Therefore, buyers should be extremely cautious when ordering marble granite and stone products directly from the suppliers in China. Here are some important tips.
1. Always do some comprehensive researches on the background of potential suppliers in China. This may be difficult to do, but you must do. You may request trade references from their existing customers in America. You may also contact local chamber of commerce in the city where the supplier is located to validate their business nature and credit history.
2. If you order is large enough, you may want to pay a visit to China before finalizing the order to meet the supplier(s) in person and to see their manufacturing facilities.
3. Make sure to have all specifications included in the sales agreement, the more detailed the better. Also make sure to state "no
substitute material allowed" in the agreement.
Let me give you an example. Italian White Carrara is a well-known marble with high value. There is also a type of white marble quarried in China, namely Beijing Off-white marble or Hanbaiyu, that can have very similar color and textures to the Italian White Carrara. Many suppliers in China, especially carving stone vendors, often use Beijing off white marble to replace Italian White Carrara and argue that Beijing Off White Marble is also called "white Carrara" in English. The problem is that the cost of Hanbaiyu is only fraction of Italian White Carrara. How to avoid this type of trick? Easy, make sure to include "Italian" before "white carrara" and indicate "Chinese version of the material" will not be accepted.
Similar situations also exist in granite colors. For example, there are two versions of "Emerald Green" granite. One is quarried in China and the other has an European origin. They are quite different in terms of texture and price.
3. Try to use "letter of credit" (L/C) as the form of payment. It is the fairest transaction methods for both seller and buyer. Both parties are financially protected if they are determined to fulfill respective obligations as set forth in the sales agreement.
4. Stop and think again when you see a quote containing prices that are too low to believe. Most scam businesses tend to use extremely low prices to attract buyers or more accurately, the deposits.
5. When comparing the quotes you received, make sure to compare apple to apple. Suppliers in China like to use some vague pricing or delivery terms in their quotes so they can impose hidden charges, i.e., increase your costs, later.
For example, you will be surely happy with total costs of $3000 for shipping a container from China to Buffalo, New York, including ocean and land freight, duty and port charges. But wait, there is a line in small letters, saying "shipping costs are estimate only". As the commonly used trade term is FOB, or Free On Board, you as a buyer are responsible for all logistics related expenses anyway; a supplier can quote anything to make their grand total appear competitive. How much truth in that $3000 estimate? Almost none. But I have seen this figure in many quotes sent out from suppliers in China. The average value of a container load of granite and marble is right around $30,000. The duty alone will be almost $1500. Therefore, when comparing the quotes, make sure to compare the costs of goods only, unless what they quoted is "CIF" (costs, insurance and freight, in contrary to FOB) "to-door" delivery.
6. It is strongly recommended to place your order with an accredited marble granite stone importer in the States who is dealing with manufacturers in China directly. You may need to pay little bit more (5-15%) for your order, but this certainly will save you lots of hassles and mostly importantly, your financial risks will significantly reduced.