on Alibaba.com is displayed along with the logo and updated every year, e.g. or , so the number means how many years they have dedicated in their niche.
Of course, the Gold Supplier didn’t mean 100% safe. Sometimes the scammer acquired or rent a Gold Supplier account from who quite business. If the supplier offers a fantastic offer or Brande products and uses unsecured payment terms asking for upfront payment, in high probability, they are cheaters, we’ll go through more in the following sections.
In this case, you need to pay great attention to supplier’s profiles, especially the company’s location. Sometimes, you may find some Chinese suppliers‘ accounts with a location in the US or Canada. Or some companies’ names in one city during their address in another.
The below photo shows there is a lot of Alibaba Gold supplier for sell or rent.
4.2 Choose Verified Suppliers
You can choose the Verified Supplier when you search for specific products. Currently, almost half of the Golden Supplier is Verified. If your niche is popular, then you can stick on trade with a verified Supplier. They’ll convince you for sure.
“Verified Supplier” means the seller is assessed, certified, or inspected by certain groups, like SGS, TÜV Rheinland, etc. They check things like below:
- Basic profile
- Company overview
- R&D capabilities
- Production capabilities
- Quality control capabilities
- After-sales service capabilities
The below is the comparison of the Golden Supplier and Verified Supplier:
On the picture, you’ll find that the verified Supplier paid the Golden Supplier membership annual fee and spent a lot of time and money on photos, videos, certificates, and all the trust issues. When you research suppliers, put it on the filter will find the well-organized Supplier more straightforward. You can quickly figure out the scammer and the bad suppliers.
4.3 Choose Trade Assurance
“Trade Assurance“ means the supplier supports this free service that protects your orders from payment to delivery. Suppose either Product Quality or Ship Date varies from what you and the supplier had agreed to in the Trade Assurance online order. In that case, Alibaba will help you reach a satisfactory outcome, including getting your money back.
Nowadays, most of the supplier they support Trade Assurance, that means Multiple payment methods are supported, including Pay Later, a financing option for qualified U.S. buyers, so you have the flexibility in choosing how to pay.
Keep in mind; you should place the order and pay through Alibaba, then your order will be covered. Alibaba will provide on-time shipment and quality protection when you put your mouse on the logo Trade Assurance, show’s amount of the supplier Assurance limit. The higher, the better.
4.4 Check Review and Rating
Review and rating of the supplier can show whether this supplier is trustworthy. Its rating shows how other buyers comments on this seller, how they respond to buyers, and how many transactions these products have made. And it will give you a supplier index, like the star-rating. A five-star supplier must be an ideal one to work with.
But it’s all depends on your needs for the products and suppliers. The product review shows what people say about the product, whether there is a problem with it, and how the seller offers it. And you can use all this additional information to your advantage. The ratings and reviews system will be a useful tool for buyers.
4.5 Check Supplier Online Performance Index
Supplier Online Performance Index(SOPI) is a data-driven index that presents suppliers’ business performance on Alibaba.com. Their performance is measured in terms of presentation quality, product popularity, transaction volume, and service quality, and the lowest score of the above four indicators is taken as the SOPI.
Furthermore, the SOPI can be classified into six levels (0-5), with five as the highest. Level-0 suppliers are represented by a grey diamond icon, while the rest have corresponding diamond indicators in orange.
Actually, the SOPI is the upgrade of Transaction History and other metrics, and it’s more accurate to measure the performance of the supplier. Though not all the orders go through online, it shows that have high SOPI is a more established supplier.
4.6 Check the Company Profile
Checking the companies profile helps to secure your purchasing. You can know better about its trade capacity, production capacity, and R&D capacity. And in its profile page, you may find whether this supplier has passed the Supplier Assessment.
A Supplier Assessment basically means that a third party has checked out the company and its factory. A supplier with such an assessment is much more reliable than those who haven’t.
4.7 Manufacturers VS Traders
Just check the Business Type under the company overview page; it will show Manufacturer, Trading Company, or both. Nowadays, people automatically think that the manufacturer is competitive at pricing while a trader is better at dealing with importing from China. It’s totally untrue.
We have many cases a manufacturer quotes a higher price with a higher MOQ, and a trading company quotes a lower price with a low MOQ. So don’t only sticky on the manufacturer. Just take more measurements on other metrics to choose the right one to deal with.
4.8 Manufacturer Certificates
Many suppliers show their certificates of factory or products (CE, ISO, SGS, FDA, etc.). That’s good proof you are choosing a genuine supplier. And be aware that before you import from China, you should be careful with the certificates, it’s better to hire a broker agent or ask the custom what kind of certificates a required when you do custom clearance.
Warning! Some suppliers use fake certificates and some illegal organization. During the Covid 19, a lot of buyers suffering from fake certificates when they import surgical masks or KN95 masks from China. The best way to avoid it is to check the organization legit and then check the certificate. For, eg. The FDA certification verification, it’s simple as it has one single official website: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfRL/rl.cfm
4.9 Check Manufacturer Video
If there is a video on the company profile page, take a good look. Alibaba usually generates it with the help of the supplier. The supplier only needs to provide some video materials and photos. While checking the video, pay attention to the LOGO, whether the office and the manufacturer match, and whether the product brand on the production line is the right one on their website.
A trading company‘s video may not have a production workshop, or a production workshop is only part of it. It is not as confident as a real factory to provide plenty of photos and videos. Of course, not all companies with production workshop videos are manufacturers because some trading companies can also borrow these resources. So while choosing Alibaba’s suppliers, you usually cannot just focus on one or two signs as mentioned above. Using SOPI data-driven symbols may be more accurate.
4.10 Check Company website
The supplier knows that a company website is essential for their business. Still, most Chinese suppliers’ websites are fundamental, even didn’t use the secure connection as in the pictures above, very few of them have a fashion website and even live chat. You can use domain tools to check the domain information to check how long they were hosting this website.
If you can not find their website on the Alibaba page, you can search their full company name on Google, you’ll find their website, or sometimes you can see their store on Global-sources, Made-in-China, and Aliexpress, etc. Those will also help you to learn more about this supplier.
4.11 Check trade shows
Check the Additional information on the Alibaba profile page. Obviously, the Scammers did not attend any trade shows, just run short term. If you find the trade shows listed for the future date or just a few months ago, it’s a good sign that you are dealing with a reputable supplier.
However, you should move one step ahead; you can easily verify this information on the trade shows Official website. Like in China, the most popular trade show is Canton fair and East China fair. But for 2020 and 2021, they start an online trade show due to the Covid 19.
4.12 Secure payment
If the suppliers only accept T/T payment, Western Union and MoneyGram, STOP! Any payment that goes offline without any protection would be very risky unless you are familiar with that supplier or know them for years. Payment is quite a big issue in the whole process of importing from China. And we have other articles talking about payment where you can refer to.
Methods on How to Send Money to China
Is it still SAFE to send money to China?
If just for sample orders, we recommend Alipay, PayPal. Also, you can use Western Union or TransferWise to save time.
4.13 Check Qinxin scores
That’s the newest trick to prevent disaster. Qinxinbao is a Chinese reputation verification system, and You can find out if they are bankrupt, have committed a crime, have a record of administrative penalty, etc.
Just download the Factory inspection reports, and on the top, you’ll see the company name in Chinese as above in the picture and then search it on the Qinxinbao website. You’ll get the results like the below, the reputation scores, the company’s risk, its tax record, and any uncommon changes. And if you can not use it properly, ask your Chinese friends or an agent to help you. I’m sure you never want to deal with a supplier who bankrupts.
4.14 Check Bank details
Most suppliers on Alibaba will accept these payment methods Alipay, PayPal and credit cards, and Trade Assurance. If you send by T/T payment, always double-check the company name, address, and bank info. It should be the same as on the Alibaba profile page. Never send money to a personal or a boss’s account.
Suppliers do have sister companies receive money. In that case, you should ask questions or use Qinxinbao to figure it out.