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Protect against theft, scams

12 ways to protect your product from theft

It’s something you hope never happens. A customer comes in and wants to leave with your product—but ends up not paying for it.

Here’s a classic example: A customer wants to test drive a new vehicle. The dealer lets them take it—but doesn’t ride along. The customer drives away, never to be seen again. While this appears to be theft, some courts would argue against that. After all, the salesperson allowed the customer to take the car.

Another scam has a customer placing a deposit or taking the product on credit as a broker, then selling it to another party. For one reason or another, the middle person can’t pay the dealer, while the third party demands the title. To make matters worse, the dealer can’t always collect or repossess the product from the third party buyer since state laws differ on the dealer’s right to recover some items.

To help you avoid these kinds of problems, we have some tips on creating a specific policy for closing all sales.

Set a sales policy

You can do a lot to help minimize these types of losses by establishing good business practices that create responsibility and accountability when closing a sale. Your written policy should include sales, cash receipts, and credit applications. If it’s possible, the procedures should involve more than one level of management to ensure accountability.

Create controls to follow

When developing your sales procedures, be sure to consider these policies:

  • Require sales staff to post all sales by day’s end and mark them as closed or pending.
  • Require the sales manager to verify and approve all sales over a prearranged amount.
  • Have the sales manager complete any credit application with the customer. If a salesperson completes the application, the sales manager should review it with the customer and countersign it.
  • Verify all credit card purchases over a prearranged amount.
  • Hold the product if a cash deposit is left. It can be released once full payment is made or the customer provides proof they can pay.
  • Insist on proper identification when dealing with payment by personal check with at least two forms of identification—including driver’s license, credit card number, or business address. Confirm they’re valid.
  • Wait for check purchases over a certain amount to clear before releasing the product. Don’t accept personal checks on weekends when bank verification is not possible.
  • Take deposits to the bank immediately and don’t allow sales staff to hold them for any reason.
  • Require salespersons to accompany customers on all demonstrations.
  • Keep demonstrations brief and never allow a customer to take a product for an extended tryout.
  • Establish ownership when trade-ins are involved in a sale. Ask for proof of title and lienholder where appropriate.
  • Require bonding for sales brokers up to the maximum amount the goods are worth and don’t exceed this limit.

These are the minimum controls you should consider. We can help you come up with others specific to your business.

And there’s an added bonus when you establish your business controls. Not only will you add protection against false pretense losses, you’ll also put policies in place that’ll help ensure your company’s profitability.

These are just some of the ways we can help you make your workplace safer. There are more safety resources available to you. Talk with your Safety Services representative for more details and options.

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