Independent issues call for retailers to be aware of phone scam

Blackpool-based independent furniture retailer Paul James Furniture Centre has issued a warning after being approached by scammers.

The company, which trades from its store on Squires Gate Lane, was contacted via telephone by a customer and placed an order for a corner suite.

The transaction went through but after the product was delivered, days later the customer initiated a chargeback for the amount of the suite.

Paul Rump, owner of Paul James Furniture Centre, said that this has occurred more than once since it first happened and has issued a call for fellow retailers to be wary of such a scam.

“A customer recently rang us and ordered over the phone a corner suite they had seen in our shop,” Paul said. “They wanted to pay over the phone by card, which went through fine.

“We delivered it the next day with no problem to the apartment. However, days later I looked at my bank statement and we had a chargeback for the amount of the suite. We called at the house and it was empty.

“My bank said there was nothing we could do because the customer was not present and they did not put the chip and pin number in. It left us wide open with nothing more we could do.

“It has happened three more times since but we were straight onto it. The latest one was a call where they asked if they could purchase an outdoor suite and pay over the phone, then send a van to collect it the same day.

“When we said ‘no’ and that you needed to come in and put your pin number in, they just hung up. It seems to be happening more often and it can hurt any independent business like ours. We are now vigilant on the behaviour and urge other retailers to be aware of this activity.”

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