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There is really no standard structure for the industry. The fee depends on the agent and the volume of your exports. The level of service by the agent is also a determining factor.
In some cases, there are agents who say their service is free. These agents will take on a margin somewhere else in the transactions such as higher paperwork costs or even negotiated for a kickback from the manufacturer. It would be wise to choose a transparent agent because the fees would probably be lower than a "free" agent.
Another option would be looking for suppliers in our database which is totally free: supplier-in-china.com
There are many variables involved in a late shipment. You should contact your freight forwarder and track the shipment's location. Sometimes, it may be Customs. Other times, it may be the weather at sea. Just call your freight forwarder.
Most foreigners are unable to understand the disruption of Chinese New Year on factories' production schedules because this disruption does not occur in any other part of the world. During this time of year, there is a mass migration of 1.5 billion people who are returning to their home village to celebrate the most important time of the year with their family. The congestion on mass transit is unfathomable to most people. Trains, buses, plains, even if you drive your own car, you'll be stuck fighting a crowd with no end in sight.
For those looking to receive their orders in a reasonable time frame after Chinese New Year, they should order 90 days in advance of this holiday start date. Here are some more tips:
1) Don't place any time-sensitive orders in the months of December and January.
2) Do not make any changes to the orders once it is placed.
3) If the supplier makes promises on delivery dates that seems too good to be true, it often is.
Most importantly, plan ahead. This holiday comes every year so it should not be a surprise.
It never hurts to try, but in most cases the embassy will give excuses as to why they are unable to help. Basically, they will suggest you file a police report in China which means you will have to make a trip there. In other cases, they will refer you to seek legal advice from a Chinese lawyer.
Depending on your country, your country's embassy in China might be more helpful than the Chinese embassy. But unless your loss is very large (in the millions of dollars), most embassies will not be much help.
The normal payment terms in China is 30% down and 70% upon delivery. Of course, there is room for negotiations. For example, if a supplier asks for 50% down and 50% upon delivery, you can ask for better pricing.
Please keep in mind, if you catch quality issues after you make the final payment, the payment terms would not matter. You must have a plan in place to catch product problems before the final payment. It is best to have an third party inspection of the products before you make the final payment.
Here are some items that you should have in your purchase contract:
1) The buyer has the right to have a third party inspection company inspect the goods before final payment is made. If the goods do not meet the quality and quantity of the contract, the supplier will bear the costs of the inspection and any future inspections until the goods meet the quality and quantity requirements.
2) The tools, molds, and any equipment paid for by the buyer are the property of the buyer and may not be removed from the premises by the buyer at any time.
3) Supplier will not reproduce and sell to any other parties the designs, parts, and final product to any other parties.
4) Buyer's products will be not be used for marketing on supplier's website, showroom, brochures, tradeshows, and etc. without the buyer's written consent.
5) The contract should also have penalties for breaking PO terms such as quantity, quality, delivery schedules, and even NDA terms.
The AQL chart was invented for this situation. It seeks out the maximum defect percentage given the number of samples from your lot size. First determined your sample size according to your ordered quantity. Then, select your level of severity (I, II, or III). The standard level used by 98% of inspections is level II. Here is the table:
Let's say you have a lot size of 30,000 pieces. If you go to table A, under column II, you see letter M. If you go to table B, letter M shows 315 pieces of samples. Depending on your level of defects requirement (Critical is 0, Major is 2.5, Minor is 4), you select the number of acceptable defects. For example, a major defects acceptance would be 14 or 15 samples with defects.
If you put a lead time and stipulate a penalty for any missed delivery dates in your contract, you are entitled to the stipulated compensation. Please keep in mind not to put such a huge penalty that could potentially scare away a good manufacturer. It should be fair and allow flexibility for situations where the delay is out of the manufacturer's control.
For a order value of a few hundred dollars, it would be very difficult to find a factory willing to fulfill that order. The cost to set up production for your product would outweigh the potential profits from that order. It would be best to buy a product that the factory already produces or buy from a distributor.
Most factories will charge you a high fee to produce the sample which can be several times the price of the final product. This markup is to cover the cost of the manufacturer in setting up the machines to produce such a small quantity.
Though, most manufacturers will reimburse you for the cost of your samples if you end up placing an order from them.