This page was created to help victims understand the full range of options and introduce some lawyers and collection agents who may be able to help you recover money.
Unfortunately there is no Better Business Bureau in China where you can take your grievances.
It can’t hurt to contact the Chinese embassy in your country, but keep your expectations realistic. They will likely explain (in varying degrees of politeness) why they are too busy and that you should contact the local police. The number of cases is so large that the embassy and consulates don’t get involved unless the case has political ramifications.
Unless your loss is very large, you will find little support from the police in China as they are simply overwhelmed. If you are lucky enough to get their attention, you will be asked to file a report, which must be done in person and in Chinese. That means you fly to China or appoint somebody to represent you. Contact us the lawyer mentioned below if you need support engaging local law enforcement.
Depending on what county you are from, your embassy in China may be a bit more helpful than the Chinese embassy, but do not expect the embassy staff to lead the charge to get your money back. Most of the time they will suggest you contact a local lawyer.
Local Lawyers (Demand Letters & Litigation)
Demand letters and the fear of litigation can be very effective at helping to recover losses.
Here is an overview of the process:
Because it is a waste of time & money to go after a company/individual that has disappeared, closed or lacks assets, the essential first step is to confirm if the if the target is real or not.
And if they are real, do they have assets?
Some buyers think they can use a US-based lawyer to “scare the Chinese companies into corrective action”. In most cases, this is a total waste of time because Chinese suppliers know that a US lawyer and even a US court has no authority in China. A much more effective approach is to get a local lawyer in China to write a demand letter in Chinese.
Keep in mind that unlike most other nations, in China you can sue for lost revenue.
What if the demand letter doesn’t work?
If the demand letter doesn’t work, then consider going to court or hiring a collection agent. The playing field is much more level these days and foreign companies are having success at winning court cases. The good news is that the process is far less expensive than in the West and a decision is usually made in a short period of time, unlike US court cases that can take years to complete.
The flow chart above was reprinted with the permission of www.AsiaBridgeLaw.com. Feel free to contact them if you wish to hire a lawyer or collection agent.