A Supplier cheated me! How do I get my money back?
You can try to contact the Chinese embassy in your country, but most likely they are too busy and will suggest you contact the police in China.
The police in China will most likely say they are too busy. Keep in mind people are scammed every day. Unless your loss is massive, the embassy and police send you to the back of the line. If you are lucky, the police will ask you to file a report, but this must be done in person. So you have to fly to China or appoint a legal representative. All the while hoping the Chinese seller has not gone into hiding. How some good news, if the seller is a real company with real assets, you may have a chance to work with the police and/or have a local lawyer issue a demand letter. But if they are a fake company, your money is most likely gone for good.
Your Embassy in China
They also get lots of mail from people who have been scammed. Like the Chinese Embassy, they will suggest you go to the police or contact a lawyer. If your Embassy is one of the more service oriented ones, they may even introduce contacts among the local lawyers or police departments. (SBL can help make those introductions as well if you have lost money).
So it can’t hurt to contact your Embassy. But unless your loss has political implications or is very large, I would not expect the Embassy staff to lead the charge to get your money back.
Your case will be stronger if you have a contract in place with a legit seller, but the seller simply stole your money and didn’t ship. It is very possible in those cases to issue a demand letter (in Chinese, from a real China lawyer) for the full amount of lost revenue to shock the seller into negotiating a settlement such as replacement products or a refund. So you go in asking for a big number, and then negotiate down to something that is still acceptable.
But… if the seller is a scam, meaning not a real business …just some guys pretending to be a company, then a demand letter doesn’t have much impact. The supplier needs to be legit with assets to lose for a demand letter and fear of the law to have effect. You can’t take a phantom company to court.
Be safe, do your due diligence and follow the 5 most essential rules to be safe!
The Top 5 Essentials for Safe Sourcing in China
Reprinted with the permission of CSIC
- Only buy from legit businesses.
- Use a bilingual contract or purchase order (PO).
- Name on the count, business license and contract should be the same.
- Don’t release final payment until 3rd party QC has been completed!
- It’s not possible to buy famous brands (like Apple or Gucci) at a low price in China!
Apply these safety measures or don’t buy from overseas!