Update 9/29: Promo Distributor Warns of Credit Card Order Scam Involving Hundreds of Blank T-shirts (All Size Medium)
A promo distributor was the victim of a scammer who ordered hundreds of T-shirts totaling more than $3,000, only to issue and receive a chargeback once the T-shirts were in their possession.
In an email to Promo Marketing, Theda Furlonge, owner of TAF Promotions in Colorado Springs, described the scam, and how both local authorities and financial institutions have been largely unhelpful. She also provided various documents relating to the order.
On July 14, Furlonge received an email asking for 990 cotton T-shirts, specifically from Gildan, Jerzees or Port and Company, in five different colors and all size medium. Furlonge said that the original order, coming from an entity known as "All Stores," was supposedly for a donation to a church.
“I thought it was a little hinky,” Furlonge told Promo Marketing. “But, [I] figured I would do my due diligence and ensure it was prepaid.”
The order was prepaid with a credit card, and the shirts were delivered on July 17. At this point, the buyer noted to Furlonge that they liked the shirts and wanted to order more. That same day, Furlonge received a chargeback on the original order. That’s when she canceled the second order and went to Chase Bank to raise her concerns.
“My claim was denied by Chase Bank, who returned funds to the credit card holder without any info as to what proof cardholder had that product was not delivered [or] not as expected,” she said.
Furlonge sent messages to Chase Bank headquarters. She also alerted the Tulsa Police Department and the Tulsa World newspaper, but received no answer.
“I am at a loss how an established institution like Chase can condone scammers, cheaters and liars,” her letter said. “I certainly understand loyalty to your cardholders, but to support fraudulent claims against small businesses is incomprehensible, especially during these trying times.”
Furlonge said she was not aware of any other businesses that had been affected by this scam. What’s most confusing to her is what the scammer wants with all of these shirts in one size.
“I cannot imagine what these guys are doing with all these blank shirts. I did see one cop show where they were sending drugs in cotton T-shirts by some process, but that might not be real," Furlonge told PM by email, adding a laughing emoji.
She also added the following message for other distributors:
Bottom line—if it is too good to be true, it probably isn’t.
Banks don’t care what proof you may have, they will support their scammer card holders. No matter how long the funds are in your account, they can be returned at the whim of the cardholder. If something is pulling the hairs on the back of your neck, get a certified check. Even old dogs can be suckered.
Shortly before this story was published, Furlonge sent an update to Promo Marketing that Chase Bank had responded to her claim.
"They have opened a case file and a guy named Luke at Corporate will get back to me in five days," she said.
Furlonge said that, after a little more than a week, Chase Bank responded that it will not take further action on her behalf.
"Banks support scammers, cheaters and liars despite any evidence to the contrary that their bills should be paid to the small-business person, or any business for that matter," Furlonge told Promo Marketing. "Very sad, but folk should be aware."
In the comments below this article, Pioneer Promo also shared the following about a similar scam:
We have received one such inquiry through our "Contact Us" form on our website.
For those interested in what it looks like, here is the exact message:
From: Jeff Henderson
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (looks almost like they are trying to imply they are a "bank")
I'm Jeffery and I have an upcoming event for which I'll need some blank Gildan 50/50 blend (short sleeved shirts in assorted colors) in bulk. Please provide any relevant info on price and availability at your earliest convenience."
We were immediately suspicious but thankfully our form collection software tells us the location the requests were sent from and in this case the request came from Ghana.
These scammers are taking advantage of these desperate times to try and trick distributors into taking orders they might not otherwise consider.
Please be safe and ALWAYS do your research into the inquiry!
Stay safe out there, folks.