I believe that most people are really good people, willing to help in any situation. I think it is our nature to trust people until they give you a good reason not to. Unfortunately, there are some people that just want to take advantage of your good will or in a small business, the excitement of potential new business. There are groups of people that work together to SCAM small businesses, like one that contacted us via a message on our website during Thanksgiving week. The email was from a "BENJAMIN QUINN" supposedly from The Netherlands wanting to purchase a reasonably large amount of our products for his shop. He asked if we could ship internationally and then requested that we send him an invoice for the items EXCLUDING shipping. He said that he would pay the online invoice with his credit card.
Fortunately, it is the policy of Summer Shade Soap Company to verify that ANY new wholesale account is an actual business. I responded to Benjamin with asking for his business license, etc. and of course, had no reply. I believe his scam was to pay for the product with a stolen credit card and then arrange for a fake delivery, through inland express shipping. Benjamin would pay for the products and then tell us to pay upfront for the shipping expenses and then he would supposedly reimburse us for shipping. I did some online research about scams like this and many small businesses have fallen prey to these SCAMS and for some businesses it forced them to close. One instance was a company that was paid for the products but they did pay upfront for $6,000.00 in shipping that was never reimbursed. Small businesses many times are operating on a very small budget and for this company, they were not able to take this kind of financial loss and had to close their doors.
It is very sad that some people strive to profit by taking advantage of others but it happens everyday. We receive emails like the one from Benjamin Quinn every few months. The allure of selling products internationally is sometimes to much for some small businesses to resist, but PLEASE be WARNED and check out ALL businesses before committing to doing business with them. Red flags to look for, these SCAMS do not ask questions like; 1) How much do our products wholesale and resale for, 2) What are some of our best sellers, 3) What are our credit policies, etc. ALL legitimate businesses will be happy and expect to send you their business credentials (ie. copies of business license and resale certificates). Our personal policy is that we handle the shipping for at least the first 3 orders, then once we are sure that we are working with a real business, we can negotiate issues like credit and shipping. All of our new wholesale orders MUST be paid upfront, including shipping and the payment has to clear our account before any inventory leaves our building.
SCAMS like this are common occurrences in both our business and personal lives. Be smart and safe this holiday season. NEVER give anyone your credit card information, personal banking information or social security numbers over the phone. NO REAL COMPANY will EVER call to request this information over the phone. Check out all inquires over the phone or online. Ask questions and get verification of their credentials. Just use common sense and protect yourself.