Successful Online Selling

How to Determine if a Wholesaler is Legitimate

how to determine if a supplier is legitimateWhen you're looking to grow your eBay business, you need to find a reliable supplier that can provide you with good quality items, which sell for a decent price to make money on eBay.

If you're dealing with local wholesalers, it's usually a lot easier to make sure they are legitimate, but you probably won't get as good a price than if you found a supplier in China or India.

However, better margins come with greater risks.

There are countless stories of Chinese wholesalers providing poor quality or fake goods, as well as those who just take your money and run. Working with a foreign wholesaler can be a really profitable way to run your business, but how do you determine if your potential wholesaler is legitimate?

Check their business registration - In just about every country (including China), if a company wants to trade as a wholesaler, they will have to register as a business.

The wholesaler should therefore have some form of business identification number, and there are government agencies websites where you can go and check if the business ID number, and the company, are genuine.

The only slight issue with Chinese wholesalers, is that their government website is in Chinese, but you could pay a small amount to a translation company or trade specialist to help you check the company for you.

Check the wholesaler has been verified - You want to find out if the supplier has ben verified by a reputable business and/or credit checking company.

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Genuine wholesalers will most likely be registered and verified by one of these businesses, which will reassure you that they are trading properly.

One way of checking foreign suppliers, is to go to and find the supplier in their directory. The listing will tell you if the wholesaler has been verified by the website, and an independent checking agency.

Check the supplier's website - Most wholesalers will have a website. Whilst it's more reassuring if they do, don't completely discount them if they don't, or it doesn't look great - they're wholesalers, not web designers.

You want to see what information they have about the company on the site, what contact names, phone numbers and e-mails they provide, to help new customers get in touch.

Genuine suppliers who are trying to generate business should be happy to give you information on their organisation, and a number of ways to get in touch.

It's worth mentioning however, that some wholesalers don't overly promote themselves, so only giving a few contact details doesn't always means they are dubious, but if you can't get in touch with them at all, you should probably walk away.

Don't just rely on the internet and e-mail - The internet makes it so easy these days, to do everything online, without ever speaking to or seeing the other person. The scammers rely on this.

This is why you should always try to talk to any new supplier on the phone, firstly to make sure you can get in contact with them, and secondly to ask them the kind of questions that will give you a better idea of how legitimate they are.


Ask about the product specifications, the manufacturing process, if they can send you a catalogue, and even for a map to the offices or factory so you can come and meet them.

A genuine supplier should be able and happy to provide you with all this information.

They should also be asking you questions about what you are looking for, what size of order you might place, how you want the items shipped, what payment terms you need, etc.

This is all information a genuine supplier would need to be able to come up with a deal for you.

If they are happy to agree to anything you ask for, still provide an unbelievably low price, and just seem a bit too keen to get your money, be very wary.

Check reviews and references - Look online for reviews of the supplier from current and former customers. Use the wholesaler's name to see if there is any information about how good or bad they were.

Ask the wholesaler to provide references from customers in your country, that you can get in touch with. If they are happy to do this, that's a good sign, and you can get in touch with the references and see what they say.

If you know a fellow seller has had a good experience with this supplier, you will feel a lot more comfortable.

It's a good idea to try and be objective about the feedback you get, even good businesses have unhappy customers.

A slightly delayed delivery doesn't necessarily mean they are a bad supplier, but taking a customers money and never being heard from again obviously does.

visiting a businessVisit the supplier in person - One of the best ways to check out your new wholesaler, is to actually go and visit them in person.

You will get to see how they operate, meet the people you will be dealing with, see the products you will be buying, and maybe even negotiate a better deal face to face.

Of course, it's not always possible to visit every supplier, especially if they are in China, but as your business grows, these trips could be worthwhile if you can meet several suppliers while you're over there.

If it's not possible, there are inspection agencies you can hire to visit the supplier for you.

Test them out - Finally, when you have done all your other checks, and you think you've found a supplier that can provide the products you want at a good price, ask them for a sample or trial order.

Many wholesalers will provide you with a free product sample (genuine organisations accept this is a cost of doing business), or let you place a smaller trial order.

If you have to pay for it, it's still worth it, as you get to see the products your customers will be buying, to make sure you are happy with them. If it's fine, you can even sell the trial product to get your money back.

Finding good wholesalers can be a bit daunting if you've not done it before, but if you follow these tips and use your common sense, you should be able to find legitimate suppliers who can help your business grow.

If you would rather eliminate the chance of dealing with a dodgy supplier, then I recommend that you go straight to:


There you will find thousands of pre-screened and verified suppliers who are ready and waiting to hook you up with some amazing deals on wholesale goods.