GEC Scenario #16C: Suspicious User

This sample scenario is from a collection of 70+ Global Engineering Competency (GEC) scenarios developed for instructional and assessment purposes. For more information, including links to usage tips and other supporting resources, visit our About page.

As a sales engineer working for a U.S.-based company, you receive a large order from an intermediate distributor located in Tianjin, China. Upon receiving the order, you check to make sure that both your product and the intended end product are not banned in China or restricted by export trade policies. When you look up information about the end user online, you find that the website for the end user’s company looks suspicious and may have been created to appease you. What should you do in this situation?

  1. Proceed with the order, but save/print the website for your records
  2. End your relationship with this intermediate distributor and try to find another distributor that you can trust
  3. Escalate this issue to your manager
  4. Ask the intermediate distributor to confirm in writing that they are not violating any regulatory requirements by selling to this end user
  5. Hire a trusted Chinese firm or agent to investigate the end user
  6. Ask the end user company for further documentation needed to confirm regulatory compliance

Recommended Uses: INSTRUCTION/TRAINING (see our GEC Resource Guide for additional guidance)

Citation: Jesiek, B. K. and Woo, S. E. (Eds.). (2018). GEC Scenario #16C: Suspicious User. Retrieved from

License: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1160455 and 1254323. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. We also acknowledge support for this work from Purdue's Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment and Research (CILMAR).