Sunday, July 3, 2011


The most common practice, or malpractice, of many Chinese printers is to take your print jobs in at a very low price. When the files are in, deposit sent, and delivery date confirmed, the Chinese printer will come back and tell you that he had miscalculated the price and need more money from you.

If you don't pay up, the job will get stuck in purgatory and be on-hold indefinitely.

If you don't have a hard deadline, you can try to negotiate all you want. But since most print jobs usually have a specific date that it needed to be used, this deadline usually becomes one of the leverages used by these despicable Chinese printers to get you to pony up the ransom.

And, of course, there is the deposit that you have already paid. Good luck on getting that back if you don't pay more into the coffer.

Don't think that you can take legal actions. International business suit can take forever, and the Chinese government doesn't look too fondly on any business suit brought by a foreigner.

Suing them in domestic Chinese court is even less likely. Even if are a domestic Chinese company, this process not only takes a long time (there goes your delivery date), once your foreign identity is made public, the likelihood of you winning the case gets slimmer by the minute. The Chinese courts will definitely favor their own sons. And by happenstance that you should win the case, you'll never be able to collect. There is nobody to enforce the judgment. Nobody except local hoodlums and thugs that may vie for the right to help you to collect. Good luck working with them!

There have been cases where the same printer actually pulled off a double-hijack in one single job. Once they know you are willing to pay, it just adds to the likelihood that they'll come back and do it again. It's almost like dealing with the terrorists - no negotiations. But if you don't negotiate, you'll never see another penny from the deposit that you've already paid.

The most likely time that the Chinese printer will pull this stunt is right after he tells you he has started the job. In actuality, he has no intention of starting the job, he's just misleading you into believing that he has already incurred hard costs and is drawing the short stick - both of you are in it together. More often than not, he will not start the job until you pay up. He's likely to bide his time so that when the schedule progress beyond the point of no return, you'll have no option but to pay up.

If the Chinese printer comes up with the request for ransom too early in the game, you can always choose to walk away. The most you'll lose is your deposit. So the trick is to pay as little as possible on deposit although that may not be acceptable to most Chinese printers. But if you can't forfeit your deposit (most of us can't), then you are on the hook to play his game.

Despite the fact that you and the Chinese printer may be working on strictly numbers, he knows perfectly well that his Ace lies with the delivery date. The longer you take to ponder over your options, or lack thereof, the later the delivery date will be postponed. So, to salvage your all-important delivery date, you will likely to make the decision to pay more fast and quickly.

Let's face it, once you cross that international border, this type of risk is inherent. While I'm sure it is not limited to China alone, my personal experience with Chinese printers have told me that over a good 80% of them will do this. And unfortunately, there are many more tricks in their bags than just hijacking your job for ransom. It almost feel like there might be a school somewhere in China that teaches all these printers on how to win and milk foreign contracts.

And yes, these Chinese printers are very short-sighted. They are conditioned to look at one job at a time and not look too far into the future of what a mutually beneficial business relationship may bring. They are taught, by their own personal experiences dealing with the local population, that if they don't become the antagonist, someone else will eventually do it to them.

If you should have a chance to visit Shanghai, you'll be dazzled with all the modern high-rises and the endless construction for more. You'll be mislead into believing that you are in a civilized country like any other western countries. You'll see the courts, the police, and every other institution and infrastructure that you were accustomed to back home. You'll feel safe, personally and business-wise. But the truth is very far from it. Despite the facade, most Chinese people are still struggling to make a living. While the younger generation may be college-educated, their college education does not mean a thing when it comes to different strokes on making money. You are a fair game to them. This is in complete contradiction to a society where the culture places so much emphasis on being honorable and ethical. I guess this is why Confucius is a saint here.

Most buyers like to shop around for the cheapest price, the more you shop, the more likely you'll run into one of these Chinese printers who makes hijacking your job their daily practice. So, the safest way to buy overseas printing is to send millions of dollars into one single Chinese printer. That is, if you have that much job going on. Otherwise, your best bet will be to contact a U.S. based company that specializes in buying from China.

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