Sometime in Feb 2014, we were contacted by 3 individuals from Indonesia.
*Names redacted after payment finally received in November 2015 (nearly 2 years)*
They were interested in distributing our range of sports tapes in Indonesia. After a period of negotiations where we met in person in Singapore, we confirmed the deal and informed them the final amount plus the shipping fee.
Person 1 transferred the amount for the order but not for the shipping amount. He said that Mathias would be coming to Singapore in the next 2 weeks and he did not want to incur the bank transfer charges again so Person 2 would pay us the amount in person.
In good faith, we decided to send the order first and pay for the shipping charge in advance for them.
From then on, P1 constantly gave the excuse that P2 would be coming to Singapore, but got delayed for some reason. With further prompting in September to December 2014, we could see our reminders were “seen” by them on Whatsapp, but there was no reply.
We gave up, wrote it off as bad debt and stopped contacting them.
In July 2015, P2 finally came to Singapore to buy other products from us. We reminded him of the debt, but he said that it was a surprise to him, and it was his first time hearing about it as he heard from P1 that it was all settled. I reminded him via email to check with P1 before coming down to collect his new order. There was ample lead time of 2 days for him to check with his friend.
Interestingly, he came down on Friday (today) and told us that he heard the debt has been all settled and he only brought money for his new order. He gave the excuse TWICE that he lost his handphone. But on Whatsapp, his old number is still valid and he has “seen” the messages reminding him of the debt, with no response from him.
As a business, we took this as a learning opportunity and would not be pursuing this matter further. But this post is meant to warn others of their unethical behaviour.
Because of such unethical behaviour, and the difficulty in enforcing cross-border trade, we can only protect ourselves by insisting on full payment on all fees before the order is shipped out.
We stand by what we have said about these individuals, and we have Whatsapp screenshots and email records of our messages.