Last month, we had the unfortunate experience of accepting two checks written on a closed account for fairly expensive items at the hardware store. The total of both checks hovered just under $1000. That is a big hit for a small business.
Following our usual protocol for bad checks, we contacted the "customer" (and I really do use that term lightly) and Hugh gave him ample time to make good on the debt. He didn't. Hugh then turned the fraudulent checks over to the District Attorney's office, where we learned that the check writer had upwards of $15,000 in outstanding fraudulent checks, written on the same closed account.
Further investigation (Note to criminals: if you are going to write bad checks to a business, pick a business that isn't owned by a COP) revealed that the check writer had been selling multiple items on various Facebook Buy/Sell/Trade sites in both Hooterville and neighboring communities. Yesterday, Friend Kortni alerted me when two more items popped up on one of the sites; they weren't our items (those are long gone, the guy assured us), but, Hugh was infuriated enough to hit the guy where it apparently hurts: his social media accounts.
Hugh posted the guy's Facebook profile picture on our store page along with a full description of his crime against us. Then, going a step further, he shared the post to all of the local community Facebook pages.
It did not take long for the posts to go viral. In fact, according to Facebook stats, that post on our page is the most viewed and shared of any post we have ever posted. That's...kind of sad.
On the other hand, the majority of comments that we got on the post were from other small business owners who have been burned by this guy, so, at least they had a forum to vent as well.
The guy in question was not happy, as one might imagine. He has since left threatening messages on Hugh's page as well as complaining to Facebook to have the post removed. He is also due in court this morning on charges unrelated to all of his bad checks, and, with any luck, will find his ass thrown in jail for a lot longer than he was the last time. Oh, did I mention he is on parole? No? He is.
I have no illusion that we will ever recover our merchandise, nor will we see financial restitution, but, it really would be nice if this guy wasn't in a position to rip off other innocent parties.
And, while the buzz generated by Hugh's posts could come back to bite us in the ass (I'm sure the scumbag has equally scummy friends out there), at least other businesses have been warned.