We are all familiar with telemarketing phone solicitations at home. While often
from legitimate businesses, they can be annoying and intrude on our personal
time. Maybe a little less know fact is that some unscrupulous telemarketers have
been targeting Tulane and these calls can end up intruding on your departmental
budget. So far Tulane departments have had four such calls in the last month.
It starts with a phone call from someone from a company like the “Acme Widget
Supply Co.” claiming to be the university’s supplier for toner cartridges. They
may claim that their records indicate that it’s time for you to re-order and
then say they can give a special discount if you give them your ok and shipping
address. They can be very convincing and sometimes forceful, but rest assure
what they are offering is no bargain.
These people are “scam artists” and they have been around for years hawking
various inferior products at exorbitant prices. At one time copy paper was a
popular item for these “Paper Pirates” to promote but more recently it’s toner
cartridges. Their stories can range from the simple “it’s time to re-order” to
elaborate tales of woe such as “we have a broken down truck full of product in
your area and can make you a special deal”. Either way a red light should go on
whenever anyone tries to sell you anything over the phone.
Quite simply these “Toner Pirates” misrepresent themselves as legitimate
suppliers, often charging more than list price and substituting inferior
products. They will call a department directly, stating that they are Tulane’s
supplier for toner cartridges and try to get someone to authorize a shipment. It
is important that you make it very clear that you will not accept any shipments
and that phone solicitations of this type do not conform with Tulane’s
purchasing procedures. If the caller persists or inquires as to what those
procedures are you may direct them to call the Materials Management Purchasing
Department at 865-5211 (Uptown) or 988-5104 (Downtown).
Even after you decline their solicitation, they might still ship you unwanted
product and invoice you for it. At that time it is important that you contact
Materials Management. We will pick up the product and deal with the “Pirate”
from that point on. If you receive any further calls, inform them that the
matter has been turned over to Purchasing. We will advise the supplier that the
invoice will not be paid and that they can arraign to have their product picked
up in a timely fashion or it will be considered a gift to the university.
It is even more important that you guard against this type of fraud when
using a departmental purchasing card. In a P-card transaction with a “Toner
Pirate” he gets his payment without issuing an invoice and obviously you do not
want them knowing your card number. For whatever reason should you become a
victim of a ”Toner Pirate” when using your P-card, you can still dispute the
transaction by contacting Steve Sovinsky, University Purchasing Card
Administrator, at 314-2675.
Remember: The only good “Pirate” is a Pittsburgh Pirate.