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On the eve of Black Friday, a delivery man knocked on Martin's door claiming to collect his post - next thing his credit card was in the red
Last week I wrote about Black Friday and as part of this I warned of various scams doing the rounds connected to it.
This week I received a letter from Martin in Chelmsford who has fallen victim to a Black Friday scam that I not heard of before so I wanted to include it in my column.
On Thursday November 24, Martin had a knock at the door at 8pm. The man was wearing a suit and a high visibility jacket.
He also had an ID card around his neck. The man explained that he was from Royal Mail’s online delivery team who do deliveries for not only the Royal Mail but all of the other courier services as well.
He said that there been a computer glitch which had caused addresses to be muddled and that as a consequence of this they were expecting people to receive parcels over the next few days by mistake.
He then produced a large red plastic box with a Royal Mail logo on the side and instructed Martin to leave any incorrect deliveries in the box outside his door.
Martin thought this was totally genuine. In fact, Martin explained to me on the phone: "He looked and sounded official and completely genuine. He even had an official looking ID badge."
On Monday November 28, four parcels arrived and sure enough they were not goods that Martin had ordered.
As instructed he placed them in the red Royal Mail box outside his front door. At 9m that day Martin stopped for petrol on the way back from shopping.
His credit card was refused at the till which caused him to call the help line to see what the problem was.
He was then told that he had reached his limit and taken through the purchases over the previous seven days.
Four of these were incurred on Black Friday and amounted to £2,949.99. When he got home the parcels had gone and Martin immediately knew he'd been scammed.
The retailers are going to say that the goods were paid using Martin’s card and it was he who signed for the parcels when they were delivered.
However, one point in his favour, is that Martin has heard that other people in his area have fallen victim to the same scam.
I advised Martin to report this to the police and to his credit card company with a request that his money be refunded. Watch this space.
Q: I bought four items from Argos online on Black Friday obviously at a discounted price.
I have now been informed that two of the items are out of stock so they want to refund me. I actually paid for them, can I not demand that they send me the items when they are back in stock as the price was good?
A: Three things are needed to form a legally binding contract: ‘offer’, ‘acceptance’ and ‘consideration’ (ie: money). When a retailer advertises goods for sale they do so under what is known as an ‘invitation to treat’.
This means that when you click on ‘buy’ you make an ‘offer’ and then when you pay you provide ‘consideration’. The missing element (the ‘acceptance’) only comes when the retailer dispatches the goods.
This means Argos did not enter a legal contract with you so can simply refund you and not supply the goods at the discounted price.