Buyer Beware Statement

Purchasing Promo Overseas vs Using APPA Members

Warning - Nearly 50% of Australians who buy goods online from overseas get caught out and experience a wide range of common problems by doing so. That’s APPA’s message to consumers of promotional products and urges consumers to use APPA members when purchasing their promotional products.

Whilst overseas promotional product sellers have the lure of low-cost items and discounts, purchasing directly online is not always the best option and there are many risks that buyers should be aware of.

Safety Concerns: Many overseas countries have a well-earned reputation for producing substandard and often dangerous products that do not need to adhere to Australian and New Zealand standards (be specifically wary of items like toys and electronics).  Can you be sure that your products have been tested to comply with ANZ Safety standards?  What are the potential reputational implications for your brand if you have an incident with lead in products or there is a product failure with button batteries?

Consumer Rights: When purchasing from an Australasian promotional product business, all of your consumer rights apply. Although those rights may also apply when you buy from an overseas online business, you might find recourse rather difficult if the items are inferior or not fit for purpose as the business is not based in Australasia.  Have you considered what you could do when a product arrives not as you had expected?  What course of action can you take?  How do you explain this to your boss?

Quality: Cheaper goods are typically made with materials of lesser quality. Since the quality is poor, you may run the risk that the products may not function correctly or last for the expected length of time.  Can you risk your brands reputation with inferior products that don't properly reflect your image?

Unexpected Charges: There are unexpected charges to watch out for. While many of the sites/factories you can buy from offer their own protection policies, it’s not the law. If you can return an order, the cost of postage may make doing so prohibitively expensive.  Will your factory take your order back when you aren't happy with the results?  Not likely, given it has your branding on it.

Who can be trusted with your brand?

APPA strongly suggests that you purchase from promotional product sellers that ensure the protection and the security and privacy of your personal and financial details, those that present processes for solving problems such as giving replacements and refunds, that have a good reputation and most importantly, engage in ethical commercial relationships across the supply chain.   One of your companies biggest assets is its brand.  Can you risk that by using a factory that might not have the correct systems and policies in place to ensure product quality?

The benefits of using an APPA member

APPA is the peak body specifically designed for the promotional products and promotional marketing industry in Australasia that advocates for, educates, and facilitates business in the region. The purpose of the Association is to encourage productive, ethical, and mutually beneficial commercial relationships across the supply chain for the benefit of the industry and brands. APPA has a strict Code of Conduct which sets the standards for relationships between members and best practice within the supply chain, including compliance. Acceptance of, and adherence to the Code is a non-negotiable pre-requisite of membership.

Identifying APPA members

Ensuring that the business you are dealing with is an APPA member is easy. You can check by searching for the company of the APPA member directory at, reviewing the suppliers website and literature for the APPA logo, and by looking for the APPA member certificate prominently displayed in their offices.

Useful links

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission


*According to a 2017 NSW Fair Trading survey, nearly 50% of Australian survey respondents reported problems buying goods online from an overseas supplier. The main issues were

items arriving late, not arriving at all or delivery of a product different to the one advertised.