Thundersley shopkeepers targeted in scam

Echo: Joanne Clarke and Andie Freeston are calling for action to be taken Joanne Clarke and Andie Freeston are calling for action to be taken

SHOPKEEPERS fear they are being targetted by an elaborate scam in Thundersley.

Two men have been targetting independent stores along Hart Road claiming they have bought goods and need a refund.

A third crook, a woman, even pretends to be their mother and claims she has instructed them to bring it back because she has already been bought the product by someone else. In some cases shopowners have even spoken to the woman on the phone. It is believed the men pretend to bring a product back in, but have actually just swiped it off the shelf.

Joanne Clarke, 43, the owner of Bodkins, a knitting and embroidery shop in Hart Road, had the scam pulled on her.

She said: “This wasn’t your standard attempt to scam money. It was all planned out and I could tell these men knew what they were doing. They picked up a cross-stitch kit that was worth £30 and told me their mother was staying in Godden Lodge care home and already had the kit. They said she was called Lorraine. I don’t give refunds and was very worried about it as they were quite intimidating.”

Hart Pet Supplies was also targetted.

Store owner Andie Freeston, 56, said: “One of the lads called me over and said they wanted a refund for a £14.99 flexi-lead they had bought from a male employee. The only male employee is my husband and he said he had not sold a lead on the one day he was working. He said he bought it for their mother and were annoyed when I wouldn’t refund them. When I spoke with Joanne she said it was the same for her. People need to be wary.”

Sgt Mark McQuade, of the Castle Point neighbourhood policing team, said: “I will be sending officers to the two stores in question to speak with the owners. The local team will also be visiting Hadleigh and Benfleet to check that scams aren’t spreading to other areas.

“We will be distributing leaflets warning people of these type of occurances. For the moment I would encourage shops to use CCTV as it is the best way we can identify the people responsible.”

The men are in their twenties of normal build with dark hair. Anyone with information about the scam can call 101.

Comments (11)

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8:32am Tue 5 Mar 13

GentleGiant says...

Simple - did they have a receipt or proof of purchase? If they did not have this, then no refund.

BTW - you do not actually need a receipt with a faulty item, a proof of purchase can be a credit card statement for example.
Simple - did they have a receipt or proof of purchase? If they did not have this, then no refund. BTW - you do not actually need a receipt with a faulty item, a proof of purchase can be a credit card statement for example. GentleGiant

8:38am Tue 5 Mar 13

supermadmax says...

Its not really an "elaborate scam" is it ?

Its simply a scam.
Its not really an "elaborate scam" is it ? Its simply a scam. supermadmax

8:54am Tue 5 Mar 13

AndyBSG says...

"I don’t give refunds"

Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are.

If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product.
"I don’t give refunds" Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are. If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product. AndyBSG

9:18am Tue 5 Mar 13

Noteworthy says...

AndyBSG wrote:
"I don’t give refunds" Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are. If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product.
Hardly new, this happened to me when I worked in Halfords 11 years ago!

In terms of the refund if the product is faulty - the retailer is also able to offer a replacement item or credit first, especially if no proof of purchase can be obtained.
[quote][p][bold]AndyBSG[/bold] wrote: "I don’t give refunds" Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are. If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product.[/p][/quote]Hardly new, this happened to me when I worked in Halfords 11 years ago! In terms of the refund if the product is faulty - the retailer is also able to offer a replacement item or credit first, especially if no proof of purchase can be obtained. Noteworthy

9:19am Tue 5 Mar 13

saddo99 says...

Seems like a lot of trouble to make £14.99.
Seems like a lot of trouble to make £14.99. saddo99

9:32am Tue 5 Mar 13

A Pedant says...

AndyBSG wrote:
"I don’t give refunds" Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are. If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product.
You are not, however, entitled to a refund just because you don't like the goods or they are duplicated.
[quote][p][bold]AndyBSG[/bold] wrote: "I don’t give refunds" Then you're just as guilty of breaking the law as they are. If the goods are not as described or of a satisfactory condition then you are legally obliged to offer a refund if you cannot fix the fault with the product.[/p][/quote]You are not, however, entitled to a refund just because you don't like the goods or they are duplicated. A Pedant

9:35am Tue 5 Mar 13

DogsMessInLeigh says...

i bet the two men stand out like a sore thumb in an Knitting shop and a small pet shop....just the sight of them walking through the door would send my bells ringing.....and big ben would chime if they asked for a refund on something without a receipt, and i am sure small local shops would remember such a customer.
agreed not really elaborate either...seeing as it didn't work., but they did shop lift 2 items though which is a theft.
i bet the two men stand out like a sore thumb in an Knitting shop and a small pet shop....just the sight of them walking through the door would send my bells ringing.....and big ben would chime if they asked for a refund on something without a receipt, and i am sure small local shops would remember such a customer. agreed not really elaborate either...seeing as it didn't work., but they did shop lift 2 items though which is a theft. DogsMessInLeigh

10:51am Tue 5 Mar 13

everyoneh850 says...

Sounds like we are dealing with dangerous professional criminals here. I mean they tried to take a £14.99 dog lead back for a refund and failed. Essex police might be out of their depth here.
Sounds like we are dealing with dangerous professional criminals here. I mean they tried to take a £14.99 dog lead back for a refund and failed. Essex police might be out of their depth here. everyoneh850

1:17pm Tue 5 Mar 13

RantyMan says...

The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!?
The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!? RantyMan

4:00pm Tue 5 Mar 13

supermadmax says...

RantyMan wrote:
The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!?
Typical Echo... but I doubt it mate, one of the tight cows brazenly & illegally says " I don’t give refunds ", its her poor customers I feel sorry for.
[quote][p][bold]RantyMan[/bold] wrote: The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!?[/p][/quote]Typical Echo... but I doubt it mate, one of the tight cows brazenly & illegally says " I don’t give refunds ", its her poor customers I feel sorry for. supermadmax

11:06pm Tue 5 Mar 13

Letmetryagain says...

supermadmax wrote:
RantyMan wrote:
The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!?
Typical Echo... but I doubt it mate, one of the tight cows brazenly & illegally says " I don’t give refunds ", its her poor customers I feel sorry for.
I assume you speak from experience of running a shop ?

Maybe they should keep a camera handy, if they don't have CCTV.
Then see if the individual in question tries to cover their face, or run off.
[quote][p][bold]supermadmax[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RantyMan[/bold] wrote: The story doesnt mention lf the men left with the goods after failing to get a refund!?[/p][/quote]Typical Echo... but I doubt it mate, one of the tight cows brazenly & illegally says " I don’t give refunds ", its her poor customers I feel sorry for.[/p][/quote]I assume you speak from experience of running a shop ? Maybe they should keep a camera handy, if they don't have CCTV. Then see if the individual in question tries to cover their face, or run off. Letmetryagain

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