Fraudulent wholesalers and suppliers

By Business.com Editorial Staff
Business.com / Accounting / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

Andrew, a local Liverpool stationer decided to locate a wholesaler for some fancy school bags and other stationery. The new school ...

Andrew, a local Liverpool stationer decided to locate a wholesaler for some fancy school bags and other stationery. The new school season has just begun and Andrew anticipates good sales this season. He searches the Internet and locates a wholesaler who, according to Andrew, is offering quality products at throwaway price. Andrew immediately contacts him and the entire deal is finalized on the net. Andrew wires the payment directly into the account of the wholesaler. A week later Andrew is still waiting for his consignment. Two weeks later Andrew realizes- the wholesaler has duped him.

To avoid the repetition of Andrew’s case why not read the following article? One often has to deal and contact new wholesalers. Here are some tips that will help in detecting fraudulent wholesalers.

1) Don’t go on website: The Internet is widely used to locate wholesalers. However, the presence of a website is not a guarantee that the wholesaler is genuine. Nowadays, even individuals have a website. This indicates that owning a website has become very affordable. Many retailers also base their decision to contact a wholesaler by just looking at the design of a website. The professional design of the website beguiles them into believing that the wholesaler is also a through professional. Just bear in mind ‘ Looks are deceptive’. 

 2) Talk to people: Get talking with the representative of the company or the wholesaler. This will help you to determine the expertise and the competence of the wholesaler. If the representative is unable to understand the jargons commonly used in the wholesaling world or fumbles for answers to the questions posed by you, then you should up the antennae. Conversing with a person also gives an idea about the professionalism of the wholesaler. For e.g. if a genuine wholesaler is not able to answer a query on the spot, he will try to get in touch later. A fake wholesaler will probably not go in to the trouble of finding information, however, there might be some exceptions.  

3) Payment method: Ensure that the wholesaler accepts payments via credit/debit cards and other online payment methods like paypal, nochex etc. If the company asks you to wire (BACS) money directly into their account then avoid trading with them as most definitely they are scamming you. Card payments in most cases can be easily traced and charged back whereas with money transfers, once the funds have left your account, they are gone forever.

4) Locate the postal address: Try to check if the wholesaler has mentioned a postal address on the website. A mailbox will not suffice. Postal address is a proof that the wholesaler has a proper place from where the business is operated. It also assures that the wholesaler is not fraudulent or a fly-by-night operator.  

5) Visit the wholesaler’s office: Make a trip to the wholesaler’s office. Ask the wholesaler to show you the warehouse or the storage place. It is generally observed that fraudulent wholesalers show a great reluctance to show a warehouse or even entertain you in the office. This is because a warehouse can be shown only if it exists. If the wholesaler does agree to take you to a warehouse, make sure that the warehouse belongs to the wholesaler. It should not happen that the warehouse belongs to the wholesaler’s relative or a friend.  

6) Government – an alternative source: Many governmental agencies maintain a comprehensive database about various wholesalers. Visit the Companies Database provided by governmental bodies such as the one in UK: www.companieshouse.gov.uk and use their search index to determine whether the company is registered with them or not. Also check out the resources of various governmental nodal agencies for information about bona fide wholesaler.  

7) Other retailers: Fellow retailers can also be a good resource for checking the genuineness of a wholesaler. A few enquiries with the local retailers can be used to detect a fraudulent wholesaler.  

8) Client references: When dealing with a wholesalers, ask them for a few of their past customers. Genuine wholesalers will not have any problem in listing out their customers. On the other hand fraudulent wholesalers will not be in a position to comply with your request. How can they do so, when they have had no genuine client till date?

You can also try visiting authentic and well known wholesalers and dropshippers directories like www.wholesalepages.co.uk to ascertain information about wholesalers and suppliers. These are few tips and recommendation will prove handy when you are locating a wholesaler for any product. Take a complete note of the wholesalers’ behavior; you might get some vital clues regarding their genuineness.

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