BAY ROBERTS, N.L. — Bay Roberts Foodland will no longer be accepting cheques because of multiple instances of fraud involving customers.
Local manager James Dunlap, the franchisee for the Bay Roberts location for the last three years, would not get into specifics about the number of times he’s been forced to contact police, but he told The Compass it’s been a growing problem for the business.
“This didn’t start until bank introduced mobile deposits, and even then, I believe it took up until the past 12 months where people put it together that, ‘Hey, I could scan this on my phone and then I can take it to the grocery store and double my money,’” he said in an interview by phone Thursday, Aug. 9, one day after Foodland made its decision public in a Facebook post.
As a franchisee, Dunlap is responsible for any loss of revenue resulting from such instances.
“I pay my staff with the profits that I make from the store … I have wonderful staff, and I want to take care of them, and sadly, this is one thing I had to do to make sure I could continue to take care of the people I appreciate,” he said.
In one instance, Dunlap’s store lost more than $600 on one cheque transaction. While he cannot speak to how much of an issue cheque fraud is elsewhere within the company, Dunlap knows for a fact Foodland locations in Carbonear and Whitbourne have dealt with the same problem. He added it’s unfortunate this decision had to happen, given the store serves so many good people.
“I apologize to the many, many honest customers I have that come in my store, and I apologize for doing what I had to do, but sadly these are changing times,” he said.
Dunlap is particularly disappointed with the banks, as it’s his opinion they could figure out a way to prevent the misuse of mobile deposits.
“I just wish that the banks could somehow secure their (mobile) apps in order to protect local businesses from stuff like this, because cheques are slowly going by the wayside with direct deposit, but there are still a number of people that get paid by way of cheque, and I just wish that today’s technology would just be a little bit safer for local business.”