A discount may cost you more than you realize…
This month we’re taking a break from our regular format to make you aware of a troubling scam.
In July, my firm posted a photo to our Instagram and Facebook accounts of a “Boreal Table Lamp” produced by Currey and Company. Not long after, we were contacted by a client looking to purchase one. We logged into our Currey and Company account, began checking the price, the availability of the item, and requesting a shipping quote. All the things we always do. We also, always, check the price online.
So, here’s what happened next.
Have you ever gone online to purchase an item and found that every vendor sells it for the same price? That’s called UMRP (Universal Minimum Retail Price) or IMAP (Internet Minimum Advertised Price). Most companies adhere to UMRP and IMAP policies to allow a level playing field for brick and mortar stores to compete with Internet-only drop shippers. What we discovered as we looked for the lamp online is that, indeed, everyone advertised it at the same price. Everyone except one place, and they were selling it for less. Wonder why? We did, too.
We contacted Currey and Company, made them aware of our discovery, and following is the response we received:
Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Lighting Merchant is a rogue website. They are not a customer of Currey and Company nor have they ever been a customer. As such they cannot order or receive product directly from Currey.
In doing research on this website, we have determined that this is a phishing scam with the hope of stealing credit card and other personal information.
If you get any complaints from your customers about this website, please let them know to stay away.
We are working to get all the Currey product pulled off the website.
Can you imagine if someone ordered the lamp through the fictitious, rogue site? They would have given them their name, phone number, shipping and billing address, and of course their complete credit card information including number, expiration date, and security code. It could have been a nightmare.
Now mind you, this is a legitimate looking website. There’s a phone number you can call, a physical address listed, 44 reviews on Google, and a secure https URL. So how do you protect yourself? Not everyone has time to read 44 reviews, but if you look quickly, you can see that nearly every review is the only one the reviewer has done. Also, while the site has a secure https URL, it doesn’t have a “trust seal” such as Verisign. Now that doesn’t mean that an unscrupulous company can’t fake one of those so ultimately it comes down to this: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
In the end, my best advice is to stay vigilant. Do business with people you know, who are accountable, and have verifiable references. In short, shop local.