Wed, May 27th 2009 12:30am
Credit-card companies are looking to new technology to help them cut down on fraudulent purchases, but online retailers are looking at a slightly different problem. They say that "friendly fraud" -- when a customer purchases an item, then later disputes the purchase -- is on the rise. It's not clear exactly what's "friendly" about this kind of fraud, but it usually entails a customer ordering an item, then saying they never received it, or claiming they were sent the wrong item. Travel site Expedia says it runs into the same problem, with people purchasing travel services, then claiming -- after they've taken the trip -- that they never made the purchases. The companies are getting a bit wiser, doing things like taking photos of shipments before they're sent out, and it sounds like most people back off their claims once they're presented with some evidence of just how easy they are to debunk. The retailers cited by the WSJ seem to be saying that this is a manifestation of buyer's remorse, with people looking for a way out from credit-card purchases they've made, but that seems pretty generous. It's a little odd, since it sounds like they try to handle this stuff pretty gingerly and not upset the customers by accusing them of fraud and theft, and then using the "friendly" moniker. Friendly or not, fraud's a growing problem for online retailers and credit-card companies.
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