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Thanks to the Internet, the Chinese have figured out how to cut out the middleman

I love a good rugby shirt. They’re kind of out of style, but I still want to own a few more. So recently I did a search on Google Shopping looking for some. I found this one for a good price:

It was sold by the Bronson Mfg. Co., which I’d never heard of. But it sounded all-American.

When I checked out, I thought it was odd that their site didn’t allow me to enter credit card info, but rather insisted I use PayPal. That should have been a red flag, but I wanted that shirt and I went ahead. Instantly, I got this receipt from PayPal:

Whaaaaaaaat?

I’m betting The Bronson Mfg. Co. is just a name that some anonymous Chinese factory uses to sell its stuff directly to consumers, cutting out the need to deal with the likes of JCPenney or Kohl’s. The Chinese text in that receipt translates to “Oude (Luoyang) Network Technology Co., Ltd.,” in case you were curious.

I’ve noticed that lots of goods on Amazon, particularly durable goods and light electronics, have odd brand names like Yosuda and Huion. I’m betting those are Chinese companies as well, selling directly on Amazon.

I suppose it doesn’t matter much how Chinese goods come to me, whether directly or via Kohl’s or whatever. I just don’t like the deception. On the other hand, I can’t imagine that I’d buy a rugby shirt from an online store called Oude (Luoyang) Network Technology Co., Ltd. It just doesn’t shout “quality clothing.”

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41 thoughts on “Thanks to the Internet, the Chinese have figured out how to cut out the middleman

  1. We had a similar experience when Marianne bought a hair styling device through Facebook. She was disappointed with it (it was not quite as described) and when we looked into returning it we could not find a way to do so as it was from an anonymous Chinese company with no apparent contact information. I hope your experience is better.

  2. Greg Clawson says:

    I bought my wife some Ball canning lids last year from Amazon, they were obviously counterfeit and poor quality. Amazon refunded our money.

    • Kodachromeguy says:

      That is the logical outcome when Amazon opened up to “Marketplace” vendors with limited quality screening:

      Some vendors are fine.
      Some sell at outrageous prices, even more than Amazon itself. Do they think some ignorant schmuck would buy?
      Some vendors sell only a severely limited selection, such as 3 sizes of Birkenstock sandals? Wouldn’t shoe buyers just go to Zappos to reduce the frustration factor?
      Different marketplace sellers use different titles and terminology for the same product. You have to look at a mess of listing to realize it is the same thing.
      Some do not clearly show shipping fee.
      6 The scam artists sell counterfeit items.

      I have stopped buying except if it comes from Amazon itself, and even then, I have had problems.

  3. I had a similar experience involving a shower curtain a few years ago. All communications arrived in Chinese with a poor English translation and it took over two months to arrive. The experience gave a literal meaning to the phrase “slow boat from China.”

    I have since learned to pay more attention.

    Good luck!

  4. Andy Umbo says:

    Did a few of these when I was buying some photographic bit-and-bobs no longer available from American retailers (small machined stuff like step-up-down rings, etc.). Ditto with you, no problem buying Chinese, but for me, it was pretty obvious on Amazon that it was coming from China. What amazed me is how fast it actually got here from China, pre-pandemic, of course. It wasn’t on one of the 65 ships off Oakland waiting for unloading. Covered with Chinese postage stuff, saved the envelope somewhere…

    When I was doing a lot of selling on eBay, back around 2004-2008, the Chinese were mad-crazy for large format stuff, but I wouldn’t ship to China. Too “wild west”. But, eventually there were trans-shipping companies established in Portland and Seattle that would take delivery and load up shipping containers to be shipped back to China, so all I had to do was put the Portland Company and address on the package, with a large number they gave me. Done. Jim, your shirt, I’m sure, is in a warehouse here that’s probably shipping the same item to Costco as a Kirkland brand!

    J.P. I would recommend, and this is very old information now, that any overseas purchases go through Amazon and PayPal. I’ve had friends buy stuff that did not work out and Amazon immediately made-good on their money, and this was years ago. I don’t think I’d be buying anything off of social media resources. As a “retired” advertising manager for retailers in imaging; I don’t think I would even buy anything off of my last Indianapolis employer, when I got there, it was a disaster, and unfixable by me alone! I’m always amazed when the majority of internet purchases get to the clients, but they do! If there’s an item you like, one can always scour Amazon and the rest of the “net” until you find it on Amazon or another insured e-tailer.

  5. These days I never buy anything without looking for information on where it’s being made. I can tolerate non-Chinese brands manufacturing their stuff in China but not Chinese companies pretending to be foreign. In Taiwan. they love to pretend to be Taiwanese or Japanese.

    • I’m going to pay a lot closer attention going forward, myself. I’m just like you: tolerate non-Chinese brands making stuff in China, but not Chinese companies pretending to be American.

  6. DougD says:

    I haven’t been to Luoyang, but I did spend a couple of months in Gongyi, which is 60km east of Luoyang. That’s in Henan province which I was told while there has a reputation for shifty business practices. I guess that’s true for you as well.

    I looked at the Bronson webpage, the “about us” section is a little bit Chinglish, and rather vague. That’s usually a tipoff.

    • Andy Umbo says:

      Pete, you made me smile. Land’s End has wonderful high-quality ties at reasonable rates, construction and quality like a $125 tie, for anywhere between $35-$50. Many of these are in striped “rep” patterns. Imagine my chagrin when I was in London on business and found out many of those ties are in “school colors” and patterns. I was told it probably wasn’t a good idea to wear a tie like that if I didn’t go to the school! It might be OK to wear your favorite “football” teams colors in London, but school ties? Not so much…

  7. Andy Umbo says:

    Took DougD’s lead and went to check the net presence out. Gotta say the website looks like any American boutique fashion brand. Pretty nice look. I can tell there’s some visual miscues, like a real American retailer trying to establish a fashion brand probably would not have nice looking jackets these days with “Drinking Team” on them! That’s for the clothing racks at Menards.

  8. tbm3fan says:

    I do my damndest to avoid Made in China products. For the business it is very hard as suppliers have switched over to there from Europe. However, personal products is fairly easy. One reason being I don’t buy/need much. Parts for my old vintage cars are found on eBay from a very trusted seller who has mainly US made or Japan made goods. Need a new steam iron I found a NOS 1972 Sunbeam on eBay for nothing. My appliances I bough used and US made as long as 16 years ago. I can find the few items of clothing I may need while avoiding China. It can be done. Takes a little work for one, getting used second is Ok by me, not needing much is third. and I keep the dollars in the US especially directly to people via eBay.

  9. Ah yes, the internet, you can pretend to be anything! I have bought a few filters and lens adapters from China on eBay, the quality has generally been OK, but you do get what you pay for.

  10. I parsed their website and it’s a pretty well-done deception, I can see how someone might get fooled. That’s one of the reasons that for the last 2 years I avoid anything that doesn’t say specifically say where it’s made, and try to buy Made in USA if at all possible. Because it is still possible, if you put in the effort! The 2nd half of October I was finally able to put together an entire outfit of clothing head-to-toe that is Made in USA, and it’s something that made me proud.

    And for the last 2 years I’ve avoided putting my money into the Chinese economy, certainly not going to start after COVID! With the deception Bronson Mfg is perpetuating, I’d return that shirt just on principle, but that’s your decision. I wouldn’t expect the shirt to last as long as you need, though. Plus there have been a lot of things coming out just this year about the Chinese textile industry using slave labor (search for the Uyghurs in Xinjiang).

    I don’t know too much about the company but if you want a good-quality rugby shirt that’s Made in USA you might look at ColumbiaKnit.
    http://usa-wear.com/ostore/index.php?route=product/category&path=64_59

    Good luck in the future on your clothing purchases!

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