I got some feedback on the marketing/publishing scam story I featured two issues back. First up was Richard Brown, from Dunkery Road PO in Bridgwater, Somerset. Many years ago, when he ran another store at the other end of town, he was caught by the same sort of scam. “It was between £160-180 - it never goes over £200. I’ve known others caught out.
“They sent a recorded delivery letter to the school so they had proof of delivery. That’s how they landed up catching us. That’s how it works: cold call first, then an invoice saying books have gone, here’s the proof, pay up!”
The school never got the books. And the marketing company got their money because Richard didn’t think he stood a chance in court.
Then I got an email from Pete and Helen Palmer, who run Palmers Papers near Salisbury. Pete writes: “Just following up your piece about the Oxford store that got allegedly taken for a ride, I annually appear to take a similar phone call, hitting on advertising in a police, fire brigade or school publication.
“I do use the excuse that I’ll chat to my wife and ring you back and the number is normally unattainable, but just once they failed and I was speaking to a Craig on 01925 426714 and once I quote that number nowadays they swiftly end the call.”
I tried the number and got “number not recognised”. We also have to assume that ‘Craig’ is a made-up name and that whoever placed that call to the Palmers simply forgot to withhold the number on that occasion.