A Northeast Mississippi principal contacted BBB serving Mississippi concerned about becoming a victim of an office supply scam. On June 2, the school was contacted by Omni Supply Company out of Gainesville, Texas claiming to be going out of business and offering deep discounts on school supplies. After hearing the prices being offered, the principal agreed to purchase some items to help save some money for their school. A week later 10 boxes of supplies arrived at the school with an invoice for over $7,500. The principal thought that she had bought about $250 worth of items and contacted the company to send back what she she did not order. The company offered to take back some of the items but informed her a restocking fee of 15% would apply plus $300 in shipping. These charges would add up to be over $1,200. BBB’s Business Review on this business shows similar complaints and the company currently has an “F” rating with BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas.
Office supply scams are on the rise and its time for consumers/businesses to put extra precautions in place to avoid getting taken by these unscrupulous salesmen. This type of scam generally involves deceptive selling tactics of office supply goods used by most businesses: toner, paper, credit card terminal supplies, and even advertising. The fraudulent callers may get you to agree to pay for items you didn't order, do not need or offer phony "specials".
BBB advises small business owners to protect their business from paying for unsolicited or unordered goods and services.
Train your staff. Advise employees who are not authorized to order supplies and services to refer any such sales people to the purchasing department.
The purchasing department should be instructed not to respond verbally to unsolicited phone offers for office supplies. Require that all sales pitches be made in writing.
Do not deal with unknown sellers without first verifying the reliability and complaint history of the seller’s business with BBB.
Institute strict purchasing and accounting controls. Every purchase should be documented by issuing a purchase order to the supplier with an authorized signature and a purchase order number. The handling of invoices, etc. should be centralized and authorization closely checked.
Keep a list of regularly used vendors. This will help to protect your business against schemers who claim that your company previously used their services.
For more information on scams or to find a BBB Business Review please visit bbb.org.