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Have I Been A Bit of a Knob!!!?

Discussion in 'BlackHat Lounge' started by TopManMe, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    I'm interested in expanding my ebay business. So I decided to check out alibaba.com, and it wasn't long before I found a 'Gold Registered' Seller. I downloaded their Trade Manager chat thing and I started merrily communicating with this guy called Mr. Liu from China.

    The initial items I was interested in, Kaspersky Internet Security 2010, they no longer had in stock. After further questions from me and helpful responses from him I requested a .doc file of their other software and their DVD Boxsets.

    Let me say right now straight off the bat, one of my first questions was whether their stock was originals or copies. And to his credit, he immediately and honestly replied they were indeed copies. Very good ones in fact. The DVDs are indistinguishable from the originals, carry English writing and play on any region DVD player. The software he said are obviously copies because the packaging is different.

    Jump forward two days (yesterday about this time)...

    I've done my research on ebay, identified four DVD boxsets with a significant profit margin. So I decided to get back in contact with Mr Liu and asked for four individual units of each DVD boxset to act as samples. For me to give it the once over and check that all is present and correct, and to discover after selling and despatching future customers are happy with their brand new DVD Boxset bargain and respond with positive feedback.

    If all went well then I assured Mr Liu that we would be interested in arranging a dropshipping agreement. Mr Liu expounded on the professionalism of ESM (Chinese Postal Service), explaining how post sent by ESM does not have a Chinese Postmark therefore my customers will have no idea their lovely DVD BoxSets came from China.

    I was sold on the DVDs and the future dropshipping idea. Gift Horse, Mouth etc.

    I sent a payment of $220 via paypal to their paypal address stating the payment was for goods.

    Mr Liu reassured me that the goods would be despatched tomorrow (today) and he would send me an email with a .doc invoice.

    I just contacted Mr Liu about an hour ago using their Trade Manager Chat Thing, and immediately replied that he had to go out, like right now, the goods will be despatched in a few hours, sorry, very sorry but I have to go, yep right now!!!

    I've just got a bad feeling about all this. I've never dealt with non-uk distributors and wholesalers before. I watched a video recently in which Saj P was waxing lyrical how great ebay and alibaba.com, and how by combining the both in your business you can possibly become what many other Ebay traders have become - internet millionaires.

    I was sold!!! So were his audience, when he was considering stopping his presentation they were almost begging him to continue.

    After this long stream of consciousness (forgive me but I just wanted to share the whole story) if the goods do not arrive and I receive no invoice am I protected by paypal? Can I get my money back from paypal if these guys try and rip me off?

    Does the fact I paid them via email rather than from a website affect my rights to a refund in any way from paypal?

    I may be worrying about nothing here but due to my need to grow my ebay business I've hastily (possibly) entered into a transaction with someone I don't know and wouldn't even recognise if he was standing right next to me at a bus stop!

    I'm totally out of my comfort zone at the moment.

    Can anyone share any advice, thoughts or personal experiences of dealing with far eastern traders on alibaba.com.

    Thanks guys.
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  2. the_demon

    the_demon Jr. Executive VIP

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    Personally, I think your being a bit paranoid. I would wait however many days you expect the shipment to arrive from china, inspect it and if good continue the business, start small and grow just to be on the safe side of things.

    Typically with PayPal you have 45 days to dispute a transaction and PayPal typically sides with the Buyer.

    If the goods do not arrive then simply tell PayPal the sellers goods never arrived and you should get a refund.

    For future reference ask PayPal your questions directly or read up on the website your likely to find all the answers to how they handle situations by just making a phone call.

    - Best of luck!

    the_demon
     
  3. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    You're probably right I am being a bit paranoid.

    What prompted this was how keen Mr. Liu ws to end the conversation before it had even started. All I said was Hello Mr Liu. The guy could have been a bit more professional, made me feel at ease - I am a new customer after all.

    So do I just have to sit tight on clenched knuckles and fraught fingers and simply wait for the goods?
     
  4. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    Anyone like to contribute to this thread.
     
  5. Jonezyuk

    Jonezyuk BANNED BANNED

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    Isnt there some sort of process you can do on paypal were they can hold the payment until your happy with your services/good etc, like some do on ebay, i was speaking to a lad who had sold ads on his forum for the year for $100 and he was saying that the money was on hold, then when he contacted the buyer, she had said she was waiting until her ads were all set up then she would release the money.
     
  6. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    There may well be but unfortunately it's a bit late now. I've paid the money to the guy, I've paid the money without any 'hold'.

    Besides they said they would not despatch the goods until full payment from paypal was received.
     
  7. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    There's a lot of people doing it though, as there are selling copied software. I know this because of the kind of cheap and crazy prices this stuff goes for.

    I sell some software at the moment, and I buy the software from the brand's leading and main distributor. I've been doing it for several months with much success. However, recently there have been other vendors selling the very same software for the same price that I'm bying the software in for. These vendors have been ebay traders for years with five-figure feedback.

    This software they are sourcing has to be illegal!!!???

    They haven't been slapped / pounded by ebay. I think as long as the copies are good no-one will be the wiser. The key here is to source shit-hot copies. Hopefully I've done that - providing they arrive!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2009
  8. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    Anybody else like to add their two cents on their experiences of buying from China and alibaba.com.
     
  9. Blueprint

    Blueprint Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    I sold a ton of stuff on ebay from Chinese traders, it went well and I made 1000's, however paypal are idiots and actually contacted me asking what it was I was buying from china as they saw my buying a few hundred dollars of stuff from china and then taking a few 1000 on ebay - so actually phoned me and asked me what i was doing! I sold all the stock and began asking for cheque only on ebay which slowed business...

    Anyway ur situation, I was lucky never been done over I sent $50 then $100 and so on and so up, u get used to the risks - I even used moneybookers - your relativity safe with paypal too if they try and scam you, however Paypal may be more of a pain to you in this situation! They'll be more bothered if they knew it was knocked off goods you're using their service to buy through... and give you a ton of shit!

    Hope it all works out and i expect it's just cold feet ;) Good luck!
     
  10. Blueprint

    Blueprint Jr. VIP Jr. VIP Premium Member

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    Just to let you know, they mark it as a "gift" to avoid customs charge, just like when you send someone money on Paypal (it's supposed to take less off) but like you said, doesn't stop customs taking a look if they like...
     
  11. Alex Brooks

    Alex Brooks BANNED BANNED

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    In all fairness, if you were in a rush to leave the office for what ever reason, you'd either not reply or make a quick blunt reply. He shouldn't have to give you support 24/7.
     
  12. dvdsohot

    dvdsohot Newbie

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    you used paypal so you need't worry about your money, i also offer drop shipping services to uk, usa, ca, au drop shipper.
    the dvds usually send via EMS, only small quantity will be send via DHL. usually, it will take 5-10days to arrive depends which airport in china. parcels from shanghai airport to uk and usa is the fastest, you can get them in 7days, it is good for drop shipping business.
    good price for good service and items this is the rule buy from china! i am a hongkong dvds supplier you can contact me if you need any help. good luck
     
  13. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    Thanks so much for everyone who has replied so far. Your contribution is invaluable.

    I'd like to write and reply to many of you but I've just drank a pack of four San Miguel so I don't want to write something I may regret in the morning. However, I will write something very soon.
     
  14. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    Quick update...

    It's now been four days since I purchased the DVDs. I have yet to receive any confirmation that my order has been despatched. I have yet to receive any communication from my contact when I ask, via Trade Manager, for an update on the order.

    I searched the forums for help on alibaba.com. I was staggered by the amount of people complaining about how alibaba.com are encouraging these 'scamsters'. Some complaints include how easy it is to earn the right to be a trusted /gold supplier', how despite being notified that a supplier is scamming people alibaba.com continue to allow these scamsters to continue advertising through alibaba.com.

    And remember this is on their own forums!

    It's a bloody shame I didn't check the forums before making my purchase. There's a ton of information on there that will put anybody off from using their website.

    Re : My Order. I strongly suspect that my initial suspicions have been confirmed. I can't track the package with EPS due to a refusal to contact me in any way.

    Someone mentioned DHgate as a trading portal. How are people like me protected better and able to buy with confidence from dhgate rather than from alibaba.com.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2009
  15. ramakazi

    ramakazi Regular Member

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    great site, I'm purchasing wristbands, t-shirts & tank tops with my logo on it as giveaways in NZ to promote my New Zealand business, I'd recommend it any day
     
  16. twoj04

    twoj04 Power Member

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    Good luck with them, back when I started my ebay venture I looked into them, and saw all of the scam complaints. Didn't even bother...

    @ramakazi - Good to hear someone has had luck with them
     
  17. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    FURTHER UPDATE:

    (IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE WHOLE OF THIS THREAD THEN I SUGGEST YOU DO - IT'S A BIT OF A SAGA BUT HOPEFULLY AN ENTERTAINING AND INFORMATIVE READ - IF ANYONE ENJOYS READING MY RAMBLINGS AND SEES SOME WRITING TALENT TUCKED AWAY WITHIN THEN LET ME KNOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HIRE ME TO WRITE / REWRITE ANY OF YOUR CONTENT OR ARTICLES ! )

    MODS : If I'm breaking forum rules with the above then please don't delete the post just delete the bits that break the rules as I believe this thread can help a lot of people.

    Ok. I thought some of you guys may be interested in how this whole importing 'Dodgy DVDs' thing was going. Plus I've received three private messages from people asking me for a progress report.

    So here it is - besides if this helps other people from getting ripped off and educates then it can only be a good thing.

    About a week after I placed my initial order and still hadn't received my goods from Mr Younger Liu's trading company I was at a loss what to do. However, my wife, possibly buoyed by the fact that half of the money stumped up for the DVDs was her 'hard earned', suggested I email him.

    Great idea....

    Why didn't I think of it myself?

    Besides he'd only gone and given me his email address when he'd originally sent (via attachment) the list of software and DVD boxsets his company produces and sells. I'd kinda given up hope of making contact with him again after his colleague's 'refusal' to reply to my communications via alibaba.com's 'TradeManager' Chat.

    So I emailed him asking for an update and guess what?

    Less than 12 hours had gone and he only went and replied! Could have knocked me down with a feather.

    Not only was it a reply but personal and considerate too. Complete with apology. "Been away for the week (I did wonder what prison!:cool:) ...yes the DVD boxset has been despatched and here (this is the best part!) is your EMS tracking number."

    So I quickly entered EMS into google, clicked on the link at the top of the search engines (unlike the majority of internet browsers who apparently click on the third or fourth link but that's for another rant of mine I'll be writing later today), and went straight to the EMS website (http://www.ems.com.cn/english-main.jsp), entered my code, and.....

    It had been despatched from Shanghai's sorting office five days previously with no more comments or indications as to how far across Asia or Europe my DVD boxsets had 'snuck'.

    Fast forward five days...

    Logged into the EMS website again (this was probably the 76th time in five days I had done this!), entered the tracking code.

    09:34:00 Arrived at Coventry Sorting Office
    09:34:00 Handed Over to Customs

    SSSHHHHHIIIITTTTTTT!

    That's what I did btw.

    The two cups of morning coffee coupled with the confirmation that some Mr. Jobsworth from Coventry was possibly opening up my package, inspecting the contents inside with the fervour, skill and curiousity of my mother twenty years ago after discovering a small box of magazines, tucked away under some blankets and a football kit I never wore, beneath my rather squeaky bed!

    Back to reality...

    My unusually calm menopausal wife reassured me and said it was highly likely standard practice and to stop making such a damn fuss about the whole thing.

    I hadn't checked the EMS website for fear of what I may read.

    Two days later whilst downloading the straighter than straight, god-loving, honest talking, never done anything illegal in his life Internet Marketer Jimmy D. Brown's 'Six Figure Formula' (I kid you not!) there was a knock at the door. A knock I didn't recognise...

    Guess what I did?

    Well the wife wasn't there to drag my sorry ass out of the chair to answer the door so i ignored it and snuck away to the bathroom.

    There were no more knocks so after five minutes I plucked up the courage to go back into the lounge.

    Out of the corner of my eye I noticed a Royal Mail slip sitting proudly on my doormat.

    I grabbed it with shaking hands and was immediately relieved when I read the words that "a delivery was attempted for a parcel for Mr. Top Man Me but there was no reply so your package has been taken to your nearest Post Office ready for your collection."

    YYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSS!

    I checked the tracking code on the EMS website and sure enough the package had been released from customs.

    YYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

    So I went to the post office, collected my package, ignored the raised eyebrow look of curiousity from the clerk who I know quite well - does she suspect something?

    Got home, opened it up, jeez it was well packaged, tons of polysterene foam, made a right mess of the kitchen floor, and WOW...

    All four DVD boxsets.

    Perfect condition, sealed, strikingly attractive, looked the business and about £400 of DVD boxsets that cost me only $220 (about £160) including shipping.

    Fast forward to now. Christmas Day.

    I haven't listed them on ebay yet because I've taken heed of a previous post on this thread in regard to paypal's disgust if they discovered their payment processor methods were being used for illegal goods.

    Not just this though. I've got a couple of Italians and one Londoner who are claiming they haven't received the regular goods I sell on ebay, despite now it's two weeks since the items were despatched. One is an unpaid item claim.

    I've posted the goods and have proof of postage but alas the Italy bound goods were sent by standard airmail and the London bound goods by Royal Mail First Class - therefore if they say the goods didn't arrive and there's a chargeback, paypal, not at all interested in the truth of the matter, will cover their ass and refund their money.

    Why am I talking about this?

    My point is I want resolution to these problems first before I start selling copied DVDs on ebay risking my ebay powerseller and trusted seller status, plus possibly being banned by paypal after a potential DVD customer reports me for selling counterfeit DVDs.

    You see there's one problem with the DVDs - how big a problem I don't know so I'm asking you guys to help me with this.

    The problem is this:

    Three of the four boxsets have ISBN numbers but they are not recognised by ebay - basically when you try and list a DVD on ebay it gives you the option of entering the ISBN number to ratify / confirm that the DVD is genuine. When I enter thr ISBN number in Ebay...

    Computer says no...

    One of the four DVD boxsets has NO ISBN NUMBER.

    Sure I can still list but by not having an ISBN number am I drawing unnecessary attention to my listing?

    Anyhow...

    Below are some links to alibaba.com's site you guys may find interesting and informative if you are planning to import goods from China or any Eastern countries.

    This is a long thread but crammed full of really helpful information. The third post on the first page reveals insightful information about the Chinese's cultural influences on their business dealings.

    http://resources.alibaba.com/topic/408446/Dealing_with_Chinese_Suppliers.htm

    This is a great tool that once downloaded sits on your desktop and instantly checks what date and time it is in any city of the world - handy when communicating with suppliers form other continents.

    http://www.qlock.com

    Here is a list of traders on alibaba.com that have failed to despatch goods for the month of december - if the person you want to deal with is on this list then avoid like the plague.

    http://resources.alibaba.com/topic/235224/Alibaba_Security_Bulletin_for_Decemeber_.htm

    PLUS THERE'S SO MUCH MORE TO READ ON THE ALIBABA.COM FORUMS. SEARCH DEEP ENOUGH AND YOU'LL FIND COUNTLESS THREADS TOTALLY SLATING ALIBABA.COM.

    Thanks for reading guys. I'm gonna check on this thread every day so feel free to post and hopefully we can make this thread the goto place for information and advice about trading on alibaba.com.

    You know what?

    I'm a Top Man Me!!! :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009
  18. JohnG

    JohnG Junior Member

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    I went down this road myself with alibaba and bootlegged software and DVDs. The software I found to have to many defects, not something that I could sell as the real deal. The DVD sets, just like the ones you ordered, looked great at first. However there are some problems with them as well, if you open one up you will see them.

    1. The video quality is not DVD quality, its more along the lines of what you get if you download a TV episode from a torrent site at 350MB per 45min episode.

    2. They are not in traditional DVD cases on most of the sets, they come cloth and plastic DVD binder.

    3. The artwork on the DVDs is hit and miss. For example on a Stargate SG1 DVD Boxset, they had the cast from season 10 printed on the season 1 disks, obviously an error that would not be on the real thing.

    4. The DVDs may be out of order, with seasons shuffled together when your customer gets them.

    With all these defects any buyer with any experience in pirated dvds will know they are fakes and complain to ebay or leave feedback saying that your dvds are fake. I would strongly advise examining those samples closely before you sell them on ebay. Maybe you got lucky and found the one chinese supplier that doesnt get his stuff from the same factory as everyone else, I ordered from 5 different DVD wholesalers and they all had the same exact defects.
     
  19. CMS2009

    CMS2009 BANNED BANNED Premium Member

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    Two things:

    as for ISBN numbers - aren't these very easy to find? Go to a legit retailer and get the isbn number there, and enter it on ebay. problem solved. no one who buys a dvd checks the isbn number.

    Secondly:

    Iv'e spent countless hours, days probably cruising alibaba, and had no joy. Anything legit looking had skinny profit margins, anything with a good margin had just something out of place that put me off. So....

    with that in mind, couldn't we use this thread for BHW folk to state their experience with specific alibaba sellers? quality of service, delivery time and expense and quality of goods?

    just a thought
     
  20. TopManMe

    TopManMe Newbie

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    i'll get back to you and others on this John.

    These are brand new, the dogs bollox, very convincing dvd boxset cases. The DVDs come with plastic binding for two of the boxsets (sopranos) but the other two are in dvd cases.

    The artwork is very good is general although on one boxset the lid and the main box are a slightly different shade of gray.

    Will check this when i view the dvds.

    I plan to accept returns for these dvds so if i have an unhappy perceptive and streetwise customer thenI'll simply grant a refund on return of the dvds. I have an impeccable record on ebay at the moment. I am a trusted seller and a silver powerseller so i think, or maybe hope, that Mrs. Perceptive and Mr. Streetwise would take that into consideration, and hopefully be less inclined to grass me / rat me out to ebay before giving me the opportunity to explain - i.e. Protest my innocence!

    Considering this is my first order with this company, then you would think they would 'pull out all the stops' to ensure they deliver top quality products. If i have unearthed a gem I'd gladly pm or even post a link to them on this thread if I am allowed.

    T
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009