Who is to Blame? Buyer, Seller, Shipper?

We are sending this query requesting your advice and assistant to resolve the problem we are facing for products received from China with completely different specification and the wrong material. It was a total loss .

The shipment was insured and the Insurance Company is not very helpful.

We have the following official documents under signature.

1. Sales Contract ( two pages)
2. Certificate of Origin Document
3. Bill of Lading
4. Insurance policy

Yes, in most cases, unless there is clear damage during shipping, the shippers will not take responsibility for quality issues and the supplier is the entity you should contact to seek compensation.

I have a couple of ideas for you.

Next time around, please utilize an inspection agency.  For a few 100 USD they will visit the supplier and inspect the goods before it ships out of China and before you pay the final payment.  This affordable step would have prevented the problem you describe above. I would be happy to introduce the inspection agents I use if you want a recommendation. Please advise.

But let’s address the current problem.  I see two options:

Option One

If you desire to move to a court case with the supplier, then I think English speaking Chinese lawyers at www.AsiaBridgeLaw.com would be a good fit as I use them for this kind of support.

Option Two

On the other hand, if you would like to try mediation before going to court, Matt of Southern Perspectives SZ at http://chinasourcinginfo.org/endorsed-service-providers/#Dispute_Resolution would be a good resource for you to know.

Let me know your desired next step and I will be happy to make introductions.

Looking forward to being of service.

BTW, you may have already seen them before, but if not, here are some blog posts and articles that may be of interest to you:

How does one actually return defective product back to China?

Resolving a dispute: Demand letters and legal options

“They took the money and ran!”

learn from this foreigner buyer’s experience with Chinese courts

Product liability

China’s Legal System

Best wishes on your sourcing program.

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 (www.ChinaSourcingInfo.org). He is also the author of, “The Essential Reference Guide to China Sourcing” (chinasourcinginfo.org/book) and founder of PassageMaker Sourcing Solutions (www.PSSchina.com )


1 Comment

  1. Asia Quality Focus on June 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    Great advice Mike!

    Next time around we definitely recommend doing an inspection, especially a Pre-Shipment Inspection. That way, you know the quality of the goods before they leave China, and will know whether or not your products were damaged during shipment.

    We wish you good luck next time!


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