Hi I want to thank everyone for their advice, you have all really
helped me out.
As was suggested by Niels, I have asked for and received a Letter of
Credit, which was validated by my bank. I also did some further
checking by having a friend in Israel check the phone book for the
Church and verify the address there as well as the phone number,
everything matches, she even drove by the location . I have
communicated with this customer by phone, fax and email, as well as
speaking to other church staff who have verified that this person is
indeed a Reverend with the church. They are slightly amused by my
investigations, but have been very understanding about my concerns.
While everyone can't always go to these lengths to verify a new
customer, it is very important to check and double check as much as
possible when dealing with international customers, especially ones
you haven't dealt with before.
I'm feeling much more confident with this whole transaction. I
agree with others that I will never ship anything internationally
without a confirmed payment in my account. In the future I probably
won't agree to such a large purchase from a new customer, without
references and/or a Letter of Credit. I will also more than likely
limit the countries I will ship to: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and
Europe. I'm still researching import restrictions on jewelry, any
known problems with those I've listed?
Also upon more research I have found it would be quite difficult and
costly to ship jewelry into Nigeria due to import restrictions, so
will be shipping to the client's Church headquarters in Israel via
two shipments at their request, and they will figure out from there
how to get the pieces they want to have distributed to their Nigerian
I have selected DHL as the carrier, and am billing the client's DHL