Every single day welcomes new search for professional freight forwarding agents or companies to either kickstart new shipping/logistics experience or probably replace an existing Forwarder for any reason. Most of the time, some importers have fallen in the hands of fraudulent freight forwarders
The reason why the consignees seek professional freight forwarders is in order to ensure that their consignment or cargo is picked up from its initial port or from the seller and delivered successfully at its destination.
One more reason is that they want to ensure that the consignments arrive at the right time, in good condition using appropriate resources and routes.
Most of the time, they seek these services which include documentation, customs clearance at the port of destination, as well as delivery to the door, among other necessities. The services may also cover payment for duties, taxes, trade tariffs and so on.
In one of our posts, we mentioned some common mistakes importers make while moving their consignments, one of which is dealing with a fraudulent shipping agent company and not seeking the help of the right Forwarder.
Useful Post: How to Calculate Customs Duty in Nigeria.
Dealing with Fraudulent Freight Forwarders
Many new clients have asked us in every round, to confirm our authenticity, experience and expertise before they could venture into running a business with us. Some have however asked for our Main Office and other important information such as our competitive advantage. All in the bid to ascertain Bowa-Gate Global Limited is not in the list of Fraudulent Freight Forwarders.
Of course. As common and necessary as these questions are, we consider it important to ensure they have full gist in our response, if possible we want them to pay us a visit so we have a round table talk ‘over the business.’
When you are dealing with freight forwarders or customs clearing agents in Nigeria, you need to be 99.9% careful not to fall in the hands of fraudulent freight forwarders.
Thousands of businesses have fallen prey of fraudulent freight forwarders as the desperation in the business is currently spreading like wildfire across the country.
In this post, we list out some signs you should not ignore without critical understanding. These signs show that you might be dealing with fraudulent freight forwarders the moment they start communicating with you.
No one wants to risk a hard-nurtured business in the hands of fraudulent freight forwarders.
Watch out for these signs.
By-passing Basic Documentation Process
When a self-acclaimed forwarder begins to avoid questions about documentation such as Form M, Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), Insurance Certificate, Agency Certificate, you should be on the run as there is a sign of fraudulence. They mostly do not comply with laid down standards.
You might be tempted to believe they are simply middle-men marketers to some good shipping companies only to realize you have the wrong guys.
Importation in Nigeria requires these basic documents which depend on the type of consignment you’re shipping in. Without them, nothing happens, and if you have the wrong guys around you, they are likely playing with your intelligence.
Sudden unwarranted change of bank details
It is encouraging to deal with freight forwarders that have official account details attached to their businesses or their company registered names.
But there are circumstances whereby in all sincerity of professionalism, you get dealing with the right company and they provide you with the appropriate account details from the invoicing stage. But somehow you discovered someone somewhere attempting to suggest a different bank detail.
Watch it. That’s usually the character of the scammers. Once you notice this, you must quickly commence further verification to authenticate the right agent or establish that you are dealing with a fraudster.
The sudden desperate and unwarranted change of phone and bank details different from what’s on the invoice requires you to query immediately.
Putting a confirmatory call on the original contact found on the company invoice for verification, to further ascertain that you’re still dealing with the right agent becomes necessary. Their email accounts may have been trailed and consequently compromised (hacked) by some scammers.
Pricing Below Market Average at first
It is a strategy of the fraudulent freight forwarders to offer you a ridiculously low price at first, once they win you, they begin to introduce other hidden charges, and by this time, you can neither move forward nor backward.
Have you grown so excited about the low pricing by your freight forwarder?
Yes, it happens.
Every business wants to make profits and your freight forwarder wants to help you reduce the cost of shipping your consignments. That’s extremely understandable.
However, you may have to be wary of the exploits from the fraudulent freight forwarders or customs agents. They can become desperate by offering low prices in order to win you over. The moment you are tucked into their initial deals, then they begin to expose you to all other hidden charges.
This is likely to disrupt your entire expectations and business plans with unplanned costs, seizure of your shipment upon non-compliance or acting to time with the new reality of your shipment at port. This of course may cause demurrage. Read Also Difference between Demurrage and Detention.
Fake Forwarders use fake receipts to reflect their claims just to make you believe everything is real. It is in their character to take advantage where you’re not looking so you want to verify some of the charges presented. Otherwise, they’d also inflate the amount of duty payable.
Learn how to calculate Duty Charge by yourself.
Always verify the cost you are offered and obtain authentic industry-based information to determine average market prices. Especially when it is unexpectedly too cheap
Feel free to submit a quote with us.
Accreditation serves as an indicator that the company has high standards and professionalism. A reliable freight forwarder ensures they have affiliation with relevant bodies that further accredit them as authentic in the market.
In asking your freight forwarders about their competitive advantage, always insist on accreditation as this ensures you are dealing with the right agent.
You may meet some yet to be verified forwarders who are actually hustling to obtain legit accreditations, but you want to be sure the ones you’re dealing with are not fake freight forwarders.
Bowa-Gate Global have affiliation with International Bodies like ANCLA, FIATA and IFCBA.
No Client Attestation or Positive Track Records
When there are no records of past achievements either by attestations from other clients, or otherwise, then you may have to verify further if you could leave your business in their hands and go to sleep. The fraudulent freight forwarders always do not have good records to boast of especially for the fact that they do not end up well with clients
Every business that involves the exchange of financials for services requires to be verifiable by the authorities. When a Freight forwarder approaches you without a verifiable business name to at least show that they might be at stake should there be an issue, you want to tread softly.
With more than 20 years of observing new businesses try to get into international trade, we have seen quite a lot, but the last few months have shown us an entirely new way to operate. The years of experience in Freight Shipping and Customs Clearing has led our way up above peers and that is why we at Bowa-gate Global Limited have been able to identify what works and what does not in the interest of our growing customer base.
We have seen many mistakes made and many individuals and companies fall prey of scammers or fraudulent shipping companies. New importers have been drenched and drowned away due to the recent happening. A few who stayed guided are very much in business, importing and exporting weekly, and seamlessly. So in dealing with the new normal in Logistics, the above listed becomes unavoidable.
Let’s take you through a whole new perspective to the importation of consumer goods, general goods, on what new importers, particularly those dealing in consumer goods, should not do.
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