What do I need to know before buying online from Chinese/Asian B2B Websites?
August 25, 2010 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering buying a spice mill/grinder from an Chinese/Asian B2B website. They have an "escrow" service, but what do I need to know to avoid being scammed, receiving totally crappy goods, etc...?

I'm considering buying this product via this B2B site. I've also found the same product and manufacturer on alibaba. I've emailed the seller several times and each time have received prompt, satisfactory answers in very broken English and always from the (allegedly) same person. The company's own website also shows the same product information. No particular red flags (no pun intended) have been thrown up that I've noticed so far. I asked for a U.S.A. reference and received one back with complete name/address/email/telephone information. My confidence level is probably at about 75%, but not sure whether to make the leap. What else do I need to know, ask, or watch out for?

I'm willing to risk the purchase price and shipping cost to find out what the actual product quality and performance is, but I'm don't want to be totally scammed.

(BTW: If anyone knows where I can buy this type of grinder/mill in the U.S., please do tell. Months of googling haven't turned up anything even close. The old Krups coffee grinder just won't handle the quantities of ground herbs/spices that I need.)
posted by webhund to Work & Money (5 answers total)
I'd say your risk is minimal...you've done your research, you're using an escrow service...should be totally fine.

(I am not your spice mill purchase consultant, etc.)
posted by circular at 11:53 AM on August 25, 2010

This might be a dumb question but would a grain mill work? I did a little bit of grain mill research a while back and there are a decent number of options but I haven't ever used one so I couldn't compare the difference of grain mill output and spice grinder output for you.

Here's a few at Lehmans: http://www.lehmans.com/store/Kitchen___Grain_and_Grain_Mills?Args=&view_all=&sort_by=
posted by countrymod at 11:54 AM on August 25, 2010

Countrymod: The difference between grain and spice mills is that stone grain mills get plugged up and can't handle the higher moisture and oil levels that are present in many herbs, spices, and chiles. Thanks for the tip, though! They've got some other cool stuff on the Lehman's site.
posted by webhund at 12:08 PM on August 25, 2010

Webhund - thanks for the clarification. You might also stop by or call up a local restaurant supply store. It always seems as though they have or can get nearly anything.

But I think if you add to the protection paying with a credit card that will refund a fraudulent purchase -- you'll be fine. Some credit cards also have a tool to create a temporary card numbers -- you might consider going that route for some additional protection.

Good luck! Curious to know what you do with all those spices!
posted by countrymod at 5:13 PM on August 25, 2010

This site sells hammer mills--maybe you can ask them about a comparable model?

Dutch company with video.

Otherwise--how much is shipping? What about customs? And if it breaks down or is damaged in shipping? Seems like too much trouble for me.
posted by Ideefixe at 5:20 PM on August 25, 2010

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