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Updated: Aug 6, 2022

The biggest marketplace for sourcing B2B products is Alibaba. New purchasers do, however, frequently worry about safety while making purchases. "Is Alibaba trustworthy?" Some even inquire as to whether a list of Alibaba scammers exists. According to our investigation, there is apparently no such list.

It can be challenging managing the many risks of international imports without the help of a sourcing company. You should take into account the 5 risks listed below while importing in 2022 when using Alibaba and purchasing directly from suppliers.

1. Excellent samples, poor quality goods

Some suppliers are outperforming everyone in the competition, but not in a good way. They will provide you the best sample, but if you place a bulk order, they will deliver you the lowest-quality products.

In reality, it may happen with any kind of commodity, including when you buy a bunch of shoes or clothes. Receiving the incorrect sizes, colors, or even the goods itself is quite usual in this case.


Another issue is that some sellers might not even send you samples. As a consumer, you may be concerned about the quality of the goods you will purchase. However, they force you to accept large orders, which is one of the primary characteristics of Alibaba scammers.

2. Raising costs after quoting

The products on Alibaba are very cheaply priced to draw customers; suppliers frequently do this to increase foot traffic to their storefronts. Importers may fall into this kind of "clickbait" trap.

The products on Alibaba are very cheaply priced to draw customers; suppliers frequently do this to increase foot traffic to their storefronts. Importers may fall into this kind of "clickbait" trap.

Due to the fact that Alibaba is a wholesale marketplace, you may only obtain an exact pricing after sending a quantity inquiry. Some sellers may even offer you this cheap price in exchange for your placing an order. They will give you a higher quotation once you have confirmed all of the packaging, sample, and other details. So if you are going to go ahead with the order, you end up paying more than you were first quoted.


3. Payment fraud

There are numerous ways that buyers can be scammed during the payment process.

First, rather of requesting for advance payments from the business account, ask a payment to someone else's account. If you are in communication with a salesman, he or she can ask you to transfer funds to their personal account or change the bank information on the proforma invoice. It could even be the company owner's personal account. You may receive the product on occasion, but there is no guarantee of doing that for any special reason.

It's not a good sign either if they only accept payments through Western Union or MoneyGram. Western Union only allows sending money to individuals, not to business license owners.

Another way is when a supplier's email account is hacked, and you receive a fresh purchase order with slightly changed bank information. In reality, a hacker is to blame rather than the supplier. Because the vendor has a large number of emails in their accounts and the customers agree to send the money online.

Your finance staff will wire the funds to the fraudster's account if they fail to double-check the bank account information.

As you can see, fraudsters can be anyone, from low-level workers with hatreds to those in search of a huge payout. The money might be moved anywhere, including to China, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, and Eastern Europe.

4. Fake Certification

Due to modifications in the criteria for accrediting certificate holders, the certification topic has recently gained a lot of importance. Obtaining a batch or factory certificate can cost the lion's share of the order value. Therefore, working with a supplier who has the right certificate will help save a lot. If the supplier claims to have the required certificate, it is necessary to check its authenticity. Frequently, suppliers will Photoshop certificates or promise to provide them after the order is placed. This will cause problems with customs clearance or placing the goods on local marketplaces.

5. “Run Forest, run!”

This is typically done by new providers who have been in operation for less than a year. On Alibaba, anyone who pays the annual membership fee can become a supplier.

After a year, some companies find it really hard to stay in business, so they scam as many customers as they can in a short period of time before disappearing.

6. “Gold Supplier”

Never tell a supplier is trustworthy simply by the “verified” icon and high ratings. If so, you’re likely to fall for scams. Some suppliers buy the “verified” icon at a high price to rip you off by delivering poor-quality products or even nothing.

Anyone can become an Alibaba Gold seller by paying around $10,000 a year additionaly to “verified” labes for $4,000 a year. Alibaba supplier ranking system is more based on expensive ad rate, different from Google. On the other hand, Alibaba verified supplier is essentially a paid membership, having nothing to do with the supplier’s reliability.

Moreover, there is only a few free members there without paying annual fees, others are basically verified, mostly based only on business license and rented office.

“Gold supplier” is just a kind of marketing expense to get more traffic, while it is a part of the income for Alibaba.

To sum up, the best method to reduce the risks associated with importing directly from suppliers or through Alibaba is to work with a reputable sourcing firm that specializes in selecting the proper manufacturers and suppliers for your goods.

You can get in touch with us if you want to source any products in China. Sourceware has vast experience assisting customers from around the world to buy and export goods from China at reasonable prices.

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