You may not believe this, because none of us at Anges can...but people go through great lengths for our cake. So much so, that they’ll even break the law, commit fraud, to get their hands on one of our birthday cakes....y’know with our reputation of Best Birthday Cakes in London and all (that’s via Vogue and Time Out etc saying that! Not just me tooting my own minuscule horn).
I’m trying my hardest to take this as a compliment...that our cakes are worth breaking the law for, but it makes me utterly depressed each time.
There are a few different ways cake fraud happens...the obvious one is via stolen credit cards. We have had at least £2,500 worth of stolen credit card orders via our website and thankfully have been able to spot it each time. It gets flagged by our website’s security and we have then cancelled and contacted the billing address alerting them that their credit card details may have been stolen and that we have voided the transaction. They tend to have an obvious MO now - it’s always a MASSIVE cake ordered very last minute without any consultation, getting delivered somewhere in or around London to a made up person with a very generic name but the billing address will be hundreds of miles away and the phone numbers and email addresses provided will be fake.
Fine, cake thief, you’ve stolen a credit card and tried to get away with defrauding not only the person whom you’ve stolen the card from but also the merchant who will be out of pocket after delivering the item and the original card holder disputes the transaction. You’re an @ss.
But the other type of fraud is, in my opinion, even worse - Friendly fraud, or chargeback fraud, or plain and simple cyber shop-lifting it’s known as, and it’s downright mean. I’ll name and shame here because I’m pretty sure the name is fake anyway so here goes...
Gunaar Trikov placed an order for a lovely 8” Matcha Sakura cake with a personalised message “Happy Birthday Zina”. It was to be delivered last Saturday to the Bamboo Lounge in Ealing, which is around the corner from our kitchen and where we offer free delivery (as with most of London). Gunaar also sent a polite message with the order to say, “Hello, I’m ordering the cake for a friends bday as I’m not in the uk, but the bday will be on Sunday at Bamboo lounge.”
Now, our website security does err on the side of caution and flagged it as a potentially fraudulent order. For one, Gunaar has placed the order for Zina, but the delivery name is Zena Kall. We thought, it’s not a massive cake, and perhaps G’s just a bit clumsy with spelling, or maybe not that good a friend to Z so got the name wrong. Let’s give the benefit of the doubt...
But then, we get an email from a dodgy looking email address...the ones with lots of random jumbled letters, numerals and special characters, at gmail dot com, and it’s G asking to change the delivery address at the last minute....all the way out to Chessington in Surrey. It’s quite a way away, and a huge change and also isn’t offered for free (wish we could offer free delivery absolutely everywhere...but we don’t have magic unicorns that can get that far with our fragile cake-cargo without it costing fair whack!). Despite it being last minute, and we really don’t like putting anyone out, we said uhh okay sure but the delivery cost is £xx and that’ll need paying before we can send it out, as per usual. G says fine, but tick tock tick tock, no payment or responses to our requests (and of course, we still don’t have a valid phone number).
Right about now, all of our alarm bells went off. Had the delivery been just around the corner, we wouldn’t be taking much notice but because it was so out of the way for our drivers and was going to cost a fair bit we were suddenly concerned about all the red flags. And stupidly we ignored our team-gut. I still wanted to believe this was genuine and didn’t want Z to be let down on her birthday because of her friend’s uselessness, and decided to do the delivery at our own cost hoping it would make someone’s day incredible and we’ll have great karma for the rest of our lives and into the after life.
So imagine the cutting into the side of my stomach feeling when we get a chargeback notification from the bank. Grubby G has cited “fraudulent transaction” as the reason and not only does the bank refund immediately, but also penalises the merchant with another £10-£15 for fulfilling fraud. Oh thanks Mr Banker...no sweat off your back is it. Whilst we are mega out of pocket with the cost of the cake, the delivery to all-the-way-out-there, and now a lovely little penalty for no fault of our own.
Except it was our fault. We FELT it, we KNEW it, but we wanted to believe otherwise cuz we want to share the cake joy despite all the warnings.
So late last night I drunk-emailed Gunaar to the bogus email address set up for this bogus birthday cake order.
I don’t know if this is even your real name but as it is the only one we have I will have to address you with it. Could we know why a chargeback was done on the gorgeous Matcha Sakura birthday cake that we delivered in good faith? We’d like you to know that our business is a small family run business and we depend on each order to make a living for ourselves and our hard working staff (we are not a big faceless company with millions in Monaco). We thought it was very mean spirited to have a charge back even after we accommodated your last minute change of address request to somewhere so far out without the delivery payment (not that that matters...cuz you would’ve charged back anyway). There is nothing friendly about friendly fraud.
We’ll learn a lesson to always trust our gut which is a valuable lesson, but I would just like to know why....it’s only a cake? Have you done this before? I don’t know whether you realise it is hurting real people but just in case you don’t know, it has hurt us.
Normally I’m always wishing our customers to love our cake and have a great time sharing it with their close ones. But this time I hope Z hated it, thought it was the driest ever, tasteless, stale-est, sweetest, blandest, soggiest, hardest, buttery-est, or whatever they deem as the worst cake ever so you never ever have to place a fraudulent order with us again.
You are scum.
Sorry about this whingey moany post, but I hope this helps anyone else who has experienced this type of fraud and hopefully the banks take more notice. “Friendly fraud” is at an all time high, accounting for 12 million squids in losses in Europe, and getting higher as offenders become more and more aware of the ease of shop-lifting online, and no real consequences (instead, the bank stings the merchant more...).
Normal sunshine posting will resume shortly once I get over this. With cake.
Lots of love,
Grumpy Reshmi xoxo