The Chocolate Life

Discover Chocolate and Live La Vida Cocoa!

My shop is smallish, but I've had a few fraudulent attempts, I wonder about everyone else's experiences. 

First guy...
Emailed "My daughter's birthday chocolates", I sent him a quote for a little over $1200 worth of chocolate.  All seemed well as we emailed back and forth regarding the details.  He claimed to be travelling out of the country, tight schedule etc.  I have many customers like that.

The wierdness started with payment.  Of course.  He wanted to send a credit card number and charge the shipping amount also, saying he had someone to pick it up when the order was ready.  He wanted to charge $600 for shipping and have me give the driver the cash. 

That was an easy one to catch.  The credit cards these people use are valid for about two weeks and then you get a chargeback for that amount, plus penalties.  So, it all looks good, you get the money, then it gets taken away by your merchant account processor. 

I Googled the email and physical address, it came up with red alerts from other people they had scammed.  I called the FBI, because here I was, in contact with a known group of criminals.  The FBI said they had too many of this type of crime, and sent me away. 

Second one...
Bride says she's getting married, 600 people, wants samples.
She's from Tulsa, a place I rarely, if ever ship to.   I ask her "Why me" she says she found me in a magazine.  That's plausable, but I'm already skeptical. 

I offer her 4pak truffles, she says great. We agree on flavors & time, I tell her it's $6000 plus shipping.  She says "great, I'll send you my credit card information when I get the samples".  I responded - I'm sorry, we'll need your credit card number to hold the shipping charges for the sample.  If you don't purchase, we charge you $25, if you do order, we take it off the bottom line. 

Up until that point, all emails were answered within minutes.  Never heard from them again.  Maybe, just maybe, it was a real order and I offended them.  Highly doubtful.

These were pretty easy to spot.  Neither customer was in to the chocolates, like a real customer would be. 

Care to share any of your experiences?

Tags: fraud, retail, ripoff

Views: 47

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Alan -
What a nuisance and waste of your precious time! It's such a shame there are people like that out there. A real pain.
Thanks though for taking the time to let the community know. You were wise to catch them before you lost your product, time and shipping charges.
What a coincidence. I just got the Tulsa email last week. I've really scaled back my mail order, especially for large volumes. (Since I'm trying to be as "sustainable" as possible, given the product, I often encourage people to look into their local artisan chocolatiers.) But I've had several inquiries like the Tulsa one over the years. Often they're "popular local retailers" far from where I live who for reasons unknown and unexplained want to carry my product ... but first they'll need a free sample of everything.

Anyway, I wrote the Tulsa lady my standard reply, which is to 1) suggest someone in their neighborhood (Tulsa: Kokoa Chocolatier) and 2) offer a sampling box for $75, including shipping, which will be applied to the final purchase should they make it. I do occasionally get a real bride, and about half of those thank me for the suggestion and half make the purchase. But honestly, I'm never disappointed to miss a wedding. :-)

Oh yeah -- and just the other day I learned I was related to an incredibly wealthy but recently deceased Italian man living in China who quite mysteriously named me his beneficiary. I just need to send my bank info so they can wire me my inheritance. My long, lonely days of slinging chocolate will soon be a distant memory. Maybe I'll use my new wealth to buy some Icelandic real estate....

I got the same Tulsa request. I guess that one is going around. I asked for money for the samples and if she did order the cost would be applied as a credit. She stopped emailing me.


Member Marketplace

Promote TheChocolateLife

Bookmark and Share

Follow Clay on:
Twitter :: @DiscoverChoc
F'Book :: TheChocolateLife
F'Book Group :: LaVidaCocoa :: @DiscoverChoc

© 2014   Created by Clay Gordon.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service