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Factory Trick #1 - The Short Change Scam

Wednesday, 25th April 2012

The short change scam is a subtle technique factories use to keep you tied to them. When I first began importing many years ago, I experienced this trick time and time again.

Here's how it goes. You have just ordered a container of 50 motorbikes. The motorbikes are fine, there are no major problems with your order. However, there is a slight issue.

The factory "forgot" to pack 15 of the batteries (This could be any critical part that you need in order to sell a complete unit).

These are not just batteries that you can buy in your country. These batteries are a special size and shape – specific to use on this type of motorbike.

You complain to the factory. They apologise saying the workers missed this box when they were packing your container.

You have been short changed!


And guess what? There’s only one way you’re ever going to get your change – when you place your next order. The parts are far too big and heavy to send by airmail and coincidentally you can not air freight batteries so that’s out of the question.

After much arguing you realise you have two choices:

1. Order from the factory again and get the batteries you need
2. Keep 15 units that you cannot sell

The short change scam is a subtle technique factories use to keep you tied to them. The worst case scenario, this happens with every order and as you orders grow, you get more and more tied to them.

You can’t divorce them because you’ve so much money tied up with them. And at this point they sting you with the killer blow… material prices have just gone up (again) in China and so has the cost of your next order!

If you don’t manage the factory properly and lead them the right way from the outset, things could get very messy if you’re not careful!

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