Brian Curran, owner of Pedalworks Bike Shop in Dunstable is calling on the trade to be extra vigilent on mail order and online sales having recently fallen victim to fraudsters.
Curran, whose Dunstable shop was targetted via a telephone order, followed by an in store pick up told BikeBiz: "Any retailer can fall victim and there is no protection or insurance against this kind of fraud. You have to carry the can"
"If you sell via Mail Order, you are particularly vulnerable. Online sales have better protection, but ultimately, if there is any card fraud via your direct channels, it's the retailer who pays the bill"
"We don't ship bikes in boxes so we waited until we had the money in the bank before allowing the bikes out of the shop. We are put in the position of having the customers money, so releasing the bikes seemed the right thing to do. Five weeks later we were shocked to get a 'chargeback' notification from our bank, two weeks after that, the money is debited from our account and there's nothing we can do about it. The Police did respond quickly, but they have little to go on to chase these crooks."
Pedalworks has had to make the decision to cut mail order sales from the business and has reviewed the security of his ecommerce site. He believes that this incident is a stark reminder to cycle retailers that they are a real target for fraud.
Curran has said, however, that he is determined that this won't make him more suspicious of customers in the future as this would undermine the customer philosophy of the business.
Have you had any similar experiences? Perhaps you have some ideas on how to combat retail fraud? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.