Here are the tips:

1)Use a search engine to start investigating the company. Typing the name of the company and the word “scam” or “complaints” can reveal whether the company is legitimate. If others have discovered the company is running a scam, is not delivering products or has been caught committing fraud, they often post their stories online. Likewise, an online search can return information that verifies a certain level of legitimacy, such as a list of office locations, references or a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the company’s shipping process and what to expect

2)Call the company and ask questions any shipper might ask. Ask the customer service department to mail a price list, request delivery times for a shipment and find out how the company handles damage and returns. Request a business address and map for for the address location. Calling allows you to detect any hesitancy or indirect responses to common questions a customer might have. If the shipper is legitimate they will have no problem answering your questions or sending a price list.

3)Ask for the tax identification number for the business or international certifications the business maintains. Many international countries award business permits and ID numbers to legitimate businesses or provide a way of verifying a business name. An internationally recognized business certification group such as the International Standards Organization can verify organizations claiming certification through them.

4)Ask the business for U.S. and European references. Contact the references and ask about working with the shipping company. Business owners are usually happy to pass on information that might assist someone in warding off a shipping issue they may have suffered through themselves.

5)Visit the shipper or send a trusted third party. If you intend to do a volume business with the shipping company, visiting in person, sending a trusted third party or paying for a company report may be well worth the cost. Look to international business organizations such as the International Chamber of Commerce to find someone to visit in person for you. A trusted source such as the U.S. Commercial Service can provide a company report on international companies.


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