Fraudulent USB thumb-drives.

Do you have any means of security to protect buyers from fraudulent suppliers? Something that acts like a buffer? In the internet there are memory devices for sale that state and are sold for the price of a big capacity like 32GB and have actually only have 1-4GB. When you put them in the computer, they show the stated capacity and only when you try to fully load them you see their real capacity. How can you address this?


I have a couple of comments and some solutions for you.

Perhaps it is my long time living in China, but I assume the worst and verify everything. For example, I don’t buy from a supplier, even if they have high ranking on the internet, unless I visit them in person or have a trusted representative visit to confirm the supplier is a real supplier and has the ability to make my products at the price, quality and desired volume.  That takes place before I even place the order. Once I place the order, then I take two important steps.

a)    I get the supplier to agree to let me return (or my appointed agent returns) to the factory to do a pre-shipment inspection before the goods ship out.

b)   I structure my payments to that the payment is made to the supplier AFTER this pre-shipment inspection takes place.

To learn more, here is a short video about Evaluating Suppliers at

In your case with the memory devices, I would have the inspector (your team or outsourced to a 3rd party, but NOT the factory representative) pull some units from your actual shipment and test them by adding dummy files to test actual capacity.  Put in your contract that if the test passes, you pay the cost of the inspection, but if the product fails, the supplier pays the costs + a penalty. Often, simply showing the supplier you are serious about QC, will cause them to take your order more serious and get the quality right.  If they see you as a 1 time buyer on the other side of the world who doesn’t have a plan to check quality, then you are a prime target for getting ripped off. So be professional, regardless of the size of the order and the factory will respect you.


  1. If the information above was useful, you will enjoy the following free resources as well:

a)    China Sourcer monthly e-magazine. Subscribe at and visit their archive as well.

b)   RSS my blog on China sourcing at

  1. The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” ( ) would also help you learn more.
  2. is an endorsed service provider of audits and inspections, including QC on memory devices.
  3. Other support services are available at

Wishing you successful China sourcing!

Question answered by Mike Bellamy, host of “Ask the Experts” at the China Sourcing Information Center.

Mike Bellamy is an Advisory Board Member & Featured Blogger at the not-for-profit China Sourcing Information Center ( He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” ( and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions ( )

1 Comment

  1. Small Buyer Beware | CSIC on May 25, 2012 at 11:43 am

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