How to Buy from Alibaba without Getting Scammed


Many people have been moving into dropshipping or more of the reseller industry in the past few years. So to succeed in that field you must have a good product or Source a product from a good supplier. that is where Alibaba comes from


Alibaba gives many options for users to choose from millions of products and there is also lots of scams going on and we will include every possible way to you could get scammed by Alibaba suppliers and give you a better way to find your product and reach the supplier without getting Scammed



What You Should Know when starting with Alibaba?

Everything is negotiable with factories but in the beginning, these factories will know you are a newbie because you have no purchase history on Alibaba so don’t try to fool them.


You can negotiate terms, price, MOQ, but it’s more important to find a high-quality factory, maybe you pay $0.50 more per unit for the product than to go with the lowest cost option.


Everyone starts somewhere so tell the factory that you are starting a new business, go about it professionally, don’t waste their time and say honestly you are looking for a factory to do long-term business with.



How does Alibaba Suppliers Manufacturing work?

You should be well aware of this. , because sooner or later, Alibaba suppliers can tell many reasons to avoid being chargeback.


The factory is the last step in the process… They “put the shit together”. What does this mean? When you order samples or your mass production, the factory has a network of vendors that it buys raw materials such as zippers, your fabric, printing/embroidery, hang tags, drawstrings, packaging, etc.


Once all these raw materials come back then, they go through the factories production line. Usually, factories are 3-5 stories tall. The raw materials start at the bottom and work to the top into a finished good.


Raw material price fluctuations: Prices can change with raw materials so a quote usually has an expiration date for this reason.


In China, factories that produce similar products are usually located in the same area, sure there are exceptions to this, but this is usually how it works. So you will see patterns of geographical locations with the product you are trying to produce and the location of factories.


Why? They set it up this way so if factory A gets a huge order. Factory A’s boss is homies with Factory B-Z all in the same city and he can sub out your order to make sure it’s completed within the deadline that’s set.


If you get a quote that’s much higher than others, the factory usually isn’t in the main city, or it’s a trading company.



Getting Quotes and The Real Value

In the Alibaba search bar type in the product you’re looking to get made.


Then notice this:

  • On the left side there are Supplier types, product types, price min / max, supplier location, etc.


alibaba filters


  • Refine your search by checking the box for trade assurance and verified suppliers.
  • Then dig through some suppliers. Click on the listing, go through the company overview, what’s their amount of employees, year established, factory or trading company, main markets, watch their videos, etc.


Look for factories with 4.5 – 4.9 stars out of 5. You want to find 4-5 smaller factories to get quotes from. Look for a few factories that started in 2010-2013..they are a little newer and not as big as some of the older factories.


Then find 4-5 larger factories that have been around for ~20 years. (these factories aren’t ideal for a new brand because they are too big and won’t care) this is just to get quotes.


Your goal should be to get 10 quotes. Favorite the 2-3 smaller factories you like and the 2 bigger ones. Even if the bigger factory quotes are better, we recommend you go with a smaller factory. Why? You want to partner with a factory that is trying to grow just as badly as you.


Where you can work with a smaller team where the owner is involved and they care about your products.


This is super super important.. As you grow you want to be a bigger or biggest fish in their pond so you can start to gain some leverage with production times, sample turnaround times, MOQs, etc.



Avoiding Scams

Google the factory/company name and add the word scam to your search. When you Google their factory:

  • Does the website look legit?
  • Do they specialize in what you want to produce?


If they are real companies you can find their export records from many data websites such as: Importgenius, Tradesns, Tradesparq, Panjiva.


Additional things to consider:

  • Only purchase from verified suppliers with trade assurance.
  • Pay attention to email addresses. What’s their email? Is it “@gmail” or “@companyname”? An e-mail sent from should make you think twice, as special economic zones don’t use free e-mail accounts.
  • See if they are professional when you are communicating.
  • Ask for samples from their catalog. These will be free you just need to pay for shipping.
  • Think twice if the replies you get aren’t professional. Probably shouldn’t use this factory.
  • Before anything is sent to you always ask for picture. If samples don’t add up you can get refunds with trade assurance.
  • It’s impolite to ask for customer references in the beginning of talks, but after you get quotes and samples ask for references before placing your first order, reach out. Do the references love the factory? I’d speak highly of my factory.
  • After you order samples ask for a factory tour on Whatsapp or Skype. If they are legit they take great pride in doing this and will show you everything, make sure to have them show you the factory sign on the front of the building does it match up with the name on Alibaba?
  • If you have Chinese friends ask for help, pay them to visit.
  • If you are doing big enough orders go visit the factories. it’s the best method in checking to make sure a factory is legit.



How To Reach Out To Suppliers ( Safest way )

As with anything in Brand, you want to A/B test a few different templates and see what you get back in terms of responses. Remember you are judging everything they are doing.


Before you reach out to the suppliers make sure you do your homework on what materials you want, pull size charts from competitors, get a sample size that fits you and have all this information organized.


You need to do research on the weight of material, material details, and all other aspects of the material other brands are producing that you want to emulate.


Email / Chat Template :

“Hi, My name is _______ and I am the production manager for _________, I need your help with the following. We would like to sell ___________ and are looking for a factory to have a long term partnership with. I am just starting out, if you can take a chance with me and give the best possible MOQ and price I promise we will do business for a long time.


I am happy to send you a picture as an example. (once you get a few quotes you can put target price) Please let me know prices for 200, 500, 750 and 1000 runs.


Also, can you answer a few questions for me:

  1. Where in China are you located?
  2. Are you an agent, factory, or trading company?
  3. I need you to advise best possible price and also give me at least three other options of similar items that you have so that I can review them with my boss.
  4. Please send us quality standards.
  5. Can you send me some photos of your team on your last team-building exercise?
  6. Also its company policy to get samples before placing an order so I need to make sure you can provide me with sample cost and lead time. We need to check the quality of the product and make sure we are happy with the sample before we place an order.


We are really looking to build stronger partnerships with new factories / and or agents. Thank you, [your name]”.


Your goals with the questions are to see how their attention to detail is. Did they answer everything with effort? Do they send you the team pic? All legit factories do team building, so if you don’t get a photo of this… RED FLAG.



Samples and Payment

Your samples will be about $20-40 per piece. This is right around the wholesale cost of your product. If the factory doesn’t make you pay for samples this is a red flag.


You need to get the supplier to note every detail of your samples. Size chart, materials, logo positions, etc. Have them attach a sample card with ALL DETAILS.


Side note: Do all your communication in Alibaba initially so there is a record incase you get some shit samples and need to get a refund


Next you will wait for samples and continue to talk with your sales rep, you want to be building a relationship. Ask a bunch of questions too.


Here’s a good list you can ask :

  • What percentage of your exports go to the US? (Or wherever you’re importing into). Important to understand if they have experience selling to your market.
  • Does the product meet the country’s certifications? (If applicable).
  • What product is your factory best at producing?
  • How many employees does your factory employ?
  • What is your turnaround time?
  • What are your payment terms for new customers?
  • Do you use the SINOSURE service?
  • Who are some of your clients?
  • Does your factory attend trade shows?
  • Does your boss/team come to the USA to visit clients?
  • How many people are on your sales team? (Gives you insight into the person’s power on the team, usually Alibaba contacts are entry-level on the sales team and they will be asking a sales manager for approval/confirmation on your questions/concerns).
  • Does the factory have team-building trips?
  • Does the factory have an on-site dormitory?
  • When will the factory be gone for the Chinese New Year holiday this year?




If you are in the USA you want to be talking with your suppliers on Friday and Sunday nights. This is when most of their clients aren’t talking to them so you can get quick responses.


Send your contact pictures of you and your team. Get to know them personally it really makes a big difference.


In summary, there are a lot of bad and sleazy suppliers on Alibaba, but there are also some really really good supplier that would love to work with you and help build your brand.


Do everything you can to protect yourself. All details go into Alibaba chat so you get trade assurance. Always get pictures before shipping and don’t let them get away with anything. Ever. Stay away from WhatsApp initially, only communicate in Alibaba.


With that said, don’t let it paralyze you to the point where you won’t pull the trigger on anything.



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