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How to Handle a Supplierâs Complaint Against Your QC Company

Published: 22 May 2015 01:36:28 PST

supplier-complaint-against-qc-company“Your inspection company is too strict.” “Your inspector was rude and unprofessional.” “Your inspector asked for a bribe.” Sound familiar? These are just a few of the possible complaints your supplier might make against your QC?company.

As a buyer of products made in foreign factories, you’ve probably considered enlisting the aid of a 3rd-party QC?company, if you don’t already use one. Most importers have heard a supplier complain about an inspector asking for special treatment or maybe even a bribe. And while this is unfortunate – and maybe even true – importers need to be cautious when evaluating such claims.

How Does a Typical Supplier Make a Complaint Against a QC Company?

In most cases, complaints will be made in the following way:

  1. Inspection takes place, and the results are discussed with the factory representative.
  2. The inspector leaves the factory.
  3. The factory calls the vendor (who was not at the factory that day) and complains about the inspector. Maybe he asked for money. Maybe he was unreasonably strict. Maybe he was rude and overall unprofessional.
  4. The vendor contacts the client and complains about the inspector but doesn’t have a lot of specific details about what happened. Various demands may then be made such as:
    1. Banning that inspector
    2. Banning that inspection company
    3. Shipping that order immediately and dealing with the “issue” later; or
    4. Suggesting or even demanding that 3rd-party inspection be skipped entirely going forward

The demands are very specific, but the details of what happened in the factory that day aren’t. Why is that?

First, it is possible that the vendor’s complaint is completely valid. What’s more common, however, is for a vendor to make a complaint in order to justify or detract from a failed product inspection result. The vendor wasn’t there and typically doesn’t actually know what happened. The vendor is also reporting the issue after the inspector has left, which means it is too late to seriously investigate what happened.

The same is also true for importers working directly with the factory. Factories tend to report these issues after the inspector has left as well – when the issue is tough to investigate.

How Can You Clarify and Act on a Supplier’s Complaint?

Take these steps to make complaints about your inspection company not only clear, but also actionable:supplier-complaint-against-qc-company-investigate

  1. Require your supplier to contact the inspection company directly and immediately. The important part here is that the inspector is still on-site when the call is made. This allows the inspection company to really investigate the complaint. This can be done by speaking to the inspector and factory staff on the phone to compare stories or by sending additional staff to the factory to see what is going on firsthand.

Remember, most product inspection?companies have strict standards for conduct. If there’s been a case of corruption or misconduct on the part of their own staff, they would want to be notified right away to take appropriate action.

  1. Tell your supplier that vague complaints made days, weeks, or months later are not convincing and, in fact, frowned upon. Require your supplier to contact you immediately with exact details about what happened, when, and by whom.


At the end of the day, communication is key. Expectations should be clear between you, the vendor, the factory and the QC?company before, during and after an inspection. If a complaint is made by the supplier at the time of inspection, the supplier needs to contact the inspection company right away, while the inspector is still present at the factory. As the buyer that may be receiving complaints from a supplier, you should clarify this course of action. You may just find that you never hear another complaint again!

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