A catering equipment dealer in County Durham has lost more than £3,500 after becoming the victim of a credit card scam.
Catertech, based in Ferryhill, processed an order for microwaves and kitchen equipment over the phone with a credit card — known as a ‘card not present’ transaction — but later discovered the card was a clone.
Staff at the dealer had checked the Sheffield shop the goods were being delivered to, and understood that it was being converted into a cafe.
By the time it realised the order was not legitimate, the goods had been delivered and signed for by a third party.
Catertech has since appealed against a chargeback imposed by the company which processed the card payment, but it was not successful. Instead, the payment taken from the genuine credit card holder’s account was refunded and charged to Catertech.
Tony Dartnall, managing director of Catertech, said the incident had left the company £3,500 out of pocket, plus the cost of the equipment it supplied.
He told The Northern Echo: “The person whose card it was got their money back straight away from the credit card company, but we don’t get anything. We’re a small business who suffer because we have lost that money and had to pay for the products which were stolen.”
Catertech reported the fraud to police in Sheffield, but was advised they did not have the resources to properly investigate.
Catertech employs five people and is involved in the sale, installation and servicing of commercial catering equipment. Its website lists key suppliers as Foster, Prodis, Hobart, Imperial, Interlevin, Blue Seal, Falcon, Parry and DC Products.
The newspaper contacted Streamline, which processed the card payment, but it said that credit cards were not a guaranteed form of payment and all ‘card not present’ transactions were at the retailer’s own risk.
It also said evidence which could have proved the transaction was authentic such as a swiped till receipt or a chip read and PIN verification was not available.
Credit card scams remain one of the most common types of fraud affecting small businesses. One catering equipment distributor recently alerted Catering Insight to a scam whereby someone posing as a legitimate company attempts to place a large order for goods by email in an attempt to extract the suppliers’ bank details.