Right recently got my chinese frame and built my bike.
So a share of my personal experience. First and fore most I have not found any issue in terms of structural integrity of the frame i bought. So I cannot comment on the Quality Control of the stuff coming from Far East.
Right, below apply to all countries I think, including EU:
1) The frame/bike you are buying, you won't be able to see or try on until you have paid and built it. So if there is any incompatibility you will either need to send it back (costs a lot of money and time) or buy more parts to make it fit.
2) Following the above, if the geometry is a lot different from you current set up then you will be well advised to make sure you get a bike fit on your current setup and copy the measurements and translate it on the new frame/bike geometry. You must ask for Geometry information from the supplier/seller
3) Payment - paypal etc are good, but if you don't have a credit card associate with it, or rather if you paypal money comes out of your bank account, then I would recommend you stay away from it. Paypal offers some protection but their view is you need to send the whole package back, which can be very expensive. Where a credit card company has more ability in recovering money such as freezing the transaction until it has come to an agreed solution and credit card companies work much much faster than Paypal - usually 1/2 weeks as opposed to 4-8weeks.
4) If you are order additional items in the case of bike frameset, make sure the items are indicated in the invoice. MUST get an invoice listing all items you ordered prior to your payment. This invoice should also indicate the paint scheme you specified with a picture indicating the desired final product.
5) Must make sure the shipping method is a tracked method.
6) Ask about custom practise. in EU you won't have a problem. outside you may be whacked with VAT and import duties. the 40% dumping charging (applied to Chinese import only)is not applicable unless you import more than 300 bikes/frames per month. and even in that case you can be made exempt if you demonstrate that more than 50% of you bike is not from China.
7) Ask you supplier/seller about refund policy and return policy. Although do not take it on their face value. Find out their address from the sales person and then verify it with the Paypal invoice address. If they are different step away.
Ask about if you want to return goods to them if they are responsible for carriage. If not, step away. If so, good news, and check 7). If they have their own pick and deliver service, again check 7) i.e. the return address is the same as Paypal, if not, step away.
The above is generic, more about my personal experience:
9) if you asking for a complex paint scheme, then you are asking for trouble. they will get it wrong. So keep it simple. Preferably just GLOSS paint with naked carbon under.
10) make sure you speak to the highest Authority from the seller/supplier so if anything happens then you got a direct answer
11) Give them some time, but as soon as delay tactics being applied more than acceptable no. occasions raise alarm bells with Paypal or credit card company.
12) open the package before signed the delivery.
13) BE VERY WARY OF ORDERING FROM OUTSIDE EU, as shipping generally costs £100+. EU is an import economy so things are much cheaper to ship into the region than it is going out. For instance, it costs around £50 from china to here, but a massive £125 to post back.
14) Double check all the addresses
overall, i would recommend you source in UK, or highly reputable places within EU. Otherwise it is a massive hassle to correct wrongs
What bike and bike bits should you buy?
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