Tip of the day: When dealing with international orders of any magnitude always, always, always get paid via EFT (electronic funds transfer/wire transfer). Far safer than credit cards.
Tip #2: Don't be too eager to ship. Give your bank time to fully "digest" the payment. The money showing up in your bank account isn't the end of the story.
Tip #3: Get out from behind that desk and go meet your bank manager. When you receive a sizable payment. Ask about that payment from your international customer and how/if the funds can be rescinded. Under some circumstances and with some countries there are ways your customer could pull back funds even a year after the transaction took place.
Tip #4: I hate to say it but I have scars to prove it: When it comes to international commerce you have to have your guard up all the time. I've dealt with many people all over the world and the vast majority are on the level. No issues. However, every so often someone shows-up who wants to take you for all he can.
Tip #5: Come to think of it, you have to be guarded, period. I had a supplier take me for $12,000 a number of years ago. He was in Florida and simply evaporated. After much interfacing with police we learned he did this to a bunch of companies and bolted with anywhere between $100K and maybe even over $200K, never to be found.
Tip #6: Business is a contact sport. You are going to get bloody every now and then. Price your products and services in order to be able to absorb a blow here and there or it will really hurt when it happens. And, as always, if it is too good to be true, stay the fuck away from it.
Honestly, I'm surprised to hear that anyone's managed to ship their Kickstarter rewards within three months. I've backed a variety of projects (mostly books and software), and I think only once have I ever seen a physical product shipped within six months. Even t-shirts usually take a while.
I remember a situation with a payment from Greece where my bank basically said "you would be nuts to do it this way". I would not have known had I not taken the time to meet with the bank manager who reviewed the issues and guided me through the process of structuring a safe transaction.
If I remember correctly it involved telling my customer to go to the bank and do a wire transfer with cash as opposed to writing a check. Details are fuzzy. I think I remember him saying that their banking system allowed them to recall the check up to a year later. All of the banks involved in that transaction would have to honor this and you would end-up on the hook for the money. Cash or a cashiers check used for the EFT would break that link and result in a solid transaction.
'Read the FAQ' is not good enough, but that's the same vibe I got from them when applying for my first project many years ago, and why I never went with their platform.
At some point, this will unravel and significantly damage the industry. They need to step up and back their creators, without whom they wouldn't have a platform.
While the code for displaying projects seems to work, the actual act of pledging to them doesn't. I imagine they lose a ton of pledges simply because people aren't willing to jump through hoops to make the site work.
These are taken from the kick-started funds.
When a project sees a chargeback that should be repaid by both the kick-start project owner and kickstarter.
Otherwise, Kickstarter is getting free money. (From the kick-start project owner, who is the victim of a crime.)
If the campaign receives a $100 chargeback, then the campaign should get charged $95 and Kickstarter should give back their $5. This is the proper way to do it. I don't know how Kickstarter does it, but if they don't give back the portion of fees that they charge, that would be strange to me.
However, usually chargebacks come with fees, around $15. I see no problems with the campaign having to pay these chargeback fees. I believe it's the cost of doing business for any campaign that accepts anonymous donations from the internet.
"So, I have this big $10k order for t-shirts, but I can't process the credit card."
"Oh, well, we could process it if you want and then just credit you with your markup."
"Well I've never done this before, so like, what if they are a scam or something..."
"As long as the card goes through, there is no risk to you." !!!!!
"Oh, well in that case, sure."
You can imagine in 3 months when they called to tell me there was a charge back I was surprised! I insisted that I wasn't in the wrong because their sales rep (who wanted a commission) gave me incorrect information that I made a decision on.
In the end, the company owner offered to split it with me 50/50, but only like a hard ass 21 year old can, I told him I wasn't paying a dime. (I didn't have the money and I really felt like it was his problem.) I won my moral battle with him, but I lost the relationship. I ended up losing my screen printer and after trying to print shirts myself in a dorm room, ended up folding the company....
I think the lesson learned here, aside from the obvious one about Nigerian Ultimate Frisbee players, was that the relationship is the most important thing -- even if you are technically right, preserving relationships is much more important. I ought to have taken the 50/50 offer and asked to pay it back over time, perhaps just with increased prices per unit.
Luckily, I didn't "help out" the buyer of the shirts and ship him all those cell phones he asked about. When I confronted him about the scam, he sent me a weird email about being a revolutionary.
If you are ever over in Nigeria, keep an eye out for some long sleeve yellow tshirts that say "Flick & Hammer" on them.
Owe the bank 10 dollars, it's your problem.
Owe the bank 10 million dollars, it's their problem.
It seems the problem here I can use my CC for whatever, then months and months later do a charge back, even though I got what I originally paid for.
It sounds like the only defense would be to not ship the actual product (reward in this case) until the charge back grace period has elapsed.
Also, if the rewards are physical, surely that leaves a trail - they have to be sent somewhere.
I think it's just as likely this person is using stolen credit cards and the real owners of the credit cards are the ones that are initiating the (legitimate) chargebacks as soon as they discover the fraudulent charge.
I agree with your theory though, just seems like Amazon might have a blind spot
Between about December of last year and August of this year, a Pebble watch was running at about $300, new in box, until Pebble was able to finally build up enough supply to begin shipping them from their storefront. That's a 100% return on someone else's money, if you don't get caught.
"only to then claim a charge dispute once the project is funded."
- the credit card companies fault.
"It also appears that this particular pledger has done this over a hundred times"
- also the credit card companies fault.
It's time to seriously criticize them. Charge backs should be noted on one's credit report. Allowing and siding with an individual to chargeback over 3 times a year is just negligence and fraud on the credit card company's behalf.
At the same time, I suspect the credit card companies do track the chargebacks. But how many is a lot? 3 in a year sounds like it would likely slip through the cracks.
It's a tough thing to manage.
The CC companies Do. Not. Listen. It's not "tough", they're just stupid and don't investigate. It's cheaper that way. They need you to use their card so they can make money, and we need them to accept payments so they screw us over. They need you so they side with the card holder, we sellers need them so they treat us like crap. They assume that we businesses have money to spare and can handle a few chargebacks so they don't bother with any investigating.
You losing your card, not having a pin number and someone else using it to buy products is not my fault. That is your fault and the credit card companies fault for making a little piece of plastic representing $3,000-$12,000 work without a password. Why should I get screwed over for that?
A donation to a new project requires a lot of trust. I know that when I donate I may not see anything from my donation (depending on the project), but that doesn't mean I am ok with it going to beer and hookers.
In that case buyers just buy expensive objects and then open a dispute under the 'object not respondent to description' or 'broken' or something like that... (and they don't send the objects back)
Does anyone know a good list of approaches to take against this kind of scams?