This week, I received a call from a customer who had tried to find a source on a large, well known, Chinese E-commerce website. This site has thousands if not tens of thousands of vendors offering product of every type for sale. She described her experience as a “nightmare,” and “a joke.” This isn’t the only call I received this week from a customer with a bad experience from the “A” E-Commerce site; another told me they had a Chinese factory who they’d sourced through “A” vanish on them when they discovered that 50% of their shipment was of poor quality.

In the spring of 2011, Businessweek reported that this E-commerce site had 2,600 vendors who were found to have scammed unsuspecting buyers. Buying a product from an unknown vendor know in a country that’s 5000 miles away whose business culture is radically different than ours is a dangerous proposition. You don’t know if you’re talking with a China trading company, a factory… or a guy in an apartment with a PC.

The only way to know for sure if you’re dealing with a legitimate supplier is to either visit it, or have someone on the ground in China who knows the business culture and how to navigate it.

This is a big part of why you should consider working with a sourcing agent such as GTS; our 3 partner companies take the risk out of sourcing from China.