Purchasing goods and services online is often an attractive option. You can access a global talent-pool of suppliers and receive goods much faster than traditional methods of import. But with an anonymous transaction, you don’t get the same customer protections you get with a more traditional seller. For example, how can you tell whether an Alibaba supplier is legitimate?
Using Alibaba’s Security System
- Alibaba has a number of checks in place to protect buyers from potential scams. Before you decide to purchase from a supplier, Alibaba suggests the following security checks:
- Check the supplier’s trade history and how long they’ve been on the platform.
- Check for authentication: Any supplier that has received authentication from Alibaba has passed a rigorous business evaluation.
- Check the posts on the Alibaba forums: If other buyers have had a positive experience with a supplier, they are likely to have left positive reviews and recommendations.
- Read customer feedback: All verified suppliers on Alibaba have customer feedback they can refer you to.
- Request a product sample: You should request that the supplier sends you a sample product before you decide to purchase in bulk.
Considering Automatic Checks
Third-party companies, such as D&B Hoovers, are now providing sellers with services that automatically verify whether an Alibaba supplier is legitimate. These services can quickly scout out fraudulent suppliers, making it easier to trust the company you are buying from. In addition to verifying whether a supplier is authentic, these services also provide the supplier with feedback on their reputation.
Questions to Ask
When considering an Alibaba supplier, there are a few questions you should ask yourself:
- Is this supplier offering a product that seems too good to be true?
- Are there any discrepancies between the seller’s ratings and the product they are offering?
- Can I find any reviews of the supplier online?
- Does the supplier accept secure payment methods?
- Does the supplier have any other contacts that I can speak to, such as an email address?
By taking these simple steps, you can protect yourself from fraudulent suppliers and make sure your online transactions go smoothly.
What measures can I take to verify an Alibaba supplier?
- Check the supplier’s profile on Alibaba.com and examine the details it provides. Ask questions about their background and capabilities and follow-up with additional research.
- Ask the supplier to provide sample products and verify quality control information.
- Verify that their company is registered with the appropriate local government authorities.
- Request to view their business license, contract and invoice.
- Contact references provided by the supplier and ask former customers questions about the quality of the products they received and the reliability of the supplier.
- Pay attention to the payment terms and make sure they’re legitimate.
- Consider using escrow services or third-party verification services to protect your investments.
What documents should I request from an Alibaba supplier to ensure legitimate business?
- Proof of legitimate business registration and incorporation documents
- Verification that the supplier has all necessary government permits and licenses
- Financial statements for the supplier or the parent company
- Photos or videos of their factory and/or production line
- Documentation of the supplier’s quality control processes
- Certificates of compliance from any third-party auditing bodies
- Copy of the supplier’s export permit form
- Manufacturer’s certification or statement of authenticity
- Signed confidentiality agreement
- References from buyers that have done business with the supplier .
What documents should I require from my supplier to ensure authenticity on Alibaba?
- Trade License: This should include the supplier’s business name and address, as well as contact information.
- Business Registration Certificate: This document provided by local government certifies the supplier’s existence and shows that the business is legally allowed to operate and trade.
- Quality Certificates: Ask for quality certificates from international inspection agencies such as SGS, BV, and TUV. These certificates indicate that the products meet certain quality standards.
- Official Invoice: Request an official invoice with details of the purchase including the products being purchased, the quantity, and pricing.
- Evidence of Financial Health: Ask for financial documents such as bank statements that can help you assess the supplier’s financial health.
- Copies of Relevant Contracts: Make sure you request copies of any relevant contracts, such as those governing intellectual property rights and the supplier’s non-disclosure agreement.
What kind of document is an authenticity certificate?
An authenticity certificate is a type of legal document that confirms the genuineness of an item such as artwork, jewelry, antiques, and collectibles. The certificate is issued by an expert to authenticate an item’s origin and suspected value.
To be on the safe side, you may need to hire a trusted agent in China to verify the quality of your Alibaba order on your behalf before it is shipped.