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Case Study – Hewat’s Marine
Hewat’s Marine business owner Jade, ran a small but successful business operating in marine outboard sales and service. His business however out grew his ability to supply second hand outboard motors so rightfully looked to source a supply from overseas.
In March of 2017 Jade had called Envia regarding his shipment of Marine outboard engines which had been stuck in the USA for the past 6 weeks. Envia recognised there were instantly red flags.
Who in their right mind would send outboard engines airfreight to start with and via the USA?
It just didn’t make sense at all. We asked Jade to continue communicating with this supplier in Japan but not to pay him any more money. We asked for all e-mail transcripts and for him to wait for our advice. We needed to determine whether in fact a shipment was in route and due to the USA’s very strict boarder controls was indeed grounded pending a legitimate payment for release.
The e-mails lead to a freight forwarders link. We knew of this freight forwarder so it didn’t take long to find the real website where it could be seen how crude the cut and paste was. We entered the fake tracking number into the fake forwarders web-site where it was advised the shipment in question was grounded in the USA pending a customs inspection payment. A cruel scam, a fair and decent man in trying to broaden the services of his marine business buys 2 second hand outboard engines only to continue to pay into the scam in trying to get what was rightfully his released.
Jade took this hard, $6500.00 and nothing but frustration and a shattered confidence in international business. At first Jade didn’t want to believe, “Envia only needs US$1200.00 for this shipment to clear customs” he told me I think knowing this was all part of the scam after purchase. So we needed the final nail. We asked Jade to ask his supplier for a US customs e-mail so he could simply communicate direct with the customs department. It wasn’t long before UScustoms@gmail.com come through and finally left Jade with no doubt. Really a US government department which is part of the Home Land security network has a g-mail account.
Do it right first time
Although Jades confidence and pride had been dented, to his credit, he was far from being crushed. His business and market had a demand for 2nd hand outboard engines and he was very keen to move forward with the help of Envia.
We explained the need of a purchase order which clearly dictated his buying terms and our control of the freight. This document in its own right scared of many potential scammers as they questioned why he wouldn’t let them control airfreight to the door.
Our next step was to ask for a pro-forma invoice witch again reflected our buying terms their payment terms and our control of the freight, we saw further scammer fall away until one started to speak our language. By June it was established Jades supplier was in fact real and very keen to do business. We had an order in place and a real & professional set of purchasing docs for Envia to take to the market so a reputable forwarder could now manage the import, clearances and delivery.
These types of scams are all too familiar within the international buying sector; scammers will attach themselves to on-line markets such as Alibaba where a fair bit of effort is put into web-sites, e-mail accounts and even links to freight companies and tracking numbers.