Monday, February 9, 2009

Enforcing policies and weeding out unwanted solicitations

I consider myself fairly savvy when it comes to scam artists and internet hoaxes. I've learned to check sources, and not open anything unfamiliar to me. I put emails in the junk folder and/or delete them unopened and refuse to let curiosity get the best of me.

Last week, I was contacted by an international wholesaler. They were interested in purchasing quite a few of my bags which they knew by name. They wanted to pay by credit card (which one would assume is a safe transaction - NOT always) and seemed to be in a bit of a hurry.

This request made me pause. First, it was hard for me to decipher its legitimacy. They did know my current products by name. But there were several red flags: 1) their urgency, 2) the way in which the email was written, 3) the lack of details and vague address.

I have a policy for wholesale requests that is clearly stated on my website. So, I emailed back stating my policy. I require the following:
  1. The boutique's Federal EIN (even if out of the country, there should be some form of identification that is associated with their business)
  2. The boutique's address, telephone number (website if applicable)
  3. Three vendor references (which I do check)

As expected, I've not heard back from them.

I'm often approached to "donate" items to various causes and "submit" items for product reviews. Be sure to check out the sources.

  1. For donations, require a non profit federal tax id or 501 (c)3. Legitimate organizations will happily provide the number.
  2. Ask for a written receipt of your donation (with id included).

Blog product review submissions are a bit more tricky. There is usually no guarantee that a review will be written about your product or even seen by a lot of readers.

  1. Ask for blog demographics and traffic reports. How many people actually read this blog and who are they.
  2. Be picky about who you consider for reviews. If its the likes of Daily Candy with a guaranteed readership, then great.
  3. Go with your gut. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Policies are put into place for a reason but they won't work unless you enforce them. For many, myself included, it is often hard to say no. However, having a policy to rely on makes saying no a lot easier if necessary at all.

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