February 27, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 3 Comments

Your eBay & eCommerce Questions Answered #20

questions-answers-20Yes, we have reached another important milestone in our Questions and Answers blog post series – the 20th post! So if you have a question you want me to answer, simply get in touch via my support desk here. And remember, even if your question isn’t featured on the blog, you’ll still receive my personal reply via email.

Today we’ll be covering the following questions:

  • Do I need a registered company to have a business account on eBay UK?
  • How do I get my money back from a scammer in China?
  • How to verify my PayPal account after change of name?
  • Do legit Chinese suppliers accept Western Union payments?
  • How to re-sell eBay products in Africa?
  • Can you get genuine refurbished mobile phones from China?

Let’s get started!

Hi Andrew,

I have read all your posts regarding selling on eBay these last few days to learn how to be successful using this platform and make my project profitable. You are a huge help as I was totally clueless only a week ago.

I was wondering if what I am proposing below is allowed within eBay’s policies.

Basically I started my little project on eBay about 2 months ago and I am unsure whether I can now upgrade my account to a business one as I don’t actually have a registered business? When I changed the account from personal to business, eBay didn’t ask for any additional information (to what I gave when initially creating the account) and I haven’t received any emails requesting any extra info or encountered any problems…

In terms of declaring my earnings, I am planning to do a year end self-assessment but I am just unsure how all of this sits with eBay and what their policies are?

Do I need to be registered as a business in the UK and open up a company or become a sole trader to do this or am I ok to just go ahead without registering as a business and simple declaring my earnings at the end of the year?

Thanks in advance,
Silvia

Hi Silvia,

Yes, on eBay you can have a Business account without actually registering a company or even becoming a sole trader. They do not verify any business details when you upgrade your personal account to business account. So it’s fine by eBay’s rules.

The only thing you want to look into is whether it would be more efficient, tax wise, for you to register as a sole trader? Check out my eBay Business & Tax registration guide here to help you understand the differences.

Also, if you’re using your name as your business name on eBay, you don’t have to take any extra steps but if you’re using some kind of brand/company name, you’ll want at least to register it as a business name with HMRC as otherwise that is technically against the rules.

Hi Andrew,

It was my first time buying from China, and though I usually research things thoroughly, this was very rushed as I needed favors in time for a wedding. I did ask some questions and was promised delivery by a certain date but the DHL number I have been given is non-existent and unfortunately I paid by Western Union. Besides the usual places to report this in the US, how or what can I do to encourage them to do the right thing and return my money or ship the product?

Thanks,
Nick

Hi Nick,

There’s really not much you can do if you’re scammed by someone in China. If it was on Alibaba, you can and should report them but it won’t change anything for you, apart from knowing that you’ve maybe saved a few other people the trouble. But even when Alibaba block their account, scammers simply create another one and continue where they left off.

You don’t even have any real proof that you paid the money as when you send money via Western Union, you send it to an individual, not a company or business account, so I highly doubt you can even prove to the police that you have paid for your order.

I’m sorry to hear about your bad experience but unfortunately there is very little I can do to help you now. Check out my Top 10 Alibaba Scams guide to stay on the safe side if you make any orders in the future.

Hi Andrew,

I have a question about PayPal, as they are really exasperating me.

To initially sign up for a PayPal account, I entered my personal information and bank account details. PayPal then made two miniscule deposits into my account which I had to report to them for verification.

All of that was fine, but now I want to change the name on my PayPal account as I recently got married. But PayPal will not allow me to do this unless I send them a copy of my driver’s license and marriage certificate, by fax to an unidentified number and to a random stranger. To me this sounds crooked and power trippy; we are warned never to send personal information to any one over the phone, by fax, or emails etc. yet PayPal want them.

Plus they didn’t ask for these documents to start with, so why do they require them now? They can easily see no other information will change, and if they wish to verify by account again they can do so.

What is the legal standing in this situation? Or if you can offer any other advice or information as I am not one to just blindly follow orders! Thank you for your time and help.

Regards,
Kim

Hi Kim,

I’m sorry bit I just don’t understand what is so strange in the fact that they’re asking you to prove your name has actually been changed?

I’m not sure if you know this but PayPal is regulated by the FCA, just like any regular bank and they do have to follow certain systems and protocols to stay within the law, in terms of anti-fraud and anti-laundering schemes. You can’t just walk into a bank and withdraw money without presenting ID and you certainly can’t change the name on an account without providing proof. In this case it’s very unfair to blame PayPal for simply doing their job.

I have several business accounts with PayPal and each time I open one for a new Ltd. company, I send various documents over to verify that such a company exists plus there’s tons of questions to answer, but again, this is all just in accordance with EU laws and the guidelines from financial regulators.

So I can’t really understand what you’re worried about?

You don’t have to fax those documents – you can simply upload them to your PayPal account, via the resolution centre. Scanned or high resolution images (taken by a camera or smartphone) are both fine I believe so it won’t take more than a few minutes of your time.

But if you don’t feel comfortable doing this, then simply don’t use PayPal, as simple as that. But there is certainly no way or legal standing for you to use PayPal without adhering to these requirements.

Hope this helps Kim & let me know if you have any further questions.

Hey Andrew,

I just read your post on Alibaba.com scams. This is my first time dealing with a seller on Alibaba and everything seems ok, especially as they’re a 9+ year gold supplier. But they say they only accept WU and Money Gram? If you have a second I would really appreciate feedback on this as it’s got me a bit worried.

Thanks!
Jonah

Hi Jonah,

That supplier looks totally legit to me. 9th year Gold Supplier status is a very good sign on its own but when you take a closer look at the supplier profile, you see that:

  • They have a custom made video showing their premises, with company logos/branding present;
  • They don’t sell dodgy products (branded products);
  • They have professionally made product images which are watermarked;
  • They have various certificates displayed on their profile.

As far as payment methods go – with such expensive items you can’t really expect that they will take PayPal and wire transfer is still the most popular payment method when dealing with China based suppliers. You shouldn’t use Western Union though as via WU money goes to an individual, not a company, so you never really know where your money will end up.

I would recommend you communicating with them a bit more, find out what they can offer you, their prices, MOQs etc. and if you’re happy with their responses, place a small sample order of just a few units first, just to stay on the safe side. And if that goes well – do a full factory inspection using a 3rd party agent, before you place your real/large order.

Hello Andrew,

First of all, I want to thank and commend you for your kind and relentless support for entrepreneurs.

In my case, I’m in Africa, so I was thinking of buying from eBay to resell on local websites and in my shop as well. But the problem is, as can be expected, the shipping fees are outrageous!!! It doesn’t make sense for me to buy products worth $100 and then pay $300 to ship them….

Is there a better option you can recommend to me? As I’ve seen interesting products at wonderful prices, that will sell in my country, Nigeria.

Presently, I have ordered some samples from AliExpress, at great prices, but there are not many branded cosmetics available and that’s the niche I am targeting. I’m most interested in trying to source these products from eBay and Amazon but the shipping is holding me back!

I hope you can help me to crack this conundrum?

Thanks,
Nka

Hi Nka,

For anything unbranded, I would recommend you stick with Ali Express and similar, low MOQ online shops based in China. You’ll get the same/better prices than from eBay UK plus of course can get better shipping rates when buying in larger quantity. For branded products obviously it won’t be an option as you can’t get genuine, branded goods from mainland China – they’ll be fakes/copies or you’ll get scammed.

If you’re looking for branded products, you should simply use wholesalers who take reasonable MOQs. For example, for branded cosmetics here are a few companies you can check out:

http://www.fragrancex.com
http://eu.strawberrynet.com/main.aspx
http://www.5starcosmetics.co.uk

For other branded products which you can get good prices for on eBay, to save on shipping costs you could us a UK based mail forwarding company such as:

http://www.ukpostbox.com

This way you can purchase individual items from eBay, get them delivered to your virtual mail box and then consolidate all packages into one and post them to you that way, which will create huge savings in the overall shipping cost.

Hi Andrew,

I recently came across your blog and I’ve enjoyed reading the posts as there were some great tips involved, so thank you!

I recall reading on your blog that it’s impossible to get brand name products from Alibaba and the like. The reasoning used was simple and convincing.

My question though is how you feel about these same brand names if they are offered as refurbished? The items I am looking at are cell phones, particularly from Global Sources, which has a more stringent verification process. The suppliers are also verified for 5+ years.

Logically, I’d say it’s definitely possible, as there are businesses built on purchasing broken/worn phones, fixing them up, and selling for a nice profit, but I did want to hear your opinion on it first.

Let me know when you can.

Thanks very much!

Tom

Hi Tom,

Yes, it is possible to get refurbished mobile phones from China but only if the supplier is based in Hong Kong, NOT mainland China. Many “refurbished phones” that are sold from mainland China are just fakes/copies and not real phones. Maybe you can get lucky and find some genuine, very old Nokia/Motorola phones from there, but again, the chance of them being fake is incredibly high.

But in HK, yes, you can get the latest/brand new mobile phones as well as genuine refurbished phones. Global Sources is indeed a better choice for finding such suppliers as their verification process is stricter compared to Alibaba but you still want to check each supplier carefully, get some samples first and increase your orders gradually to minimise the risk of getting scammed. You should definitely check out my TOP 10 Alibaba Scams guide here, which can also be applied to Global Sources’ suppliers.

Hello Andrew,

You are just AMAZING!!! I haven’t seen a blog owner like you before, who answers 99.99% of questions in such a timely manner.

Thank you for all the information you provide that has helped so many online novices, like myself.

You have really stressed the “don’t buy branded products from China” rule, but I have a question:

For Chinese New Year, AliExpress is advertising some phones with the title ‘Smart Picks’, in two categories: Popular Brands and Chinese Brands. The prices are very good for used iPhones, Samsungs, Sonys, etc. I checked the feedback too, and most buyers are very happy with their phones – except a few complaints about fake chargers and headphones, and that’s ok because most sellers mentioned that the chargers are not original.

And, in my local market, I have previously bought a refurbished Blackberry phone, that was supposedly imported from China, and I used the phone until I gave it to my sister who used the phone until she sold it… everything worked 100% fine and the only problem was I had to buy the original accessories separately.

The advert is still on AliExpress’ homepage so I was hoping you could check it out and give me your opinion? I am really excited to buy a new phone and the ones available on AliExpress look like great deals.

Thanks,
Nka

Hi Nka,

Thanks for your email.

It could be that they’re real, yes, especially if Ali Express has them featured on their homepage. Most likely the seller is based in OR ships from Hong Kong where genuine mobile phones can be sourced.

Their normal prices don’t look that suspicious but as they have that 50% sale going on now, they look very, very good – yes. Too good to be true to be honest but maybe Ali Express is just covering that sale or something to get exposure and traffic in, I’m not sure.

I guess you’ll only find out if they’re genuine phones or not when you place an order and receive your package as it’s very hard for me to say for sure without more information. From the screenshots though it looks like they’re Chinese region settings so you should also check whether you’ll be able to use them in your country without any restrictions.

That’s it for today!

But keep those questions coming via my support desk here, as my goal is to reach our 50th post by the end of this year! 🙂

Thanks,
Andrew

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  1. […] week we reached the 20th post in our Q&A series, which I am extremely happy […]

  2. Michael H Bayer

    Hi Andrew,

    I just wanted to write you a quick note to thank you for all your advice. I came really close to just taking a refund but there was just some unknown force saying ‘stick with it’. I kept hearing this over and over and over.

    I contacted you and I was about to request a refund anyway but I decided to stick with it. I have tried so many other programs only to fail miserably. However, I got the sense that you really do care if your students succeed. So I forged on and took the time to read, read and read some more the information you provided.

    One day as I was studying one of the lessons and something just clicked and I started applying what I have learned and became excited about selling. I have had a few sales since then and I expect many more.

    Thank you for sharing all your knowledge with me and others. You really do make a big difference in our lives.

    Kindest regards,

    Michael H Bayer

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Thanks very much Michael, it really means a lot to me!

      Keep up the good work & don’t let anything to stop you from achieving your goals.

      Thanks again,
      Andrew

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