Several days ago I received an email, very brief, asking for "Change Trays" and could the customer pay by credit card. No indication of how many, where to ship to, the type of finish, just how much please? We currently don't have change trays as an item on our website, and if he had been to our website he would've seen the credit card logos on there too.
I have had one these sort of emails before wanting to order just under $1000 (over $1000 needs customs clearance, for duty etc) of soft toys and night lights. They all want to use their own shipping agents. With this first one, all I could think was "holy cow! These are the perfect items to stash restricted goods in, and how do I know if their shipping agent isn't going to do that once they get the goods from me? Then it will look like I have received payment for the contraband, and sent it off!" Once I responded to his email saying that I had been in contact with customs to make sure it was safe and that I was happy to proceed, I never heard from him again - hopefully scared off by customs as I think my thoughts were his plans exactly!
This recent email, went to great detail over several emails, sending me information, emails and contact names of his shipping agent "Mobo Shipping Ltd" and the delivery address. I was feeling quite reassured, and thinking of the income off a sale of 15 items priced at around $219 each (over $3000 in total). But I was still wary. After some good old Google research into the shipping company name, we discovered a huge scamming operation.
The reason they need to pay by credit card, and are apparently very good at paying promptly, including paying you the money to pay the shipping company, is because they are using stolen credit cards. Obviously the "shipping company" is in on it too. So we get the money, dirty stolen credit card money, and then pay the shipping company from our bank account (our clean hard earned money) and send off the goods, happy as a lark.
Soon the bank will call to ask for the stolen credit card money to be refunded, every cent of what you have just received. And if for example we have paid the "Shipping company" $1000 of our clean money this is what we end up with...
$1000 out of pocket because there is no way the "Shipping company" will refund us, lost goods in the range of $3000, and $3000 having to be given back to the poor person whose credit card was stolen and used. And of course severely bruised pride - suckered into the whole thing.
Oh the joys of having a small business and being perhaps a little to trusting and accommodating to these scammy customers.
I have replied to "Darren Luke" telling him, "We prefer to use our own shipping company as we can guarantee safe delivery and tracking of our goods. I have also been in contact with our Merchant Service who have told us not to accept international Credit Cards, as these are less secure. We will require full payment by International Money Transfer" So it will be interesting to see if I get a response, which I highly doubt.
Interestingly, our supplier of "Change Trays" has had three inquiries from their stockists, wanting to know if this sounded legit or not.