Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Approached by a "company" with a UPS store address. Red Flag?

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  • May 7th, 2011 10:06 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 5, 2009
735 posts
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Approached by a "company" with a UPS store address. Red Flag?

A friend who owns a business was approached by someone who claims to work for a company that specializes in corporate gifts. My friend has an online business with a high end items. The man wants to see samples of fabrics which will cost my buddy nothing to send.

My friend asks me for my opinion and I do some investigating and the address he was given is a UPS store location in Los Angeles. I googled The company the man claims to work for and it came back as a wireless solutions provider but not a corporate gift supplier.I told my friend the fact that it is a UPS address is suspicious enough for me. If the guys does indeed order the quantity he says he would, the amount might be in the 200k range.

Am I being paranoid or am I looking out for my friend? Your advice is appreciated.

J
15 replies
Deal Addict
Dec 13, 2007
1489 posts
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Toronto
If it costs nothing to send, then send it and don't waste your time second guessing it.

Forget UPS store address. People operate businesses out of apartments.
Deal Fanatic
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Aug 19, 2001
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redflag5050 wrote:
Mar 5th, 2011 6:20 pm
Am I being paranoid or am I looking out for my friend?
Is this a joke???

If it costs your friend $0 to send samples, what exactly do you think you're protecting him from?
Sr. Member
Jul 25, 2006
917 posts
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Hamilton
grant wrote:
Mar 7th, 2011 4:39 am
Is this a joke???

If it costs your friend $0 to send samples, what exactly do you think you're protecting him from?
redflag5050 wrote:
Mar 5th, 2011 6:20 pm
If the guys does indeed order the quantity he says he would, the amount might be in the 200k range.

Am I being paranoid or am I looking out for my friend? Your advice is appreciated.

J

I don't think he's concerned about the samples, but the potential loss if the large order turns out to be fraudulent.
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Lizz__20 wrote:
Mar 7th, 2011 10:09 am
I don't think he's concerned about the samples, but the potential loss if the large order turns out to be fraudulent.
As almost anyone who's been in business can tell you, a customer having a "real" retail/office/warehouse location is no guarantee of honesty.

$200,000 is clearly a large enough order that the friend would have to demand full or partial payment up front, or find some other way of securing payment, regardless of the customer's specifics.

The provincial or federal government is probably the only entity i would sell $200,000 to C.O.D.!
[OP]
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Nov 5, 2009
735 posts
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Lizz__20 wrote:
Mar 7th, 2011 10:09 am
I don't think he's concerned about the samples, but the potential loss if the large order turns out to be fraudulent.

That's exactly what my concern is. If this guys works for a company that BIG as he claims, how come it has a UPS store address? How come no real brick and mortar address.The samples will only cost postage but what come after is worrisome to me. My friend is vulnerable, especially with $$$$$$ amounts like that being thrown about. Like the guy said, I am looking out for my buddy.

J
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Oct 4, 2006
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I've had people approach me several times in my company with offers to purchase excess quantities of product and the best way to deal with it is by stating clearly that any payments must be made up front. You can simply request a certified check for payment or something similar.
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redflag5050 wrote:
Mar 7th, 2011 10:38 pm
That's exactly what my concern is. If this guys works for a company that BIG as he claims, how come it has a UPS store address?
There are a dozen reasonable explanations, but none of them matter.

If you are advising your friend to offer credit to companies with a retail storefront, he's definitely going to get burned 10x as often as he would by selling pre-paid to some random UPS store guy.

You're barking up the wrong tree here.
Deal Addict
Dec 13, 2007
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Toronto
I would not ship 200K order on credit to anybody. Well, with an exception of government, or IBM :) On second thought, I'd demand for 50% up front anyway -- these big bureaucracies sometimes are too slow.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 5, 2009
735 posts
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grant wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 12:53 pm
There are a dozen reasonable explanations, but none of them matter.

If you are advising your friend to offer credit to companies with a retail storefront, he's definitely going to get burned 10x as often as he would by selling pre-paid to some random UPS store guy.

You're barking up the wrong tree here.

If I am looking out for my friend, why would I advise him to extend credit to someone he never did business with before. Where in my original post did you see me say that I want my friend to extend credit?

I actually told my friend to ship the samples even if he never sees the $ 20 he is going to spend. My suggestion was, is and always will be to get paid first, in full, not 50%, not 75 % but 100 %. I am just afraid of two things:
I am giving him bad advice which will deprive him of a large order or that he might be greedy enough to go ahead and go through with it and end up in ruins.

I came here to ask for advice that I can share with him.
Deal Expert
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Apr 16, 2001
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If your buddy runs a business capable of fielding a $200,000 order, why exactly, is he asking advice?
Whenever someone asks a question that starts with "Why do they..." or "Why don't they...", the answer is always a) money, b) stupidity, or c) both.
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redflag5050 wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 8:53 pm
I came here to ask for advice that I can share with him.
I think the consensus is: using a UPS store shipping address (or not) is irrelevant in this situation.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Nov 5, 2009
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JAC wrote:
Mar 8th, 2011 9:07 pm
If your buddy runs a business capable of fielding a $200,000 order, why exactly, is he asking advice?

He has never fielded a big order like that because his is a specialized business that caters to individuals. Not saying that he wouldn't be able to fill an order like that if he has to. I am asking for advice, not him.


grant:"I think the consensus is: using a UPS store shipping address (or not) is irrelevant in this situation. "

I beg to differ, I believe it is very relevant. A well established and successful company that does large volume with the likes of Goldman Sachs, Tropicana, Nascar etc.etc. as my buddy was led to believe, would certainly have their own address and not a UPS mail drop. My buddy is very small and he uses his own address.
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redflag5050 wrote:
Mar 10th, 2011 1:00 am
I beg to differ, I believe it is very relevant. A well established and successful company that does large volume with the likes of Goldman Sachs, Tropicana, Nascar etc.etc. as my buddy was led to believe, would certainly have their own address and not a UPS mail drop. My buddy is very small and he uses his own address.
It's irrelevant, because your friend should approach all of those companies with the same amount of caution. If he doesn't, then he's inviting trouble.
Deal Addict
Jun 20, 2006
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so it's free to ship a sample right ? what' stopping him ?
then if need to send 200k of good
a) ask for direct deposit for payment or western union, something that's guaranteed unlike paypal
b) how about he goes there himself and personally delivers it ? a flight to CA will cost say $600
probably worth it if you have 200k of merchandise
c) i rather start small, y not sell 5k first c how that goes...
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