This weekend we’re running a 20% off coupon code on Detailed Image. Coupled with our free shipping on orders over $150 for the rest of the year, it’s a pretty enticing pre-holiday sale.
Apparently it’s not quite good enough for one customer.
Said customer decided that he was going to outsmart our system by buying a gift certificate at 20% off and then turn around and use the gift certificate to then place his actual order for 20% off, effectively double-dipping and getting 36% off (20% off of 20% off). Since we do not allow discounts on gift certificates, this customer did a big run around and placed two orders just to get the exact same discount he would’ve gotten to begin with.
Now, had we messed up and accidentally let it slip through, we probably just would have allowed it and then put in a feature not to allow it in the future. Or maybe we would have contacted him and held the order until we received payment for the remainder of the order. It doesn’t really matter either way. That’s not what bothers me.
What I just can’t understand is why people go to such troubles to try to rip off companies. I don’t understand why someone would even try to do this. I mean hell, we’re already giving 20% off and free shipping. You damn well know that if you get away with it it’s because of some technicality on our part. We clearly did not advertise that intended use.
Is it the few bucks you’re saving? Is it the feeling of getting over on someone? If you like our products so much, why wouldn’t you want to support us so we can stay in business? Would you want someone to do this to you?
Golden-rule stuff aside, is it even worth all of the brain power to come up with the scheme, and then the extra time executing it, just to save a few dollars?
Update 12/8/09 from the comments below:
Just a little update to all of this. We had someone who we caught really trying to scam us today (not just save a few bucks, but manipulate the site to get unlimited stuff for free). I’m not going to go into the details because this is something that is pretty intelligent and could probably fool a lot of e-commerce systems (don’t want to give people ideas…)
We were able to study his browsing history on our site and determine that for months he was trying everything he could to find a loophole. Once he finally found one, we had quite a bit of evidence to lay the hammer down and ban his account. He violated several points of our ToS. We refunded him the little money he spent with us and did not ship him any goods….and then of course fixed the loophole.
Obviously these people are out there and they’ll stop at nothing to get cheap or free stuff. It’s sad to me, but it’s reality. If you run an e-commerce store, the best advice I can give is to have several people looking at every single order with a critical eye. Especially during the busy times. And especially for international customers (this one was international, as was our large chargeback case). All four of us are busy, but we all try to at least scan every order that comes through. You’d be amazed at what we catch sometimes.