How to Safely Buy Wooden Pallets on the Internet
As the world becomes more and more digitalized online shopping has taken over nearly every industry. While it is not as prevalent in the pallet industry yet we are sure heading in that direction. There are multiple online pallet marketplaces popping up and facebook groups with thousands of people buying and selling pallets.
While this is a great way to find deals and save money on pallets it has also opened up the doors to scammers and people taking advantage of this. Here are some tips to avoid scams when buying pallets online
Ensure You are Working with a Legitimate Company
This is one of the most basic steps to avoid scams. Ensure the broker or person you found online has a legitimate business in place. There are multiple ways to verify that a company is a legitimate here are a couple.
- Get Everything in Writing
- Make sure to create a purchase order or invoice
- Request a Credit Check on the Business
- Ask them to provide company Information (W-9 Tax Form, EIN Number, Official Company Name and Tax Forms)
- Check Their Website
- Search them or the company on Linkedin
- Verify Physical address on Google Maps
Try to Avoid Paying Upfront for Pallets
This is one of the easiest and most common ways for scammers to get people. They will ask for an upfront payment or a partial payment of a few hundreds dollars to reserve the pallets for you. Also every real company out there will operate on Credit Terms or Cash on Delivery (COD). It is very common in the pallet industry to operate on Net-30 or Net-15 Terms. This means payment 30 or 15 days after the invoice isn received
That being said there are some vendors out there who are 100% legitimate and still want prepayments of every load of pallets. In these cases it is very important to ensure that company is trustworthy. If you are going to pay upfront it is best to use a credit card, then if anything goes wrong you can call your bank and get them to cancel it.
Tips for Local Pallet Yards when dealing with pallet brokers
This advice may seem to contrast what was said above but if you are a pallet yard dealing a broker it is best to make them prepay the first couple transactions. Do not load 8,000 dollars worth of pallets onto a truck when you are doing business with an unknown broker for the 1st time. Even if a broker has a website, company ect. One of the most common reasons pallet brokers get a bad reputation is failure to pay invoices to vendors
Common Things to be on the lookout for when dealing with scammers
- Very Pushy With Payment
- Asking you to Communicate though WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger, or other online platforms
- Requesting Partial Payments to Reserve Pallet Loads
Stick to Free Online Pallet Marketplaces and Platforms
This one might be somewhat controversial but try to avoid any platform that is asking you to pay a monthly premiums to use their service. I will start by saying these companies are not by any means scammers they are just somewhat unnecessary for most people. Their selling point is that you have to pay to have access to their exclusive network of pallet yards. The reality is almost none of these platforms have “exclusive” networks and they found their vendors by google searching “pallets yards near me” or on facebook. There are plenty of free Online Marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or a good ole fashioned google search.
This also goes for local pallet yards struggling to sell their pallets too. Try listing them for free on the internet before going to any paid platform or online brokers.
What to do if you have been scammed?
If they scam has already occurred unfortunately there is a very good chance you will not be getting any of that money back. If you did not lose a large sum of money it is probably best of just drop it and move on. Although if you did lose a lot of money there are are some legal and financial steps you can take to get that back.
- Contact your bank. This should be your 1st step and see if you can try to get your back to put a hold on the money or stop it from going though.
- Contact the Police. Make a police report and forward all known information about the scammer. This could include phone numbers, emails, names, addresses, websites, ect
- Report to Government. Agencies such as the FTC and FBI do take cyber crime seriously and depending on your situation they may be able to help.
Ultimately is is up to you to stay vigilant and be on the lookout for scams. A good golden rule is that if something seems to good to be true, it usually is. Especially in this industry. Stay up to date on pallet prices and trends in your area to avoid falling for any scams of cheap wooden pallets.