Much of the following information was derived from DIY Solar Forum.
Be aware of the following issues that may arise when dealing with your Chinese contacts.
- NO NOT everyone speaks English. Many times if they do not understand, what you are asking, they run it through Google Translate and it goes downhill from there.
- DO NOT use abbreviations.
- DO NOT USE slang.
- DO NOT USE long sentences.
- Keep is SIMPLE
- ASK direct questions one at a time and number them.
- Your purchase is only protected really by two ways – PAYPAL and CREDIT card. Alibaba Assurance usually sides with the SELLER. PAYPAL and CREDIT CARD sides with you 100%.
- Most of these guys do not know what their ads even say – not their fault – So be specific in asking. DO NOT assume what you see is what they are selling. Especially GRADE-A vs GRADE-B.
- DO NOT ask for multiple quotes on the same page. If you want to know the difference in cost between 16 200aH and 16 280aH then send them two separate requests UNTIL YOU establish that they speak good English.
- Many of the folks have actually studied in the states and speak good English. BUT NEVER assume that until you are sure.
- Tell them that they need to wrap the batteries especially well for shipping.
- YOU need to ask them HOW LONG shipping is – some ship by air (8 days) some by boat (3 weeks)
- With either Paypal or CC you will pay about a 4% fee – but well worth it.
- Do NOT give them your full address UNTIL you order. Just City, State, USA, zip.
- If you have a technical question then often this will slow down your quote, i.e. “What is the resistance of the busbars that come with the batteries?”. Because they will then send the question to the technical guys and the wait begins sometimes.
- ONLY ask questions that you really need to know.
- Ask for pictures of the batteries. The reason is – some of them do NOT have terminal screws on top or even holes drilled for them.
- Make sure when you do order that they have your FULL ADDRESS – SPELL OUT STATE and PUT USA on it AND make sure they have your phone number in case customs or DHL or USPS has to call you, otherwise – the box sits there forever.
Often you are going to get an email from the vendor with the FedEx or DHL Tracking number. Those numbers do NOT go active until the item hits the states. From the time they send that to you to it hits LAX or somewhere may be several weeks, so do not panic if your FedEx number has not gone active yet and it just says “Label Issued”.
Initial Information Request Example
Can I get a quote for (8) 3.2V 280Ah GRADE-A aluminum blue batteries, and busbars to be delivered to <City Here>, FLORIDA, USA, <Zip Code Here>.
(1) Are the batteries GRADE-A?
(2) How long will it take to arrive once I pay?
(3) Can you test each battery PRIOR to shipping please.
(4) HOW do I pay. I prefer PAYPAL or CC.
(5) Please send me pictures of what the batteries look like.
I would like to place an order DDP for (8) 3.2V 272Ah GRADE-A aluminum blue batteries, and (16) busbars to be delivered to:
<Your Name Here>s,
<House Number Here><Street Name Here>,
<City Here>, FLORIDA, USA, <Zip Code Here>.
PHONE: <Your Phone Number Here>.
Specifications as per your quote:
- Grade A batteries.
- Each battery tested prior to shipping.
- Model 3.2V 272Ah
- Description 3.2V 272Ah Lithium Rechargeable ion Battery – Size/pc: 173*72*208mm
- Net Unit Price US$69.00
- Quantity (pc) 8
- Extended cost US$552.00
- Shipping cost FLORIDA, USA by sea; US$ 198 (It takes around 35-40 days after delivery if customs clearance goes well)
- Final total cost US$750.00
Please add (16) Busbars to the order.
Please give me payment instructions.
Only pay with Paypal and/or Credit Card though Alibaba.com.
ALWAYS specify DDP – The correct term to use for Door to door transport, all tax and other costs paid is DDP (Delivered Duty Paid).
Really solid, detailed information especially useful for those who are not familiar with ordering overseas goods – especially China.
Thanks for the feedback, Alex.