Cant find a way of importing objects without duplicating materials

I have a client send me files in various importable formats such as obj, fbx, and I’ve run into a problem.

A lot of the models he sends me use the same materials, so once I’ve set them up, I need any future imported geometry to use the scene material of the same name, rather than creating a duplicate.

For example I have a scene where I’ve set up a material called “white plastic”, next time I import a model that has a material called “white plastic”, I want it to use the existing “white plastic” rather than setting it up as “white plastic.001”, otherwise I have to manually redo all the materials again.

I can’t use python for it, because sometimes there might be a “white plastic” and a “white plastic.001” which are actually different.

hmm, found a version of the obj importer that has this functionality written by campbell barton. Not sure why this isn’t in the master by default.