Author Topic: Buying from China?  (Read 5693 times)

Offline SalemCat

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2016, 06:21:52 PM »
This was a decade ago.

I needed a product: It was a small stuffed Doll for the Retail Gift Trade.

So I visited a company in Boston famous for selling inexpensive, very similar items to Carnivals. All made in Asia. I trusted their expertise, and figured paying more for their experience was well worth it.

The samples were wonderful; the final product delivered: NOT.

The dolls were very ill-made; many broken in the package; and visibly DIRTY as well !

I rejected the entire order of 1000 pieces.

The GOOD NEWS: as a reputable US Based Company, they refunded me every dime.

The BAD NEWS: with nothing to sell, my company folded.

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2016, 07:09:54 AM »
This was a decade ago.

I needed a product: It was a small stuffed Doll for the Retail Gift Trade.

So I visited a company in Boston famous for selling inexpensive, very similar items to Carnivals. All made in Asia. I trusted their expertise, and figured paying more for their experience was well worth it.

The samples were wonderful; the final product delivered: NOT.

The dolls were very ill-made; many broken in the package; and visibly DIRTY as well !

I rejected the entire order of 1000 pieces.

The GOOD NEWS: as a reputable US Based Company, they refunded me every dime.

The BAD NEWS: with nothing to sell, my company folded.

As a business habit, any complaint, I offer an immediate refund & the support line is always open.
To one location, were we introduce new products, we always offer to upgrade free, if they bring the old product back.  Business is growing.

What would a 35% or 45% tariff on imports do to us?  Our product cost might be unaffordable for our customer base in this niche market.  Retired people on fixed incomes are not very receptive to a 35-45% price hike for a non-necessity item.

What would a 100% buy American made be like?  If and a big -IF- we could talk someone into building the main component, our retail price for one item $30 would be over $200.  A second item would rise from $90 to $400, and our most expensive item $450 (main component from Germany), we'd shelve.

What is going to happen to Wally World?
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2016, 07:16:42 PM »
Found another China manufacturer of a component I need, $25 per unit, min 100 piece order.
Now I'm just waiting for a sample to show up, if it looks good, I'll order.
There might be a few modifications, if there are, who knows how much it'll effect the price.

The nearly same component, just a little smaller - which is a headache - can be gotten for $70 +shipping, 5hrs from here.  I've been trying to bypass these guys and go direct for some time, I might have found the right place this time.

My finished "target price" is still $90, which has a component cost of $40 and assembly of $20-30, all hand-work by me.  Timing seems good, I had just developed, tested an improved "system" on a smaller unit, which despite rising costs, my assembly time & other component cost dropped considerably, and another vendor just asked to pick up my line of goods (unexpected, but timing was great). 

So far, so good - anticipating a 'break thru' with this product.  Best part, as one version finally matured from laboriously hand-building every little piece, we finally got a system in place to rapidly assemble the whole unit fast - in larger numbers, and the quality is significantly improved too!   Being that some of the same components are used in the larger version, we should have similar production results.

the larger version has been "out of stock" while we've been trying to get the components - quite frankly, I'd really given up.   Last couple of months, we've had a bunch of inquiries, so we took one last look, and now we got the fingers crossed...
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2016, 05:30:47 AM »
Thanks to the language barrier, that 100 piece order was misunderstood, and fell through.  They came back with a quote 3x higher, a deal killer.  Back to Alibaba...  just learning how this works has been quite an education - I see why people don't bother with international trade, it is a real time waster if you can't speak the language.
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Online Solar

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2016, 06:52:50 AM »
Thanks to the language barrier, that 100 piece order was misunderstood, and fell through.  They came back with a quote 3x higher, a deal killer.  Back to Alibaba...  just learning how this works has been quite an education - I see why people don't bother with international trade, it is a real time waster if you can't speak the language.
:biggrin:

Not I, but I looked into buying in lots of ten thousand or more for resale.
The horror stories went on for days. Not so much theft, but lack of translation, where ordering mistakes take place, wrong parts, amounts, colors. quality.
But the biggest complaint was a solid lack of quality and no recourse once the order is fulfilled.

I was considering ordering allot of solar panels, but a couple of respondents said that more than 30% of the panels either simply didn't work, or had worthless output.
That would completely negate any reason for ordering abroad killing off the gained profit that would have occurred.

I guess, research, research, and then do some more research to see if the company has any recurring complaints in any given area, like return issues, time to resolve complaints, and quality.
Caveatemptor.
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Offline SalemCat

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2016, 09:11:58 AM »
Thanks to the language barrier, that 100 piece order was misunderstood, and fell through.  They came back with a quote 3x higher, a deal killer.  Back to Alibaba...  just learning how this works has been quite an education - I see why people don't bother with international trade, it is a real time waster if you can't speak the language.

Sorry to hear that.

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2016, 05:23:28 PM »
Sorry to hear that.

The next attempt with another manufacturer ended after just ONE email.   People trying to sell me the wrong part, and insisting it's the "right" part - I make you very happy!   No... you make me very pissed & broke!
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Buying from China - more experience?
« Reply #22 on: May 12, 2017, 05:42:08 AM »
An Update - Well... the hit or miss buying experience from China has started missing.

Ordered 3 sets of lights, got 2.  They're cheap, so I opened a dispute, who knows if I'll get my $12.49 back.

Then I got 50 units of foot switches, they look like CRAP and do not actually contain a real switch - opened a dispute, that's a $250 purchase of worthless junk.  We'll see how that dispute goes...

Of the hits, I got better than I expected on several preterminated cables, was expecting chrome contacts, got gold plated!
A plastic foot switch, looks pretty cheap, has turned out to be a real gem, very light weight and portable, perfect for a grab-n-go radio.

LED strip lights have been a REAL hit or miss thing.  Order "daylight" and get yellow or blue or cool white.  Order cool white (they even list the color temp) and get a mixture of different colors - and, watch out for light output...   Some are 600 lumens, which slowly dimmed, the most recent are 900 lumens, color is perfect and they are excellent.

All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #23 on: May 20, 2017, 03:02:04 PM »
It's a crap shoot, dealing with China directly.

The 50 foot switches are junk, the seller doesn't want them back, and offered to refund me $98 to cover shipping - must be figuring, "this stuff is JUNK!!!  Why do I want to see it again?!?"

Silence on the missing light.  They're really nice tail lights for a trailer, even have a backup light built into them!
Don't know how the heck I'll wire those in, but they're nice LED lights, even without the backup light wired.

Still waiting on a few more parts, ordered weeks ago.
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2017, 05:24:53 PM »
Today, good parts arrived, 50 of the good foot switches, I have to put cords on them, but they are good quality, with real micro-switches in them, and look good as well.  Why didn't I order these instead, when I KNEW they were good...?   Because another vendor had a similar looking one, similar description, with the cord already installed, at the same price.

A total "crap shoot" buying from China.   If you get STUCK like I did with junk, that's when you find out what "free shipping" was all about.
They build it into the price, of course, and when you want to return it for your money back, suddenly, Surprise!!! 

Just about 1/2 of the cost of those 50 bad foot switches was... you probably guessed, SHIPPING at a *highly discounted* rate.
If you really *want* to return ship, you'll easily lose over 1/2 your purchase (and built in shipping cost) to get back anything.

Seriously...   I spent $240 to buy these switches, shipping included in the purchase price - so it was "hidden".
After filing a "dispute" over the function and quality of the switches, the options I have are:

1.  Get back $98 and basically throw the crap away (rather than risk the fledgling company reputation selling trash at any price, or giving away junk)
2.  Return ship at MY expense for almost $200, due to the size & weight of the box, to get back the entire $240 (my shipping cost is not refundable).
3.  Say nothing, and say, "Oh well, it's a gamble and I just lost $240".

I'll take the $98 settlement, and be out $142... that is, if they will actually follow through with the agreed settlement, and not pull one of these "gift certificate" or "credit" deals.

The lesson in this, if you're buying direct from China, be sure you can afford to throw that money away.   These are not Americans, and have absolutely no "reputation" to worry about, it's like the worst of the worst from Craigslist or Ebay - and you have no recourse... you're gonna get excited about.   When you manage a good deal, be THANKFUL... they come and go like the wind, here today and gone the next.
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Online Solar

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #25 on: May 24, 2017, 05:54:47 PM »
OOPS!,, Sorry, I forgot to pass this little nugget along. I was warned about products that require manual labor, they told me to avoid the little stuff that only takes a second to assemble at home.
He used to buy wire harnesses, opted for them to tin the ends at only a nickel per unit, something he hated doing, so he paid.
What he got was not what anyone in the industry considered up to par, wound up snipping everyone and skinning and tinning all over again, cost more time and money in the long run.
Like you, he too thought "What a bargain", but at least he always got his order, not always what he wanted, but something always showed up. :biggrin:
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Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2017, 05:08:27 AM »
OOPS!,, Sorry, I forgot to pass this little nugget along. I was warned about products that require manual labor, they told me to avoid the little stuff that only takes a second to assemble at home.
He used to buy wire harnesses, opted for them to tin the ends at only a nickel per unit, something he hated doing, so he paid.
What he got was not what anyone in the industry considered up to par, wound up snipping everyone and skinning and tinning all over again, cost more time and money in the long run.
Like you, he too thought "What a bargain", but at least he always got his order, not always what he wanted, but something always showed up. :biggrin:

Yeah, they don't "tin" leads like we'd expect, they're dipped in lead.   I noticed all the soldier joints weren't firming up like normal soldier... I'd have to blow on them to cool them down, seemed like a long time..?   Until I used a little bit of 60/40 soldier over them, and watching the two mix under the magnifying glass was interesting.  Their soldier seemed to stay "soft" and had a course, dull look, my soldier was shiney and firmed up quickly... to a nice reflective sheen.  What they did would work, I suppose...  wonder if a good "yank" on the wires could pull them right out of the "china-soldier-joint"?

Now it makes more sense why I've heard, "if you need a specialty item, provide specifications, including the materials & process".

As I've said, buying anything from China is a total crap shoot, a real hit-or-miss.   Sort of reminds me of the American cars of the 1970's, cost engineering to last only 100k miles... then the engine fails, wheel bearings, brakes & collapses in a heap of rust.  I still remember Bill Cosby's "Aluminized Wax" undercoating commercials for Ford.  (how many car washes would it take to wash off that undercoating?)
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Online Solar

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2017, 05:42:59 AM »
Yeah, they don't "tin" leads like we'd expect, they're dipped in lead.   I noticed all the soldier joints weren't firming up like normal soldier... I'd have to blow on them to cool them down, seemed like a long time..?   Until I used a little bit of 60/40 soldier over them, and watching the two mix under the magnifying glass was interesting.  Their soldier seemed to stay "soft" and had a course, dull look, my soldier was shiney and firmed up quickly... to a nice reflective sheen.  What they did would work, I suppose...  wonder if a good "yank" on the wires could pull them right out of the "china-soldier-joint"?

Now it makes more sense why I've heard, "if you need a specialty item, provide specifications, including the materials & process".

As I've said, buying anything from China is a total crap shoot, a real hit-or-miss.   Sort of reminds me of the American cars of the 1970's, cost engineering to last only 100k miles... then the engine fails, wheel bearings, brakes & collapses in a heap of rust.  I still remember Bill Cosby's "Aluminized Wax" undercoating commercials for Ford.  (how many car washes would it take to wash off that undercoating?)
Yep, people think China is like the US when filling orders for specialty orders, it is not.
One province may make great woven hats but if you want it with a beaded band, you're asking for a whole other specialty service.

China only in the last few decades learned what we've taught them, and only have the capabilities because business here built and trained them in these new industries, from cars to phones, but not every province has these technologies, what speciality work you want done may be 1000 miles away from the supplier you're working with, so they do what they can to accommodate.
Yeah, here in the US things are very different, it's not that the Chinese are trying to screw the customer over, he's just trying his best to fill the order, just not up to the standard we're used to.

When I was in Korea I was walking through the village, saw an artist painting beautiful landscapes, asked if he would do my portrait, he said "give me picture, come back 3 days", I did, I still have the painting hanging on the wall, in part as a joke, but mostly as a reminder to always ask for detailed questions and make clear what you expect. Yeah, the painting looks like the work of a 6 year old.
He wasn't trying to screw me, he truly tried his best, it just wasn't something he could do, so the lesson I learned, was the Asain culture assumes you did your homework and made the choice to work within their range of expertise.
That took some getting used to, because here in the US, we usually send the customer to someone qualified to do the work.

Yes, if you went to a jeweler with a toothache, he would gladly extract your tooth, but you'd never do that here, but in Asia, things are very different, kind of like the Old West, where the barber did tooth extractions.
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Offline Hoofer

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #28 on: June 11, 2017, 06:31:07 AM »
I just got in a pile of LED light bulbs.   In light output, they would be 30w, 60w, 120w.   We have rather dirty power, for a real scare, plug in a VOM and watch the voltage bouncing up and down. ...yeah, those sensitive electronics are absorbing all that crap.

The last batch lasted less than one year, they say the power limiter(s) were poorly made, and frequently failed.
This batch is suppose to be better.   Cold temperatures have killed several we had on the porch & outdoor ceiling fan.

My cost per bulb is 20% of the cost from a local big box store. 

One of my concerns was RF interference - nope, there is none, unlike the florescent twisters I got from a local store.
... we'll see how they do...
All animals are created equal; Some just take longer to cook.   Survival is keeping an eye on those around you...

Online walkstall

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Re: Buying from China?
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2017, 07:07:41 AM »
I just got in a pile of LED light bulbs.   In light output, they would be 30w, 60w, 120w.   We have rather dirty power, for a real scare, plug in a VOM and watch the voltage bouncing up and down. ...yeah, those sensitive electronics are absorbing all that crap.

The last batch lasted less than one year, they say the power limiter(s) were poorly made, and frequently failed.
This batch is suppose to be better.   Cold temperatures have killed several we had on the porch & outdoor ceiling fan.

My cost per bulb is 20% of the cost from a local big box store. 

One of my concerns was RF interference - nope, there is none, unlike the florescent twisters I got from a local store.
... we'll see how they do...


All I know is Solar and my son told me about the LED lights.  As I had a lot of lights I did not get any.   My son about a year a go got me a 4 pack of LED Daylight 60W.  As we are old we used 100W so we can see at our age.  My son replace all my wife reading 100 w bulbs, with the LED Daylight 60W and she loves it. 

No way would she go back to the 100W.  So I replaced every light in the house with LED Daylight 60W, we have no dark areas in the house now.  Also I was replacing a light in the house about ever two or three months.  The LED's have been in for over a year now and I have not replaced a one.  In my computer room I was replacing 2 light about every two months.  I have yet to replace the LED lights.  I also no longer need a desk lamp.
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