How To Spot A Dodgy Chinese Seller on Ebay

COVID-19 – At present there is a global shortage of not only fitness, but most all product coming out from China, which has spawned and now feeding an endless amount of unscrupulous sellers. Please please be aware there are a vast number of Chinese sellers on Ebay who will indicate that they are local English, that their stock is in the UK when in fact they are located in China and stock will take a minimum of 3-4 weeks delivery from China.

Seller Picture – There are an even greater number of Chinese who will cut, copy and paste other peoples product pictures to give the impression their products are top notch. Rarely is this the case, and the likelihood of receiving something less substantial is very high. While a great deal of Chinese suppliers are genuine, – Genuine manufacturers do not sell on Ebay, though to put things into perspective, China have over 1.5 billion people, of which 10% equate to 150 million, and 10% of 10% would come down to 15 million – Can you see where this is going? Even if 1 Chinese from 100 were to sell on Ebay, it’s an overwhelming amount of people. This naturally pressures them into cut, copy, and pasting other peoples pictures which is a very common way of life in China.

Difficult to Regulate – Outlined above, China is huge, (massive). Geographically it’s 30 x bigger than the UK and 25 x more populated which in reality means it’s very difficult for the Chinese government to regulate, especially the inland & countryside regions.

Holes in Ebay’s System – Ebay is a wonderful platform, it provides a fabulous service for both buyers and sellers, and overall it works well for most people. That said, Ebay has a few known holes in their system, holes which Ebay are aware of, yet naturally find difficult to combat. Delivery is one of those holes, registered seller another, HK registered sellers which are really Chinese mainland, duplicate listings, duplicate accounts, employing agents, stock being sent late from overseas, or not at all, taking advantage of the time delay in disputes, etc, etc, there’s are all known holes in the system and over the years, Chinese have learnt to circumvent.

Sellers Location – While Ebay have strict rules pertaining to a sellers location, a Chinese workaround is for them to register as a UK resident, even though they are not resident in the UK and the goods are not located inside the UK. With over 300,000 Chinese nationals living and studying in the UK, employing a pass through agent to circumvent Ebay’s location rules is very common practice. Employing a Chinese student as a kind of agent to make it look like the Chinese business is in the UK is also a very common theme, and so too is registering from HK (Hong Kong) when they are located thousands of miles away in mainland China.

Sellers Address – Look at the picture above,,,,, when you’re on any Ebay product page, and before you purchase, scroll right down to the bottom of the product page and you will see the sellers business address in the bottom left hand corner (It clearly states a Chinese address, yet if a Chinese student is acting as a pass through agent then a British address may be registered here). However, as most Chinese businesses send their goods directly from China, the majority openly register a Chinese address but register their business in HK (it’s very complex and confusing) – Please Note: Personal accounts are hidden so it’s very difficult for you to find personal seller who is acting as an agent for Chinese.

UK VAT Numbers from China – Next, look at the Vat Number: GB 263146906,,,, it may look like a UK business, but as HMRC UK allows a Chinese to register a GB Vat number (especially from HK), any Chinese company located in China can legally open a trading entity to trading on Ebay in the UK but not be present here (thousands upon thousands of Chinese companies use this British Government loophole).

Warehouse Location – Another route is for a Chinese company to dupe you is to use a Chinese student’s UK address for the purpose of “warehouse location”. That way they justify Ebay’s rule and set location as “UK delivery”, but the reality is such that when you place an order like above, although it says Manchester, that order goes through to China and the goods are sent from China which then take an average of 3-4 weeks or in some cases not at all. (see the reviews in the picture below).

Joining Date – Before you buy, check their joining date and if it states less than 5 years, BE WAREY….. Anything less than a 3-5 years and it’s highly likely they have already been reported, deleted, or have been banned by Ebay and have come back to set up in a different name (this happens thousands upon thousands of times per year) with some Chinese Ebay’ers openly bragging how much money they made from soft touch England. Sadly, the word spreads and the problem becomes bigger.

Reviews – Check their reviews (not just the positives as they often pay people to place them – 99% of Chinese companies who sell on Ebay and Amazon will openly pay agents, students and anyone who’s willing to place a 5 star review) though check the negative ones as these are the most accurate.

Late Delivery – Late delivery, no delivery and refusals to refund your money are all typical signs of a agent seller/scammer. Chinese agents/students have a perpetual habit of seeing the UK as an easy target and as there are NO bilateral rules in place, once you pay your money to China, there is no legal recourse – This is not being mean, as when you are inside China which is 6000 miles distance between you and them, it’s just how the UK is viewed.

Questions – Circled left in the picture above is a question, “Can you please tell me are the resistance bands in stock in the UK and will I get them by the weekend?“. After taking orders for 321 inside 3 days during the covid-19 outbreak “stating that their stock was located in Manchester”, our message was ignored, then 24 hours later, their UK account was closed. As their main account is listed on Ebay Hong Kong which is mostly likely Mainland China, the listing reverts there, and as you can see from the above right picture, the item was not in stock in Honk Kong either.

Why did they pull the listing down? – It is likely Chinese detected they were being questioned and it’s likely they thought our mail was from authorities so they pulled the listing incase their account was seized.

How to spot a Genuine Chinese Seller on Ebay – There aren’t any. Genuine manufacturers and professional sellers stick to their home and surrounding markets. A Genuine Chinese manufacturer will already have a trusted, mature supply chain and they simply don’t step beyond that. Professional Chinese do not and would not register themselves on Ebay (( their local equivalent called TaoBao is far bigger with 10 x more potential than both Ebay and Amazon put together )). A genuine Chinese seller would not waste his or her time accepting overseas orders, packaging and sending goods to the UK when they can sell them for similar sometimes higher prices to locals with less to almost zero delivery costs.

Manufacturing for the UK and trading Internationally requires special licensing language and writing skills that contrary to popular belief, the majority of Chinese do not possess. The average successful “genuine Chinese” doesn’t and wouldn’t get involved – Their focus is first and foremost on China.

Please be aware.

Hope this helps

Dave G-Morgan

Meet Dave

Dave has been a life-long fitness student, though during his years ageing, and to put it mildly “he spread out aΒ little“. Too bodily conscious to attend a gym,Β around mid 2014 Dave began resistance training from home.

From August to December 2016, combined with an intensive home fitness program, Dave lost a total of 19.5KG. Since then he has managed to maintain both his new weight and physique.Β Yet having been a purchaser of several inferior fitness items, David began to search for a solution. A long story cut short, during 2019, Dave and a small team from Pronimen set about designing, sourcing and manufacturing fitness products themselves.

Dave & Product Background