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Clever Trick
watch out for this one
oldpro




msg:3142768
 9:28 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Over the past couple of months we have gotten several customers contact us complaining that they did not get all the items they ordered. At first I thought it could be an employee not checking the "quantity" column. However, this has never been a problem before...so it aroused my concern.

A for instance...

A customer can order a package of 24 widget for $36.00, but can order a package of 50 widgets for $55.00. The customer orders (2) packages of 24 widgets totaling $72.00...when they could have order the same amount plus two more for $17.00 less. We get a call from the customer claiming to have only gotten one package of 24 instead of two packages.

So, we send another package of 24.

Over the past month I have been "red flagging" these types of orders. Personally take them to shipping to make sure the order is fulfilled correctly.

Guess what?

With almost each and every one of these "red flagged" orders we got a call or email from the customer that they one received one of the 2 or more items ordered.

The final statistics are as follows...

Total red flagged orders: 56
Total claimed not correct by customer: 47
This has been over the past 30 days.

This is a scam that gets around proof of delivery by signature confirmation. It's our word against theirs basically.

 

Rugles




msg:3142806
 10:02 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can you tell from the weight of the shipment if 1 or 2 cases were shipped?

bwnbwn




msg:3142856
 10:59 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

Do you use tape were the package can't be opened. We use to get this all the time till we switched tape different from the shipping company. We use a solid paper tape on the bottom covered with a clear tape and put the lable over the box seam.

This has stoped missing items in the tracks.

stajer




msg:3142876
 11:15 pm on Nov 1, 2006 (gmt 0)

We deal with high dollar value goods where a mispack can cost a lot of money. My solution to this problem was to install a video camera over the pack table where the video is recorded to a server and searchable by date/time. Now when a customer says their order was missing items, I can just go to the video for that day and watch it being packed up. I can also send the video to the customer.

oldpro




msg:3142966
 12:39 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Can you tell from the weight of the shipment if 1 or 2 cases were shipped?

That is an idea I have thought of, however if we disagreed with the customer in that we know that we sent the right amount by the shipping receipt weight....how do we use that evidence in a chargeback situation?

Do you use tape were the package can't be opened. We use to get this all the time till we switched tape different from the shipping company. We use a solid paper tape on the bottom covered with a clear tape and put the lable over the box seam.

That is not the case in this situation...we use priority mail boxes and never have a problem with any order whatsoever...and we are talking in the 1000's of packages per month over many years.

My solution to this problem was to install a video camera over the pack table

Again, to make sure it was not the fault of an employee...I watch with my own eyes and even packed most of them myself.

I just had the creepy feeling that this was just a new trick...it's sorta like e-shoplifting.

This is only a recent problem...within the past 3 months or so. It's almost like there must be a website somewhere dealing with the many ways to scam a web merchant or something.

I have to add...

When these customers called the call was given to me to deal with. I explained to the customer that I was overseeing orders which included multiple orders of the same item. Some wanted refunds for the item "not shipped" others wanted more sent. When I insisted the order was packed correctly, the standard response was that they would report us to the BBB, call their credit card company, etc.

We sent the supposely unshipped items anyway and then blocked their CC# so they could not order from us again.

If this continues and starts add up to big dollars, the only thing I can think of is to limit orders to one of each item.

ispy




msg:3142982
 1:08 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Why don't you make them sign for each package seperately? USPS signature confirmation can be put one lable on each box. If it's UPS/FedEx the two tracking numbers, one for each box, will show up in trackin all under the one signature obtained which will be valid for all boxes in the same shipment.

oldpro




msg:3142984
 1:11 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

ispy,

That would double the cost of shipping. With our product, multiple items are easily placed in one box.

I guess we could go up on our prices across the board to compensate for packaging each item in a separate shipment, just like we have to pay more at brick and mortar for shoplifting losses.

stajer




msg:3143023
 2:25 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

my point with the video camera is that you now have visual evidence to show the customer that you packed it right and you believe they are trying to scam you.

oldpro




msg:3143034
 2:33 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Oh...okay stajer, I misunderstood you.

oldpro




msg:3143049
 2:45 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whatever the case may be, I think the only solution open to me in my particular situation is to just mark-up an additional .50 per item to cover cost of this, what I call, e-shoplifting. Hmmm...while I am at it, another .50 to cover click fraud.

gabby




msg:3143112
 3:53 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Now when a customer says their order was missing items, I can just go to the video for that day and watch it being packed up. I can also send the video to the customer.

I don't think this would satisfy me if I were a customer who had a problem.

Remember who pays your bills. Your customers are the most important part of your business.

ispy




msg:3143230
 6:31 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

When the customer orders the 2 packages of 24 you could just send the package of 50. If they complain tell them to blow the extra two out their ear.

Wlauzon




msg:3143271
 7:34 am on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Before we changed our package quantities, we had a similar problem. People would order 2 packs of 20 for the same price as one pack of 50.

What we did was send one pack of 50 with a note that we have included a few extra at no charge...

We did get one guy ask for a refund on the extra though <boggle>.

8foldpath




msg:3143595
 1:31 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the video camera idea is great. It's so cheap to maintain.. If this was automated enough, you could provide a video for the customer on their order status page. I bet some people would like that. But since most likely you're packing for multiple customers at a time, this wouldn't really work.

jimbeetle




msg:3143713
 3:40 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

What really confused me about this when I first read it yesterday is that if this is actually some sort of scam it's truly penny ante. It just doesn't make much sense to put much effort to save what, a dime a widget?

And if you do the math, it would make much more sense for somebody to order 2 of the 50-widget packs, claim receipt of only one, and get one "free". That would at least be a more substantial savings (or rip off).

I guess I still can't understand why such a large percentage of you "customers" figured out this angle in the first place.

stajer




msg:3143818
 5:15 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

gabby - the op is not about a customer with a problem, the op is about a customer attempting to defraud the retailer.

jsinger




msg:3143829
 5:24 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Enclose a packing slip that says:

"order packed by ____. Double checked by ____"

andye




msg:3143843
 5:30 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Now when a customer says their order was missing items, I can just go to the video for that day and watch it being packed up. I can also send the video to the customer.


I don't think this would satisfy me if I were a customer who had a problem.

If you were that customer though, the OP would see that you really had been sent an incomplete order, and they'd send you the rest of the order (with their profuse apologies presumably).

It's if you're the fraudster who's saying that the package was incomplete when it wasn't that video evidence could fox you.

As long as the means of matching the video with the package is foolproof, that is. :)

Best, a.

jsinger




msg:3143857
 5:42 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I guess I still can't understand why such a large percentage of your "customers" figured out this angle in the first place.

Agree, unless the product is very valuable, easily resalable, light weight (making a scale imprecise) and targets a high risk customer group. Exporting video games or jewelry, for example.

For most of us, this "trick" should be a microscopic concern. More often, WE screw up, which is probably the better reason to video the packing process.

oldpro




msg:3143867
 5:57 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

would make much more sense for somebody to order 2 of the 50-widget packs, claim receipt of only one, and get one "free".

They do. I was just using the 24 pack as an example.

I guess I still can't understand why such a large percentage of you "customers" figured out this angle in the first place.

It's not a large percentage at all...maybe 1/10 of 1%, but enough to be a pain in the hindquarters with the volume of business we do.

[edited by: oldpro at 6:00 pm (utc) on Nov. 2, 2006]

ispy




msg:3143868
 5:58 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

The camera would probably have a negative impact on employee morale. Hiding the camera is probably not a good idea legally.

jimbeetle




msg:3143881
 6:12 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

maybe 1/10 of 1%

I guess I should have said such a large percentage of customers for those particular widgets. 47 out of 56 is a hunk of folks using the same scheme. Have you tried to track back to see if there's any commonality among the orders?

Wlauzon




msg:3143920
 6:30 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

I think the video camera idea is great....

No, it is downright goofy.

How in the world would you prove that ONE particular video clip was the one for ONE particular customer unless you filmed the entire episode from packing to showing the address lable up to delivering to UPS.

stajer




msg:3144002
 7:29 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

wlauzon - when it comes to fraud you don't need to prove to your customer that they committed fraud - you need to prove to yourself. If you have a pack table where the process involves laying out the invoice and the items being packed in front of the camera before they are put in the box you can satisfy for yourself that the order was packed properly and the customer is trying to defraud you. That is what you are trying to protect against.

Remember this is not some distant security camera - the camera sits 5 feet above the pack table and its purpose is to record the order as it is packed.

oldpro




msg:3144020
 7:42 pm on Nov 2, 2006 (gmt 0)

Have you tried to track back to see if there's any commonality among the orders?

There is a commonality. Today I have gone back through the past 3 months, but still not finished yet, and I have found a glaring clue. Many of these customers have done it before...as much as 4 previous orders. All of the customers stem from one source, but I need to be absolutely sure this is the case.

I'll be back when I am satisfied with my conclusion.

jsinger




msg:3144520
 3:47 am on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Yes, do get back with us on this. Interesting subject.

Wlauzon




msg:3144568
 4:46 am on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

All of the customers stem from one source...

this alone would seem to make the whole idea of recording the shipping/packing kind of moot.

The obvious solution is to blacklist that customer and/or source.

oldpro




msg:3144848
 12:25 pm on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

This task was kinda time comsuming, I took looked up each customer's order history in our database.

We drop ship our product for Amazon, but this only accounts for less than 5% of our total on-going sales.

Of these "red flagged" orders over 50% of them originally placed their order thru Amazon...then subsequently placed orders directly from our website.

I am thinking these are people who have learned to game Amazon's system...then some or most of the remaining customers are maybe a few that are friends of the Amazon gamers.

On their first order thru Amazon, each and every one of them we had to send another shipment because they claimed to have not gotten all of it. Then they order directly from us and did the same thing again.

Being Amazon represents such a low percentage of our sales and a majority of these rogue customers first learned about us through Amazon...I have to deductivity conclude the common denominator is Amazon.

PCInk




msg:3144927
 2:10 pm on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Many of these customers have done it before...as much as 4 previous orders.

And you've not spotted this until now? No wonder you've had so many! If they get away with it once, they will try it again, guaranteed.

You need to hammer this out now:

* Block those people's future orders (you know that now!)
* Track complaints of missing/faulty items for future reference
* People who order from the specific source - send them two parcels to sign for, they can't easily come back to you to complain
* Perhaps block that source altogether (do you know if these are stolen cards or geniune?)

[edited by: PCInk at 2:11 pm (utc) on Nov. 3, 2006]

oldpro




msg:3145457
 10:07 pm on Nov 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

Perhaps block that source altogether (do you know if these are stolen cards or geniune?)

Amazon has recently changed their seller/customer protection policy, this could be because they noticed the system was being gamed like this. Before it weighed heavily in favor of the buyer, now it is a little more difficult for the buyer to get a refund if not warrented.

The only reason we do business with Amazon is because they asked us to participate during the beta phase to move beyond just books.

I can only imagine people ordering 5 books and claiming they only got 2 books. Maybe this is one of the reasons Amazon has so much trouble staying out of the red.

We could drop Amazon altogether, but on the otherhand they have driven many good repeat customers to us. Typically they will originally order from them and then from us direct thereafter. They have their own "cult" following of customers and maybe this trick is something that developed as a result of their customer friendly, no questions asked return policy and heavy emphasis on customer satisfaction.

Whatever the case, we will up our prices on Amazon and ship multiple orders of the same item in separate packages.

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