Due Dillgence on First Time Suppliers: A Case Study


As Theo mentioned yesterday, the L 46 order that I was organizing has fallen through the cracks. Theo and I had been in email communication with the supplier for a couple weeks, and flags began to go off late last week when he started acting suspiciously.

A few thing's that put him on the radar:

1. He offered COD-- something that is unheard of in this industry

2. I made it a point to contact the Canadian consulate in their country of business. If you're dealing with a business in Europe, they should provide an EU number-- a unique identifier that can be located in in a business database. The consulate was unable to locate this company in their database.

3. It's possible that the supplier was a small-time independant breeder. If this was the case, he would at least be able to name some of the local retailers. This supplier was unable to provide any references that checked out.

4. Naturally, at this point I'm starting to get suspicious, so I asked for a telephone number (Theo was even able to provide a translator). The phone number he provided us turned out to be a fax number.

At this point, I had to make the executive decision that this opportunity was just too good to be true. Out of a lost opportunity, however, comes a great lesson. Here are some points to consider when dealing with a supplier for the first time:

1. If feasable, visit their facilities before dealing with them.

2. If not, ensure you take the proper steps to research them. Ask for references, speak with past business contacts, and call the Canadian consulate in their country.

3. Do your research on the address provided (Google Maps is wonderfully intrusive) and ask questions about the local business landscape.

I hope this serves as a model for future buys. It's better to be safe than be out your hard-earned cash!

In the meantime, I'm currently working with other suppliers to source these and other hard-to find plec's, so if you're looking for something particular feel free to shoot me a PM or an email at [email protected] . I'll let you know once something is finalized.



better safe than sorry. im sure there will be another chance of bringing in some zebras in the near future.