If the goods to be exported are not inspected before they are shipped by an independent third-party, the exporter may find his entire shipment being rejected on arrival at the importer’s premises due to the poor quality of the goods. Some unscrupulous importers may do this just to put pressure on an exporter and to try and negotiate a lower price – be careful! Experienced importers may request a pre-shipment inspection, to be conducted by an independent inspection company (this is commonly carried out for exports into other African countries). If they don’t, then it may be worth suggesting to the importer during the negotiation stage that such an inspection be carried out as part of the contract. Such an inspection protects both the importer and the exporter.

Alternatively, it may be a good idea to ship one or two samples of the goods being produced to the importer by an international courier company. This small task will ensure that if the importer accepts the quality of the sample goods and (this is important!) the main consignment is produced to the same standard, then it will be difficult for the importer to reject the consignment (unless something happened to the goods during shipping.

Importers cannot always be present at the time of dispatch to physically inspect the goods for quality. Consequently, they often make use of the services of an independent inspection company. As it is usually at the request of the importer or his government that these inspections are conducted, the costs for the inspection are borne by the importer or it may be negotiated that they be included in the contract price.