Taobao Missing Item Experience – How Our Shipper Lost Our Parcels

Since writing this blog we’ve mostly had positive experiences. Perhaps this post here will offer some variety. It’s probably more interesting to read about failures and troubles. So here we recount our Taobao missing item experience. It’ll be a frustrating tale of how our Taobao shipper lost our parcels and why we have decided to change our shipper of choice. And this will probably be a negative review of MRC’s Taobao shipping services, which we haven’t had the time to properly review so far.

Thus far, we’ve always been saying to buy from Taobao. It’s much cheaper than buying locally, especially for lights. That has been true. But it’s not without risks. Taobao items often aren’t of good quality. Many of our stainless steel items, supposedly SUS 304, have been rusting. To that, Taobao sellers will say that SUS 304 also rusts! That’s true, but the whole point of buying SUS 304 at a premium is because we don’t want it to rust easily. And if you buy locally from established brands, SUS 304 doesn’t really rust that easily. So it definitely is poor quality from the Taobao sellers.


In all our articles so far we’ve been recommending this Taobao shipper, MRC from HardwareZone forums. We first found him on the forums, and he has been pretty ok. His prices and speed of delivery have been good. MRC ships out stuff before receiving payment, which is expedient. He’s also easily contactable via Whatsapp.

Minor bad experiences

But there have been times when his guys messed up, albeit with minor consequences.

  • There’d be times after we submitted the shipping form and we’d hear nothing for days. The next time he updates us can be a week later. By then our stuff is already on the ship. It’s definitely not the best way of updating.
  • There was once our stuff was accidentally packed and shipped in the container even though not everything was ready. We ended up having to pay SGD 30+ to ship again by small sea shipping. Then there was another time when we received someone else’s chairs (minus the legs), which we kindly returned because they weren’t ours. We hoped that this would accumulate some karma for us.
  • We ever submitted a list of stuff to ship and the China warehouse confirmed that everything was in. Except that it wasn’t, but they already shipped the whole shipment.

Losing our stuff

If there’s karma, it probably goes in the opposite direction. Our stuff was lost in our latest shipment. Of 17 boxes/bags, only 15 came. We lost almost 20 parcels in total that were inside these boxes/bags.

First sign of problem

The first time we learnt something bad happened was when arranging the delivery of the items. The Singapore courier guy said 2 of our items were gone. Just missing. They said they had to search the warehouse. We proceeded to arrange the delivery anyway because we couldn’t do anything.

Our reaction.

Impatient delivery guy

It was night time when the delivery guy came, as we had arranged. He said he had many more places to run, and we needed to quickly sign the form to acknowledge that we took delivery.

He was impatient and didn’t mention that we were short of 2 boxes, whether they could or couldn’t find the boxes.

This wasn’t right because if we didn’t know beforehand that there were 2 boxes missing, we would’ve been pressured and signed for the delivery. Even for items we didn’t receive.

But we knew. So we counted the boxes carefully and tallied with our list. We then signed off with a comment that there were only 15 items.

Understanding the problem

So we contacted MRC. He asked us which boxes were missing. So we had to check everything to find the box labels of the 2 missing boxes/bags. He also told us to check all 63 items, which we also did. It was a very tiring process.

We lost almost 20 orders/parcels within those 2 boxes. It soon became apparent what the problem was. 2 of the boxes we received weren’t even labelled. That means they likely also didn’t label the 2 missing ones. The warehouse guys must have missed them out and either wrongly delivered them to someone else, or it went missing in the warehouse.

They then told us that they’d search the China and Singapore warehouses again. However, they still couldn’t find it. At this stage it was clear they lost our stuff. No one knew where it was. The Singapore side said the China guys were at fault, the China guys said they loaded everything into the container.


We had to discuss compensation because they still couldn’t find our items. We always knew the compensation was a maximum of 3 times the shipping amount. That was in the terms and conditions. However, we never knew how shipping amount would be calculated. We found out through experience.

Sadly, the compensation was bad. We were offered and compensated 3 times the shipping amount. We paid SGD 90+ in shipping, so we did not expect the compensation to veer far off that figure.

However, we were wrong. The shipper assessed that our 2 big boxes/bags with 16 parcels occupied only 0.2cbm. Which works out to be SGD 9.30 X 2 cbm X 3 = SGD 55.80.

However, that was terrible for us because the items cost us SGD 136.63. That excludes GST = SGD 9.56 (we declared faithfully to customs), shipping cost = SGD 18.60, and having to ship again to get the items (total of 3-4 weeks delay).

In total, we lost SGD 108.99.

Boo hoo

We suspect that our stuff is in someone else’s home now. Delivered to the wrong home. And they definitely won’t do as we did and return them. The silver lining was that the shipment didn’t contain things that were SGD 300-400 in a parcel, like we had in past shipments. Otherwise, our losses would’ve been far greater.

Lessons learnt

If there’re regrets, it’d be that we didn’t buy insurance and we didn’t see the warning signs. We previously asked about insurance for a table and lights, but were told it’s difficult and slow to do insurance. We didn’t demand it since then. It was our fault and we can only blame ourselves for not pestering him for insurance. Also, if we heeded the warning signs from the past cases we should’ve stopped using MRC.

When we indicated our disappointment to him, his responses weren’t great either:

  • MRC said everyone loses items, even DHL lost his items. That’d be fair, until you think about how they botched the delivery and the poor compensation. DHL probably wouldn’t handle it that way. I suppose we got what you paid for.
  • MRC has an alternative shipper that he uses for commercial clients. This was more expensive but faster. We asked why he didn’t offer it first instead of offering it only after screwing up. He said slight increases in prices turned off his customers. This effectively meant that the shipper was lousier but still the only option he advertised online, because the prices were cheap.
  • MRC said the shipper didn’t usually lose much stuff compared to others out there, only losing our stuff and a stool last year. This was scant consolation when told to the people who lost stuff. It’s like saying “oops sorry your dad died from lightning strike, but too bad, generally the chances are 1 in a billion”.
  • MRC said he has saved SGD 5000 plus buying on Taobao after we said this SGD 100+ loss negated all our savings from Taobao. We disagree because not even Taobao savings can top up if the shipper continues to lose entire boxes/bags of stuff.

Back to searching for a new shipper

In summary, this post is not saying you should avoid MRC. His prices are not bad, if cost is your only concern. What you sacrifice might be reliability, although we could be biased because we lost stuff and money.

But for sure, we definitely wouldn’t be recommending him again. We actually recommended quite a few friends, but it just isn’t right to recommend someone we don’t trust anymore. This whole incident has been a huge waste of money, time, effort, and uncertainty. It’s not right that the original and only service you promote is not good enough and you’ve an alternative. A better one. It’s also not right for the delivery people to just pressure you to sign over for items quickly.

We won’t completely stop buying from Taobao. But we will scale back, look for a new sea shipper, and hopefully the change will benefit us. It’ll probably be back to SFinex for the time being. Meanwhile, we’ll also primarily use air shipment by official forwarders.

And if you do have suggestions on alternative shippers or other experiences that we can learn from, do let us know in the comments below! We’ll be tremendously grateful 🙂

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  1. So sorry to hear the forwarder lost some of your parcels… I have some good experience with oops.sg. You can consider them. The con is their shipment update on their website is not fast… However, you can whatsapp them for a quick response..

    1. Thanks we’ve accepted it! We’ve considered Oops before but unfortunately the reviews online are not good and they aren’t cheap. They might’ve improved their service but they’re probably not worth the risk.

  2. Same experience with you but on a smaller case (lost $30 worth of items for a $2,500 shipment). I’m looking to import again but absolutely will boycott MRC. How has Sfinex been?

    1. Sfinex has been hit and miss. Nothing lost via Roadbull, but LMD lost my entire parcel. So it’s heng suay at the end of the day!

  3. Was looking for some reviews on MRC and stumbled upon this one. Was THIS CLOSE to using him to ship some heavy bulky items… Do you happen to have any recommended forwarders other than Sfinex at this current time for big shipments?

  4. Unfortunately I faced issues with MRC as well. I needed him to send the parcels in smaller shipments (as opposed to one big shipment, since my ID needed space in the unit to assemble the items) and told him to notify me when each small shipment was sent. Instead he sent everything at a go and only notified me when it was on the ship! I had to pay for external warehouse storage, which also meant a pickup from my house at additional cost.

    Things turned pretty ugly after that, very disappointed in his service. Probably not going to use him again.

  5. Thanks for your honest review. I’ve recently used ezship to ship a lot of big taobao furniture – I shipped over 100 parcels! Delivery was fast for a forwarder and Comms was good via WeChat with the warehouse and another local customer service guy in English called Max. They initially did not deliver one parcel but promptly delivered it the next day upon the delivery man making a comment, and upon informing Max via WhatsApp. Recommended! Wishing you a better future experience!

    1. Hey Van, can i know what sort of items you shipped? I am looking to getting Sofa, Bedframe, sinks etc. from taobao and would like to know how much did you pay for the shipping. Please let me know if possible, first time TB buyer here! 🙂 Thank you!

  6. I experienced missing item too from MRC, luckily the item value not that high.
    Now I’m scared of using his service again, especially for high value item.
    Anyone has recommendation good and reliable forwarder?

  7. Recently, I shipped out some items using this MRC guy too. Sadly, he overcharged me, invoice written cbm was lower than what he has charged me. I measured the items and it tallies with what the invoice has mentioned. (Still have the image of invoice with me) However he insisted it was higher and overcharged me, not a lot but this gives me an impression he is not honest. My items was also missing. Received someone else items too which is pasted under my code and courier slip. (Then where’s my item? Courier slip here but item not here) Insist to know where’s those items but was not being answered properly. He insist to have those items return to him which I will gladly return if my items (which the courier slip) that is pasted on another customer items are found. He mentioned that I still have 1 item with him. If i do not return the item immediately he will pass my item to another customer as gift exchange. Not sure if this sentence used by him is necessary. He has serious lack of accountability, extremely rude too. Please beware… deal at your own risk..

    1. Sorry to hear that, that is quite worrying. Sounds like a threat if it is true and should not be the case. Hope everything works out for you. We ever encountered a case where someone else’s item was delivered to us, but I made sure to pass it back to MRC.

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