A customer wanted a strap that used a buckle that I don’t carry, nor do any of my domestic suppliers. The customer sent me a link so I could buy them online. The problem was the supplier was located in China.
I had to turn this project down. Why?
When we source a product from a domestic supplier, either manufacturer or importer, they provide us with product liability coverage for their products. Importers located in the United States will either carry their own insurance or work with the overseas manufacturer so they carry insurance that covers sales in the United States.
If we were to order product directly from China through an online e-commerce site there isn’t any insurance coverage. Any liability falls directly on the importer, most of whom do not realize the risk they are assuming.
Don’t Amazon, ebay or other e-commerce sites protect their customers based in the United States?
Not if you are buying from a “Third Party Seller” which is what any company shipping from overseas would be. Forget any help, you are on your own.
What is the solution?
Simple, buy from a company based in the United States!
OK, what if you are living outside the United States?
If something were to go wrong, really wrong you are still protected by our insurance. It might be a mess but at least you have options.
Just trying to return a product will still be difficult just due to the cost of transport and that is not what I am discussing.
Westpac Marine, the parent company of Straps to Go has been in business since February 14, 1984. We used to service marine lifesaving equipment and understand the product liability implications from that high risk business. We have been sued for problems with imported products and through this process learned what needed to be done to protect both ourselves and our customers.
This is a crazy world we live in and it seems not a week goes by when you don’t read about a problem with a product that just shouldn’t have any issues. Dog leashes were in the news not too long ago, breaking and injuring the user (human not canine).
We don’t sell products that fail to carry product liability insurance.
We don’t make straps that are destined to fail.
We care about our customers and their safety.