A BUYERS TRUE STORY - MUST READ!
We have a customer from Denmark, who we have dealt with regularly for a few years at the time of writing, they order a container of products every few months.
The owner of the company contacted us in February 2021 saying he had a big problem and could we help.
He had decided as he had been buying from us in Indonesia for a number of years with no problems that he would try buying some other products directly from an Indonesian company who had contacted him by social media.
The Buyer had spoken for a few months to this supplier about prices, delivery etc. The supplier spoke some English so they could communicate and had sent pictures of products they made and people working, they had agreed a price and a production lead time of 2 months.
The Danish customer placed an order and sent the 50% deposit which was around 12,000 USD.
When the Danish buyer contacted us he was in a panic. It was now 4 months after he had placed the order and sent the deposit.
He had had no communication from the supplier for over 6 weeks despite sending many WhatsApp and email messages and unanswered calls to the suppliers mobile phone. He was really worried he was going to lose his money, and begged us to see if we could sort it out and he would pay us for our time and expenses.
Let’s be honest, 12,000 USD is a lot of money for any of us to lose. right!
We knew this was a big problem for him and as he was a good customer, we obviously wanted to help.
He sent us the contact details and address of the supplier. We told him we didn’t know this supplier, so would have to check if he had been scammed and nothing existed or if the supplier was real.
We knew the village where they were so we contacted people we knew in the village to see if this supplier existed or not.
Luckily, the supplier did exist.
We told the Danish customer that they did exist and the supplier was real to the buyers relief. But there was still potential problems as the supplier was being unreliable, by not communicating and there was a possibility something still could go wrong.
The Danish customer asked us if we would take over the order and try to get the goods finished and get them exported.
We happily agreed.
We needed to know what was the reason the supplier had stopped communicating and was he actually making the Danish customers order or not?
We asked our local contacts who actually knew the supplier to pay a social visit and quietly see if any of the products were being made. They visited and said yes they saw products being made but they were not for Denmark but for Russia.
We still didn’t know what was going on and whether the Danish customer had actually been ripped off or not. Was this a genuine supplier? or someone taking advantage of the situation with a buyer sending money from the otherside of the world in the middle of a Covid 19 pandemic? knowing nobody could come because of global travel restrictions.
We decided the only way to know for sure, was to just turn up at the suppliers address with no appointment and find out the real truth.
As we didnt know how the supplier was going to react, maybe friendly, maybe aggressively, we didn’t want our staff being put in any danger, so, we hired two local “Muscle Guys” to go with them.
Our staff were about 5 hours drive from the supplier and because they wanted to arrive early morning they drove through the night to get there for 8am when the supplier supposedly opened.
When they arrived at the address it was a house. This is nothing unusual in Indonesia as many craftsmen work for home or a workshop behind their house.
Our staff told the supplier they were friends of the buyer and wanted to know what was going on, why was he not communicating with the buyer? what was happening with the order?
The supplier was a little shocked that someone had arrived at his house especially as two of the people looked rather big!
He seemed a polite and friendly guy, and told us he was always in contact with the buyer and last chatted a few days ago. He said why should I have to reply every time, if I have nothing to say!
We asked to see the products being made as there was only a few items at the house. We visited his workshop to find some products in part production and still even after 4 months they still hadn’t ordered some of the raw materials. They were apologetic and promised to get it finished within 2 weeks. We told the supplier we would be back to check when it was finished.
We reported back to the Danish Buyer what happened and he was furious that the goods were not made yet after 4 months and that it was total bullshit the supplier had contacted him a few days earlier.
We advised the Danish Buyer we still had concerns, we were confident now that the supplier would make the goods, because someone had come knocking on his door, but we were still worried the supplier could possibility not supply the goods.
The potential problem now was the supplier would not release the goods to the cargo company until they had been paid. This is very normal in Indonesia and 99% of orders are paid this way.
Our concern now was because the Danish Buyer was transferring money from an overseas bank he would have to pay in advance before the container was loaded, so, still ran the risk of not getting the goods.
We suggested, to overcome this problem, the best solution, was for us to do a full QC of the products once the order was finished we would check the goods were all ok and the right quantities had been made. We recommended for the Danish Buyer to transfer the balance payment to us and we would pay them.
When the goods were packed and ready to be loaded on the container, we would go to the suppliers workshop and oversee the loading of the container and once everything was on the container we would pay the supplier by Indonesian bank to bank transfer which is an instant transfer.
The Danish buyer totally agreed with this.
We advised the supplier what was going to happen and how we were going to pay them. The supplier agreed but said we didn’t need to QC the products as their quality was always good and why did we want to check every item? why not check one or two if we have to check?
This rang alarm bells with us!
Any quality supplier has no objection to all products being inspected. Why would they? if the quality is good?
We told the Danish buyer what the supplier had said and told him because of the suppliers comments about not inspecting we MUST do a 100% inspection. Absolutely under no circumstances should we do a partial inspection.
The buyer’s reply “Absolutely, everything must be checked!”
After chasing the supplier numerous times the order was finally completed 1 further month after our visit and 2 weeks late on the promised completion date, this was due the the supplier waiting for raw materials which he should of ordered 4 months earlier.
We visited the supplier to do a full Quality Control of the items, with around 20-30% of the goods being rejected by us and needing reworking by the supplier.
Eventually, everything was fixed and the container arrived, it was loaded and we paid the supplier.
To a huge sigh of relief by the Danish buyer.
We contacted the Danish buyer by whatsApp after the container had left we have a good and friendly relationship with the buyer the conversation went like this:
Zenddu: Don’t ever f**king do that again! It could of ended completely differently with you losing your money!!!
Zenddu: Have you learnt your lesson?
Buyer: Don’t worry I am never ever f**king do that again! Thanks for everything.
He then placed another order with us.
“We have dealt with Zenddu for a number of years now and highly recommend any of their products and services. They are honest and trustworthy, all the products we have bought are of highest quality, and their customer service is beyond excellent”
Martin Vang, Co-owner, Furnista, Denmark.