ODM would like to recount a recent problem we had with a courier company sending samples to a Promotional Products Agent.  Hong Kong Exporters generally offer to give prospects free samples but ask clients to pay for the freight.  Free samples cost ODM and our partners a lot of money but this is a very important part of establishing a business for inventors.

In this instance, a sales man for a Turkish company really liked Chinelas shoes and said he needed samples urgently. They emailed us their courier account number with UPS and agreed to pay the courier fees – we sent the samples same day.   1 week later we got a call from UPS advising us that our samples were stuck in customs because the client refused the charges. Whilst our goods were in transit, the importer decided they no longer wanted our products.  Possible Reasons…

– Maybe this company or their clients decided to cancel project.
– Maybe his boss did not give sales man approval to order samples.
– Maybe they have financial problems and cannot pay courier.

Whatever the reason, this client decided they no longer needed our products and UPS contacted ODM to say that if we did not pay the charges that they would suspend our account.  ODM send out samples every day with courier companies in Hong Kong so we could not afford to let this happen.   In the end, faced with this ultimatum, we decided to pay up -loosing over US$ 150 for freight (higher due to reversal of charges) & US$ 20 on samples. Just for info, this company is not on the safe Turkish Promotional Products company list.

Promocity Promosyon Ürünleri A.ŞEven though we had a clear e-mail with the customer instruction and account number, UPS said they would take no action against the Turkish side.  Since then ODM have issued a formal complaint to UPS and have requested them to terminate the account of this importer.  (We will post their reply later)

Luckily this is an isolated case for ODM, but our contacts in courier companies tell us that this is a daily/weekly occurrence in Hong Kong.  We urge UPS and other courier companies to act in a fairer way towards exporters when documentary proof is provided.

For certain clients without a track record in the industry, ODM will be urging them to prepay our sampling service by credit card and use our courier account.  Don’t worry – it is probably cheaper in any case for 2 reasons…

  • Sending Goods Freight Collect is more expensive in general.
  • ODM have discounted rates with major courier companies.

Read our blogs on other courier company related issues..

Let ODM hear your comments and feedback.  Has this sort of thing happened to you?