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How to see if an Alibaba company is reliable?

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DougRMR

Contributor
Apr 19, 2019
103
83
So found a product that solves the problem of a niche (from my research, the niche hasn't caught on to the solution).

I still haven't even tested if there is demand in the market but I found a few manufacturers that have the supplement I'm looking for. However, I had to ask the manufacturer directly since they didn't have the supplement for sale in their main page which I found a bit strange.

Is there a way to see if these products are legit? Because if they were sold to the public I would just order one and test them out for myself. However, I had to ask the manufacturer straight and ahve to make a minimum of $3k in orders so that they will ship the goods. I have no experience with Alibaba so dunno if there are obvious scams I should be aware of or if I can investigate on my own. Thanks!!
 
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DougRMR

Contributor
Apr 19, 2019
103
83
Shameless bump. I've tried looking up online on how to vet Alibaba companies but I really can't find anything useful. I don't wanna throw $3k only to find out I spent all that money on useless supplements
 
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Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
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Sep 13, 2014
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Maybe @Walter Hay can help you with that!
Thanks for the heads up. I am sorry about the late reply, But have just returned from a 9 day trip to the wild country in the far west of New South Wales in Australia. 200 miles between towns, plenty of wild goats, wild pigs, emus, and some of the world's most venomous snakes. Road trains over 150' long, with tractors hauling 2 or 3 trailers at high speed. I survived!
Is there a way to see if these products are legit? Because if they were sold to the public I would just order one and test them out for myself. However, I had to ask the manufacturer straight and ahve to make a minimum of $3k in orders so that they will ship the goods. I have no experience with Alibaba so dunno if there are obvious scams I should be aware of or if I can investigate on my own. Thanks!!
Doug, your biggest risk is not the possibility of the "manufacturer" being a scammer, but the product being contaminated with dangerous substances.

I would never import from China any product that is ingested.

In any case, requiring an MOQ of $3,000 is a red flag. There is a strong possibility that the "manufacturer" is a trader who doesn't carry any inventory. If so they would take your money and then if they are not scammers they would shop around in the hope of finding a real manufacturer that will supply them.

If you care to send me their details via PM I will check them out for you.

Regards,
Walter
P.S. If looking for supplements I would consider India first.
 

DougRMR

Contributor
Apr 19, 2019
103
83
Thanks for the heads up. I am sorry about the late reply, But have just returned from a 9 day trip to the wild country in the far west of New South Wales in Australia. 200 miles between towns, plenty of wild goats, wild pigs, emus, and some of the world's most venomous snakes. Road trains over 150' long, with tractors hauling 2 or 3 trailers at high speed. I survived!

Doug, your biggest risk is not the possibility of the "manufacturer" being a scammer, but the product being contaminated with dangerous substances.

I would never import from China any product that is ingested.

In any case, requiring an MOQ of $3,000 is a red flag. There is a strong possibility that the "manufacturer" is a trader who doesn't carry any inventory. If so they would take your money and then if they are not scammers they would shop around in the hope of finding a real manufacturer that will supply them.

If you care to send me their details via PM I will check them out for you.

Regards,
Walter
P.S. If looking for supplements I would consider India first.
Thank you so much! Will DM you soon with details
 

Gareth Stretton

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
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May 31, 2022
7
9
So found a product that solves the problem of a niche (from my research, the niche hasn't caught on to the solution).

I still haven't even tested if there is demand in the market but I found a few manufacturers that have the supplement I'm looking for. However, I had to ask the manufacturer directly since they didn't have the supplement for sale in their main page which I found a bit strange.

Is there a way to see if these products are legit? Because if they were sold to the public I would just order one and test them out for myself. However, I had to ask the manufacturer straight and ahve to make a minimum of $3k in orders so that they will ship the goods. I have no experience with Alibaba so dunno if there are obvious scams I should be aware of or if I can investigate on my own. Thanks!!
Hi DougRMR,

The FDA requires certification for some supplements. You should ask for these certificates and have them verified. Do not take the suppliers word if they simply tell you they have them. Have the supplement verified at a lab.

The supplier should be willing to send a sample for testing. Do not make a full order without obtaining a sample first. To save money on import duty, ask that they write SAMPLE on the invoice. (This is normal and you shouldn't have to ask)

When using Alibaba, look for a 'verified supplier' badge. This indicates a 3rd party company has visited the factory and the information on the suppliers page is accurate.

Look for suppliers that have 'trade assurance', this means their is a contract and Alibaba will help with a refund if the order doesn't meet the terms of the contract.

As suggested by another person, you should consider a US supplier.

Good luck. Please keep us informed on how it goes.
 
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MoneyDoc

Platinum Contributor
FASTLANE INSIDER
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Jun 24, 2014
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Hi DougRMR,

The FDA requires certification for some supplements. You should ask for these certificates and have them verified. Do not take the suppliers word if they simply tell you they have them. Have the supplement verified at a lab.

The supplier should be willing to send a sample for testing. Do not make a full order without obtaining a sample first. To save money on import duty, ask that they write SAMPLE on the invoice. (This is normal and you shouldn't have to ask)

When using Alibaba, look for a 'verified supplier' badge. This indicates a 3rd party company has visited the factory and the information on the suppliers page is accurate.

Look for suppliers that have 'trade assurance', this means their is a contract and Alibaba will help with a refund if the order doesn't meet the terms of the contract.

As suggested by another person, you should consider a US supplier.

Good luck. Please keep us informed on how it goes.
Word of caution, take "trade assurance" with a grain of salt. Statistics are heavily skewed towards a decision for the supplier. I'm sure @Walter Hay can vouch for this.
 

Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
3,182
12,692
World citizen
Word of caution, take "trade assurance" with a grain of salt. Statistics are heavily skewed towards a decision for the supplier. I'm sure @Walter Hay can vouch for this.
Good advice @MoneyDoc. Trade Assurance is nothing but smoke and mirrors. In my extensive review of the Trade Assurance scheme, which is included in my sourcing and importing book, I wrote:
"It is important to note that the Simplified Chinese version is the only one that will be recognized by Alibaba in the case of any dispute.

I removed all the Chinese language parts to make my examination more practical and this reduce the publication to just over 56 pages."
If you want to understand Trade Assurance you will have a lot of reading to do, and you will tear your hair out before you get far.

My summary is: Do not rely on Trade Assurance.
When using Alibaba, look for a 'verified supplier' badge. This indicates a 3rd party company has visited the factory and the information on the suppliers page is accurate.
This is like so much information published in "experts' blogs; it is obsolete. Here is an extract from my book, which provides up to date facts:

"For years I have maintained my status as a registered seller solely to allow me access to INSIDERS information. In the sellers only rules pages I see that there are some status ratings referred to that strangely are not displayed in sellers’ listings, so this is an indication of how mixed up their system is now. It seems to have been assembled in a great hurry, with the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing.

I will outline what the changed rules now say:

RULE 1. “A
Verified Supplier is a supplier for whom certain aspects of its company profile, management system, production capabilities, and product and process controls have been assessed, certified and/or inspected by independent third party institutions via online and offline means.” Note that there is no way of knowing which “certain aspects” have been assessed, certified and/or inspected."


Walter
 

Gareth Stretton

New Contributor
Read Fastlane!
Read Unscripted!
May 31, 2022
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RE: verified supplier feedback

Companies who are willing to go through an inspection process are more transparent than those that don't. This makes them more trustworthy. However, it shouldn't be misconstrued as offering 100% certainty.

It would impossible for Alibaba to itemize every aspect of an inspection given the range of products on offer. Perhaps in the future they will standardize based on product type.

If in doubt, partner with a 3rd party inspection company of your choosing. Indeed, it is a must for anything "FDA" (e.g. in body, on skin).

Use inspection companies that specifically specializes in your product category.

As a community we shouldn't attack each other with disparaging comments (e.g. ~"sounds like blogging advice"). If the information is incorrect, please point it out respectfully. I understand if this wasn't your intent. Ultimately our goal should be to help one another with actionable advice. I'm here to help and be helped.
 
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Walter Hay

Legendary Contributor
EPIC CONTRIBUTOR
Speedway Pass
Sep 13, 2014
3,182
12,692
World citizen
RE: verified supplier feedback

Companies who are willing to go through an inspection process are more transparent than those that don't. This makes them more trustworthy. However, it shouldn't be misconstrued as offering 100% certainty.

It would impossible for Alibaba to itemize every aspect of an inspection given the range of products on offer. Perhaps in the future they will standardize based on product type.

If in doubt, partner with a 3rd party inspection company of your choosing. Indeed, it is a must for anything "FDA" (e.g. in body, on skin).

Use inspection companies that specifically specializes in your product category.

As a community we shouldn't attack each other with disparaging comments (e.g. ~"sounds like blogging advice"). If the information is incorrect, please point it out respectfully. I understand if this wasn't your intent. Ultimately our goal should be to help one another with actionable advice. I'm here to help and be helped.
I am sorry if you thought I was making a disparaging comment about you, and I most certainly was not attacking you. I have never attacked anyone in my 8 years on this forum. I was simply stating a fact, that obsolete information is published in blogs, and I wrote about that here:

BEWARE OF OBSOLETE or WRONG INFORMATION ON BLOGS.

You are quite right that willingness to go through an inspection process is a good sign. I would advise that anyone placing an order in excess of an amount they could not bear to lose should engage the services of one of the long established inspection services that I have referred to many times on the forum.

Walter
 

DougRMR

Contributor
Apr 19, 2019
103
83
Regards,
Walter
P.S. If looking for supplements I would consider India first.
thank you for the info! I can only find Chinese manufacturers. Don't know if there's a way to find Indian ones in Alibaba or if I should look elsewhere.

Also, I'm trying to look for manufacturers in the U.S. and have had better luck. In the case of the US, is it still necessary for a third party to inspect the goods for it to be FDA approved or is that process already done before hand since it is in the US?

The supplier should be willing to send a sample for testing. Do not make a full order without obtaining a sample first. To save money on import duty, ask that they write SAMPLE on the invoice. (This is normal and you shouldn't have to ask)
I'll definitely keep this in mind. Thank you!
 

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