Monday, 19 August 2013

Scam? or Genuine?

I faced a dilemma over the weekend; one that actually kept me awake most of Saturday evening, and although at the time I know I did the right thing, even now I am still having doubts.

"What is she going on about"? you're asking yourselves   Well on Thursday evening I took a phone call from a gentleman who wanted to order 2 bouquets at £35 each, to be delivered on Saturday morning. Not a problem, and after discussing the flowers required, card message etc he passed on his Credit Card details to me. As with all phone orders, as soon as the call ended I put his card through to be processed, and unfortunately his card provider declined the payment. In this situation I often doubt myself over whether I have taken a number down wrong - even though I read it back to the customer as I took the numbers down,  and I read it back as a whole when I had finished to make sure I'd got all I needed. Because the gentleman was the last caller I hit 1471-3 and phoned him straight back. Obviously busy as it went to answerphone, I left him a message explaining I thought I had made a mistake, and asked if he could ring me back as soon as possible. I heard nothing, and when I came in Friday there were no messages from him to say he'd tried to get back to me. 

I tried calling him again several times on Friday morning, but to no avail, and by lunchtime my desperation took over - I knew I needed to get the order for the flowers he required in sooner rather than later - and so I made the very impersonal and (in my opinion) exceptionally unprofessional decision, to text the gentleman just in case he hadn't received my phone messages. Explaining who I was I mentioned there was an issue with his card and asked if he could ring me (I gave the number or he could have phoned me back on my mobile - yes I text him from my personal phone I was that keen to make sure he got my messages) as soon as was possible. Again, I heard nothing. 

Not sure what to do when I put my order in for the next day, I made the decision to order some of the flowers he required - ones I knew I would be able to sell if I didn't hear back from him - just in case he phoned on Saturday morning; I wanted to make sure I had what he required to fulfill the order. By closing time (and an hour after the agreed delivery time we had made) I had no choice but to assume the order was no longer required and cancelled it. 

Still unsure if I had done the right thing, I spoke to several florist friends of mine; some said they would have made the orders up, and left them in the van where they would have knocked on the door of the recipient to ask if the gentleman that ordered was available to make payment - this is something I couldn't have done, because say the gentleman had not been there I couldn't then ask the recipients to pay for their own flowers; had I previously had dealings with the gentleman I would have delivered the flowers and sorted it with him at a later date so as not to let him down, but this was the first (and I assume the last) time he had placed an order with me. Everyone else said they would have done exactly the same thing I did, and taken the gentleman's lack of response as his wanting the order cancelled. 

Then a local florist friend I spoke to told me I may have just been lucky enough to get away with not being scammed; this I was not expecting and the thought it could be a scam wasn't anything I had even considered. It appears there are people obtaining credit/debit cards by illegal means; they are then phoning orders through to florists using these details; IF the bank (or customer whose card has been used) realise and get things sorted then obviously the card is cancelled and the shop processing the details will find it declined. Apparently the rouse they use is that the bouquets are thank you's for a party that has been organised (my 2 were thank you's for a party that had been organised). Now this group of scammers used to order flowers for collection and pay over the phone with cloned cards, but as people got wise to this, they then use the information on the stolen cards to find the card holders home address, and when delivery is made they will intercept the driver before he gets chance to knock on the door; they then have the flowers which they load up in their own vehicle and sell on elsewhere, pocketing the cash. Several shops that have had cards declined, didn't take the steps I did to cancel the order, and were paid in cash (fraudulent notes) at the time of delivery; by the time the shop realised the money was fake, the scammers were long gone. 

The gentleman did leave a message on the answerphone after we had closed on Saturday asking when his flowers were likely to be delivered; it was during this message he also spoke the words "I know you've phoned me several times, so I hope there isn't a problem". Surely if he knew I had phoned, he would have contacted me to make sure there wasn't a problem? Also I had told him when I left the messages, there WAS a problem, so I can't understand why he wouldn't have phoned me back.

At the time of writing this the shop has been open 2.5 hours and I've not heard a word about the non-delivery, and I would like to think if the gentleman was genuine (I know if it was myself and my order hadn't been delivered) would have been on the phone by now wanting to know what happened and why the flowers didn't arrive? 

What would you have done in the same situation?

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