Importing from China - Learn from my costly mistake

Annie12

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 5, 2015
13
7
56
Just to let you know about my financial disaster !! i ordered a kit from china via Alibaba, it wasnt the cheapest but looked good quality and had a powerful Lithium Battery.This was dispatched via Express Air Freight using a well known courier co. My problems began when Hong Kong Customs dissected the Battery using a drill and a hammer rendering it useless, they also heavily handled the rest of the kit and badly repacked it.
UK customs again did their worst leaving me with a box of useless junk. (bent wheel) To make matters worse I have received from the courier an invoice for VAT and Duty and a hefty surcharge because the Battery was not declared at point of dispatch as 'Dangerous Goods'- I wont be doing that again
 

KirstinS

Esteemed Pedelecer
Apr 5, 2011
3,209
887
Brighton
Oh good grief , I'm sorry to hear and gutted for you

I've never heard of anything asv extreme as this though.

I think you have been really really unfortunate

I have never bought from. There. Do they have a PayPal type insurance ?
 

Lancslass

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 3, 2015
419
240
66
Egerton, BL7 North Bolton, Lancashire
Thanks for posting. I sometimes buy things from the far east using ebay, but I confine it to cheaper stuff just in case things go wrong.

Have you contacted Alibaba about the item? There is a support page here:
http://service.alibaba.com/buyer/contact_us.htm

I think that your contract is with the supplier however, as Alibaba is only a sales platform (a market place). If you want to pursue a complaint I suspect you would have to deal direct with the supplier in China. It sounds like they have already let you down by mis-labelling the goods. What a rotten situation to find yourself in.
My sympathy goes out to you.:(
 

soundwave

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 23, 2015
11,587
4,768
Nothing is completely safe....all have risks.
In descending order of risk.
FedEx/UPS- highest risk of seizure
DHL/EMS
Regular Post/HK Mail/Registered Mail- least risk
 

danielrlee

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 27, 2012
1,311
668
Westbury, Wiltshire
torquetech.co.uk
I am a regular buyer of goods on Aliexpress. You need to open up a dispute from within 'My Orders'. Be sure to include photos of the damage. Aliexpress are good when it comes to judging a dispute fairly, so I wouldn't worry. Keep us posted on the progress of your claim.
 

Annie12

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 5, 2015
13
7
56
I am a regular buyer of goods on Aliexpress. You need to open up a dispute from within 'My Orders'. Be sure to include photos of the damage. Aliexpress are good when it comes to judging a dispute fairly, so I wouldn't worry. Keep us posted on the progress of your claim.
I have done this to try and seek recompense but I am not to hopeful as shipping policies were broken:
The problem is that Lithium batteries are classed by carriers as Dangerous Goods and as such should be Declared and a hefty premium paid for carriage, the Chinese miss -declared (to save the cost) and as such the Customs found out, Batteries need to be separated out, correctly labeled,and shipped in a safe condition (wrapped in leak-proof material)- none of which was done, its unfortunate that this happened about the time of the Russian Jet going down so customs and security were/are extra vigilant .
The supplier blames the shippers- the shippers blame the supplier and Hong Kong and Uk Customs are within their rights to investigate anything that is mis described - I have put it behind me and moved on with an Ebay kit .
 

danielrlee

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 27, 2012
1,311
668
Westbury, Wiltshire
torquetech.co.uk
I think you're confusing the issue somewhat. The courier's contract is with the seller. Your contract is with the seller. Ultimately, it is the seller's responsibility to get the goods to you undamaged. As long as you open a dispute with the seller within the allotted time, you stand a good chance of obtaining a fair refund.
 
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Cyclezee

Guest
You have my sympathies Annie,
But at least an airliner didn't crash in to a densely populated city however unlikely that may be.

What customs should have done is prevented it from being shipped, not damage it and then allow it to be shipped, that is just stupidity.
With the correct documentation and packaging batteries can be legally shipped by air, but on cargo only flights, that of course bumps up the price considerably.
Any batteries we import from China come by sea which currently takes 4 to 5 weeks.
 

appyarry

Pedelecer
Mar 16, 2015
40
13
68
Lyminge, Kent
Very Unfortunate. I have bought from china and had no problem. If you did not know the supplier had mislabelled to save costs and had no collusion with them to try to save money, then the supplier should recompense you. I'd be trying very hard to get redress.

Good Luck
 

fos'l

Finding my (electric) wheels
May 26, 2015
12
1
61
FYI, I purchased a battery from Ping, AFAIK a respected supplier, and paid adequately (IMO) for shipping by air to the US. The battery was shipped as if it were normal goods, but fortunately, wasn't examined in China or here. From then I've purchased only from domestic suppliers. Fortunately, we have Luna Cycle, China prices, local delivery.
 

Annie12

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 5, 2015
13
7
56
I am very pleased to tell you that I am sorted !!!
I went out yesterday to buy a new kit taking the parts that I had received in my ill fated consignment, the guys took pity on me. They rebuilt my wheel, repaired the battery and fitted the whole kit to my bike whilst I had lunch.an only charged me a token amount.
Many thanks to Electricbike Conversions in Hertfordshire I am so grateful, nothing was to much trouble.
 

trex

Esteemed Pedelecer
May 15, 2011
7,703
2,670
that's a relief. You should still tell us the name of the guys in China though.
 

Kudoscycles

Official Trade Member
Apr 15, 2011
5,565
5,048
www.kudoscycles.com
I did publicise all this on another thread but got shot down as scaremongering and trying to put people off buying from China.
Your supplier took a terrible risk in sending airfreight without proper labelling,even the labelling is not enough you have to have trained packers who have attended the course. Rightfully so,the airline industry is very nervous at present,my son is a pilot so I am especially concerned.
Your supplier can be fined up to 20,000 euros for mislabelling a battery.
Even seafreight is becoming a problem...the big shippers won't take part loads of batteries,you have to ship within your own container and including e-bikes within the consignment.
Overland couriers are also now very difficlt,it was a nightmare shipping some e-bikes with a courier out to Greece.
The UK customs are especially vigilant after the demise of the big e-bay seller who ripped off customs,Royal Mail and Hong Kong postage for millions. They have a strong team who are concentrating on undervalued consigments especially out of Hong Kong and the Philippines,throwing fines out as much as possible to deter these vat and duty fraudulent e-bay Hong Kong sellers.
Not what you want to hear but better to know the risks in advance.
KudosDave
 
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Annie12

Finding my (electric) wheels
Dec 5, 2015
13
7
56
that's a relief. You should still tell us the name of the guys in China though.
I have been advised not to do this as both Alibaba and the courier company are investigating the matter and my naming the supplier could prejudice their inquiries
 
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shemozzle999

Esteemed Pedelecer
Sep 28, 2009
2,823
685
Did you take photos of the damaged items and any chance to see what Customs did to them?