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Thread: So you want to buy equipment in China by yourself? You better read this first. Part 1

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Mexico City
    Posts
    2

    So you want to buy equipment in China by yourself? You better read this first. Part 1

    I am a Mexican beer brewer, graduated engineer, and this is the story of the fraud made by "Guangzhou GSSM Machinery Co Ltd." to me and how after almost a year I got my money back.

    As a beer brewer, I was looking to buy equipment to build my own brewery, I have been contract brewing for six years now and we got to the point that we needed our own brewery.
    I went and contacted the biggest American beer equipment manufacturers and when I asked “where do you build the tanks?” they all said China. I said to myself, “How hard can it be to look in China myself and buy the equipment directly?”.

    I did a massive research, I contacted via email over a dozen equipment manufacturers in Mainland China found in Alibaba, and it seemed quite easy even though their English was very rough. I went a bit further, I looked for craft breweries in China using Untappd and Linkedin and I found out two things, the biggest country in the world has very few craft breweries and they are all runed by foreigners, and the second thing is that they don’t use Chinese made equipment to make their beer, they all said that they use DME (Canadian) equipment, they all bought Chinese made equipment at the beginning, and after years of fighting to make the brewhouse run they decided to buy DME.

    So, here’s the first big mistake, at this point I should have abandoned the idea of buying Chinese equipment and go directly to DME, but I didn’t, for one simple reason, I was on a very short budget and the price with the Chinese even for the more expensive was much cheaper than any other western company. So, I decided to go on.

    The Chinese based brewers said that they would never buy again equipment from a Chinese company but if they where forced to do it for some reason, they would go to a company called HGM (http://www.hgmbrewing.com/en/contact/1.html). At their web page, this company says that it is related to other Chinese companies like “Ningbo GDE” and “Meyerbrau Brew-Pub”, I wrote an email to all of them.

    In their reply, GDE (http://www.gdebrew.com/en/col.jsp?id=102) stated that they are related to a very renowned American equipment manufacturer, so I started conversation with them (GDE) on March 29, 2017. I sent them an email to "sales@gdebrew.com", which is the email that appeared on their web page. Hunter Liu (刘江涛) replied to me from a different email "info@gssmtech.com" stating that he was the sales representative, and that the company was changing their name to "Guangzhou GSSM Machinery Co. Ltd." and all the conversation from that moment was with him. I asked him for quotes, blueprints, machinery information, references, and it seemed that they were a serious company. All our conversation was made via email and Whatsapp. We got to the point that I wanted to go and visit them to see if it was a real company. In the same trip I visited two more companies just to compare. The three of them sent me an invitation letter so I could get my visa to visit them. So, I traveled to China and visited GSSM company on May 8th same year; Hunter Liu came to pick me up in his car at the hotel at eight in the morning and took me to their factory (Plant 101-2 No.2 Shiling Road, Datong Dongchong Town, Nasha Dist, Guangzhou, China, 511475).

    We arrived around 8:30 a.m. and made a tour visiting all their processes. Around 9:30 a.m. he took me to their office where he introduced me to Jianghua Shen (沈建华) who he said was the owner of the company, and Hunter said Jianghua did not speak English, so to the date I have not had any conversation directly with him. We sat at a table and we discussed details about the quote, shipment, and the design of all the equipment they were going to provide to me. At the end of the meeting (around 11:00 a.m.) they invited me to have lunch at a restaurant in town called "MeyerBrau" owned by the son of Jianghua Shen, Wayne Shen where they have a small beer production plant and we could see the equipment at work and as they have a restaurant there too, we could have lunch. We visited the whole place, all the beer production area and then we had some of their beers and lunch. Around 3:00 pm Hunter Lui took me to the Guangzhou airport and that was the last time I saw him in person.

    After my return to Mexico I was hooked, I was convinced that they were serious and the deal was worth it, the other two where cheaper but seamed more unprofessional, we continued with the negotiations with GSSM and after we got to a final price, Hunter sent me via email a Proforma Invoice with the details of what they were going to build for me, their bank account information, and the guarantee of the equipment. The terms of the agreement were that I had to pay them 50% so they could start work.

    I was going to buy from them:
    - One two vessel steam fired 20hl Brewhouse fully automated.
    - A malt mill.
    - A grist hopper.
    - One 40hl HLT.
    - Tree 40hl FVs.
    - One 40hl BBT.
    - One 40 hl CLT.
    - Fittings and valves for everything.
    - One chiller to run the Fvs.
    - One CIP cart.

    On June 8th of that year, I went to my bank and wired USD $80,000.00 (the first 50%) to the bank account that was in their Proforma Invoice and sent them the receipt. The beneficiary's bank account is in Hang Seng Bank and the account is in Hong Kong. The owner of the account is "EBEI CO LIMITED" and the account number is 364333302883. My bank confirmed a few weeks later that the beneficiary received the money on June 10th. Four days later, June 12, I talked via Whatsapp with Hunter and he told me he did not receive any payment, and that he did not recognize the bank account that was in my payment sheet. I tried to stop the wire transfer with my bank, but this was impossible. Jianghua and Hunter went to the police station in Guangzhou arguing that somebody got in their emails and modified the bank information I received. After that, Hunter just said that he was “sorry for the inconvenience”, and never approached me in a way to resolve this issue, they just quit searching for me. The last time we talked was on June 16th.

    The contact information of Jianghua Shen is: Office: +86 20 8054 5999, Mobile: +86 139 0249 5292, his email: ceo@gssmtech.com and the address of the company is: Plant 101-2 No.2 Shiling Road, Datong Donchong Town, Nansha Dist, Guangzhou, China, 511475.
    The contact information for Hunter is the same except for the mobile phone is: +86 139 0220 2844, and his email is: info@gssmtech.com.

    Here's the second big mistake, why did I deposit the money to a company called EBEI, since I was making business with Guangzhou GSSM? Quite simple, in Mexico, it is very common that the companies have two names, the commercial name, and the legal name, and very often, they do not match, and as Guangzhou and Hong Kong are just one hour away, I thought they wanted to keep the money in USD in HK.

    Anyway.
    After what was literally the worst week of my life, I contacted three law firms in China, one after the other, each one bigger than the previous one, until I talked with Dentons, the biggest law firm in the world, and all three told me the same thing, that we could not sue GSSM, because for the Chinese law they had no liability, and that if they could prove that somebody else hijacked their email account we would have no case against, at that time we thought it was two different persons, but now we know they are related. As for me, they had liability because all the information I received, even the false one came always from their institutional emails, sealed and signed by them.

    Things that I had to consider at a time was that if we went to court, I would have to translate everything to Chinese, and only that would be extremely expensive, plus the lawyer’s fees. China also has extremely protectionists laws that will give Chinese people a huge advantage over foreigners getting to the point that they won’t let you make a statement at the Chinese police, and if you don’t have a statement, you will never go to court, and will never have a case. In all this process I have heard incredible stories of people that lost everything just because the Chinese government protected their people even if they were wrong.

    At the time, I also contacted the Hong Kong Police Dept and made a statement so they could investigate the transaction and see if they could force the bank to give us any information, but as a Mexican, I thought that would never work, and just forgot about that issue, just because it was a case of fraud, and for me it was obvious the money was no longer in EBEI’s account.
    After three months of dealing with Chinese lawyers, and after hearing Dentons telling me that there was nothing I could do, and that my money was lost, I received an email from the Hong Kong Police telling me that they had validated all my info, that the money was still in the bank account, and it was frozen, waiting for me to start a trial to get it back.
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    Last edited by rescudero; 05-04-2018 at 03:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Location
    Midland, Texas
    Posts
    53
    Wow. I had considered a Chinese company...they advertise here. I even validated domestic customer references. Not the same group that you dealt with.

    So was it really hacking? Or are GSSM theives?

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