"Thanks for your Custom. The Police will arrest you shortly!"

22 October 2008

When it comes to shopping online, there's already plenty to worry about: dishonest sellers, delayed deliveries, items being cancelled and credit card fraud; all of these wonderful things already provide us with sufficient headaches and migraines.

Such quality problems, however, pale in comparison when your friendly retailer next door contacts you out of the blue to kindly offer having the police break down your front door and arrest you for commiting FRAUD.

HUKDer Emma, recently purchased some chocolate hampers last month from online retailer FunkyHampers.  These hampers, according to them, are supposed to "make the perfect present".

FunkyHampers certainly kept that promise to start with, confirming Emma's order and charging her credit card 4 days later.  The items also arrived shortly, with few hitches.

Emma was a happy bunny... but not for long.

Just yesterday, about a month after Emma initially placed the order, she received the following email:

"Dear Emma, On 18th September you ordered two chocolate gifts from us. As per our terms you card was charged from our parent company Just The Shop Ltd for £20.97.

Your order has been flagged as fraudulent by your card issuer which means you must have spoken to them and said the transaction was not recognised.

If we do not hear from you within 48 hours we will be passing your details onto your local Police Station as this is classed as theft or fraud.

These details include both billing and delivery address as well as all other contact details you have given us and you IP address and phone number.

If you have made a genuine error then please reply immediately to stop legal action being taken.

We have proof of delivery to the address below and this will be handed to the Police.

Kind Regards,

Customer Service Team [FunkyHampers]
Just The Shop Group of Websites

But how could this be? Emma never cancelled the order.  Palpitating on the verge of a heart attack, she rang her credit card provider, Mastercard. Mastercard checked details of the transaction, and to summarize, told her that nothing was flagged up, there were no problems.

Emma called the company to dispute.  The customer rep from Funky Hampers simply took her details, and said she cannot and will not tell her anything else, and "will phone her back."

Alas, they did not phone her back.  All for giving them a second chance. Instead, all Emma received was a quick email:

"Dear Emma, We are very sorry for the confusion here but this was intended for someone else that placed an order for this amount on the same day. Please ignore the email and sorry for the inconvenience."

"Dear Emma... please ignore the email?" Isn't that a little too late in hindsight?  A [half-arsed] apology does not explain how an email intended for someone else over a serious matter such as a fraud investigation could get to Emma simply because it was 'an order for this amount on the same day'. To me, that's just mind boggling.  Maybe it would have been worthwhile to verify the buyer's name, credit card details, phone number, email, shipping address, and IP address??

As a follow up, Emma was told, "I am very sorry this has happened and must conclude that it was a combination of a freak coincidence and human error and it will not be happening again."  Funky Hampers did apologise and said it wouldn't happen again.

At least Emma's chocolate hampers are now safe from a police raid, but having been "nearly physically sick at reading [their] email", it might take a little while before she can digest them again.

TOPICS:   Complaints   UK News

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