I started out my morning in my normal fashion (yoga, meditation, coffee with husband, Chinese practice). It was starting to be a good day, despite the rain in Washington. I baked a giant cookie for our AP/AR person who has been with Bramble Berry going on five years and deserves all the recognition and celebration she can get. And, it’s Christina’s birthday in Customer Service so there’s cake and much frivolity at work.
Then, I made it to my desk and found the fax below:
It says that our credit card was charged for $299 for a publication. The name of the publication looks vaguely like a business publication (“CFO & Controller Alert). Puzzled, I talked to the employee that gave the credit card. He told me that this International Credit Recovery had called up, claimed I had ordered this expensive publication, said they had sent 5 invoices and that they were going to ding our credit report if we didn’t immediately “pay up.” They sounded legit since they called his cell phone number and had my date of birth. They said they would send him an invoice as soon as we paid up. Being worried about our credit, he acquiesced giving over our credit card. I wasn’t in the office so he couldn’t check with me. Plus, he figured it was better to be safe than sorry.
As soon as I saw the fax, I knew the entire thing was a bogus scam:
1. Our company name isn’t “Bramble Bakery”
2. The employee’s name that supposedly authorized the transaction isn’t even remotely close
3. I’m cheap. I don’t spend $299 on any publication. Ever.
So, I called the company, explained the situation and when it was apparent that I wasn’t going to back down, the “Manager” hung up on me. I called back. This time, the “Switchboard Operator” hung up on me after I asked for Customer Service. I’ve called back three additional times. They must have caller ID because I keep getting an answering machine. The last time I called, the phone just rang and rang and rang.
I googled the number and got page, after page of irate, angry people with the same exact experience. Try for yourself if you’re curious (or if you’d like to forewarn your employees to not pay any invoice without proof). Their phone number is 607-748-4686.
It’s easy to dispute the charges on my credit card so I’m not out anything but my time (yes, I had planned to do other things this morning). And, I’ve already reported them to the Better Business Bureau (got a similar story? Report it here) and the Attorney General’s Office (Bighampton Office). But really, there has got to be a better way to do business. Ultimately, cheaters never prosper.
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