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Thread: Buying Freescale processors on Alibaba

  1. #1
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    Buying Freescale processors on Alibaba

    I can buy MK20DX256VLH7 processors from digikey in lots of 100 for about $5 each. But asking for quotes on Alibaba, I can get them for around $4 and they accept PayPal.

    How risky is it buying processors from Alibaba? Does anyone have any experience with this?

    Rob

  2. #2
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Buying chips from Aliexpress merchants is extremely risky.

    Mouser Electronics currently has them at $4.37 each at 100 pieces.

    http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/NXP/MK20DX256VLH7

    Digikey is showing $4.86 at 100 pieces.

    Maybe saving $37 or $86 is a big deal for you, but personally I wouldn't risk it.

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    Senior Member Epyon's Avatar
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    I regularly buy ICs from Aliexpress, but I limit myself to China designed stuff (RFM95, SIMCOM modems, uBlox (technically not Chinese) etc). The rumors you hear about 'Western' chips being sold there are not too nice. Not that they are all fake, but that they sometimes are products that failed QA or were obtained in less legitimate ways.

    If I search for the MK20DX256VLH7 on Aliexpress, I only find the type of offers I tend to avoid: only one or two orders, catch-all titles with several version numbers of the chip in it, a general stock photo of some IC and no technical description. Could still be the real deal, but I prefer to shill out the extra buck and buy such critical components from a trusted supplier.

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    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Ask yourself a simple question: What is my time worth?

    Is dealing with even a small number of flaky IC's worth your engineering time, reputation risk, and so on?

    I'd suggest that the tiny $$$ savings pales in comparison to the risk. If your product success depends on that tiny savings, you are not designing the right product.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Constantin View Post
    Ask yourself a simple question: What is my time worth?

    Is dealing with even a small number of flaky IC's worth your engineering time, reputation risk, and so on?

    I'd suggest that the tiny $$$ savings pales in comparison to the risk. If your product success depends on that tiny savings, you are not designing the right product.
    I guess it comes down to convenience. I reside in Taiwan, and my income is through PayPal. Sadly, none of the big component distributors here take PayPal.

    I guess I would have to agree though, that it's probably not worth the risk.

    Rob

  6. #6
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    I'd investigate what reputable local distributors are around in TW. Within a nation of ~21MM people, there ought to be enough demand for someone to have a store like sparkfun, etc that can source stuff and components.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Constantin View Post
    I'd investigate what reputable local distributors are around in TW. Within a nation of ~21MM people, there ought to be enough demand for someone to have a store like sparkfun, etc that can source stuff and components.
    All the big names are here, they just don't accept PayPal.

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    Senior Member+ KurtE's Avatar
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    Not sure if they still do it, but my wife has a credit card from PayPal. You might look into that.

    If they do, you could simply use that card to shop at the other stores.

  9. #9
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    If you're going to be dealing with substantial amounts of money, and especially if you're going to receive payments, do yourself a favor: stop using Paypal.

    There's a reason why most large & reputable companies won't touch Paypal. Hopefully you won't have to learn that reason by "experience". Robin and I did many years ago, which is why PJRC doesn't accept Paypal anymore. (yes, we're still bitter....)

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    What reason is that?
    Plenty of large companies use PayPal. The ones that don't usually just can't accept the fees.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyod View Post
    What reason is that?
    Plenty of large companies use PayPal. The ones that don't usually just can't accept the fees.
    I don't think the fees are the issue - credit cards siphon off 3% or more, depending on your revenue volume and so on. AMEX had a very public revolt in Boston circa 1995 when small merchants objected to 16% fees on transactions. Paypals fees are in the same league, as regular credit cards, IIRC.

    No, the issue is the arbitrary treatment of your funds. According to multiple reports from merchants I have read online, Paypals actions can only be described as capricious and irresponsible when it comes to resolving disputes. I.e. freezing a $10k Paypal balance over a $15 dispute with a customer. The arbitration clauses, etc. give customers and merchants almost no power, ensuring that Paypal gets to have its cake and eat it too. In comparison, the dispute settlement process for credit cards relies on much better established laws, case precedent, and accepted procedures. Thus, you have a much better idea how its going to end vs. Paypal where the outcome may be losing access to all your company funds for weeks at a time.

    FWIW, I am not trying to cast credit card issuers as angels here. There is a reason that Paypal sprang to life. But its primary purpose was to become a vehicle that allowed micro-transactions on the web without the need for credit cards. It's grown well beyond that!

    Last but not least, using paypal can also result in changes to merchant behavior. For example, Adafruit allegedly stopped using USPS for shipping due to delivery disputes that could not be resolved with Paypal successfully. As a result, they now only use UPS and FedEx, where there are allegedly fewer issues confirming that whatever was supposed to get there, did in fact.

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    I have been using PayPal as a seller for 5 years or so and never experienced anything similar. Could be because I'm in Europe and they have to adhere to different laws.
    Whenever there was a dispute, only the funds from that one transaction were blocked. I sent tracking info and the dispute was resolved in about 10 days. When I started, funds were blocked for 60 days (iirc), until I reached a certain number of sales. If I was worried about funds getting blocked, I'd withdraw more often and not leave them sitting there. Just my 2c. Sorry for going slightly off-topic.

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    Senior Member Epyon's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit strange that someones income comes through Paypal and that he can only spend it where Paypal is accepted? I mean, how does he even buy food or pay the rent then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Epyon View Post
    Am I the only one who thinks it's a bit strange that someones income comes through Paypal and that he can only spend it where Paypal is accepted? I mean, how does he even buy food or pay the rent then?
    You can withdraw your money from PayPal into a real back account. I'm in the same boat as Fyod and if you're getting paid in PayPal bucks, it sure makes sense to buy all your materials that way too.

    Rob

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    Administrator Robin's Avatar
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    At the risk of hijacking the thread and going off topic... PayPal can hold the funds in your account, and limit your access to them (or deny you access) for very little cause. It happened to us several years ago and I'm still bitter. The worst part about it was that it was extremely difficult to contact them and do what they requested to have the funds released. If you were a small business with all or most of your working capital in a PayPal account, PayPal freezing access to funds could cripple your business. PayPal T&Cs are pretty favorable towards consumers and buyers, not so favorable to sellers/merchants.

    In my opinion, the best way to manage PayPal as a merchant is to limit the funds they have access to so that if the funds are frozen it won't cripple your business. Think about what PayPal has access to and the bank accounts that are linked to the PayPal account.

    PayPal holding funds is a real problem. There is a class action lawsuit here in the US - Zepeda v PayPal for the improper holding of funds.

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    I could be wrong, but I think they've stopped doing that. I remember reading about it when I started. Back then there was a lot of fraud going on.

    I would love to order Tsy's directly from you guys, but I opt for Oshpark because its the fastest and least painfull for me, plus I'm not fond of giving out credit card info.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Constantin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fyod View Post
    I'm not fond of giving out credit card info.
    In the US, you are far better protected from fraud with a credit card than any other means of payment.

    if your credit card gets stolen, you have a new one in 24hrs and you are not liable for losses. Try that with a debit card or Paypal.

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