I learned from experience that it is imperative that every one of your outbound shipments must be inspected by either your agent living in the country of origin or an independent inspection company. Let me tell you what happened to me and why I feel so strongly about this.
When I first began importing car stereos, I bought a small quantity – 100 units – and the quality on that small shipment was fine. However, when I imported my first larger shipment of 1,000 units of car stereos from the same factory, I had a problem. 100% of these car stereos were defective. I know it’s hard to believe, but that is what happened and I really thought I would have to go out of business.
I immediately contacted the manufacturer and they responded by saying that this was impossible. They asked me to return five defective units for their inspection, which I did. When they received the five defective units, they still did not believe that 100% of the shipped items were defective. So, they asked me to send them ten additional units, which I did.
After the factory received the first five units and the additional ten units, they immediately offered to send two of their engineers to my warehouse with the necessary parts to repair the 1,000 defective units. Needless to say, I was relieved! I thought, yes, I do have a future in the import business.
Here’s what I learned. Always have every outbound shipment inspected and include a inspection certificate confirming that the shipment passed inspection in the documents required in each of your Letters of Credit (L/C’s). This is how you can protect yourself from having the potentially catastrophic experience I had when I first began my career as an importer/exporter.