Running a business on the internet is totally different to a bricks and mortar store. We very rarely get to meet our buyers/clients face to face, ocassionally we get to talk to them on the phone. Being an internet based business we face plethora of obstacles and always seem to be on a learning curve and never quite reaching the top of that curve.

BMNE Direct is on Twitter and we use Twitter to get the message out about specials and articles to our followers. Our Twitter followers find out about upcoming specials before anyone else and we tweet out offers only available to our Twitter followers. If you are in Australia, Twitter is not available on mobile phones yet but the tweets can be received by email. Twitter is a fantastic medium for real time searches to get up to date information and what is happening around the world. If you are not following us on Twitter join here and start following us.

I find it strange how everything seems to happen at once (Murphy’s Law I think it is called). Classic example was this morning when I woke to find 3 orders in worth a few thousand dollars, great – not, the orders were from Venezuela and immediately the thought goes through my mind that a stolen credit card has probably been used, but we stil have to go through the checks. We belong to a programme called Merchant 911 where we are able to check the card details supplied and sure enough it was not a card issued from a Venezuela bank. The sale came through an affiliate and generated a lot of commission for that affiliate so we are now stuck with trying to reverse everything as soon as possible, I feel for the affiliate as they probably thought it was wonderful and who could blame them. Not an easy thing to do when you are dealing with an outside affiliate company and to top it all off Google including Gmail have gone down. This stopped us getting into our emails to contact the affiliate company to get the sales reversed and because google search was down we could not look up the address supplied by the buyer as further verification. I am sure this will all sort itself out throughout the day.

Sadly the use of stolen credit cards seems to be becoming more prevelent even from Australian buyers. Two years ago we were lucky if we saw one every 6 months, now it seems to be every couple of weeks. It amazes me that these people think they are going to get away with it, clearly their desparate need for goods overrides common sense and their understanding of how placing an order on our website works. We track and note every isp for all our orders and if we receive a fraudulent order this information is handed over to the Police and they are able to hone right into the exact location the order was placed from. We had another classic about 3 weeks ago, the buyer was in Sydney and placed an order for a few thousand, we queried it by ringing the buyer and checking the credit card, the card was not an Australian issued card and did not belong to the buyer, the buyer then proceeded to fax through stolen and altered legal documents including passport copies etc to try and verify the order, stating that they had permission from the actual card holder to use that card, when we looked at all the documentation faxed through – passport, Statutory Declarations, immigration documents you could see that they had all been altered using the same pen with the same handwriting. Needless to say nothing was shipped to that person. Luckily it is not often we have to waste time doing these checks as 99.9% of our customers are fantastic and a pleasure to deal with, but having been in business online for 5+ years you soon know what to look for and whilst we try to stop them in their tracks so they don’t damage our business or others, I feel so sorry for those businesses that get caught out and it is usually those that can least afford it. After a while you soon get to recognise Australian issued card numbers by the first 4 digits.

We also have to deal with the otherside from the buyer’s perspective where they have probably been burnt in an online transaction on the internet and have zero trust and feel that if they have not received their order within 24-48 hours we are stealing their money. There is no single way we can reassure these buyers except to keep them informed (which can sometimes be difficult because of hotmail, msn email accounts which tend to treat most emails as spam and they recipient never gets to see them) and hope that they realise that BMNE Direct have been in business for a loooong time and would not still be in business if we operated under shonky business practices.

But this is all part of the fun of running an internet based business and even after all these years we still enjoy liaising with our buyers and hearing what they are up to and finding new products for the website.

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